Triathlon Training Blog

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:

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

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:


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

Good Running Form = Don’t be Lazy

I stumbled upon this article recently about running form and it really hit the nail on the head.   I’m pretty sure I do this…

The ground is very tempting. Your foot wants to hang out there a while. To the beginner it seems (unconsciously) a little easier to land — pause — and then push off than to essentially refuse the ground’s embrace — to strike it, thrust it away, be done with it. But that extra investment of effort up front saves energy in the long run. Most runners make little progress in overcoming their laziness. Those who make the most progress become the best runners.

Click to read full article!

Be sure to read the whole article, the last bit is the best. And it was written by Matt Fitzgerald. I got my Ironman Training Plan from his book!

Posted in >Running

How Technology Can Improve Your Workout

Guest post by Sara Upton:

magellan-echo-smart-watch-femalePeople have developed all kinds of rituals for getting the most out of their workouts throughout the years. From specific diets including specialized sports foods and vitamin/mineral supplements, to getting pumped up by being slapped before a game, everyone has their own way of getting the job done. What many people don’t consider for their training regimen, however, is how technology can greatly assist them in achieving their goals. People have trained themselves to find their pulse and count their heart rate out and plan their routes in advance to keep track of their mileage, but technology can easily do all of this for us and more.

Modern smartphones are being developed with built-in heart rate sensors now, and there are dozens of free apps that can assist people with workouts. For the competitive, apps like Strava help you track your running or cycling outings, and compete with other people in the area who work out on the same tracks. Apps like Interval Timer make it easier to keep track of time without constantly looking at a watch. There are also apps that can use phones to instantly measure your heart rate, no more needing to stop and count to figure out where you’re at.

Of course, using these apps used to require people to keep their smartphone with them at all times and be constantly checking on it while they work out. However, smartphone technology is being ported more and more to other devices, and “wearable tech” is becoming more popular around the world. An article by Verizon Wireless explains that smartwatches can do it all: “…see important notifications, as well as take phone calls, shoot photos and video, and even count your steps. It also passes information to your smartphone, creating a seamless experience between the two. “

smartwatch_concept_contentWith the ability to put all sorts of useful fitness apps on a smartwatch, it is quickly becoming possible to track all the information you could dream of by simply wearing a smartwatch. In addition to tracking your heart rate and distance, these watches will soon serve to enable you to listen to music, take phone calls, or even shoot pictures and video quickly and easily. Smartwatches have an ever-increasing capacity to integrate user created apps, and they will be able to perform anything developers can dream of, even as far as automatically incorporating weather tracking.

Of course, for those of us training for triathlons, wearing bits of technology into the pool might seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Luckily, these devices have been created with this in mind from the beginning, and waterproof smartwatches are already becoming a common occurrence. The technology improves every year, and there are even watches being designed to recharge with the energy they get from your movement. While your smartphone might need to be plugged in nearly every night to keep on going, your smartwatch might last weeks or even months.

It might not always be easy to jump into the technology industry when it comes to things like fitness. Once you get into a routine, it might not feel worthwhile to try something new, especially if that something comes with a hefty price tag. However, smartwatches are becoming more affordable (and more fashionable) every year and it is never too late to give them a try. They might help your fitness routine more than you realize.

Sara Upton loves exploring the great outdoors and sharing her experiences with the world. When she is not enjoying the beauty of nature, Sarah enjoys wrestling with her dogs, trying new foods, and hanging out with friends.  



Posted in >Running

Mountain Bike Adventures = super funsies and ouchies

Mountain Bike is the funnest thing ever.     And I am fortunate enough to live close to some really great mountain bike trails.     My favorite riding grounds are Carolina North Forest and Lake Crabtree County Park.

When I am riding trails I feel like a little kid playing in the woods.    Part of the fun is that I am learning new skills – trying to figure out how to navigate obstacles on trails.   It’s a great family activity, too.

The downside is that I am having so much fun that I forget that I am 51 years old, and perhaps take too many risks.   I don’t take huge risks like doing jumps that put me airborne.  No way.   But I do take small risks like trying to hop over a log, or descending tricky or steep section of trail.    Taking risks means that I sometimes wipe out and get injured.

Here are some photos of some recent mountain bike adventures.

All packed up to go


Ouchie: Here is what happened when I got lost in the woods for two hours. I was tired, running out of daylight hours and so was trying to ride fast.   It takes a great deal of mental energy to navigate trails and physical stamina to ride fast.   And when that all begins to wane, the risk of taking a spill increases.     This wipe-out happened when my front tire hit a rock, which knocked my steering wheel into a small tree.   That was just enough to knock me off my bike.  I’m not even sure what my leg hit – my chainring perhaps??    While this was just a flesh wound,  it still hurt alot, and I still had to ride 45 minutes to find my way back out!    I had a big knot in the muscle of my shin that lasted a few weeks.     I had to stop running to let it heal.

Lessons:  don’t push daylight hours, and get a big bright head light.


Rock Garden mishap:  Here’s another little spill I took when trying to navigate a tricky rock garden on the Crow Branch Overlook trail at Carolina North Forest.    This one bruised up my elbow for a few weeks.    I get a little better each time I ride this tricky trail, so these little spills are worth it because I learn from my mistakes.


Super funsies:   Here was a fun outing with my daughter, Mary Beth.   We rode at Carolina North Forest which is really close to her apartment and my house.    yay bike!


She spotted this curvey bridge on the Neverland Inner Loop that I had never seen.   Super dooper funsies.     I’ll never grow up!


Big Ouchie: My latest ride was going really great.  I was nailing all the obstacles like a pro.  Until  I tried to bunny hop over a log – instead of my usual log roll move – and failed miserably.   I landed hard on my tailbone and got the wind knocked out of me.   I lay in the leaves for a few minutes, then I had to ride back out – yikes!    My lower back hurt alot on the climbs, so I ended up getting off alot and walking.   When I got back to my car, I noticed my nose hurt.   I guess when my head smacked the dirt, it caused my helmet to push my glasses into my nose.   I had a nasty bruise on my nose all week as if someone had punched me.  And my tailbone still hurts.


This was the worst fall I’ve had so far.  I think my mistake was hitting my brakes when I realized that my chainring was smacking into the log.  I probably should have tried to go with the flow and grind over it.    But hitting the brakes made me stop suddenly and I tipped over.

Lesson:  don’t freak out and hit breaks.

Also,  29r tires would help me get over those logs easier :(

This sport has a definite negative impact on my triathlon training.   But it’s so fun.  But I don’t like being injured…

undecied meme


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Posted in >Biking

New Saucony Kinvara 5 Running Shoes have arrived!

About a month ago, a publicist contacted me asking if I wanted to try out the new Saucony Kinvara 5 Running Shoes.  I replied that “sure, I’d love to”.  I had heard great things about them from my tri friends, and think they look pretty sweet.  She said she’d mail some out to me as soon as they were released to the public.

I forgot all about this email until a box arrived on my doorstep from Saucony Corporation.   Wow, how cool is that?I opened the package, and pulled out the shoebox.


Then I opened the box and unwrapped a pair of bright neon yellow running shoes.  The official color name is Citron / ViZiORANGE / Purple.  I’m pretty sure that translates to FAST!



I absolutely love the way they look.    And they are an extremely lightweight shoe with a flexible sole that encourages forefoot running.  Yet, they still seem to provide a little bit of stability for the overpronator.   I have tried them on two short runs so far, and they really do feel light and fast.

Sizing: True to fit.  These are a size 10 and they fit me well.   The toe box is a little wider than some shoes I have tried, so if your foot is narrow, they may feel too wide for you.  They are great for me.

Usage: Racing and training.   Light enough to race in, yet still solid enough for some decent miles. I’ll report back in terms of how many miles I feel I can run in them after I’ve put them through some more tests.

I’m going to write another blog post after I have done some more running in them.   I’ll test them out sockless, too!



Stay tuned!   PS: My 20 year old daughter also loves these, so there is a good chance she will steal them from me. lol.

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Posted in >Running


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)



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