It’s Race Week! Jack’s Generic Triathlon

Posted: July 24, 2011 in Training
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Like most runners and endurance athletes I keep a training log.

It is a way for me to record my workouts, keep track of my mileage, my improvements and of course my races.

I record the temperature during my workout, what the humidity was like, what my pre-run or pre-race nutrition was like and record the mileage on the pair of shoes I was in – always making sure not to run more than 300 miles in any pair to help avoid injury.

I will revisit workouts several months later, especially when I am training for an “A” race or marathon to gauge where I am at that given moment to a similar time in the past when I was preparing for an event.

Sometimes there are several sentences or even paragraphs to read.  Other times only my mile splits are recorded and whether or not I felt as if my training was going well or if I was too heavy on mileage at that particular time or perhaps needed more hill or speed work.  I have found reading back through my log very enlightening and sometimes pretty humorous.

With our first Triathlon now less than a week away, I decided to look back to my entry from April 11, 2011.  The first time I attempted to swim.

The workout lasted just .12 miles.  My comments were direct and to the point:

“I sucked at this.”

There really was nothing else to add.  I could not swim a single length of the pool.  Had no idea how to breathe, what a catch and pull was, let alone how to do it properly and I seriously doubted I would ever be able to swim the 500 Meters that would be required of me to complete the swim portion of Jack’s Generic Triathlon.

Three Months and two weeks later and I have logged 40.74 miles over 53 swim workouts.

I have swam 37 hours, 14 minutes and 4 seconds – with my longest continuous swim without stopping being 1.4 miles out at Quarry Lake.

Over the same period of time I have ridden 276.87 miles on my Triathlon Bike climbing over 6,096 feet.

I completed 80 runs and races totaling 562.03 miles, climbing up and over 14,916 feet of hills, running for 70 hours, 19 minutes and 49 seconds.

We’re ready.

As ready as I can be at this point with just 6 more days before sliding into the water at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, TX with the rest of the Male 40-44 year old competitors to take on the 500 Meter Swim, 13.8 Mile Bike, 3.1 mile run course.

On Saturday I completed my final Bike/Run Brick Workout where I would speed away from the house for a 15 mile ride, pull back into the garage, take off my helmet and glasses, switch into my running shoes and run out immediately for a 5-mile run.

15 Mile Ride:  42:20 at 21.3 MPH

5 mile Run:  32:59 at 6:35 min/mile pace

When I look back on my run at the Pure Austin Splash & Dash from Tuesday evening, I think the stomach bug that I was fighting through took more out of me than I had realized.  I was able to run 5 miles :20 seconds/mile faster on Saturday coming off a tough bike ride through the wind and up and over 496 feet of hills on Parmer Lane.

I feel like my bike and run are right where I want them to be for Jack’s on my birthday.  My first race as a 44-year-old.

The swim remains the great unknown at this point.  I will continue to work in the pool this week, swimming Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to further refine my form and especially completing my stroke a full 100% through the water.  This added power will help me glide a longer distance after every stroke, and hopefully push me toward a faster swim time to start the race.

A lot of things can go wrong at a triathlon.  A poor transition, a flat tire, a bump, a fall, equipment problems, nutrition issues – the list is truly too long to cite.  But the one thing that I will take a moment to remember before the horn is that this is supposed to be fun.

That is why I am doing this.  I’m not fighting it out for a spot on the podium in my first triathlon.   That type of expectation is not only ridiculous, it is pointless and harmful.

When I ran my first 5K back in 2006 in Malvern, PA I ran a time of 22:07.  Not a bad maiden voyage actually come to think of it.  The funny thing about that race is that I had no idea when I finished whether my time was good or bad.  I just wanted to experience a running race for the first time before I toed the line at the Philadelphia Marathon a few months later in November.

I wanted to know how it all worked, where to pin on my bib, how to put on a timing chip, what it felt like to race in a crowd.  What crossing a finish line would feel like.

I remember every part of that race six years later.  The young boy who I chatted with before the start.  Racing down the hill to start the race, the long climb up to the finish and having cold beers with Dawn, Ralph and Michele post-race.

That 22:07 in and of itself turned out to be pretty meaningless.  I doubt very few athletes looked at that race and saw the 39-year-old runner who posted that time standing in the starting Coral at the Boston Marathon less than 3 years later.  A runner who would turn into a six-time marathoner with a PR of 3:15:01 and owner of a 1:23:55 half-marathon.

That single 5K race took me across finish lines from Austin to Boston and will this November drop me at the starting line of the NYC Marathon.

Pretty incredible.

No matter what happens on Sunday it is just a step.  The first step.  There will be more.

Where will it end?  Impossible to know.  Will I get bitten by the bug and transition full-time to the triathlon after this spring’s Boston Marathon?


Will I continue to focus on short distance triathlons, or will I find myself at the start of a half-ironman (1.2 Mile Swim, 56 Mile Bike, 13.1 mile Run) or even an Ironman (2.4 Mile Swim, 112 Mile Bike, 26.2 Mile Run)?

Who knows really.

The only thing I do know is that come Sunday with Dawn and Landry looking on, they might just be there to see the start of something special.  It’s all about going out there and doing my very best.  When I have been able to do that in the past and block out everything else, I’ve been able to surprise myself time and time again.

So here’s to surprises on your birthday.  What could be better than that?

  1. Jodi says:

    You are going to be awesome on Sunday! What a great birthday present to yourself. We know you are out there to have fun but also to celebrate Dom’s life and support your mom’s battle with cancer.l You are one tough cookie Joe and no one is going to stop you out there! Is there a way to track you on Sunday?

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Hi Jodi!

      Thanks so much for the visit and all the encouragement. I’ll have a lot of people in my corner on Sunday that is for sure.

      I’ll be sure to share my BIB number when I pick it up on Friday.

      Keep on hitting that marathon training hard. You are doing better than great! Stay cool out there.

  2. Cortney says:

    Good luck! I’ll be volunteering at the swim cheering you on!

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