Whew. What a day. It started with my first ride on a fixie. That's right. My new bike arrived, the Schwinn Madison.
If you've never ridden a fixie, it's quite an adventure. I almost got bucked off that thing a few times today. I don't have clipless pedals for it yet so I'm using the toe straps that came with it, and my left foot slipped out on the first hill and I tried to coast to get my foot back in and the bike bucked me up and almost threw me over the handlebars. Close call.
The second time was when I tried to coast over some gravel and it bucked me so hard it lifted me off the seat. I'm sure it was quite humorous to the cars driving by, but I didn't find it so amusing. Right now, I'm not really a fixie fan. I'm going to keep at it, but if I don't like it after a few more rides I'm going to flip the wheel and turn it into a single speed, which will lead to plenty of ridicule at work but that's okay.
After work was the first aquathon of the year....and my first open water swim of the season. If you're unfamiliar, an aquathon is a 1000 meter swim followed by a 5K run. I've never done one, so I didn't really have any expectations. I wanted to have a good swim (for me) and then take it easy on the run since I'm still sore from the half marathon (apparently, that half marathon was quite a beating on my quads because after an ice bath and 4 days of recovery they're still sore).
The weather wasn't looking good - high of 60 with a chance of severe thunderstorms. And the water temp was 58 degrees so it was a wetsuit mandatory event. I was kind of hoping for some serious storms to move in and wipe out the event so I wouldn't have to get in the water, but I also kind of wanted to go ahead with it because my first triathlon of the season is Sunday (Lake Mills) and I'm prone to panic attacks in open water so I wanted to get my first panic attack out of the way....and I did because the nasty weather held off and we got the race in. Just some light rain.
I expected the water to be really cold, but holy smokes was that cold. I went out for a short warm up (if you want to call it that) about 15 minutes before race time. It didn't bother me that much on my feet and legs. I guess the ice baths helped acclimate me to frigid water. And it wasn't as bad as I expected when it got to my chest. But putting my face in the water was when I felt the pain. It was really hard to breathe. I swam a bit and then went back to transition to put on a second swim cap hoping that might help keep me from losing too much body heat.
When the gun went off, I ran in and started swimming as soon as I could. The water was really shallow so a lot of people ran for quite a while, but I figured I came to swim so I might as well go for it. The water was super cold and I was having a tough time breathing...and then I had my first panic attack. I was really hoping I was over those, but obviously not. I swam side stroke for a bit to catch my breathe and then, more out of frustration than anything, decided I wasn't going to let open water get the best of me again and I started swimming. After a few minutes of being on the verge of another panic attack I finally settled down and found a decent rhythm, except I was getting a lot of pain in my left shoulder. That's been happening recently and I'm a little concerned about it. I don't know if it's an injury, overuse (doubtful since I haven't been swimming as much as I should lately), or poor form (likely).
Swim Time = 15:03
I came out of the water and into transition and experienced the other problem I have with swimming in open water - vertigo. I had my transition all set up so I could slip into my Zoots, grab my hat and go. I bent over to finish getting out of my wetsuit and...bam...I was on my butt. Everything was spinning. I pulled my wetsuit off and got into my shoes while sitting on the ground. Then I grabbed my hat and ran - a little sideways - out of transition.
Transition = 1:02
The run was interesting. I didn't realize my feet were numb until I started running. Wow, that's a really weird feeling. They felt like bricks. I wanted to take it easy and just have some fun on the run, and I did start a little on the easy side but as I started picking off runners I noticed my pace was gradually increasing. Eventually, I gained a little feeling in my feet and that's when I noticed the insole in my right shoe was bunched up under the arch of my foot so that was bothering until it slipped back into place at the 2 mile mark. I pushed pretty hard on the last mile and picked off a few more runners. Coming into the final 100 yards, I noticed the guy behind me was sprinting, trying to get me before the finish line. I thought, 'oh no you di'n't' (Cheri's favorite line) and I dropped the hammer. I held him off and even slipped past the guy in front of me one foot from the finish line. Everyone cheered, and he was so pissed he wouldn't even look at me after the race. Sorry, dude, but you gotta race all the way through the finish. Don't get mad at me because you backed off.
Run = 20:31
Total time = 36:34
Overall = 9th out of 72
Age Group = 3rd out of 12
I figured I would be a middle of the pack guy, especially since I planned to take it easy on the run, so I'm really happy to finish in the top 10. Now that I've done a competition that includes swimming, I have more motivation to get back to the pool and put some work in and improve. Motivation at the pool has been lacking lately, so this was a good thing. I'm pumped.