I have recently completed my first triathlon opener of the year, the Milton Sprint Tri. While, I have a participated in some triathlons before, in many ways, this felt like, and I am treating it as the first triathlon I actually properly trained for. Yes, I have trained for running, cycling, and swimming individually, and poorly. And thought this would be sufficient to do a triathlon, but never with structure and could never put together a good triathlon race. Until this one!
After my DNF at IRONMAN Florida’s 5K swim in 2021, I knew I had to get a triathlon coach. After researching a handful of all highly regarded and qualified coaches, my instinct kept drawing me to coach Miranda Tomenson of Tomenson Performance & Wellness (TPW). We started working together on my goals for the upcoming race season in February 2022. The main focus was on my swimming confidence, skill, technique, and open water skills, and bike handling skills, getting into aero position, and learning to do brick workouts.
Coach’s goals for this season opener was:
Swim – I don’t care about speed, I care about sighting and swimming as straight a line as possible. SIGHT OFTEN! Only goal for the swim is to have your watch read as close to race distance as possible.
Bike – Stay strong, don’t focus on power today, try not to be on your brakes much except down the BIG HILL
Run – Just race this, run strong, run fast.
When I initially read the goals of the race, I was admitted kind of confused and underwhelmed as she didn’t say to hit any kind of swim pace, bike power, or run pace. However, it quickly hit me, and I after the last few months of working with coach, I totally understood what she was doing and the intension of this day. And am so glad she made it so. It took a lot of anxiety and pressure I usually feel for race day. Instead I got to focus on overcoming some very basic, yet incredibly important skills for triathlons. It’s very interesting in that, even though there was no pace or time targets, I managed to PB every leg of the race! Funny how things work out eh?
I did a 10min bike ride on the course to make sure everything was working ex. Shifting. I did a 10 min warmup easy run. And a 5 min pre-swim. Took an Endurance Tap about 20 mins before the start at 9:48AM.
The RACE [Official time 01:53:22] Huge PB from previous Milton
The SWIM (750m) [Official time 17:06, 2:16/100m]
My goal for the swim was to focus on sighting, going in a straight line, not zig zag, not getting a panic attack, and not resorting to backstroke. I feel like I definitely accomplished this! When I did Milton the first time in 2019, the water was cold, today it was 65F (18C), and while still cool, it felt perfect. I guess previously, I was going so slow, that I couldn’t generate any body heat.
I used TheMagic5 Blue Mirror goggles and there was no fogging and had a huge field of view which made sighting really simple. I kept my cool the entire swim even when getting kicked in the face and legs getting grabbed on passing. Master Swim club seemed to help with this sensation. All good. I felt like I could definitely swam even longer and put more effort in for speed, but was really happy how it was going and didn’t want to risk potential panic attacks. The little victory today helped boost my confidence for the next race for sure!
In the past, I would have been passed and be one of the very last athletes out of the water. However, even though I still get passed, I felt like I held my own on the swim.
Once out of the water, I couldn’t believe it was already done. But a made a little mistake in taking my time and slowly walking to my bike. I could have saved another minute here. I was quickly able to get out of my wetsuit without needing to hold onto anything or sitting on the floor (Miranda made me do transition drills prior which helped a ton!). Helmet, cycling socks, gloves, time to roll!
If there was only ONE taint of the entire race for me, it would be that somehow, someone accidentally knocked by bike over when they were getting there’s because one of my aero bars was angled incorrectly and my chain was off the ring. And this was after I test rode it before. So strange. Anyways, this didn’t frustrate me at all, and kept stoic. I quickly repositioned the aero bars (didn’t end up using them anyways), and got my chain back on. Then it was smooth sailing.
The BIKE (30KM) [Official time 59:27, 30.28 kph]
The goal of the bike was to not crash, not walk up any hills, and not wear knee pads and elbow pads. I accomplished all of these! Believe it or not, I got my Trek Speed Concept bike at the end of 2019, and never got to ever race on it until today!! FINALLY.
I felt strong the entire ride and didn’t really look at power or data. As someone who’s only been cycling for 2.5 years EVER which includes 1 year of mainly Zwifting inside and 3 months off from a broken collar bone in a bike crash, today was a HUGE improvement. There was a good stretch of road with gravel and saw some people flat out, which was really sad to see, I hope they fix this in the future. In previous races, I’d always get passed by, but today I got to do a lot of passing especially on the big 6th line climb and on the main course too. It was so fun. Descending still scares me, so when I hit 72kph on the steep descent back down, I just had to remember to breath, look ahead, and balance. It was absolutely exhilarating but did have to tap the breaks a tad, and my eyes watered up by the end, I guess tears of joy I didn’t die haha.
My XLab Torpedo was the only nutrition I consumed during the race. It was 80g sugar with 525mg sodium.
I quickly got all my cycling stuff on, kept socks on, but on running bib, and gear. Let’s go!
The Run (7KM) [Official time 31:29, 4.29min/km]
My goal for the run was to “run strong, and run fast”. All I did was start my watch, and I never really looked at my pace or power, maybe once half way. I ran fast, and went by feel and what I could maintain relatively comfortably for a sprint (slightly longer than 5K usual sprint distance). Pretty hilly and various road, trail, gravel terrain. I only slowed a little at every aid station to take 2 cups of water, one to sip and one to pour over my head and back. In the last 1K I pushed the pace and in the last 500m I passed a group of athletes for a sprint finish. The brick workouts seemed to have really helped out as my legs didn’t even really feel too tired after the bike. I ran almost as fast as a stand alone 5K I did a few months ago too.
I am glad and proud to have found coach Miranda, and am thankful she took me on as one of her athletes. I know I am a lot of work to deal with, but I am very moldable and will do exactly what she says. Also, it was really great to meet the other inspiring TPW team members, new friends, and legends like Lisa Bentley!
Today I was able to piece together swim, bike, run, nutrition, and hit goals.
It felt fantastic to FINALLY put together a solid proper triathlon race!
- Now that I know I can sight better, and be calm, I want to figure out how to keep that, but add speed and effort in open water swimming, hopefully at least 2:00/100m in OWS
- Even though I felt really strong on the bike, I still need to improve my bike handling skills and yes, figure out how to be confident and balanced in aero position. There is a lot of time to be gained here, but still don’t want to risk anything dangerous
Photos by FinisherPix and Amy Lam.