It’s just over two weeks until my first triathlon. I am such a novice at this, and I am making up my own training plan as I go. If you can even call it a plan. But I kind of like it that way. I’m not out to break any records, I just want to feel good in each leg of the race, stay safe and finish.
So far my training has consisted of making sure I get in ample amounts of swimming, cycling and running. One at a time. I have no problem over-achieving on the distances for each sport. But this is a 3-sport race. That’s a whole lot different.
So now I’m into doing doubles. Apparently in triathlon lingo this is called a “brick.” The logic of that name escapes me. I’ve been cycling to the swimming pool, doing my laps then taking a long bike ride. Granted, there’s quite a gap while I navigate the locker room, get back to my locked bike in the parking ramp and head out again. But at least there is some semblance of a 2-sport combo. Doing a bike/run sequence is better. My changeover in the garage is more race-like, but I’m not very speedy. Even so, I get the idea. Legs really don’t want to stride after circular pedaling. They wobble perceptively and I feel like I’m going nowhere. But miraculously, things seem to straighten out after the first 1/2 mile. Once the runner in me takes over, I don’t even feel the bike ride. I think I may be making some progress.
That still leaves the open swim factor. All my swimming miles have been in a pool, and I know the smooth water, designated lane with a line on the bottom and stealing a rest at the turns are a far cry from swimming in a lake. That has me worried. I’m hoping to remedy that next week, swimming in our lake at the cabin. If I can stand the cold water, that is. This darn cold summer just isn’t helping matters.
Having gotten this close to the race, I decided it was time to figure out just how one does a triathlon. There is a plethora of material on the internet on the subject, and my head is already spinning from all the advice. The lists of things to bring and the tips for transitions are enough to scare me away. Until I remember my goal – feel good, stay safe and finish. My transitions may be inefficient, but all that matters is that I get from one sport to the next. Right?This really is a whole lot more complicated than running a marathon. Maybe next I’ll have to move things up a notch, and try a triple.
I’ve been asking myself that question for several years now. Having added cycling to my arsenal of sports activities, which already included swimming and running, I just couldn’t ignore the idea that I should do a triathlon.
Most people fear the swimming portion the most. But in my case, that was my first entry into distance sports. It goes way back to the days of a country club swimming pool, being a little squirt on the swim team, and spending years doing laps to get my 100 mile trophy. When I put on the Freshman 10 (or so) in college, I turned to swimming to slim down again. And I’ve kept it up ever since. So in theory, I have that bit licked, as I regularly swim 1 3/4 miles for my workout. But those are laps in the pool. A whole lot different from open water swimming in a lake surrounded by a lot of flailing arms and legs. Hmmm.
On to running. I took that up when the kids were little and I could squeeze in a run on my lunch hour without giving up family time. Naturally 10Ks quickly led to a half-marathon, and on to marathons. Running has become my primary sport. So I’m not at all worried about that.
That leaves cycling. Since taking up cycle touring a couple of years ago, I have logged many a mile on my bike. And on our trips I tote 26 pounds or more of gear for days (sometimes months) on end. Yeah, I can manage the distance on a bike.
The components are all there. I just haven’t taken the plunge to put them all together. Yet.
That’s all about to change. I might have procrastinated forever, but my son, Erik, called my bluff when he gave me the “entry to the triathlon of my choice” for Mothers’ Day. So come July 12, I will be out there swimming-biking-running at the Lifetime Tri in Minneapolis. Wish me luck. I’m going to Tri my best.
It’s in-between season. I feel like my workouts are a patchwork of activities. Some days it still warms up enough to go for a long bike ride. Given the right layers, I can stretch “warm enough” quite a ways. The difficult part is having the patience to wait until later in the day when the sun has done its work. I’m within 100 miles of hitting 4,000 miles of cycling for the year, and I’m determined to get there. Not bad for my first year of cycling.
Running is always a good staple. I’m used to running year round. I’m putting more miles on my running shoes these days, trying to get back that old endurance back. I hate to admit it, but these days I consider I’ve had a good run when I maintain 9 minute miles. Sad when I remember what I used to do, but I remind myself to accept aging gracefully.
If it’s really ugly, I hit the pool. I have resumed my Y membership after putting it on hold for the summer, hoping to rebuild some upper body strength. Those first few sessions in the pool were killers – why did I think it was okay to stop swimming for 6 months? The payoff is in the locker room, though. My faithful early morning buddies are there, and it’s great to see them again. My friend Louise is my inspiration – 20 years older than me, and she works out every single day.
And what’s all this for? Why cross-country ski season, of course! Our registrations went in for the big races long ago – City of Lakes, Mora and the Birkie beckon, snow willing. February is not all that far away, and I’m anxious to get out on my skis. Not much I can do about it until the snow falls, though. I’m not about to break my neck attempting roller skis.
We have vacation time coming up Thanksgiving week. If we hear of snow within driving distance, it’s likely we’ll go find it. If not, we’re talking about heading a bit further south and substituting a cycling trip. After all, we can be as fickle as the weather.