Saturday, July 25, 2009

Come tri with me

Do you have the bug yet? Just in case, I'll try to make it a little more approachable... Quite often I hear, "I can't run/bike/swim fast." Obviously they haven't seen me crawling along in the slow lane of the pool ;) I'm not out there to finish in the top 10, so I think of it as an "event" rather than a race. I'll do the best that I can, but I'm doing this for myself, to have fun, and not to race against the top women in my age group. All you have to do is cross the finish line--it doesn't matter if you do breast/side/back stroke during the swim, ride leasurely on a granny bike, and walk during the "run." Sign up with some friends that you can train with, and you'll have a blast. And if that's not enough of a reason, pick one event you like, find some friends that like the other events, and participate as a team! So really, why not tri?? :)

I didn't get too many questions, but I wanted to put together some general thoughts, in part to remind myself of everything as I pull things together for my tri tomorrow morning :) Feel free to ask more if you think of anything!

One of the first questions I had was, what do I wear? There was no way a bathing suit was going to give me any support on the run, if ya know what I mean ;) And wearing bike shorts on the swim--can we get any heavier in the bum? There are a few options here, the most cost-effective being to wear a sports bra under your swimsuit, and then pulling on shorts for the bike/run. You probably already have the "equipment" for this! There are also tri shorts (with less padding that dries quick) and tri suits that are specific for the sport. These can be expensive, but there are some discount sites online that offer last years' colors/models for less. If you're looking for a tri-specific top for the well-endowed, I'd recommend the Zoot Ultra Bra top--it's the only one I've found to give any support.

SWIM
This is definitely the toughest part for me, as I'm not that strong of a swimmer. Try to practice in open water if you can, so you can be prepared. If you panic (like I did the first time), tread water for a few seconds while your wave starts, collect yourself, and then swim. I tend to stay to the back and right of the group, to avoid flying hands and legs. If you're in for a fight, by all means go play in the center :) While training, I'd practice sighting (click here for a good description), and in the race- do this early and often to make sure you don't make the course longer for yourself! And if you hit a beer bottle during the swim, push it out of the way and just keep swimming ;) (This will probably only happen if you do a tri in Philly, and yes, it really happened!)

What to bring? goggles, earplugs, swim cap (will be provided for the race), towel, extra water bottle (fill this up at the race site and use to wash off feet before putting on socks/shoes). A small bottle of antifog can also be helpful for your goggles.


Tips: Swim as long as you can, don't try to run through the water as you get close to shore. Another thing I've heard is to change to breast stroke for the last few strokes of the swim, I think it's to get your ankles/legs ready to run.

BIKE
Try to check out the course ahead of time. Unfortunately I haven't been to the course I'm doing tomorrow, but I am going to drive through today. Due to the way I need to fuel my tummy, I need a little fuel during the event, and take it early in the bike to allow enough digestion time. I use a Bento Box to store some tissues and orange Clif shot blocks. If you're wearing a cycling jersey you can always store things in the pockets, I just find it easier to grab something in front of me.

What to bring? helmet, sunglasses, bike gloves, water bottles, fuel, socks, shoes, other apparel (singlet over bra top or shorts over bathing suit).


Tips: I put everything I don't want to forget in my helmet. They won't let you onto the course w/o a helmet, so my shades and gloves go into the helmet. I wouldn't mind forgetting the gloves, but I'd rather not be blinded by bugs :) Another tip to make the bike-run transition a bit easier is to increase your cadence at the end of the bike, that is, lower your gear to make it easier and quicken your pedal stroke.

RUN
Not too much to mention here, just don't forget your number! Most races require you to wear it on the front of you. This can be done using a race belt (often available at expos) or pinning it on to your shirt ahead of time with some safety pins. You might also have a hat or sunglasses if you use those as well.


Other things you might have in your bag: sunscreen (apply AFTER you get marked), body glide (for areas that might rub or be more sensitive), chapstick, spare hair ties, extra socks, safety pins, towel, (dry) clothes for after the race, and 2 garbage bags. Why the garbage bags? Use one to set up your transition area--it'll keep things dry and all in one spot (easier to see things if it's white). Keep the other one in your bag just in case the weather's unfortunate... you can lay this on top.

Well, I gotta get going, but I'll try to take some pictures of how things get set up so that I can share those, along with some more helpful links to get you started next week. In the mean time, get outside and have some fun :) After another week filled with rain, the sun's out today, and I'm hoping it holds out through tomorrow morning! See you back here for Melon Mondays ;)

17 comments:

lesley said...

That sounds awesome ... good luck!! : )

Erica said...

Good luck chicky! Thank you for all the information. Josh and I plan to get bikes in the fall (I think I told you this before) and I'd be very interested in doing a tri!

Rosiecat said...

Good luck, Shannon! How exciting!

What do you like to eat before you compete in a tri? I often have tummy troubles when it comes to running; even after all these years I can't seem to master the art of eating appropriately for a good, strong work-out.

And I'll be thinking of you tomorrow when I head out for my twenty-minute "long run." Maybe "long trudge" is a more accurate phrase! ;-)

Kelly said...

Those are great tips although I think I'm still a little intimidated because I am pretty bad at all three. Not to mention I think my pink beach cruiser bike would get some laughs.

Kelly said...

Those are great tips although I think I'm still a little intimidated because I am pretty bad at all three. Not to mention I think my pink beach cruiser bike would get some laughs.

Kerstin said...

Good luck tomorrow!! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Anna said...

Those are great tips! And best of luck to you!

Elizabeth said...

Good luck! You should have great weather tomorrow... enjoy it!

Amy said...

These are really, realllyyyy good tips. Tris feel like a whole 'nother world for me, but someday I'd love to try one! And I'll definitely be bookmarking this post for future reference.

Reeni♥ said...

Thanks for all the awesome tips! Lots of luck tomorrow!

Adam said...

Wow, that's really cool that you put in the time to give a quick FAQ on the event. My cousin does tri's like this, and I never knew how much prep actually goes into it.

Best of luck, you'll do awesome!

biz319 said...

Great post Shannon - kick ass!

I did one triathlong - not much of a swimmer so that will be my one and only! :D

burpandslurp said...

BREAK A LEG!!! I can't wait for you to come back to tell us about your journey!
p.s.NOBODY wears a bikini, do they?

Esi said...

I am constantly amazed by people who push themselves to this level. Good luck!

Joanne said...

I didn't realize you were currently training for a tri! Which one did you do? I know its belated but good luck. This is an awesome, informative post.

Jess said...

The swim would definitely be the hardest for me too. Good luck!

eatingtolivelovelaughtri said...

What a great and informative post regarding set up for tris. I wish I had something like this to look at when I started racing. One thing I did want to mention in regard to the clothing issue is that the swimsuit under your bike shorts thing will work for a short distance race but when you get into longer distances this spells disaster. The extra seams in the bathing suit can cause some serious chaffing issues. Also, it isn't really fun to run in bike shorts. I would definitely recommend a pair of tri shorts because even though they are a bit expensive they make your entire race much more comfortable. Just my two cents on the subject after a lot of trial and error. : )

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