It’s always fun to be able to incorporate a race into a vacation but there can be challenges if you decide to rent a bike. Read about Kareen’s recent experience at the Marco Island Triathlon in Florida.
Swim: 1/4 mi, 400 m
Decided to hang back to avoid being swum over…(in hindsight not a great idea). I jumped in, and the first few strokes felt great, until I hit the swimmer in front of me, like she was treading water. I looked up, tried to change course, took a couple strokes, and hit another swimmer hard – I stopped and realized I couldn’t touch ground, and fully panicked! The group was approaching a buoy to turn left, and they were jamming up. I regressed to an upright doggie paddle and flailed terribly…by the time I paddled around the buoy and the group was spreading out, I was exhausted! So I did a back float. I spent the rest of the swim trying to calm down, but never really got it back together – the next wave of middle-aged men were catching up and i was freaking out about being swum over – really disappointing. (Coach’s note: every open water swimming experience is different and one is never prepared for every possible situation. However, we can learn something from every experience and share with others. Thanks Kareen!)
Transition was long – wasn’t expecting that – Run from beach to hotel and around opposite side to parking lot beside hotel. (Coach’s note: if time permits, it is always a good idea to walk through a swim to bike and bike to run transition. This, however, is not always possible if you have just flown in to your destination.)
Bike: 15mi, 24km
Bike…so I planned to rent, but use my pedals and clips. The night before our flight, I realized I couldn’t get one of my pedals off. My husband tried everything, but was ultimately stripping the bolt – I crossed my fingers the rental shop would have a set of Keo pedals (I was able to rent some for a ride in NYC a few years ago so it didn’t seem unreasonable). They didn’t. They handed me a tank of a bike with pedals. I suddenly regretted my decision to rent. (Coach’s note: I’ve been in this situation as well. Bottom line, if you choose to rent a bike you have to be prepared to accept anything. If it’s an important race, travel with your bike.)
The bike section was my favorite – weather warm, beautiful island. I just wished I had my bike the whole ride. There was a wind – I tried to take it easy enough to keep some legs for the run. I was only passed by people with proper tri bikes (& clips) so thought I did fine considering the pedals and the fact that I felt like I was on a tractor!
Run : 3.1 mi, 5km5k run in the sand!
Running on the beach, 30 degrees, it was hot and my legs were tired. Seeing people sunbathing made me feel like slowing to a leisurely stroll. The sand was zapping my energy so I took walk breaks. (Coach’s note: running on sand for 5k is TOUGH. I bet you felt your calves next day! Great job Kareen under some difficult circumstances!)