Sunday, November 13, 2011

A dozen lessons from a half-dozen triathlons

I received an email in May about the Ramblin Rose Women-only Triathlon. The tag line: YOU CAN DO THIS. I had not done a triathlon in six years. Two weeks later, as prophesied, I did it. My swimming was abonimable, but it was great fun. Afterwards, I resolved to do one triathlon a month until the season ended.
May: Ramblin Rose Raleigh
June: The Smile Train
July: Triangle Triathlon
August: Rex Wellness Triathlon
September: Dash for Divas
October: Sportsplex Triathlon
In the spirit of progress, here are things I learned throughout the season... some of which I learned the hard way.
1. WARM UP, YOU GOOF! It may be fine to workout without a warmup, but on race day, warming up puts your mind in the right place.
2. Make friends with neighbors in the transition area and in swim start. It reduces nerves, and gives you someone to look for along the course.
3. Check the bike for mechanicals before the race. Chains fall off and brakes get disconnected.
4. Transition times can cost you several places on overall rankings. If you aren’t going to win anyway, it probably doesn’t matter.
5. The only people who passed me on the bike this year were guys sporting $12K worth of triathlon gear and 30lb of extra gut. That stuff must really work.
6. There are a lot of men with $12K worth of gear and 30lb of extra gut.
7. There are a lot of women with department store bikes and 30lb of extra gut.
8. There of no women with $12K gear and a gut, and no men with department store bikes and a gut. Also, for the record I never saw a woman with a TT helmet. TT helmets are a little bit silly for a sprint triathlon.
9. For me, swimming is best treated as a slow, zen-like process. It will end. I will not drown. I will not beat anybody. In the meantime, I'm weightless. Enjoy the feeling.
10. Triathlon is a solitary sport. Open your eyes and enjoy the scenery. Open your ears and enjoy the rhythmic sound of your own breath.
11. The Music. Really. Really. Sucks. Really. A lot. At women-only races, it is even worse.
12. The best feeling in a race: when somebody cheers for you by name (even a stranger). If that somebody is your husband, or your parents, it’s extra motivating, If it’s your own kids, it’s a dose of heaven.
I hope to resume the one-tri-a-month schedule next Spring, and in the meantime I am planning for one running event a month. We will see how that goes.


Anonymous said...

Do some races that don't ask your kids to wake up at 5:00am and we'll be there!!!!

LizardBreath said...

Make room for me once I am done with my upcoming trips! I, make the we!, had a great time in August! Can't wait to do it again!

Cat said...

I can't wait, either! When you are a "free woman" someday, we should plan to do one or two together every year!