Sunday, March 1, 2015

Awake Indoor Triathlon race report

My first tri! Doing it indoors seemed like a good way to get the feet wet (hahahaha) without the pressure of transitions and open water swimming and all that sort of nonsense.

Oh, so that's the building where they hide the swimming pool.
I got to McMaster an hour early, and checked in.

Chocolate from the race sponsor. I haven't tried it yet, but those warnings on the package make me a little nervous!

After figuring out where to check in and where the changerooms were, I spent a few minutes watching one of the earlier heats swim:

Earlier wave heading out. Lane counters sitting on the pool deck.

The format of the indoor tri is 15 minutes to swim as far as you can, 15 minutes to generate as much power as you can on a spin bike, and 15 minutes to do as many laps of the indoor track as possible. I had no idea what to expect with this race, and no real expectations, so I was surprisingly not nervous.

Got changed, met up with my Iron Canucks teammates Natalie and Danielle, who were both going to be in the same wave, and got inked up with our numbers and ready to go.

The swim

I went out too fast and was desperate for oxygen by the end of the first couple of lengths. That sort of seemed inevitable. Eventually I got into a rhythm and overall the swim was good. I could hear the coach from the stroke classes in my head ("relax your neck! get your arms closer to your body! FOLLOW THROUGH!") but I'm pretty sure my form was a total disaster by the end. Then I screwed up the very end - I misread how much time was left in the 15 minutes and stopped swimming, and by the time my oxygen starved brain realized I should still be swimming, there wasn't enough time left to get in another lap. I ended up at 650m but really should have been at 675 or 700. D'oh. Next time, just keep swimming until you hear the whistle, dumb dumb!

The bike

We all gathered our things and were guided down corridors and up stairs to the bike/run area.

Previous wave finishing up the bike.
Once the previous wave was off the bikes, we only had a minute to get them set up. Then we had to stop pedaling and wait for the bike computers to zero out. This meant I really didn't get the bike set up properly to fit me, and I didn't get a chance to get a feel for the tension on the bike. But oh well.

Our 15 minutes started and it was immediately extremely discouraging - the tension lever on my bike seemed extremely fiddly (a tiny move would make it virtually impossible to pedal), and the watt reading I was getting was super low. Like I hadn't been expecting the numbers to be the same as the virtual power I get my trainer at home, but these were SO much lower that it just seemed impossible they could be accurate (over a hundred watts lower!). I was sweating buckets and my heart rate must have been high (I wish I'd worn my heart rate monitor, in fact, specifically to gauge the bike effort), so I was working my ass off but getting very little reward from the bike.

Now that I see the results from all the waves? Everyone who rode bike 11 had a low score, including the super speedy pro in the last wave (her watt reading was a 142, and there's NO way that is accurate). Because I'm a total nerd I even put the bike watts for the day into a spreadsheet and confirmed that the bike I was on had a way, way lower total average for the day than any other bike. So that's a little disappointing - going in I hadn't realized the bikes themselves might make things harder or easier, but that's how it goes sometimes. Just something I will keep in mind if I do this event again next year.

The run

After 15 very sweaty and heart pounding minutes on the bike, it was time to get ready to run. My quads were on fire, but fortunately (?) there was some confusion before we started running as one of the people who was supposed to be counting laps had disappeared. So it took a few minutes before that got straightened out - enough time for my legs to recover a bit. Soon enough we were off on the 200m circle. I hadn't been looking forward to this part, but it ended up being the best part of the day! The track surface was so enjoyably soft and springy, and the 200m loops weren't nearly as boring as I was expecting (granted, we only ran for 15 minutes - I don't think I'd enjoy doing a long run on that track).

The bike/run area. That's runners from a later heat, obviously, not my heat!
My final lap count had me at 2800m, but I'm about 95% sure my lap counter missed a lap and I was actually just over 3000m when the whistle blew. I'm really very pleased with that - running 5 min kms on tired legs is definitely a good thing, and better than I was expecting.

It was overall a really fun experience, and I'm not putting too much stock in the results because I'm pretty sure my bike was scored a lot lower due to mechanical stuff and not my actual effort level. Even with that, I would do this again for the triathlon practice and the experience. It's a good time! I recommend it, just keep your expectations for the bike accuracy low (and who knows, maybe you'll luck out and get one of the bikes that looks way off in the other direction - so jealous of the people who got bike 8...)


  1. Sounds like a fun event even with the mishaps. What a great way to test out the tri event! If you like the indoor track, you can always join next January at Run4RKids! Anyway, congrats on a great start to your triathlon season...nicely done.

  2. Sounds fun Emma! I'd probs have gotten the crappy bike too with my luck. Way to kick off your tri season!

  3. What a cool event!
    I always have problems with the bikes at my gym. Some bikes I can turn the tension knob a full revolution and it feels like it hardly changed. Others I can turn it a mm and it goes from just a little tough to impossible to move.