Race Report : The Mandel JCC Indoor Triathlon 2013

Wow I can hardly believe I am sitting here two days after the 6th Annual Mandel JCC Indoor Triathlon! I was there when they first started it and we barely had any waves. We all rode the bikes in the upper fitness room and we were super scarce on volunteers. Every year since I’ve come back and brought friends and loved every minute. It’s been such a pleasure to watch the center grow and develop over time and I can’t help but feel in a small way I’m a part of it all. Now, truth be told I did miss last year’s event. I was on strict orders from the heart doctors to not do anything that could kill me…like existing it felt like at the time. Since it wasn’t really MY fault, I don’t hold it against myself. So, how did it go in 2013?

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First a lil background. This indoor tri has “waves” meaning various groups of people compete at different times. When the 10 in the pool for the first wave move to the bike, then the next 10 can move into the pool. Make sense? Think of the way people sing “Row-row-row your boat” in a round. Anyway. How is this possible? It’s possible because this indoor triathlon is set up in a way perfect for newbies. Instead of completing a specific distance, you compete for a set amount of time. Everyone swims laps for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 whatever distance you cover is your total. Then onto spinning for 20 minutes (all bikes are set at the same resistance…NO TOUCHING) and finally running the track for 20. Everyone starts and stops together, there is so much less pressure to “catch up” or “compete”. In fact when you sign up you tell them if you’re a serious athlete or just for fun.

My wave was at 3:05 this year. I arrived around 2:00 and as I was checking in and being marked, Pati arrived. We were sitting in the locker room catching up when my friend Keelan also arrived. Pati and I asked to be together in the wave, Keelan was a total bonus and coincidence. She was there with us in 2011. We all chatted and bonded before getting ready to head to the pool.

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The swimming portion was probably the most “eventful” of the sections. I was nervous because I haven’t swam much since I’m allergic to my gym’s chemicals. I took off and fell into a rhythm right away. I was proud of myself for doing flip turns and everything else the way they should be done. Of course there was another moment where it occurred to me I was “better” after the heart issue. I could never really swim before, I would cough or get dizzy or winded. On Sunday I was gliding through the water with ease. I was pushing it, but I didn’t feel sick or in danger at any point. It was wonderful. A few minutes into it though, my goggles came undone! I threw them onto the edge and gracefully (in my mind) flipped over and began doing the backstroke instead. My counter was sweet enough to piece them back together and tosses them down to me. As I was back kicking I was putting on goggles, it must have been quite the sight. After 15 minutes it was announced I had completed 23 laps. Approximately .32 miles. This is my personal best from a year previous, but I was still pleased even if I couldn’t sneak in one more.

Next we all dried off and hurried over to the cycling studio.

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Once we were in place the music kicked up and away we went! I pushed myself so hard I mean SO SO hard. I kept my pace as close to 16MPH as I could, which is reallly fast for me. Ha. I even hit 17-18 a few times. They played amazing music and the “cheerleaders” aka other adult volunteers, were dancing and doing splits and being simply amazing. The time flew by in no time and I looked to see what I accomplished. In the past my best was I believe 4.4 miles, in 2011 I only made it to 3.4! yikes. Want to know how 2013 turned out? OK I’LL TELL YOU! 5 point freaking 4 miles! Now mind you there are those who can do much better, but I was so pleased with myself. You’d think I’d just won the Olympics. Thank you spin class, thank you self confidence, thank you ability to keep my heart beating steadily. Ha.

Finally we climbed the stairs to the track. I was sad when I realized we were at the end, but I also had a glowing sense of pride and fun. A wonderful young lady named McKenzie was my counter and unofficial photographer. There is very little time between biking and running so before we were even oriented we were off!

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I kept up with Pati for about the first 1-2 laps. Then my legs started to shake and cramp and I backed off. I knew 24 laps would be a PR and a 10:00/mile, but I also knew I wasn’t there yet. I was hoping for a 12:00/mi pace especially after I busted out phenomenal swimming and biking portions. The music downstairs was stuck so we listened to about 10 minutes of Gotye and then another 10 of Maroon 5 (both the same song on repeat). Very strange. Also, not gonna lie, I was pushing it so hard I threw up a lil in my mouth 2x. I’ve never pushed that hard before in a race. Haha. When I heard I made 20 laps I was pleased (I knew 23 was my best and 22 was what I did in 2011). I still had time though, so I casually made it around for lap 21, then we had 45 seconds or something and I sprinted like my life depended on it and with barely seconds to spare I grabbed the last lap. I made 22. Like I said 24 or 23 would have been ideal, but 22 is nothing to be ashamed about either. Mind you this means I was 2/12 of a mile…1/6 of a mile away from my goal. Barely anything at all. I think the total is like 1.8 miles? Yes, that would be the math.

Results are still pending, so I’m not sure if it was enough to get me an AG award. Regardless it was an awesome day and I am so thankful to have the health, money, time, and everything else to race and most of all to share my experience in person and virtually with my friends. Enjoy 2013 everyone!

If you want to see more pictures of the event, pop on over to my Facebook Fan page, there’s about 30 total.

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