TrainerRoad is a cycling app that provides interval training and guided workouts for your indoor trainer. I’ve been using it mostly in the winter months for the past two years. This spring, I kept the subscription going (you can go month to month) and took advantage of their triathlon training plans to prepare for my Olympic distance event in June.
The plans provide a detailed cycling workouts along with suggested workouts for running and swimming. The app also includes plans beyond triathlon to road racing, off-road and just get-in-shape hobbyist plans.
Cycling has always been the weakest area for me in triathlon. Given a choice, I’d almost always rather run in training, even hill intervals. This year, I hoped that by committing some money to it, I would get my butt my in the saddle more often. Given where I was starting (a rather embarrassing FTP below 200), I believed plain old saddle time was going to bring the most improvement.
My first Olympic-distance event in two years is done. It was a small race and an usually hot day, so given the conditions, I’m happy with my performance. You can’t control the weather and ultimately can only race the race you chose and do as much as your body allows.
The Ashland Lions Olympic triathlon is a long-running (this was the 26th year), local race held in and around Ashland and Hopkinton, MA. Part of the bike covers the marathon start. It’s run by FIRM racing, a smaller outfit that does a variety of endurance events in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They run the popular Appleman tri in July.
I hadn’t actually heard of this race until I literally ran into during a training ride in the area a few years ago. There aren’t many Olympic distance events in general (compared to sprints and 70.3s) and to find one almost literally in my back yard seemed like an invitation.
It took a few years longer than I thought, but I finally toed the starting line this past weekend.
So how did it go? Let’s find out.
After a long training block, the Ashland Olympic triathlon is on Sunday. Taper week is almost done. I’m feeling okay. No big injuries. Wet suit still makes me look ridiculous. Weather is looking clear, but pretty hot. Could have done without 90+ degrees, but I’d still prefer that to wind and rain.
The only thing left to do is stay hydrated, get some sleep and make sure my race bag is packed. That is no small issue, either. Three sports means three times the fun, but also three times the opportunity to forget something critical and have to walk around on race morning looking to beg, borrow or steal goggles.
This was an impulse race, though unlike some of the peanut M&M bags that have snuck into my cart in the checkout line, I never came to regret signing up. The Dover Sherborn Boosters triathlon is a local sprint distance race in a nearby town that I had heard about over the year but just never fit into my schedule. In fact, most of my open water swims in the summer use the same pond and the surrounding roads I’ve criss-crossed on the bike over the years, so there was really no excuse for not signing up at some point. I just didn’t really plan on it being this year. It wasn’t the best day, but it wasn’t the worst, either.
I had originally thought about doing a local Olympic distance triathlon in June, but my response to exercise was still so variable and I hadn’t done nearly enough training for that type of distance that I scrapped those plans and instead registered for a sprint triathlon put on by my local YMCA.
I hadn’t done a triathlon since the Patriot put me in the hospital but I’d done this sprint event in the past, with some some success, so knew what to expect and thought it might provide a softer re-introduction than a two plus hour event.
At the ten mile mark, over seven hours and 67 miles after I had started, I turned to Laura and said I thought I might be able to run to the finish. She wished me luck. I took a deep breath in, let it out and before I could take it back I started, well, not running exactly, but shuffling more quickly than I had been for the past three hours. I just wanted this over now as quickly as possible. This was not how today was supposed to go. At all.