It’s been almost a year since I’ve done an organized triathlon. I did the Lake Minnetonka Sprint Triathlon in June 2021. I confess, my whole being loves doing triathlons. The combination of swimming, biking and running all in one event makes my heart sing. I love thinking about the gear, my nutrition, my hydration. I love planning all the details.
Given my passion for triathlon, it’s a bit of a surprise that I’ve never done an indoor triathlon. In fact, largely due to not knowing how to do flip turns in the pool, I prefer open water swimming rather than pool swimming, which is where indoor triathlon swimming happens.
That said, trying new things is good for all of us, me included, so I signed up for the YWCA Indoor Triathlon that was held last weekend, on March 6th, 2022. I didn’t do any flip turns, but I’m willing to try a new event. I’m a hard core planner, as planning helps me better manage my diabetes and it helps me feel safe and secure in the world.
A few days before the triathlon, I spent some time planning out and writing down my Race Plan. I’m a fan of taking time to create a race plan as then on race day you simply “race your plan.” Makes everything easier. That gives me comfort.
What follows is my race plan for the March 6th, 2022 YWCA Minneapolis Indoor Triathlon. Interwoven in the race plan are my comments and photos from the actual race event.
Enjoy! The event was lots of fun!
I appreciated how careful all the volunteers and organizers were about cleanliness and covid safety. Due to the lower covid counts in Minneapolis, we didn’t have to wear our face masks once we started racing. Given my exercise induced asthma, I was glad we could race without our masks.
- Make sure blood sugar stays above 80 mg/dl all day (so that liver and muscles stay glucose full) – Success!
- Hydrate: drink lots of herbal tea, Nuun tablets – Success. I sure had to pee quite a bit, so that was a good sign that I was well hydrated!
- Review gear list – Success! I had all my gear with me.
- Pack gear, nutrition and hydration – Success!
- Review mantras – Success! Had all my mantras fresh in my head.
- Go to bed early – Success! Got a solid night of sleep, woke up ready to go.
5:45am Wake up, meditate, stretch
6:10am Dress: tri outfit, jeans, t-shirt, socks, shoes
6:15am Eat breakfast of 34 grams of carbohydrates, take no insulin
6:30am Walk Sam
6:45am Set Tandem t:slim pump to Exercise mode
7:00am Drive over to the YWCA, park
7:15am Check in, get chip on my wrist, get locker key, put gear in locker room
7:30am Walk the area, set up transition area, make sure I’m clear about locations
7:35am Make sure to test the bike for set up that fits me
7:45am Double check insulin levels, blood sugar (tendency to go low at race start)
7:55am Be at pool, ready to go. Items: goggles, swim cap, baggie for face mask, pouch for pump, smarties
8:00am SWIM START: Time Goal: 11 minutes to swim 500 yards
- Greet the lap counter, thank them
- Count 20 lengths to get to 500
- Start Swim on watch
- Mantras: “I am a strong swimmer” “Swimming is fun”
- Focus on how good swimming feels and turning with ease at the wall
I swam the 500 yards in 10 minutes 16 seconds! YES! That felt so good, especially considering how little I’ve been swimming this fall and winter. I think upper body weight lifting helped me out.
My Team Looking Sharp friends Marie, Nadine and Jenny all had earlier start times than I had so I snapped a few photos of them and I cheered them on. As a result, there are no photos of me doing the swim. Here’s proof I did it! I love my Garmin watch. It’s a Forerunner 745.
8:12am Transition area in the gym
- Dry off
- Put down goggles and swim cap
- Take pump out of case, snap it on to body
- Put on shirt over triathlon outfit
- Dry off feet, put on socks and run shoes
- Put on Flipbelt belt (has lip dew, nutrition, water bottle, phone)
- Pack up items into bag
- Grab water bottle
- Head to bike in the multipurpose space
8:15am BIKE START: Time Goal: 30 minutes to go 5 miles
- Get scanned before I get on the bike
- Greet the bike support people
- Mantra: “This is fun”
- Talk to people, snap a photo or two, enjoy it!
- Maintain focus, pay attention to cadence & watch blood sugar, drink water
I learned that I don’t know much about how indoor spin bikes work! Despite having listened carefully to my friend Jenny give me point by point advice on how to gear the bike and how fast to spin, to ride 5 miles on the bike took me 25 minutes and 44 seconds, which was faster than I anticipated, but I was the first one on the bike of the people in my heat and I was the last one off the bike. I’m a strong biker, but I realized I suck at spin bikes when I don’t pay attention.
I did cheer on my friends as they ran around the track since they were in the run portion of the race. I also chatted with the volunteers. Namely I was not focused on how fast I was spinning or how quickly I was getting the miles on the bike. I did have fun! So that was motivating!
8:45am Transition to run
- Scan wrist as I move from bike to the track
8:46am RUN START: Time Goal: 25 minutes to run 2 miles, 16 laps
- Make sure I greet person who will keep track of how many laps
- Start Run on watch
- Mantra: I love running.
- Breath steady. Smile. Say hello to my lap counter each time I go around
- When done with 16 laps, scan wrist, stop watch
My volunteer lap counter was Alex and either Alex or my Garmin messed up how laps I actually accomplished. My watch said I only did 1.58 miles. Alex seemed to think I did 2 miles. I usually do a 12 minute mile pace. I did notice that I lapped another runner two or three times, so I think I was going faster than I think I can go. Again, all the weight lifting and running intervals every week might be helping me get just a little bit faster.
According to the chip on my wrist, I did the two mile run around the track in 21 minutes and 6 seconds and I had an average pace of 10:33 which is much faster than I think I can go. Who knows! I do like thinking there’s a chance I can get to be a faster runner despite getting older.
In my planning I thought it would take me an hour and fifteen minutes to do the race. As fate would have it, my official time for the entire event was 1 hour and 8 seconds. I feel pretty darn good about that time.
Best of all, the whole event was a shot in the arm of joy! Hanging out with my friends, my run mates, one of my coaches and all the others I’ve met at the YWCA over the years was an affirmation of belonging and community. I can hardly wait to do more of these events in the future.
Huge shout out of appreciation to Clint Connealy, Fitness & Endurance Sports Coordinator MT and the Race Director of the Indoor Triathlon, and to all the many volunteers who made the event a success!
Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you’ve ever done an indoor triathlon. Do you plan to do any new-to-you athletic events in the near future? I appreciate hearing from you! Please tell me in the comments.
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