Triathlon Training Blog

What’s the point of Triathlons?

Blog Comment

A blog reader left the following comment on one of my old blog posts:

What’s the point of triathlons. I actually typed that into google and this page was one of the results. I don’t understand it. I get the whole sense of trying to accomplish something like climbing a mountain or swimming across the ocean but running around like a nut case doing a bunch of different sports.

what s the point of triathlons   Google SearchHaha, I checked, and sure enough, my blog does come up as #7 when googling “What’s the point of triathlons”.   (Actually, after posting this, I am now #3, woot).  See image at right. Read on to find out my answer to that question…

Benefits of Triathlon

So, what exactly is the point of doing triathlons?    Yes, I may be running around like a nut case, I will admit to that.  But I absolutely do get a sense of accomplishment training to get fit, and racing to cross the finish line.  Here are some other things that are awesome about doing triathlons:

  • You’ll meet lots of friendly people
  • The cross training hits alot of different muscle groups as compared to just one sport. This can reduce risk of injury as compared to just doing one sport.
  • It’s not so bad getting older because you “age up” into a new racing category.
  • having a race goal can motivate  you to workout
  • endorphines from workouts and spending lots of time outdoors is a mood booster.
  • regular exercise reduces risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • confidence trickles into other parts of your life.
  • Triathlon has races of many distances, making the sport very accessible.

What motivates you to do triathlons?  Leave a comment and share!





Tagged with:
Posted in General

Girly Issues Related to Periods and Menopause

This blog post is for females only, and it relates to approaching menopause.  So, if you are a male, I’m going to have to ask you to please just go ahead and press your back button now.     It’s really nasty and gross, so I urge you to not read this if you are a man, or if you are squeamish in any way.

You have been warned.    I don’t want any guys posting comments on this blog, or I’ll know you read this and I’ll be embarrassed.   And so should you!

Okay, here’s the story…

I’m getting to the age of menopause.  My periods are really irregular.    Sometimes I skip a month. Sometimes I have a really light period that I hardly notice at all.   And sometimes I have a really heavy period that is horrible.    Not painful, just really freaky because of how heavy they are.  I’m going to describe this in a little more detail, but first you have to scroll down past Bill Lumburgh again to read more.  So here is yet another chance to hit your back button!

Okay, you’re still with me.  You asked for it.

Sometimes I will be brushing my teeth in the bathroom, and blood will start dripping down my leg and puddling on the floor.  Ewww, gross.  Luckily, that’s easy to clean up in the privacy of my own bathroom.

Once I woke up in bed, and my sheets and bed were so bloody, you’d think I was a murder victim.   Seriously, it was that bad.   That was fun to clean up.  And I am afraid to buy new sheets since they will likely get ruined anyhow.

Another time, I went to the gym to go swimming.  As I was changing into my suit, blood started dripping down my legs and pooling on the floor right there in the gym.   Luckily, I had two  towels that day.  I grabbed one and stuffed it between my legs, and threw another  on the floor to soak up the mess.     It was tricky getting dressed again, and cleaning things up.   I did it as fast as I could and left.  I have no idea if anyone noticed my predicament, as I was way too embarrassed to look around at other people. :(

The night before my most recent  race, the three little pigs tri, I was just starting my period.   I had no idea if it was going to be one of these Niagara falls style events.      And being a pool swim, I didn’t want any leakage to happen during the swim.   I looked into buying a diva  cup, but couldn’t find one in any local drug stores.    I almost bailed on the whole race.    But, since these heavy periods only come once in a while,  I decided to go to the race, but I was prepared to bail on race morning if need be.

What I did was this:  all morning while waiting for my swim start time, I wore a pad and went into the porta john several times.   That let me guage my status.     Then, right before  I had to get in line for my swim, I went in, put in a tampon, and pulled it out again to do a further test.   Things looked okay, so I then stuffed two extra large tampons in, got rid of the pad, and hoped that would be good enough.   It was pretty stressful.   And, thank goodness nothing happened.

Does anyone know how long this phase of menopause lasts?  I am thinking about HRT or something.  But if it only lasts a few months, then maybe I’ll just stick it out.    I don’t really have any other bothersome symptoms.  Maybe I am crabby sometimes, but exercise seems to  keep that at bay.  I think.

If you liked this article, you may also like this one about girly bike issues 

Tagged with: ,
Posted in General

Three Little Pigs Sprint Triathlon Race Report 2014

I raced the Three Little Pigs Sprint triathlon on June 14, 2014.   This was my first race after my broken collarbone saga.  I hadn’t been following  a specific training plan, and my running was sub par.    So, I did not have great expectations for this day. My training consisted of a fitness boot camp twice a week – which included lost of plyometrics, calisthenics and running sprints.   I had also been running 2 or 3 days a week, swimming 1 day a week, and a long bike ride once  a week. My running was sporadic because my boot camp workouts irritated my plantar facisitis, and I’d had a few minor injuries while mountain biking that kept me from running as much as I like.  I have decided to pack away my mountain bike for the rest of the tri season, and keep that as my winter sport.   I had also decided to put boot camp aside for the rest of the season as well, thinking that it was interfering with my training too much. However, I had such a great race at 3 Pigs, that I gotta wonder if boot camp is really great training for sprint tris!    I went into this race thinking I had a slight chance of placing in my age group, but I really surprised myself and nailed it!

Official Results:

  • Swim 250y: 4:56, 1st AG.
  • T1: 1:22 , 3rd AG
  • Bike 14m: 0:39:43, 21.1 mph, 1st AG.
  • T2: 1:31, 7th AG
  • Run 5k: 30:52, 3rd AG.
  • Overall: 1:18:26, 1st AG :-)

Comments: It’s interesting to look at the AG placing for each leg.  I already knew I had to work on running.   I am surprised my swimming was so good (tho, I don’t think the time is that great).    I can see that I need to work on transitions and practice them!

Pre-Race:

Night before: I put my aero covers on my rear wheel and went out for a short test ride.    I did some transition practice, playing with how to deal with my garmin.  I hate wearing it in the pool.  In the end, I decided to skip it, and just wear a plain stopwatch.   Then, I packed up my gear into my car. That morning: I woke up at 5am (yuk).   Made coffee and mixed it with some muscle milk in a to go cup.  I brought along a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hopped in my car for the 1 hour trip.  Drank coffee and ate sandwich while driving. I arrived at 6:20am and got my race packet, set up my spot in Transition, chatted with some friends.   My pool start time was 8:07am.  I had quite a bit of time to kill. Here is a picture of me near my bike spot in transition:

3pigs gettin ready

Having alot of time to kill, I wandered around.  I went over to the stage area and took a snapshot of the prizes for the age group awards.   These little piggies are the most coveted race prize around.   I really really really wanted one.    I had analyzed my expected race pace against last year’s winners and thought I had a small chance of getting a podium spot.  These piggies urged me to bust my ass to get one.

i really want a piggy

I did lots of yoga/stretching. I found a nice grassy spot and did some barefoot running sprints.   I went to the bathroom a million times.    More chatting with peeps.  Then I made my way to the line up for the pool swim.

The Swim

The swim was a 250 yard pool event, where swimmers snake up and down  lanes of the pool.     I generally don’t like pool swims because it’s hard to pass slower swimmers.   This race was unique in that they snaked up one  lane, and down the next, going  just one direction per lane.  So there was room to pass!

I got to the start and the race director Brent said hi to me.   He’s super nice and remembers my name at races :)   I hit my stop watch a few seconds before Brent buzzed me to go off.    I always do that in races so I don’t waste a second hitting my watch.  

The buzzer went off and I started swimming hard.    I didn’t do flip turns and didn’t make any turns very fast, actually.   I could use some improvement and practice there.     I passed a two people in the middle – one guy doing backstroke.    The guy behind me was on my feet for a while, but he never touched me or got close enough to pass me.  Later on, I pulled away from him.      I swam the last length hard to the ladder so as not to let him pass me there, because I didn’t want to wait in line to climb the ladder.

I climbed out and headed for T1.   I looked at my watch and it said 5 minutes and change.

The Bike

Running past the mount line, I attempted a flying mount that I had practiced the day before.     The road was a slightly upwards grade, and I didn’t have enough momentum, so I botched it :(.     Guess I need more practice.    This is one of those skills that you need to keep practicing to get and stay good at.

I spun easy for a minute while I adjusted helmet and shoes so they felt nice and tight.    Then I put the hammer down.    I only had a stopwatch – no cyclometer, Garmin or HR Monitor – so I raced by feel alone.     I tucked into tight aero position.  I spun fast and hard.  My breathing was hard but still controlled.  I felt powerful.   I had no idea what my speed was, but I felt like I was flying.

I passed alot of riders.   Not one passed me.   At about mile 2 I noticed riders coming back in the other direction, and there was a bottleneck of riders, cars waiting to get past the riders, and riders waiting behind those cars.   I hoped that bottleneck was clear by the time I returned.

The course was  flat and fast and I was still staying focused on being tightly aero, and was feeling powerful.  I thought of Fabian Cancellara, aka,”Spartacus”.   I started thinking

“I am Spartacus”.     “Spartacus wants a piggy”.

This became my mantra for the rest of the ride.

On the way back toward the finish, sure enough, there was that same bottleneck of riders and cars waiting to pass the riders.    There were four cars.    I had to slow way down.    I debated what to do.  I’m not allowed to draft behind a car.   It would be really dumb to try and pass to the left.  I’d be blowing the yellow line, and risking one of the cars pulling out for a pass.

I decided there there was enough of a shoulder to pass to the right.     I was able to get past one of the cars, passing to the right.     The next car was too far over to the right, and I could see the driver was looking at his cell phone, not paying attention to the road.    So, I didn’t want to try and squeeze past him.  I waved frantically for a minute until he noticed I was wanting to pass.  He moved over the left and let me squeeze by.   I buzzed past the next two cars easily with plenty of room.  One of the drivers yelled at me…I think he was mad that he’d now have an additional cyclist to get by.  Oh well.    I made sure the driver of front car saw me, motioned that I was going to get in front of their car, and  then passed the slower riders on their left, and then got back up to speed.   It was a tricky maneuver, also a dumb one,   but this was a race, and I was back in the game.

I pushed it hard all the way back to the finish.   Did a flying dismount (which are way easier than mounts), and headed to T2.  I looked at my watch and it said something like 46 minutes.

The Run

I was on target to get a solid race time, all I had to do was pull off 10 minute miles.   That’s actually a really hard pace for me right now, but I wanted a piggy!

I started out on the run at a nice trot a few hundred feet to the first water station. I poured water over my head, and then picked up the pace.   I ran as hard as I could.   Without any HR data to guide me, I had to run by feel alone.  So, I tried to make sure I was running too hard to speak.     Hard breathing, but still controlled.

I remembered the article I read recently about how to run faster by not being lazy.

The ground is tempting, your feet want to hang out there, don’t let them.    Don’t be lazy.  I want a piggy.   Lazy piggy. LAZY PIGGY!

I ran hard the entire course, chanting lazy piggy in my brain.   The second half was harder. I think the course – while basically flat – trended slightly downward on the way out, and upward on the way back.    So it felt harder.     To stay motivated and keep my feet moving fast, I imagined I was at boot camp, with a fast runner named Jenn leading the pack, and the boot camp instructor named Willie yelling at me from behind to close the gap.    This got me to the finish line and I finished strong with a time of 1:18!

The Awards

After the race, I re-hydrated, refueled, and chatted with tri peeps.   Lots of friendly tri peeps at this race, super funsies.

I did end up winning 1st in my age group, beating the 2nd place winner by 20 seconds.   I was really thrilled to do so well at my first race back after a big injury.  And this was the funnest race I have done in a very long time.

Here is a picture of me getting my piggy award!

i got a piggy

Here is a picture of the race mascots.  Three actual piggies (taking a nap).

piggy mascots

 

Nutrition

Here are nutrition notes for future reference:

  • Day before – nothing special
  • Morning of – Coffee with muscle milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, about 2 hours before.
  • Before Swim – Gu Roctane 45 minutes before and than 10 minutes before start.
  • Bike – Gu Roctane at the 30 minute mark overall time.  20 ounce water with 1/2 tablet Nuun.
  • Run – Gu Roctane at the 2 mile marker.

 

 

 

Posted in Race Reports

We All Work, A Trolley Show

Hey, this video is really cool and they are trying to get to 1 million views. Enjoy!

Posted in General

How not to Get Hit by a Car when Riding a Bicycle

A friend of mine posted a comment on facebook about cycling and cars. The conversation was a poignant reminder that there are people – possibly even in my own network of friends and family – who think cyclists should not be on the road, and are not willing to be safe and give them room because they don’t want to be inconvenienced. I feel extremely lucky to live in a state that has biker friendly roads. For the most part anyway, I feel safe riding my bicycle as long as I avoid rush hour traffic times, and as long as I stay on the alert. Part of staying alert is following the tips outlined on this website:

http://bicyclesafe.com/

Anyone who rides a road bikes needs to read that website. Here is the link again:

http://bicyclesafe.com/

My closest call was a Left Cross. I was at the end of a long four hour ride, and was very tired and dehydrated. So, my alertness factor was way down. I generally follow the rules for avoiding a left hook by watching for it, making eye contact with driver, waving to get their attention – and if I don’t get their attention, I slow down and prepare to stop. That day, I was not on the alert, and an old lady almost ran me over. Luckily I saw it in time and swerved. At the same time she also saw me and hit her brakes. My lucky day.

The other risky scenario that I encounter is trucks out by Jordan Lake trailing a big boat. Even if the driver is being respectful and giving me lots of room, they sometimes don’t realize how big their boat is and swerve back over too soon. I try to avoid Jordan lake at the afternoon hours on weekends for this reason. I wrote about this four years ago here:

http://www.triath...cycling-safety-tips/

Lastly, when drivers are nice to me and slow down and leave lots of room, I smile and wave. I never know if they see me, but I hope they do. Conversely, when drivers are rude, sometimes I flip them off. I try not to, because I know that will only justify their unsafe behavior in their mind because I am a cyclists being a jerk. Sometimes I can’t resist the temptation.

What do you do when drivers pass at full speed without leaving you any extra room? Or when they pull a right hook on you?

Posted in >Biking

About

You are reading Triathlon Training Blog: my journey from couch potato to triathlete! Are you thinking you'd like to get started in the sport of triathlon, but you don't think you are lean enough, or fast enough, or athletic enough? Think again ...(read more)

Categories

Connect


Subscribe via e-mail:

Blogroll

Switch to our mobile site