My Try at a Triathlon: 5 Unexpected Life Lessons

Great first time triathlon post, with a life lesson bonus

Connie Carey

www.conniecarey.com

While enjoying lunch on a Thursday with my friend, Amy, she dropped this bombshell:

“Hey, I’m doing a triathlon this Saturday.  You should join me.”

“This Saturday?  As in day after tomorrow?”  I laughed so hard I almost choked on my cornbread. “I haven’t ridden a bike in 20 years!”

“I’ve got an extra!  And it’ll all come back to you when you hop on.   Just like, well, riding a bike!”

In a lapse of sanity, I agreed.

Now to tell John.  “Ahem.  I’m going to do a triathlon.”

“What?” He was concerned.  “How long do you plan to train?”

“A day,” I replied, trying to sound logical.

“And what’s the course?”

“1750 yard swim, 14 mile bike ride, 3.1 mile run.”  I sat down, feeling suddenly tired as I said that out loud.

He smiled, shook his head and said, “Knock yourself out, Baby.”

Actually, I was afraid I might do just that.

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Body Alignment on the Bicycle by Ryan Stoddard, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS  

Excellent explanation of bike riding position.

empowerphysio

***Please welcome my first guest blogger, Ryan Stoddard, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS. I was fortunate to meet Ryan last year as I was referred to physical therapy for treatment of iliotibial band (ITB) tendinitis and patellofemoral (PF) syndrome. Dr. Stoddard is a physical therapist at Emerson Hospital Center for Sports Rehabilitation at the Thoreau Club in Concord, Massachusetts. He is a group fitness instructor, leading cycle classes, muscle circuit boot-camps, Tabata high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and group power classes. He is a mountain biker and off-road tri-athlete. His credentials include a BS in Exercise Physiology, Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT), Orthopedic Clinical Specialty Board Certification (OCS), National Strength and Conditioning Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified Spinning Instructor, and Certified Power Instructor. You may reach Dr. Stoddard at RStoddard@EmersonHosp.Org***

The question as to what is the “right” riding position came about one day while Spinning indoors at the…

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Energy Gel Sommelier and Other Side Benefits of Triathlon Part II

In the first post on the added benefits of triathlon, I talked about looking sexy in lycra, and sweet tan lines. There are so many additional benefits I didn’t list, that I decided to make a Part II. There may be some people on the fence about triathlon, and the a collection of distance stickers wasn’t enough to get them to dive in. So here are some more “tidbits of awesome” about triathlon.

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1. Get up super early – You feel guilty when you don’t get up before the sun. Everyone knows that pool swims only count when they are finished before 6:30am. You have a four hour ride planned for Saturday, and your significant other is complaining about you training too much.. What do you do? Leave at 5 am and hope to make it back before they get up.

burrito

2. The world is your buffet – At the Mexican restaurant you order the Mucho Loco Burrito with an extra side of guacamole. The others at the table look in horror as you demolish the entree meant for three people. You look up and say, “It’s cool, I’m in the peak of my training cycle”, and then wipe the cheese from your chin.

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Gel Buffet

 

3. Energy Gel Sommelier – The average palette can’t discern the slight nuisances of the Powergel orange from the Gu mandarin, but you can. Your heightened awareness of these differences comes from years of consumption of these slimy delicacies. You would rather bonk than slam down that wrong brand being offered on the course.

 

4. Ability to time illness one week out from your “A” race – You never get sick. You are healthy as a horse. People in the office are going home weak with the flu, but you superior immune system is kryptonite to viruses. That is until the taper period of your most important race of the season. A week out from the race you are in bed sore and aching, wondering how you are supposed to race in 5 days.

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5. Calf Sleeves – I may offend some here, but calf sleeves are nerdy. They are essentially tall socks with no feet. From the amount of people wearing them, you would think there was an epidemic of calf muscles exploding before their invention. Triathlon is no fashion show. If you really need the super calf support, buy the brightest neon ones you can find, and rock that kit.

Bike Fall over

6. Get clipped – There are two types of cyclists; those who have fallen over in the parking lot while still clipped in to the pedals, and those who will. It happens to everyone. You get those brand new clipless pedals and shoes, pull in to the parking lot at the end of the ride, slow down, and proceed to fall over like a tipped cow. Don’t be embarrassed. Laugh it off, as everyone else on that ride has done the same thing at least once. Welcome to the club!

 

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7. A bike more expensive than your car – After years of hard training, you will decide that training is too time consuming and difficult. Forget training on the bike, go and buy some speed. You walk into the bike shop, and there it is. A beautiful carbon fibre rocket ship of a bike. Once you astride this piece is speed sculpture, PR’s will fall, and the road will submit to your will. On the way home from the shop you look at your ’03 Subaru, and realize the blue book value of your car, is less than that new bike purchase.

The car will seek revenge. On the way home from a race, you pull into the driveway headed for the garage, and forget your bike is on the roof rack. The car will let you drive into the garage, while your bike is smashed against the top of the garage.

 

 

 

 

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My First Triathlon

Overcoming water anxiety, and crushing her first tri in the 50+ age group. Read Lisa’s awesome story here. Congrats Lisa, you are now a Triathlete,

Lisa van Ommen

2014 Tri Finish

I did it! I finished my first sprint triathlon! (450 yd swim, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run). What an experience. The journey in getting here was even better.

How this came about

A couple of years ago, my boyfriend and I were in Key West.  We took an EcoTour on a small catamaran which included sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling.  When it came to the snorkeling portion, I was very uncomfortable in the water.  I’m not a big water lover to begin with. I couldn’t swim very easily and ended up snorkeling with the help of a foam noodle.  A year later, we joined our friends in Maui.  Knowing snorkeling, swimming, and zip-lining were going to be involved, I decided to be prepared.  I found a 12-week sprint triathlon training guide through Coach Suzanne.  Signing up at the local pool, using my mountain bike for the biking portion, and…

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First time Tri tips in stereo. FTT on the Prepared idiot Podcast.

Rich Barna from The Prepared Idiot Podcast had me on his podcast to discuss racing your first triathlon. Rich is a self proclaimed “Clydesdale Triathlete” himself, and got into triathlon to adopt a healthier lifestyle. In this episode we talk about getting started in triathlon, each leg of the race, and some motivation to get you going. There is some great info and tips to get you started to your goal of completing your first triathlon.

Play the show on itunes

Show Notes:

For swimming videos on proper form check out: http://totalimmersion.net/

USAT Rule Book  – Rules on setting up your transition, and racing

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day Gifts for the Triathlon Dad

patchnride

triathlon

For those dads that are fans of the triathlon events, there are plenty of gifts that one can purchase for their fathers who are dedicated Ironmen participants. Since a triathlon is broke up into three events, this means that you have a choice of three separate areas to choose from that is sure to be a hit for dad.  If you have a few siblings that don’t know what to get dad on his special day, designate the one category to them.

Swimming Gifts
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If you’re planning on getting swimsuits for your triathlete father, make sure to stick to a budget when buying them. No matter what the cost, the chlorinated pools that triathletes practice in can eat away at swimsuits easily. The best thing to do is to buy 2 or 3 less expensive swimsuits that are still high quality.

One can also create a gift package of aquatic…

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“Oh Man This Hurts”, Keys to Racing Mental Toughness

 

Tough as nails
TOUGH AS NAILS

Mental toughness is the ability to withstand discomfort with a focus on your goal.  All of the situations and struggles in life develop your mental strength. You are defined by how you react to different situations. In racing, the battles lies between your body and thoughts. When a race gets tough, the mind will always give in before the body. The challenge is to control your thoughts, and get your mind and body to work together to achieve your goals.

Preparation

The key to mental toughness is preparation. Training for your race will increase mental toughness. When you show up the the start line, you should be confident in your abilities. You confidence comes from adequate training, and preparation. That confidence kicks in when the race gets hard and you want to stop. If in training you have already had these feelings, you know you can push through.

 

  • Know your body – Be sure to notice the difference between this is uncomfortable, and this is injuring me.
  • Have a race day plan and execute – eliminate unnecessary decisions.
  • Simulate race intensity in training – not everyday
  • Have confidence. Accept that the race will be difficult, you are trained, and prepare to suffer a bit for your goal.

 

Be Present

When a race or workout gets hard, the brain wants you to stop. Your mind will play every trick it has to get you to stop or slow down. That little voice in your head will say “go ahead, just walk for awhile” or “Today is just not your day, slow down a bit”. Everyone has these thoughts, even elite athletes. When you can push through and not give into these thoughts, that is when breakthroughs happen.

To combat this voice, you need to be present and focus on the now. The mind may trick you into thinking you can’t run another mile, but it’s hard to convince you can’t run two more lamp posts. Focus on what you can do right at this moment to push you toward your goal. Accept the situation, adapt, and overcome. 

  • Focus on breathing and relaxing into the effort
  • Break the race up into small pieces – Run to the next lamp pole, Swim another 20 strokes.
  • Have a mantra – My mantra is “Relentless Forward Progress”
  • Be optimistic that things can get better. Example: You stomach may become upset during a long race. Know that it may hurt now, but with some additional nutrition and time, it can come back around.

Find Your Happy Place 

To pull yourself out a funk during your race, go to your happy place. I know this sounds a bit new age, but it works. When all of your focus is on the hurting, you need to shift your focus. Turning those negative thoughts, into a positive feeling is powerful. Those positive thoughts can get you into a rhythm and carry you through the difficult times in a race.

Try this: Force yourself to smile for the next two minutes. After the feeling silly for the first 30 secs, your mood will actually start to improve. You actions can impact your mood and attitude.

Here are some ways to find your happy place during a race:

  • Smile – It is also easier to breath while smiling
  • Encourage others – Your positive attitude will spread to others, and you will feel more positive in the process. Win-Win
  • Remove the word I can’t – Turn your mindset to thinking of what you can do , and not what you can’t
  • Think of the reasons why you are racing the event. Maybe you are racing in memory of a loved one, or to set an example for your kids. These powerful thoughts can push you through.
  • Absorb the energy of the race. Feel the energy from the crowd and other athletes. They are cheering for you because you are being awesome. They respect the training and effort your are putting forth. Soak it up.

I hope these suggestions help next time you are in the pain cave during a race. If you have any strategies that work for you, please share in the comments.

 
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