Weekend Report: I Swam in the Bay, and I Hate Socks

A coherent narrative just isn’t happening today, so how about I word-vomit some bullets?

+ First open-water swim in a wetsuit = done. On Saturday morning we got into the water at Aquatic Park for some drills and short swims. I don’t think we were in the water for more than 5 minutes at a time during the whole half-hour or so of the session, and I don’t even want to know how cold the bay was, but it was good to, uh, get my feet wet (sorry). I’m not a disaster in cold water — I’ve always been part-reptile when it comes to that sort of thing, just ask my mother, I’m sure she’ll verify in the comments — but actually, purposefully swimming in it dredged up its own set of issues. Such as: when I can’t see anything past my hand, I have no idea how to judge how hard I’m swimming, so I sprint and end up exhausted after 15 strokes. It turns out I’m also one of those people who gets nauseated transitioning from swimming to running, and there seems to be no way out of that one but through; we did a drill that involved swimming three sides of a rectangle and then exiting the water to run the fourth side, 5 times in 10 minutes, and while I repeatedly wanted to lose my breakfast on the beach, I somehow did not — so hopefully repetition will beat the wooziness out of me.

Stolen from my coach's Facebook page. Thanks, Neil. I'm the one in the wetsuit.

+ Along those lines, we spent Sunday’s practice running through transitions. Over and over again. Shoes off, socks off, socks on, bike shoes on, bike shoes off, running shoes on, grab your race belt, run around this cone with your bike, ohmygod. We rode maaaaaybe six miles and ran maaaaaybe another .75 in the whole two hours, and I was spent at the end of it. I thought years of dance recitals would have made me good at quick changes, but I never had to put on socks for dance. Fing socks.

+ Perhaps having three different preferred hairstyles for the three sports involved in triathlon is not optimal.

+ I need to investigate spray sunscreen, stat. How the hell do you get that on as part of transition?

+ Also: I think there may be no sunscreen in the world that can keep a girl this pale from burning in a tri. I’m used to shellacking myself with a layer of sunscreen before starting a race. Now that heavy coating gets washed off inside of a wetsuit. We ran six miles after Saturday’s swim, no biking involved, and I burned. And I reapplied! I think it might be time to bring back the Water Babies formula that goes on like paint.

+ I am annoyed with all of my gear. I know I am not good enough at any of these sports to be annoyed with my gear, because the issue is me, and yet I’m still annoyed with my gear. My tri shorts chafe when they get wet. My fancy new sunglasses suck for city riding because every time I stop, they fog up. My good goggles fogged on Saturday. I think my bike shoes are too big.

+ That said, I tried my likely race outfit of tri shorts, Athleta tank with pockets, sports bra during the swim on Saturday, and while it was definitely a soggy run after, it wasn’t the least comfortable I’ve ever been. (It was nothing compared to, say, Miami.) And the bike leg is for drying off, right? Right?? A lighter tri top wouldn’t be the worst idea, but it’s not going to make my sports bra dry any faster, so this will work for now.

+ I rode my bike this morning, because I wanted to get some good hill repeats in (versus Thursday’s white-knuckle nightmare). The weather forecast for the rest of the week looks bleak, and I didn’t want to go into my first tri not having ridden my bike outside with anything resembling confidence since sometime in March. I rode to the Legion of Honor and managed 5.5 hill repeats (the .5 was to take the picture below). Bonus of morning riding: not heading directly into the setting sun.

And then Instagram sold for a BILLION DOLLARS.

+ As good as this morning’s ride was, I really am very slow on the bike. Very, very slow. It’s hard for me to know how to interpret this, because all of my rides involve city traffic, so I’m rarely going full-out, and when I am it’s either for three blocks between stop signs or up a crazy hill. I’m very curious to see how I do at the Ice Breaker, because if I rode at my city riding average at Wildflower, I would be legitimately afraid of not making the cutoff.

+ I still haven’t ridden more than 22 miles on my bike. That freaks me out. Should that freak me out? I’ll get to ride the Wildflower course in a couple of weeks, so maybe I’ll table any freaking out until then.

+ My follow-up appointment with my sports doc is tomorrow. I know he’s going to ask me what’s happened since I was last in, and I kind of want to just print out this blog and say, “Here.”

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10 thoughts on “Weekend Report: I Swam in the Bay, and I Hate Socks

  1. Linda says:

    Cold water swimmer, indeed–and without a wetsuit, I might add! Great pictures, both! In case you don’t know this yet, I think you’re awesome. Keep up the good work and have a great first tri at Ice Breaker this weekend.

  2. Ellen says:

    Oh boy do I hear you on the sunscreen. It often feels like I’m the only one applying in the first place, and I’m always worried I’ll just sweat it off. Pale people unite!

    • kimretta says:

      Let me know if you have a favorite! I was a Coppertone Oil-Free devotee, but I couldn’t find it this year and tried a Banana Boat sport formula that I’m less than impressed with. I just ordered a bunch of the Coppertone online but am also trying Sun Bum spray because, um, the bottle is cute and I like the name.

  3. Kelly says:

    it looks like fun to swim in the bay! Nice work. I have to say, worrying about all of the transitions and the gear is what stops me from being more into trying a tri. SO MUCH STUFF. And I would screw it up, undoubtedly

    • kimretta says:

      On the one hand it’s really fun — like, new toys! What’s not to love? And on the other hand, it’s a lot of required stuff, and I’m also at the point where I can no longer tell what’s required and what’s optional. Like, do I NEED a tri bag, or can I just strap my wetsuit to my regular backpack and call it a day?

  4. katie says:

    your training is pretty rock star. I need to get back in that wetsuit, oof!

  5. Kristina says:

    You’re doing a great job! The transitions are a pain. I don’t even want to admit what my transition times were at Wildflower last year. Let’s just say that I took the time to reapply sunscreen after the swim AND after the bike. I just didn’t care. And I didn’t have an annoying sunburn, so I took that as success!

  6. Diana says:

    I just bought a tri top that has a built in sports bra– is that an option for you or no?

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