Tri me: The big day

The morning of the race, I woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 5 a.m. (I always wake up SUPER AWAKE, ENERGETIC and READY TO GO. It’s so annoying). I had butterflies in my stomach; the kind I haven’t felt since my competitive diving days.

I had my Blood Orange Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as I do every single morning (nothing new on race day!) and waited for pestered my husband  C to wake up. The race started at 8 a.m.; official referee meeting at 7:20, swim warm-up was at 7:15 (which I had no intentions of doing, thankyouverymuch, it was way too cold for that and I didn’t want to stand around in a wet suit). I hadn’t picked up my race-day packet yet because I was lollygagging on the lake the day before. I don’t really know what I was thinking leaving my house at 6:20 for a 20 minute drive to the race area itself and fit all that in but it was ill-conceived; I got all rushed and flustered and yelled at  urged C to move faster:

“Let’s go!! Where’s my coffee mug?”

“Where’s my headband? Did I pack two?”

“How do you know the bike wheel won’t fall off after you take it apart to fit in the car?!”

“Should I pee again?”

“OMG, what if I have to poop?! What if I poop my pants?”

“Let’s go! Get my coffee mug! Did I pack two headbands?”

“Do you think the line to the Port-o-Potty will be long? What if I have the bubble guts?”

Oh, he wanted to kill me.

We finally arrive at 6:50. It was looking to be a perfect day; not too hot but not chilly, sunny; just a perfect day. After more panicking about getting my packet on time, I was body-marked and chipped. Newbie moment #1: I had to peek at other racers to see how they attached their bike numbers AND how they attached the ankle foam chip thing. Tee hee.

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Pretty much everyone had wetsuits and racing bikes. I was, however, unique in that I was chugging the rest of my coffee (caffeine really gives me a good jolt!) from an Uncommon Grounds mug while everyone was sipping water and sucking on gel packs.

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gear

Gear set for transition

The Swim (500 yards in the Champlain Canal system)

The canal water was not nearly as cold as I thought it was going to be. Huge relief!  The race was well-organized and small so there was absolutely no panicked entries into the water; no flailing about or kicking feet down my throat. We tread water for about a minute then started off. I felt good and prepared. Remember, this was my first open water swim- ever. At one point however I did think I was going to drown because my heart was racing so fast from so much excitement/ exertion / effort to escape the pee I had left behind at the start line (turns out I didn’t poop my pants, but did pee my wetsuit. Oops!) I didn’t even choke down too much PCB-laden water!

swim tri

tri1

My dad, C, and sister snuck down to the start to see me off

At least I don’t look awkward putting my shirt on…

tri swimThe Bike (12 miles)

I had an AWESOME transition location, I think because in my true cheap-ass well-thought out fashion I had signed up super early (and gotten a discount). Super quick transition.

Soon after I got  riding, I swear I actually heard people pitying my bike. Not in a mean way, just a WTF are you riding? Nice try on that thing but you couldn’t have borrowed someone’s road bike for the day?!

There was a steep hill to start, around mile 2, but my legs recovered. Newbie moment #2: I kept thinking there were cars coming up beside me to pass..,turns out they were just fancy road bikes. Going really fast. I think 20 or 30 people passed me. Oh well. I turned on my Garmin GPS that I had attached to the bike which ended up being really helpful in gauging my speed (4:00 pace for what it’s worth)

 The Run

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I was feelin’ good! Nice quick transition. No rushing. Heavy legs at the start. I was very thrown off by not being able to listen to my music. I could hear my feet slapping the ground and my panting! Soon though I rounded a corner and I saw my mom and her boyfriend there cheering me on.  I had no clue they were going to be there. I was so proud and happy and surprised that it energized me and got me through the next three miles of flat ground throughout Schuylerville.

 The finish!


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Swim 500 yards T1 Bike 12 miles T2 Run 3.1 miles

Total

09:05 1:47107th place 44:53165th 0:36 :24:5964th

1:21:19-

110th place

….and then I basically did this the rest of the day:

post triathlon

 

Getting ready to Tri

Here it was, the week before the sprint triathlon. I tapered my workouts to the following; a bike preview on Monday of the course, running 5 miles on Wednesday, skipped all strength training, and did a slow and slightly painful 4.75m on Friday.  I was feeling way more excited than nervous but I was VERY concerned about the water temp of the canal (Hudson River); it was gong to be around 70 degrees which can shock your system. I was pretty convinced someone was going to kick me and I’d panic and swallow a ton of PCB filled canal water. (Spoiler: I didn’t)

The bike preview that Monday was a great idea; it was a low-stress way to get oriented with the roads and calm my nerves. Unlike most people, I was most nervous about the biking portion of the race. I had a Diamondback hybrid meant for casual Sunday spins, not triathlons. Spoiler: using that bike was a mistake. Not a disastrous one per se, but definitely a mistake.

We arrived at the Hudson Crossing Park bike transition area and there were about 12 other bikers there preparing. I ran into a nice lady I happened to have taken a Spanish course in college with and we took off to familiarize ourselves with the course. It was… hilly. And laborious. To say the least. I become more worried about my bike. EVERYONE (except one 15-year-old girl who told me she literally hadn’t swam since last year’s triathlon and was using a mountain bike) had nice road bikes. My bike’s thick tires and heavy frame was ill-fiting for a triathlon and I knew this was something I knew going into it. I made a joke about it. No one laughed.

not a triathlon bike.

not a triathlon bike.

Bike course

Bike course

 

Then Saturday, the day before the race, we went up to Lake George on my dad’s boat for the first time this season. Lake George is one of my most favorite places in the world to be. The water was a brisk 63 so I made a point of lowering myself in dramatically and vocally lamenting to anyone who would listen over how cold I would be the following morning in the canal.

For our late lunch at the lake, I really took advantage of the idea of “carb loading”. French fries, chicken wings, pretzels with cheddar sauce, soft-serve ice cream; I said no to nothing! I got home and got all my gear ready:

took me about 3 days to compile everything I needed

took me about 3 weeks of intense Coach YouTube research to compile my gear

– towel for drying off my feet

– chamois for drying off my body

– Pearl Izumi triathlon suit (LOVED this – no chafing, good support, right level of padding)

– sports bra (when a tri-sut just won’t hold the ladies down)

– sweats and warm-up shirt

– socks filled with Gold Bond powder

– Gold Bond powder to fill my sneakers (this worked out great)

– tight headband (could never, ever workout without it!)

– Bag Balm for lube (so what if it’s for cow udders)

– Garmin GPS watch to use on my bike to track my pace

– regular watch to time the whole race and splits as Garmin can’t go underwater

– iPod for warm-up motivation tunes (I was reminded many times the day of NO MUSIC ALLOWED DURING THE RACE)

– ibuprofen

– goggles full of spit 🙂

-swim cap to wear under my race-official one for warmth and in case it ripped (I didn’t end up doing this)

 

I went to bed early (it was still sort of light out!) and dreamt of drowning in the Hudson River.

More to come!

Steps 1-4 of completing a successful triathlon- for newbies

Tri. Don’t die.

1. First of all, get the terminology right. You don’t “run” a triathlon. You “complete”  or “do”  a triathlon. Triathlon is a 3-sport event. In two parts, you’re not even running at all!

Other initial, important terminology:

  • BRIC: training 2 or 3 of the tri events, one after another. Bike then run, swim then bike, run then collapse, etc. (I’m pretty convinced BRIC actually stands for something but the interweb experts say it’s so named because your legs feel like bricks after the bike. Well, then, it should be spelled as such. Anyway.)
  • Tri-suit: the ravishingly unflattering unitard you wear that you can swim, bike and run in without changing or essentially adding anything to. The key is to get one with the right about of butt padding- no one wants to run with a “wet diaper”. An option is to purchase or rent a true wetsuit material if you’re competing in water under 74 degrees (bitchin’ cold!). Remember, rookies, if you are wearing a wetsuit, THE ZIPPER GOES IN BACK.

    pearl isumi

    Basically an expensive, adult, athletic onesie.

  • HRM: heart rate monitor. Essential for optimal training; I won’t work out without mine. Thanks, dear husband; it was the best present you ever gave me besides your undying love and affection!
  • Sighting: during the swim, keeping your head intermittently above water so you can see where you’re going as well as watch out for the other psychos competitors clawing you down.
  • Mashing: riding at a low cadence and high gear so you’re exerting lots of energy but not going anywhere. Ill-advised. Burns through needed oxygen. Keep those pedals spinning at 85-95RPM. I’m not telling you what RPM is. Figure it out.
  • Fartlek: what I call my students when they’re being uncooperative. Kidding. Fartlek’s are an awesome interval training method. I love a good Fartlek.
fartlek intervals

Fartlek Interval training ideas

2.  Find a pool you can swim in, a bike you can ride on, and a road you can run on without getting hit. I am using a Diamondback hybrid bike I got on Craigslist. CLEARLY I am a beginner. I just dropped her off at the shop for a tune up and i think it will work for a sprint-tri.

3.  Hop on the internets and connect with others on tri-based sites, forums, Facebook pages, support groups, blogs of other runners like you! I also am a big fan of Youtube. Coach Youtube is going to get me through a lot of these T2 transitions.

4.  Make a detailed training plan and stick to it. As I mentioned before, I like beginnertriathlete. If you fall off the wagon, you just hop right back on. Having your log on a mobile device app will make it even easier for you to update, get alerts and reminders, etc.

 

 More later on!

Tri me

One goal in life I have in life, besides swearing less and listening more (which have been complete fails up to now), is to complete a triathlon. As you read here, I am pretty hooked on running and can honestly say it has changed many aspects of my life for the better. I also discovered I don’t hate swimming and I don’t completely suck at it, and how hard can biking be, when you think about it?

Famous last words.

So I am signing up for a local sprint triathlon! The worldwide interwebs has resources and how-to guides for everything under the sun, so I promptly found this site beginningtriathlete.com to make myself accountable for training.

I would LOVE to hear about your triathlon experience, tips, etc. I’m pretty clueless.

 

Screen-shot of my January training log:

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This looks like fun

 

More to come in the next few weeks/ month in triathlon training.