vegan swimming triathlon

Getting out of the water

This Sunday I completed my first Olympic Distance Triathlon in Bracebridge, ON.  The distances are 1.5KM swim, 40KM bike, 10KM run.  Nothing too crazy but not a walk in the park either.  My overall time was 3:20, broken down as 37:31 swim, 1:37:18 bike, and 1:07:54 run.

training vegan for triathlons

Not great for overall time, but good for comfort

If I had to sum up the race in two words it would be uncomfortable and painful.  It started on the swim when I could not get my goggles to sit right.  After numerous failed attempts of adjusting I ended up swimming almost the entire 1.5k with one eye shut – which is much harder than I would of thought.  On top of that half way through the swim I could feel my leg muscles cramping up – something I really struggled with last summer.  My strategy to combat cramping is to slow it down and hope it goes away.

After what seemed like forever in the water, I ended up getting on my bike and was feeling pretty strong for the first 15k.  Then discomfort bout two hit, which is back pain on the bike.  The bike I use is about 40 years old and a hand me down and is definitely on the small side.  I’ve made attempts to adjust the seat and handlebar height in the past with not much luck.  So my back is always sore on my longer rides but I thought 40k I could just tough it out.  This ride was pretty rough though, after the 20k mark I was standing up on the downhill section trying to stretch out my back.  I just wanted to be done and off the bike.  The other option is to get a new bike, but they start at around $1500 and some of the higher end models that people are using in these triathlons can run you as high as $20 000.  To top it off on the bike I got a really bad cramp on a climb around 30k – so bad that I needed to get off the bike and “walk-it-off.”  Again, my strategy was to slow down and hope it goes away.  I ended up having to stop and stretch 2 more times before that 40k ride was done.

If this was just a trainin
g session there is no way I would of even attempted a 10k run after this much cramping.  But I decided to stick to my completely unscientific strategy of go slow and hope it goes away.  On the run course they had plenty of water and electrolyte fluids – so after downing a few cups of electrolytes I was feeling better – but certainly not good.  My “run” ended up being a run walk, with me walking close to 30% of the time I would guess.  So I wasn’t terribly disappointed in my time of 1:07 with that amount of walking.

Finishing my triathlon

Finally finishing in 3:28

Overall, I’m disappointed in the fact I couldn’t really judge where I am with that amount of cramping, but happy I grinded it out and finished the race.  The race wasn’t anything special as far as cool swag, or post race meals, and no medals or anything for finishing.  I’m glad I didn’t, but I probably won’t do that particular triathlon one again.  Though there are lots of things I used to say I would never do!

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Founder at The Vegan Cow
I am a vegan, type I diabetic and on a mission to train for and complete the 2015 Ironman Wisconsin on a 100% vegan diet. I hope to show others that animal protein is not required to live a healthy active lifestyle.