After years of professing my desire to do a triathlon…
I’ve finally signed up for a training program. No actual race, but I’ve officially started training. My Midtown friend Sarah and I have spoken about this before and she happened to mention she recently received an email from a training program. She forwarded it to me, I read it and decided I’d try it. It fit my budget and the coach seemed very credible. I also ran the coach’s name by my friend Haley and she said she just met him at an event and that he had a great reputation in town. Also knowing that he is associated with TBF was a good sign, after all my years of supporting TBF through my Red Bull job, I knew I was probably making a wise decision.
The best part about the email was that he was offering a new training cycle day, Tuesday’s at 6:15 PM. Even more perfectly, the training location is just a few miles from my job. I really didn’t have a reason not to try it out. So I emailed Tim Sorenson, the coach, at Multisport Endurance Academy. I didn’t hear back from him for over a week, so of course, I called him. He was flustered, to say the least, but we got through the convo. He said my email was very long and detailed, which he didn’t read yet. BUT he appreciated the details and I’d provided way more information than anyone so far! He also essentially said I’m in the class, bring my check, and he’ll see me on March 6th. This was my first inkling of how he’d be. Not in a bad way, just very different from myself.
Next, I contacted the Sacramento Bike Doctor to swing by my house to check up on my bike. Sadly, I wasn’t home when they did this and J took care of it, but I was interested in their service. So far, it seems to have worked out great. They are quick to respond via text, calls, or email and easy to communicate with on scheduling. They were beyond flexible with me and I don’t feel like they tried to take advantage of me in any sort of way, especially since I’m such a bike novice. They left a magnet to hold the 30-day warranty note on our fridge, which is exactly where it sits to this day. Perfect marketing y’all!
Then, I had to get a real bathing suit. I didn’t think a bikini would be the best thing to train in. That and I was already a newbie to the sport, I didn’t need to stick out any more than I already would. I, of course, waited until the last minute, so I went on to Amazon to use the magic of Prime to get one. I literally searched ‘triathlon swimsuit women’ and bought one that seemed reasonably priced. I ended up selecting the TYR Women’s Durafast One Solids, which was about $10 less than the current selling price on Amazon. I decided I could wing not having goggles and a swim cap, even though he gave me a list of items to bring to class. I figured I’d use L’s goggles until I had time to go to a sporting goods store, and really, was a cap that big of a deal?
Since it wasn’t really clear how the structure of the class would be, I brought everything and decided I’d change once I knew the process. I brought lulus, even though he recommended tri shorts. I honestly didn’t want to keep spending more money, until I could understand what was really needed versus suggested. I brought Balega socks, my running shoes, and a towel. When I arrived at the Swimstitute, the coach wasn’t there yet. Traffic was really bad and it took me forever and I was just a few short miles away. Tim was frantic. Short. And in a disarray. He was late and didn’t have as much time as he needed to set up his stuff.
It was as if I was supposed to know that we’d be swimming, biking, and running all in one fell swoop on the first day — in that exact order. I guess I didn’t stress enough that I’m new. Or he just didn’t really care, which is probably more like it. His style is just not as organized as I’d prefer, but I’m learning to go with it. I changed into my suit. Tim showed me how to set-up my bike in the trainer, then I threw my stuff in a pile near my bike. I did leave my shoes and socks near my bike for the upcoming transition between pool and bike. He let me have a swim cap and found a pair of goggles for me to borrow. Everyone said the chlorine was super bad in the pool and I’d instantly regret not having goggles. I tried to buy a pair from the Swimstitute, but they only had one pair left and they had really dark lenses. In the end, it worked out, but I’d have to invest in some ASAP!
He told us to get into the pool and warm up. Again, I honestly didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I’ve never had formal swim instruction, so I was intimidated. I will say, thanks to my Uncle Ron, I had some basics down, but I’ve never swum competitively, ever. I learned what ‘circle swim‘ was since we only have three lanes reserved for about twelve of us in the class. After a while of warming up, he eventually made us stop, to speak with us. He was still somewhat disheveled and trying to find his footing. He told us we’d be doing a 100-meter time trial swim. We would continue to circle swim while they did their time trial until it was our turn. I was nervous and already somewhat tired from all the swimming. Finally, it was my turn. EEK! I did it and am happy to report I did it in 1:59 mins. Tim said that was pretty good, which I was happy to hear. Next, we did some cool down swimming and then he set us to compete with one another to see who could get out of the pool fastest and onto the bike.
Oh, what a wet mess I was. There was no direction or education on how to do this, just do it. So, of course, I was trying to win! I didn’t even towel off. Instead, I dug through my bag and grabbed my lulus and tried to put them on gracefully. This was not happening, soaking wet and tight lulus don’t make for a great combo for speed. Finally pulling them up really awkwardly, dripping water everywhere, I tried to put my socks and shoes on without sitting down. Fail. I was second to get on my bike, from my group, but barely. Dripping tons of chlorinated water, I hopped on my bike and started to ride. I was literally the only one with their running shoes on, instead of clip-ins and without the curved handlebars. Tim called out different drills for us to do. I was lost. Even though I’ve had my bike for a few years, I still don’t understand the mechanics of the gears and whatnot. He was calling out front and back gear numbers and I was lost. Thankfully, the person next to me helped me out and gave me some direction. I was a mess. Also, I don’t think my position on the bike was correct. My left knee was killing me the entire ride, but I didn’t say anything until post-class. We did drills with one leg and I couldn’t do it as effectively as others since I only had my running shoes. I made it work though. I did hop off and grab my water and towel off at one point, both of which were highly needed.
Once our riding time was over, he said to get off our bike as fast as we can and get outside to start the run portion of the class. He purposely wanted us to get off however we wanted, to see the chaos which was similar to event day. However, I’d already spoken to my neighbors and we all made a plan to exit right. Ops, sorry Coach! I left my shirt in my car, so I ran and grabbed it, threw it on, put my key back inside, then met the group outside. We did lots of drills to work on our form, but even more importantly, to understand the mechanics of why he wanted us to run with a certain form. We did this for most of the run part, but it was really great running education for me. Then we did a few sets of strides to end the class. My knee felt totally fine for this portion, which I was really happy about.
I realized, post class, that Tim wanted us to kinda be a little unnerved by how transitions worked and work through them. He also mentioned that he knew this wasn’t the hardest workout, but that as the weeks progressed he promised he’d kick our a$ses! The diversity in the class is huge — there is at least one ironman and then me, completely new to the sport. Most of the group is pretty versed in triathlon’s, but there are a couple of us who are completely new to the sport. The day after class he sent out an email with the overall raining schedule for three different triathlon distances — sprint, Olympic, and a half Ironman. The one thing that has been bugging me is the fact that he offers this training but does not suggest a race to sign-up for. I feel like I’m training for nothing, not really, but I’m more goal-oriented than not. I’ve asked him multiple times now about a race, the last time I asked he was busy and pawned me off on a girl in the class, who he knew was experienced. All she said was any of the TBF events, which I already knew. I’m learning that I might not mesh well with his technique, but he is beyond knowledgeable, so I am trying to go with the flow and his process.
I’m happy I finally committed and found a training program. Well, really I’m happy one fell into my lap. I think it will also be a great learning experience, beyond just the physical. Learning to deal with this type of coach and his methods might be a bigger learning experience, than the actual physical learnings. But, after my first training, I am ready to get back in the pool and see how I can get better. The bike scares me, because of my knee, but I think I can do it AND I’ll definitely be sporting my bike shorts the next go-around. No sore saddle for me 🙁 And the running I’m not worried about, speed would be great, but after the other two activities, I just need to make sure my body is strong enough to maintain some stamina for the run. I think this is all doable and I’m excited to keep tri-ing! HAHA, a pun for ya!
Tuesday’s are now the longest day of the week!