Thursday, January 9, 2014

Triathlon Training in the New Year

Well, it's a new year folks, and guess what?   I am not immune to the new year's resolution craze.

I work at a gym, so that doesn't help either, nor does the fact that our club does a Biggest Chooser fitness challenge that kicks off every January.  I participated in that last year as age has not been kind to me and I had reached a weight threshold I never thought would happen (I broke 140 pounds - a little too much on my 5'5" frame and a good 15 pound over my personal ideal weight).  I lost ten pounds or so, but over the past year, some of that has found its way back onto my stomach and so, here I am again.

This year, though, I am doing the tri club.  So is my husband, though we have somewhat different goals.  I want to run a few races this year, stay in shape, and prove that a 40-something broad can still kick ass.  My husband also has these goals, but he thinks he'd like to work toward a half Iron Man - a little too ambitious for my taste.

A side note ... My husband and I are both in our early forties.  We totally fall into the cliche.  I laughed at a recent Frazz comic strip, (you know, the one with the main character who looks like an adult Calvin) in which one of the characters basically said that running triathlons are what people do when they hit 40.  It's sadly so true.

For those unfamiliar with the specifics, I will outline them to the best of my knowledge.  A sprint or mini tri, is typically a 250 to 500 yard swim, a 10 - 14 mile bike, and a 5k.  Distances can vary depending on the race, but they typically can be completed in an hour and half to two hours tops.  They're great for a beginner to get their feet wet.  A half Ironman is a huge jump in my opinion.  That typically involves a 1.2 mile swim, usually open water, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run.

I ran a sprint tri last year - the Smile Train - in June.  I'd never done one before and wanted to prove to myself that I could.  And, like I said, I'm in my early forties.  The Smile Train tri is a 250 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 5k and I finished with a respectable time of 01:31:27:000.  Considering I could not swim 25 yards across a pool three years or so ago, I feel I've come a long way.   My husband has never done a sprint tri, yet I feel confident he would still kick my butt in time.

So we ponied up the money, and went to the "meet and greet" last night, hosted by our trainers, Janice and Robert.  I know them both - Robert is a phenomenal swimmer but has been only doing sprint tri's for three years or so.  Still, he usually finishes in the top three overall.  Janice does half Ironman races.  She's short, loud, and abrupt, and you either love her or hate her.  Me being a fellow Yankee in a sea of southerners, and having a tendency to be abrupt sometimes myself, I don't mind her so much.

Janice spent an hour and a half discussing the training.  It's my opinion that with some training of her own, she could have easily shaved 30 minutes off that time.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, I'm middle of the pack in terms of how serious I will be taking the training and the races.  By this, I mean people who are REALLY into it, are REALLY into it.  I, however, do not intend to buy $150 running shoes, or a $1000 race bike and I know that my $400 hybrid will do just fine as that's what I used for the Smile Train, and I'm quite happy with it.  I will probably not spend $75 to get my bike professionally fit and I won't be buying cold weather gear for outside biking.  My $2.50 knit gloves from Five Below are just fine.  This is a short race, not Kona.  My husband, since I know him so well, may get a little more carried away with things.

That being said, I am excited about the regimen.  There are nine of us in all - some have done tri's, some are swimmers, some are runners only.  We all have something to gain.  We're looking at two hours each week of each event - so six hours training.  That's not too bad.  A couple of hour-long swims, two bike rides or cycle classes, and two runs per week.  I can handle that in my busy mom schedule.  I'm also looking very forward to learning some tips and improving my swim-to-bike transition and transition times in general (they weren't so good for Smile Train!), and hopefully keeping myself from getting injured.

I will post more info as the training begins (next week).  I did hop on the bike today for a nice 12-mile ride on the greenways and clearly, it's been a while since I biked (a new teenage puppy in October seriously derailed me (no pun intended!!!)  But here I go, into a bold new year!!

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