An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

A few hints and suggestions. A comical look at triathlons and life in general.

My wife Lisa has hijacked my blog for the month of September, adding her own insights into the world of triathlon.

I am one of the "newbys" to the triathlon world. I've done 5 sprints now - over the span of 4 seasons/summers. I've learned a few things along the way - a few things that lend themselves to apply to my life. Its funny how life mimics triathlons!
  1. Try new things!
    1. Ok...this is actually a bit opposite in life than in triathlon-ing. Never try anything new on race day. New shoes may blister. Different drinks/nutrition may upset your stomache. New clothes may rub you raw...
  2. Plan ahead.
    1. Especially your outfit! You'd hate to be late for a date or an interview because something didn't fit or look right! Guys and gals both. I was pulling together my outfit the night before my tri this past June - probably not the best situation. Triathlons take special consideration because, more than likely, you will be doing the whole race in the same thing. Have you ever tried to pull something onto a wet body?? Not fun.
    2. Spend a little time searching the internet for any questions you have. If all else fails, send the Race Director an email. They are usually super busy before an event, but due to smart phones they may respond quickly! (Please - as an RD - do a quick google search before sending/calling!)
  3. Step a little out of your comfort zone...
    1. ...into spandex. Spandex is acceptable - even if you wear XXXL! (Join the club...ok, not XXXL...but close.  And I'm not talking about Super Bowls either!) I complain about it - but Dave is comfortable in it - almost a bit too comfortable sometimes... Dave said to me the other day, "Do you know why people wear spandex in triathlons? Because it works!"
  4. Dress for success! Find something that fits, but is not too tight. 
    1. My tri in June I wore a tank top (with built-in) and a sports bra. I hadn't swam in it before (see #1) and it was practically making me flash anyone who saw me. I wasn't wearing a wetsuit because I was in the "retro" division. I had to make sure I was all in before getting out of the water...
    2. This past tri - first of September - I decided to wear my tri shorts. I knew they were a bit snug, but I figured I'd be OK. Lately I've been having stomache issues when I workout. I was "diagnosed" with irritable bowel syndrome earlier this year...which is something else...BUT seems to have crept into my exercise. When I got off the bike and started to run - I felt absolutely MISERABLE.  I felt like I was going to puke. I think I had a bit too much water on the bike and was sloshing around every time I tried to jog! After Dave suggested rolling the waist down...I finally started feeling better - about a half mile into the 5K.
  5. Be prepared! (Boy Scout motto anyone?!!?)
    1. If you are at all worried about time - do the course before hand, even if it's in a car. The most recent tri I had done the bike course twice with Dave beforehand. He had done the course multiple times and really helped. This course was quite hilly and he had a few suggestions. He knew there was a bit of a downhill but then an immediate uphill, so he suggested getting as much speed on the downhill, to have momentum on the uphill. (Granted when I actually did the tri and swam before hand...the bike was a LOT tougher!!) And if you can't do that - look at the course map and be somewhat familiar with it!
    2. Know basic bike repairs. Such as, how to change a flat tire and (And make sure you have spare tire with you) how to put your chain back on the ring.
      1. Also - super helpful - marry a bike nerd :-D
  6. Practice makes permanent! I had a softball shirt in HS that said true!
    1. Practice Open Water Swims! (or OWS - it was confusing on BT when Occupy Wall Street was a fad, because you weren't sure which one they were talking about!) I myself have a phobia of dark water. However, I am fine when there are quite a few people around/in the water. There was a Clif Bar commercial recently that really wasn't too far off the mark for a large and competitive race. (Sorry about the video quality - it's all I could find!)
  7. Compete with only yourself!
    1. I am not good at this at all! I can't help but compare myself to others - ESPECIALLY on the bike! But if you can learn to do this, you will enjoy your race more and -heck- maybe even do better!
  8. Be realistic
    1. If you start training a month before your first tri...I wouldn't expect to win! I encourage first timers to set a goal of finishing! You can look to improve times, techniques from there.
    2. Over training can be bad. Either in quantity or effort. You can easily hurt yourself. You can even mentally drain yourself so that you don't want to continue.
  9. Appreciate the rewards
    1. Do you feel better when you exercise consistently?
    2. Do you get to enjoy an extra food treat and still lose weight? That's why I work out...I want to be able to lose weight and eat what I want! (Of course, moderation is key.)
    3. Has your training and racing encouraged others to start exercising or make a healthy change in their life?
  10. Enjoy the ride!!
    1. Or the swim...and the run!

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