TIT

I participated in the Treasure Island Triathlon (sprint distance) yesterday, with Chris.

Indeed I managed to complete the 0.5 km swim, 20 km bike ride and 5 km run, in spite of being the bozo I was: not having trained much in the past couple of weeks, and showing up in a fluorescent green yellow-blue surfing wetsuit. All the other women in my age group showed up in self-respecting ‘triathlete’ black triathlon suits.

The setting on Treasure Island afforded nice views of SF and the Bay Bridge construction. But doing three loops for the bike ride is really tedious, especially when there’s lots of potholes and 90-degree corner turns, and you’re biking past ugly industrial buildings that the Navy negligently maintained. The fog burned off by the time the ride was over. I was penalized a minute, because I rode, not walked, my bike to get to the start. I didn’t really see a “mount here” sign, but oh well.

It took me 2.5 km of run-walking before I finally broke the wall and hit my stride where I could jog without stopping for breath. Chris finished 15 minutes ahead of me, and ran back to run the last 1 km with me, which was really supportive of her.

Tom (had to be there!) and Cherry were on hand to cheer us on. Afterwards, we went to dim sum at Harbor Village, not before a 20-minute frustrated hunt for street parking in the Financial District. Cherry was impressed I could cuss in three languages.

My main goal was to finish the course, so I could cross “triathlon” off my to-accomplish list, and never have to do another one again. But now, seeing how slow I felt during the event, I’m actually contemplating doing just one more, so I can improve on my performance (see Tips below). Well at least speeding up the swim and bike portions. Running is a lost cause for me.

(Which is odd, because I’m really not one who’s ever been competitive about times. When I was on the swim team in high school, I was just a filler body. I never kept track of what my best times were for which events. Never bothered even writing them down. Trying to shaving seconds off? Hah! I’m a girl, and I don’t even shave my legs.)

In any case, I’m offering myself as a swimmer for hire for my friends who want to do triathlons, but don’t want to do the swim portion.

It’s actually rather amazing that in the beginning of this year, I had absolutely no desire to do any triathlons or anything remotely athletey. And now, I’ve got three swim caps, a T-shirt and two bags from doing all these jock-events. On the other hand, I can fit into my older pants now. The new pants I bought when I had gotten pudgy are a bit too loose now!

TIPS FOR FUTURE TRIATHLONS

1) Don’t eat anything before the swim. I ate half an energy bar and felt sluggish during the swim. I actually felt slightly out of breath. Bleaugh. So it’s confirmed: best swimming is done on an empty stomach

2) Drink Gatorade before/during the bike ride. While you bike, your body isn’t too jostled around, so you can digest better. I only had water in my bottle, and was suffering low blood sugar. It was a slooow ride, kind of like a slow motion movie, where your legs are pedaling much slower than your brain is commanding them to.

3) Don’t drink too much before running. (See (2)). Instead, squeeze the contents of a gel pack into your mouth, and don’t wash down the taste. I drank half a bottle of Gatorade before running, which resulted in my organs sloshing around my abdomen during the run. Very uncomfortable; I don’t recommend it. The strong aftertaste of the gel pack will also distract you from how tedious running is.

4) You should drink (booze it up, baby) and eat decadently the night before. (We’d gone to Zuni’s for dinner, but I piously stuck to grape juice. Should have gotten the wine.)

I think it also helps if you’re bit sleep deprived, because your body will move better on automatic pilot, and dominate over your brain. Having slept well, my mental alertness was actually a bit distracting.
Or maybe it was the dream I woke up from that morning: I was about to be married in a tweed riding habit and hat (like those worn by Victorian gentrywomen), to a woman. I kept asking my dad, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “But am I supposed to be the man or the woman in this marriage?”

5) Optional: Take ibuprofen before you take your first nap or sleep after the triathlon. When you’re asleep is really when the soreness in your muscles kick in. After the event, you just feel tired. When you wake up is when you really feel stiff.

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