Race information

  • What? indeland triathlon 2018
  • When? June 24th, 2018
  • How far? Sprint Distance (500m, 20k, 5k)
  • Where? Aldenhoven, Germany
  • Website: http://indeland-triathlon.de
  • Finish time: 1:30:52

Goals

Goal Description Completed?
A Have fun Yes
B Don't come in DFL Yes
C Finish sub 1:45 Yes
D No breast stroke No
E Don't walk on the run No

Splits

Section Time
Swim 0:12:01
T1 0:05:55
Bike 0:38:29
T2 0:02:50
Run 0:31:35
Total 1:30:52

Motivation

Eventhough I've been around triathlons for quite some time, I never really got the hang of participating in one until I moved to Frankfurt a few years ago. With the IRONMAN European Championship, the Frankfurt City Triathlon and a lot of other running events, the city is full with endurance events. So it was only a matter of time until some friends dragged me to come along and watch. I got really hooked and liked the energy those events had. Lots of spectators that dragged even the last person across the finish line. I was pumped every time I visited an event.
A good friend did some 70.3s and I came along as the support & cheer crew for the last two years, but this year I knew I had to do one myself.

I remembered that there is a smallish (around 1500-1700 people) triathlon in the region I come from, so I signed up for the Sprint distance of the indeland triathlon this year.

Training

I would describe myself as fat, other's say chubby, I don't care. Started training last year with around 110kg and got this down to 103. I think I'm still abusing the excuse "you are doing lot's of sports, you can eat more". Otherwise that would have gone down further ... But who cares.
The gym I'm signed up at has a pool and offers swim lessons twice a week. Went there during the winter and abandoned it during the spring and summer. Big mistake, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I went running regularly on the treadmill and outside during the spring, participated in a relay team for the Frankfurt marathon. I always thought I hated running, but I got into the groove and it's now my second favorite of the 3 sports.
The bike was the thing I was least worried about. I spent the winter indoors on the trainer and out of all the 3 sports, biking was the one I felt most content with.

And eventhough I bought some books and clicked through the training plans that Garmin Connect offers, I could never really stick to any plan. And I couldn't really stick to any excercises. So I was mostly running without any idea what I'm doing, biking with just a random training from Strava. Swimming was the only thing I was getting real feedback from and following instructions of a person that knows what they are talking about. It would show...

Pre-race

Race is 250km away from where I'm living now. I think I downloaded 20 different check lists and went through all of them 3 times to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything... Driving back was no option, and buying stuff in a small town on a saturday was also not the best possibility. Me and my girlfriend drove up there on saturday morning, just in time for registration. And we waited a bit for the pre-race briefing. Since I talked a lot with friends there was not much new information there.

Since it is a small event, you cannot check in your bike on saturday, so we drove up to the hotel. I packed my race-bags and we went to a restaurant to eat and watch the Germany - Sweden soccer world championship game.

On sunday, bike check-in for the sprint distance didn't open until noon. And eventhough I thought I had planned everything, I had not planned that our hotel was in a small neighbouring town that would be cut off from the rest of the world when the middle distance race starts at 9 am. So we had to leave the hotel and go to the city where the start is 3 hours before check-in was possible and 4:30 hours before my race would start.

Key Lesson #1: Check if your hotel will be cut off by the road closures

The triathlon uses 2 different transition zones. First I had to drop off my running stuff in T2 and from there it was a 8km bike ride to T1 at the lake. Good thing we had plenty of time. When it was noon I could check in my bike and set up my transition zone. The people around me were super friendly and gave me some useful hints like "you should wear your chip on your left leg so it does not end up in your chain". Thank you! This helped a lot. I asked around if I had forgotten anything, quite a few people looked at my setup and gave me a thumbs up!

So, then I went to the lake and waited for my starting time at 1:40

Key Lesson #2: Most people at a triathlon are super friendly to newcomers. If you are unsure about something, just ask around. Everybody was super nice and helpful.

Swim

Before the triathlon I did one open water swim. It was at a lake an hour before closind and there were hardly any people there.

This was different. We were 192 in the male sprint start. We did a few minutes of warm up swimming and then the gun went off. I stayed at the back of the group, but I followed a hint that Jan Frodeno gave at the post race interview at IM 70.3 Kraichgau a few weeks ago: "As long as you can run in the water, run instead of swimming" (I'm paraphrasing). So I ran and the water was pretty shallow, so I could run about 10-15m and I ended up somwhere in the middle of the pack.

I tried putting my head in the water and get into a regular swim, but the water was just a brown mess and I sort of panicked. I went into a breast stroke to get settled in but didn't put my head under the water for the next hundred meters or so. After this I tried switching into freestyle but I just couldn't find my rhythm. I was already at the turn-buoy when I decided to not try anymore. So I stuck with breast stroke for the whole swim. I was pretty happy because I could overtake a few people that were doing freestyle. I tried staying away from people to not kick anybody. Other's didn't care so much, so I got hit a few times by other people swimming in breast stroke towards the exit.

Swim was over pretty quickly after 12:01. I anticipated something around 13 minutes. So I am okay with that.

Transition 1

This was the weirdest thing. From the lake it was a 550m walk to the bikes and it was a 20m climb. I anticipated a somewhat long transition but I did not plan to actually go rock climbing during it :D

My wet-suit (a shorty) came off easily and I only needed to dry off my feet and put on socks and shoes. Helmet, sun glasses and I was on my way out. I saw a few people try a flying mount and failing to do so. I was happy that I did not even bothered to try it. Short hop on the bike and I was out of T1 after 5:55.

Key Lesson #3: When looking for a triathlon, look at the elevation profile for all the "disciplines", not just the bike track.

Bike

The bike track was a nice 20km track towards the next small town. A few 90° turns until we were at a road. From there just straight ahead until the roundabout, take a right, drive 7km, 180° turn and back to the roundabout. Another right turn and straight into the city. Apparently two people messed this up and drove straight through the roundabout and got DQ'ed for short-cutting.

I could overtake a few people, one person drafted off me for quite some time (DTU rules do not allow drafting, 12m distance must be kept at all times). I just slowed down a bit until he overtook me. But overall, I felt really good on the bike.

The saddest part there was: There was absolutely nobody at the whole bike track. My girlfriend came to two spots and she was the only person there. She also only saw one other person cheering for his grand-daughter. Other than that it was only a few stewards and most of them were busy with their phones. Sure, it's not their jobs to cheer or anything, but it was just a sad scene overall.

Key Lesson #4: Bring your own cheer squad and plan a route with them so they can maximize the places where they can see you

I actually planned going a bit slower, I was pretty happy with the 31km/h speed and finished the bike in 38:29

Transition 2

I really love the setup of the T2 at this race. There was a dedicated place for your bike in the rack. I could set up all my running gear in the spot. I also remembered the whole time "You are in row 18, and it's in the last 3rd of the row". That didn't prevent me from running around the rack one time and not finding my spot :D.

Key Lesson #5: Somehow mark your running bag with something, that you immediately see it and don't waste time searching for your spot

So, I racked my bike, put on my running shoes and cap and was on my way. I almost forgot to take of my bike helmet and had to go back another time.

So a lot of time wasted there, but I was out of T2 in 2:50.

Run

It was a short run over some gravel paths in the park where T2 was set up until we hit the road. My legs feel like a bag of cement. I immediately notice what I never practiced.

Key Lesson #6: Do brick workouts

The first 2km were pretty cool. It was basically the path I had to walk from home to elementary school when I was a little kid. But again, the overall atmosphere was bit underwhelming. When I was running in the Frankfurt Marathon last year I got the relay part through some outskirts and I suspected that it will be very boring and nobody will be there to cheer you on. But at every meter of the race there were people cheering, looking out of their windows, yelling at people that started walking, etc. Here was almost nothing. 2 or 3 spots where some people gathered. So, I had to motivate myself.

The next 2.5 km went through a field. Again, sand and gravel. It was really dry that day and the air was full with sand. It was pretty unpleasant to run through. Eventhough I always said to myself "don't walk. don't walk" I walked for a few meters. I don't know why I did that, my legs didn't hurt, my pulse wasn't too high, I just felt like not running anymore.

Key Lesson #7: DON'T WALK!

The last meters were on road again until we had to turn left onto some gravel again to run back into the park and through the finish line. With a 31:35 5k run I finished my first ever triathlon in 1:30:52 as the 150th of 192... But who cares? :D

After Race

I walked around a bit to search for my girlfriend. She didn't know the place so I assumed she got lost and started searching for her. I found her right at the finish line where she was actually cheering for me, but I did not hear her. The other 2 people that finished with me heard her, but I totally didn't. Funny.

But 10 minutes after the race I felt like I had not done any sport at all. I was not exhausted and my legs felt pretty good. Even two days later it still feels fine. So I'm somewhat angry with myself that I could have pushed more on the bike and the run. But yeah, that's always easier said than done.

The next Sprint will be in 6 weeks. This time with a 750m swim. Finishing this with at least 50% of freestyle and a better run time are the goals for the next one. This one will be in the city center of Frankfurt, so I know there will be a bigger crowd, let's see if that helps.

Thanks for reading, this ended up longer than I anticipated. Let me know if you have any questions

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