Yesterday we had our first planning meeting for 2015. Took pictures of our 2014 medals (Roz Kelley in the pink with her New York Marathon medal) and made lots of swim and triathlon training plans too. We have lofty goals and invite you to join us at JFK pool in Newark, New Jersey. Brick City Masterswim is calling!.
I have so much to learn about triathlon. I have inquired of people who have done the New Jersey State Triathlon about the event before I pay my money and sign up. First the swim is in a lake and I’m not crazy about lakes. But okay I can give it a tri Lol! Second it is a USTA sanctioned event and it’s timed. Only 35 minutes for the swim, which makes me a bit nervous. Even though I covered more distance in 32 minutes anything can happen and over 35 minutes from your start and you are pulled from the water and dq’d. I would be devastated to say the least. From what I gather you have about three hours to complete the ride and four hours to complete the whole event. They close the course at 11:30 am. That shouldn’t be a problem but I’m anxious about the timed aspect. Now I’m told it’s a “tread” start. Do you know what that is?
You actually start the race in deep water and swim out to the start and tread water until the horn goes off! What? Well this will be a new challenge if I decide to tri it.
Today I went to the park for the first time in weeks. Actually, I’ve been lazy since Iron Girl on September 7, 2014. Once the day was over I had nothing to train for. My next event whatever it will be won’t be until next summer (if my knees cooperate). So I just haven’t had the urgency to get out there. So this morning I decided if it wasn’t raining I would take a quick walk and come home. My second round (1/2 mile track) I ran into an old friend and started walking with her. Did three miles and called it quits. Well I hate to say it but my legs have been sore all day. Wow! I know that I have to get back in the groove and put together an off-season schedule. I may not start formal Triathlon training until spring but there are lots of things I can do until then. For sure I can’t go weeks without walking again.
What do you do in the off seasons to keep fit?
Okay new season of training begins. I think I’m going to sign up for the New Jersey State Triathlon in July 2015. Don’t tell anybody but I think so. So I have to be serious from now on.
On the Black Triathlete’s Facebook page I saw mention of the website SwimSmooth.com. and visited it. It’s a nice site breaking down all the parts of a triathlon. I am concentrating on the swim. Lesson one for me is breathing. Am I breathing out the entire time my head is in the water? Or am I like many swimmers holding my breath?
This week I am working on the breathing part. It’s worth looking at even if you are an experienced swimmer. Blow bubbles exhaling unless you are turning your head to breath. I bi-lateral breathe every third stroke but yesterday I tried every five and seven breaths. Interesting.
One of the things that took a while to sink in for me was that no matter how many people are around and no matter how supportive they are, when the horn goes off and a triathlon begins, you are on your own. If your mental game is not right all the cheering in the world won’t be enough. I go over this in my mind often because once I began to swim I started hearing all the negative things possible in my head. I lost focus on my swimming and concentrated on how far in the distance my exit point was. As I was leaving the water I began to be uptight because I had struggled so on my bike the month before. The ride was tough for me without a doubt but when it was done I realized that I had trained fairly well. Since I don’t run the walk was the most enjoyable part of the whole thing. I practiced in my head saying that I was through with triathlons all the way to the finish line. I told my friends that I was never doing it again and that I was going to sell my bike the next day.
Wow! I can carry on. The fact is I had the wrong mindset through the entire thing. My planned mantra went out the window or in this case floated out to sea within two minutes of the start. After that I was fighting myself for three hours.
So I have about ten months to get it together. Planning for a better mindset next year!
So let me explain. I was a triathlon newbie this year. I am a pretty literal person so when you tell me a course is flat I take your word for it. So here is what I learned don’t ask a real swimmer about the swim in a triathlon. They will tell you something like ” it only a 3rd of a mile you’ve done that in the pool. True. Lesson one the pool is not the ocean or the bay. I swim four to five times a week in the summer and could do the distance that I needed for the tri’s. I was not however ready to swim the distance with waves, wind and people swimming over my slow head. Plus something touched my foot and there were no people near me.
Lie number two, bikers don’t count hills that don’t make them stand up while they are riding. At Iron Girl they said a little wind. What? I felt like I was riding into a wall for a mile or two and had to do it twice.
This time the runners didn’t lie and the course was flat and pleasant.
This past February though I did a 5K with my buds. We all walked it. Could anyone have told me that Morristown, New Jersey is built on a series of hills. I was talking to my self out loud by mile three.
So whatever an athlete tells you ask them first how fast they run, ride or swim and then multiply what they say by at least three.
Words to the wise!!!!
Two hours and 59 minutes later and I had my second triathlon metal ever! Someone pointed out that this was my second in 35 days. Sounds impressive to me. I have begun the critique and see lots of room for improvement but hey I did it. Who would think that I could keep moving for hours. Did I mention a 15 minute walk to where the competition began and a return walk at the end? So the breakdown was 32 minutes in the water, 1 hr and 24 minutes on the bike (two loops riding a few miles into a killer wind each time) and a 3 mile run (walk for me). Well I quit again yesterday like I had done in August. But this time I’m serious. That was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. Hmn a week off and then I begin training again for next year. Even though I’m not doing it again I need to be ready. Just in case.
These ladies swim with me and were my inspiration. We range in age from 30’s to 60’s not telling their ages. I’m the oldest just short of my 63rd birthday in October. Iron Girl’s all.
My First Triathlon: 2:22:57
Not sure where to begin this story. Yesterday I completed my first (and I vowed) my last triathlon. I was not a happy camper to be coming in near the end. I know that the time shouldn’t have been my priority but I was bummed out. Any way that’s not the beginning.
Thanks to the encouragement of my Brick City Masterswim pals, at the beginning of this year I signed up for Jersey Girl and Iron Girl. And in the spring I began training sans the bike because I didn’t own one. I think I bought my bike in the end of May. I was so fearful of the bike that it took weeks to get on it. It’s a hybrid and lighter than the mountain bike I had borrowed. Riding is not my favorite activity by far.
So, to yesterday. The rain really caught me off guard. I had thought of all sorts of conditions but not that. It was cool, dreary and rainy for the first hour in Long Branch. Tovah (Triwomen volunteer) had run a great seminar called Transition 101 for us newbies I had packed and double checked to make sure I had everything I needed.
Fast forward to yesterday, the transition area was as I had expected. My husband had made me a flag so I could find my bike and stuff. We were also at the edge of the transition area so we could clearly see everything. The rain kept me from laying out my event items even though I had plastic bags. Just seemed to complicated. So I pulled my helmet, shirt and glasses and put them on my bike seat and covered the whole thing with plastic.
The swim was okay. Pretty strong breakers. I was so slow in the water that people kept trying to give me noodles. I was fine but called myself saving my energy for the bike. I was in the water a very long time for the distance. But lesson learned. Did I mention the water was warmer than the air temp waiting to get in?
T1 was a bit of a mess because of the rain. Everything was wet and I didn’t have time to dump my Home Depot Bucket to sit on it which was my plan. Took me a while to change shirts, and do a balancing act to put on socks and shoes.
The bike ride was an 11 mile nightmare. My new friend Nancy rescued me at about mile six and rode the rest of the way with me talking to me the whole time. I was ready to stop. That course wasn’t what I’d call flat and we were riding into the wind coming back. I had on an open jacket which was like wearing a sail I’m sure. People have suggested that I might have done better with a road bike but one, I just bought my bike and two I swear people went by me on what looked to be the old Schwin bikes I grew up on. I just needed more training rides.
T2, I couldn’t feel my legs or hands. I asked my rack mate to take my helmet off because I couldn’t feel my hands. The legs were gone but I expected that. Again a shirt change and I started my walk.
The walk was not my fastest but not bad considering I had done swim and bike already. It took 53 minutes and the first mile or so I was just getting over “brick” legs.
I was bummed when I finished and saw the time clock. Duh! That was event time not my time. Today I saw my time broken down and I didn’t feel so bad. Except for the swim, the rest was about what I expected. Now I have room for improvement. Oh yeah and as of today Iron Girl is back on. I think!
I haven’ written anything here for months. The summer is moving so fast. Well okay time is time but it just seems that I always have something to do. I have spent the last two months training for this Sunday August 3rd. The Jersey Girl sprint triathlon. I am not sure that I am ready but on Sunday morning before light my husband and I will be heading to the Jersey shore. Long Branch to be exact. I just picked up my package and numbers for me and the bike. 452, that’s me so if your there let me know.
I will chronicle the day in detail so look to hear from me.
So after not riding for over twenty years I bought a bike three weeks ago. They have a name for the category but I guess you would call it a hybrid bike. It’s a Giant Escape. I am not ready for a road bike and probably won’t ever be. My goal is to ride at a reasonable rate of speed and finish in a reasonable time (for me) in my triathlons. This bike is a major step up from the heavy borrowed mountain bike that I rode a few times this past fall. Anyway I am still learning how to ride the dang thing. I had no idea how to use the gears. Little by little I’m getting the hang of it. But here are a few things that I didn’t expect.
It’s still been cool in the morning and my hands have been freezing. I didn’t expect that. My right hand actually got so cold and numb that I couldn’t feel my fingers or change my gears without trouble. Part of the problem is that I have a death grip on the handle bars. This is related to the fear that I still feel when riding. I bought some riding gloves but haven’t been on my bike due to my ongoing knee treatments.
The second thing I didn’t expect was how excruciatingly uncomfortable a bike seat could be. It was so uncomfortable I had to stop riding. I bought a new seat but again I haven’t had a chance to ride with it.
Issue number three is that my feet keep slipping off of the pedals. I discussed this with the folks at Hilltop Bicycles where I bought my bike but they could only suggest cages or clip pedals. Both scare the life out of me but I may have to reconsider if my feet keep slipping.
So if biking isn’t your thing but you need to ride I suggest that you buy your bike from folks in the know. New or used a bike shop is a good place to go. Get the best bike that you can afford. Be ready to maintain it properly and take good care of it. Although I haven’t been able to ride with them I belong to a group of female riders HbWomen who ride out of the Hilltop Bikes in Summit and Cranford. They are supportive and helpful and know a lot about riding. If you are unsure, look for a group that can support you. Lastly, just go for it. I am still nursing a bit of fear but it gets easier every ride. More bike stuff later.