Hellllllllllo – it’s Page! I’m still up here on cloud nine right now. Can someone please tell me how I can make a permanent home here? Everything is rainbows and butterflies – quite nice.
I thought I’d take a moment to discuss some of the (caution: work jargon ahead) key learnings from Vineman 70.3 and opportunities moving forward. But don’t worry, this blog post doesn’t include any text heavy slides, awkward stock photography or baffling budgets.
- Taper Tantrums: They are real and they will play evil, evil games on you. Seriously, you will do everything in your path to ensure that you get to race day in one piece and despite your best intentions, your body will have a vicious fit.
- Taper Tantrum Cures: As much as taper tantrums are just that, a tantrum, I also believe it’s your body’s way sending you a message. If something hurts, baby it like crazy. I cut out all running for almost a week, iced, rolled, got massages and stayed off of my knee as soon as it started acting up. It also helps to have friends sending good vibes your way.
- Check Your Bike: With running, the only thing you really need to take care of is yourself. Not so in triathlon – your bike is another expensive machine that needs to be checked and re-checked prior to race day. I’ve been having some problems shifting my bike down into the front small gear (like my fancy terminology there?) and while sometimes it worked seamlessly, other times it didn’t. I had already taken it into the shop once and when it started acting up again, I took it back in. It turns out that my front deraillleur was bent and when they tried to fix it the first time, it just got bent again. So the fantastic folks at Livermore Cyclery fixed my deraillleur by installing a brand new one, of the next level up, for FREE! Please picture me doing a fist pump here.
In addition to upgrading and fixing my deraillleur , they took the time to explain to me how to clean my chain (apparently you need to – who knew) and why the basic model chain ring I have makes it harder to shift. Thus, I see some component upgrades in my future.
- Get There Early: For running races, I liked to get to the expo/race starts early simply to avoid the lines and crowds. However, I’d urge you to get to the triathlon/T1 or T2 set-up early not only to get your goods, but to rack your bike or place your T2 stuff as close to the end as possible. If not, you’ll be forced to squish your bike into a rack that is already overwhelmed, or far down the line. The closer to the end, the less you have to run and the better your transition times will be.
- Swim the Venue: As mentioned in my race recap, swimming the venue, even if just for a bit, was the smartest race-prep step I took. It immediately helped me ease all of my open water anxiety fears. If you want to go a step further, swim the venue without your wetsuit (if it’s safe, of course!). My wetsuit is my proverbial safety blanket as I know I won’t drown in it. Thus, logic tells me that if I can swim the venue sans wetsuit, I am the equivalent of Aqua Man. Like I said: logic.
- Eat Like A Champ: As one would assume, try to eat healthy leading up to a race, but for me, eating like a champ isn’t about changing your diet, but about fueling. I didn’t skip the glass of wine and I didn’t deprive myself of anything. Instead, I carbo-loaded, I ate normally and I had a strategic fueling plan on the bike (that I will share later). Like Coach Paul told me: don’t change a thing, but don’t try anything new either.
- Don’t Be an Dumb & Learn To Swim Straight: Seriously. Just because I don’t see other orange cappers around me doesn’t mean that my fitness has imploded and I’m in dead last place. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. Well, apparently I wasn’t thinking because I spent a lot of time swimming back in the right direction. Note to self: work on sighting.
- Ride to the Right & Be Polite: There I was, minding my own business when some pro cyclist came zooming by and barked at guy saying, “Hey man, you need to ride to the right.” (Insert extremely really snarky tone.) I get that this guy wasn’t riding all the way over to the right, and honestly, he was making it hard to pass. However, that chick needs to lose the ‘tude. He’s probably just a normal guy trying to complete a freaking half Ironman and here she comes, spitting nasty tone. And come to think of it, she didn’t even call out “on you left!”
By the way, I tried to call out “on your left” when passing people as much as possible and when I did, people actually said, “Thank you.” I would then say thank you back, and they would actually respond with, “You’re very welcome.” Now that’s sportsmanship!
- Ice In Your Bra Works: Enough said.
- Cheerleading IS a Real Sport: Seriously, who wakes up at 4 in the morning, makes t-shirts, and sits hours on end in the heat just to see you for a few seconds at a time? Freaking awesome cheerleaders, that’s who! Knowing that they would be at the start, each transition and at the end, kept me moving and I was so happy they were there. If your family is unable to make it, Chicken Face is available for hire. Sherpa and photography fees apply.
- Smile Like Idiot: I said it before and I’ll say it again, the entire bike ride I thought about yelling, “I FEEL F****** AWESOME!” multiple time. As I look back, I realize how much I’m growing to love triathlon and the challenges that it presents. There will always be room to grow, fears to overcome and a lot of adventures to be had, and I plan of smiling like an idiot the entire time.
What are some of your favorite running or triathlon tips?