Friday, March 03, 2006

things I wish I knew

Things I wish I knew before I did my first sprint triathlon:

1. That it's good to get there early, but it's really not necessary to get there at 5:30am when the race starts at 8....and you're the first car in the entire parking lot

2. That tri is best done with FRIENDS--thanks, TriShannon!

3. That open water swimming is NOTHING--repeat, NOTHING--like swimming in a pool
a. Perhaps this would have helped me to know as I went full speed ahead, just like in the pool....and ran into a BUOY WITH MY HEAD
i. and make sure that your goggles case you hit a buoy with your head

4. That mountain bikes really aren't that fast, no matter how hard ya pedal

5. That at mile 2 of the run, some really fit-looking girl with a 6-pack stomach flew by me and said, "You go, girl" as she passed me--wait, she just passed me and ENCOURAGED ME? What kind of wacked out sport IS this? When you strike someone out, you don't smile and say, "That's OK, maybe you'll hit me next time." This was strange to me, but in a good way

6. Adding to #5: That triathlon is the most supportive sport out there--it doesn't matter what your skill level or how fast OR slowly you just matters that you are there giving it your all, and everyone is there to help you cross that line

7. That despite finishing 3rd from last in age group, within the next year I would start bringing home AG hardware in most sprints that I "tri-ed"

Things I wish I knew before I did my first Olympic-Distance Tri:

1. Wow. That's a LOT longer swim...especially in Lake Erie when the water's REALLY choppy

2. I'd rather not know the bacteria count in the water was at an all time high before I got in it

3. But realistically that knowledge DID make my arse move pretty darn fast

4. Aerobars make a HUGE DIFFERENCE

5. When re-racking your bike at T2, do it quickly, but not SPASTICALLY SO YOU KNOCK OVER AN ENTIRE ROW OF BIKES
a. yep, I'm "that guy"

6. 10K is tough to race...short enough you feel like you need to hammer, but HARD to do so, especially after 24.9 miles on the bike

7. The Great Lakes Escape is a great course, but pretty hard to run on sand dunes

8. But I won some sweet tri-shorts, to make up for my lack of qualifying for Alcatraz

9. But I don't feel so bad because the girl that did is a nationally ranked triathlete and I was honored to even be competing in her presence!

10. That this distance made me wonder if I could do MORE....

Things I wish I knew before I did my first Half-IM

1. That the swim wasn't as scary as I thought....hey, am I actually getting better at this thing?????

2. That the start would be delayed for an hour and a half due to FOG

3. That this would make my run begin at 2:00pm in a bright, sunny, cloudless day of 82 degrees

4. That putting on 30 SPF at 8am doesn't cut it

5. That it's the FOLLOWING MARCH and I still have ridiculous tan/burn lines on my back and legs

6. That I could reach my goal time on the bike, which I really doubted I could do

7. That I did not come even remotely close to reaching my goal time on the run, since I did all my summer training runs at the nice cool hour of 7am....yeah, that's not really what my race-day conditions were

8. That I am proud to say I did not walk at all in the run, and I may have been slow, but I made it

9. That somehow I finished ahead of my amazing running coach who I respect TREMENDOUSLY
a. Ahead only by about 10 seconds though....she kicked my BUTT on the run cuz she's AWESOME

10. That I could shatter my goal of breaking 7 hours

11. That I have the world's most supportive husband and family, who drove 3 1/2 hours just to see me and some even stayed for the end

12. That I did this just 6 days after signing up for IM Wisconsin, and it made that mouse click feel a little bit better

Things I wish I knew before my first IM.....

Hmmmm.......well, you'll have to wait on this one. In the meantime, any IM Veterans out there want to throw in their 2 cents? Or maybe more? :)


Jonathan said...

Things I wish I knew...
1. Start slow and taper.
2. Every athlete is a basket case and needs a good shrink. How many times did I stress over (and hear others stess over) what to put in special needs bag (which in the end I never used), where to put the reflective tape for the run leg, what flavor GUs to pack, how many spare tires should I bring, is my bike even going to show up, and the list goes on...
3. Figure out how to pee on the bike. Making 7-8 restroom stops takes you out of rhythm. This works better for men.
4. I know buying cases of beer and alcohol may seem like a good idea for a post race celebration, but trust me, your stomach won't allow for it.
5. Be prepared for anything. Including a snot rocket landing on your leg...from another athlete!
6. Enjoy every moment of the event from the pre-race swims, expo, butterflies in the stomach moments before the cannon fires, all aspects of the race and most importantly...crossing the finish line!

qcmier said...

Just wait till the summer time and I'll make sure we do some runs in the scorching heat. You'll be sloshing in your shoes.

Flatman said...

Great post! Thanks for the insight...

Cliff said...

Way to head butt the buoy in your first sprint tri, Sara :)

I love those tans I get from running and biking. In the summer, when I get tan, I turn dark..err i mean black.

TryAthlete said...

Hahahahahaha. Honestly, I can't wait to read the "Things IM Wisconsin taught me" list.

DaisyDuc said...

You are just too funny and now I will have to wait with anticipation for your ironman installment!

All good tips for me to keep in mind for my first tri's coming up this summer.

Chad Austin said...

"That mountain bikes really aren't that fast, no matter how hard ya pedal."

"Aerobars make a HUGE DIFFERENCE."

Hmm, aerobars on a mountain bike? I'd like to see that. :-)

Hopefully you bought a new bike for IM Moo.

rob reddy said...

1. the run is like no other run you have ever done - you will walk a lot - be mentally prepared for that - folks who say "i'm gonna run the whole run no matter what/that is my goal' get VERY dejected.

2. Perpare mentally as much as you prepare physically.

3. Your nutrition plan is the most important thing you will develop - test it out well before the big day - if you bonk in IM you are screwed

4. if you can't whistle while ridding your 112 you are going too fast.

5. the focus is to always keep moving forward no matter how.

6. there will be highs and lows - keep it all in perspective - 'this too shall pass' is a favorite IM vet saying - goes for trainig as much as race day

Jamie said...

This is a great post!

E-Speed said...

LOL about the mountain bike. My husband still can't understand why i got my road bike after just purchasing a hybrid the year before. Who knew I would be so slow?

Papa Louie said...

Great post!
Experience is the best lesson. But it is nice to get pointers from others. Maybe in 3 years I can give you some pointers on IM.

Kewl Nitrox said...

Thanks for that! I identify with all the learnings from the sprint tri and was smiling as I read them.

The Oly tri learning, I am eagerly reading and trying to remember them for my 1st Oly tri in July. I can already identify with the swim and run being so much tougher than the Sprint. Totally cannot identify with wanting to do MORE though... :)

Just12Finish said...

Being only a runner, I really enjoyed your funny insights swimming and biking!

Unfortunately, I also read the comments here. Bit tough to erase the "snot rocket" image once you've read it, know what I mean?!

Kevin B said...

Since I am venturing into an Olympic sized event this year, I guess I will breakdown and buy the aerobars - thanks for the tip. During my first open water swim I was way to busy trying not to drown to even notice if I ran into a buoy or girl - mostly from running into the water way too fast. The lesson - unless you are very practiced - leave from the beach at a nice pace that will allow you to breathe when you start swimming (or just choose events where they have in water starts)

Rae said...

Those must be some serious tan lines! I love jonathon's tip #3 about learning to pee on the bike! You'll really have to share some tips on that with us!

Keryn said...

I'm frantically taking notes here. :) Thanks for the tips!