April 22, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday Linkup-Bike

This is the second part of the Tri Talk Tuesday link-up with my fellow triathlete bloggers: CynthiaMiranda and Courtney. This week we are discussing the bike portion of a triathlon. If you missed last week we discussed the swim. I'll give you a wild guess what next week's topic is going to be?

Here's a quick list of some of my favorite tips relating to the bike. And a few things you should to know before you race.
  •  Invest in a comfortable pair of bike or tri shorts. A pair of bike shorts is a must when riding your bike. New riders often get sore in the saddle area and a decent pair of padded shorts will help. The difference between bike shorts and tri shorts is the thickness of the padding. You can swim in a pair of tri shorts, you don't want to swim in a pair of bike shorts! I prefer my Coeur Sports Tri shorts for all rides. They are unique because the padding runs all the way down the inside of the leg. There is no irritating seam in the crotch area. A great investment as you can swim bike and run in these shorts.

  • Practice bike to run transitions Your legs feel entirely different when you try to run after biking for awhile. It's a strange sensation at first and you almost feel like you are going in slow motion. To simulate how you will feel on race-day you will want to practice this transition ahead of time.
  • Get properly fitted on your bike Not being properly fitted on your bike could make life miserable for a new rider. Your shoulders can start to hurt, your low back will ache and all you want to do is get off the bike! A proper bike fit will help you in the long run. It will make those long rides much more comfortable. I recently had my bike fitted by a professional and am wondering why I waited so long. My local bike shop analyzed my riding form and made several adjustments (especially to my aerobars). I took the bike on a long ride after those adjustments and was very pleased with the results. And if you ride a tri bike I recommend asking the bike shop if they have experience fitting someone on a tri bike.

  •  Ride your bike as often as you can I have mentioned it before...indoor cycling classes are a wonderful tool to get you in shape for the bike portion of a triathlon. But they are not as effective as riding outside on your own bike. Time spent in your own saddle is extremely important. Prior to race-day you want to know how your bike handles on the road, on turns, how the saddle feels after several hours and what it's like to shift into the big and little gears. These are all things you don't do on a spin bike and it's something that must be practiced before you actually race. It's also a good excuse to have a little girl-time on the bike. So grab a friend and get outside and ride!

  • Carry the correct equipment in your saddle bag and know how to change a flat  Last week I also discussed what someone should carry with them in their saddle bag. If you missed the post you can read it here: Saddle Bag. It's also very important to know how to fix a flat on your bike. 

Thanks for joining me on Tri Talk Tuesday. Visit one of the above-mentioned pages to view additional Tri Talk Tuesday posts. If you have a blog related to triathlon please feel free to link-up. 

April 15, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday Linkup- Swim

This week I am linked-up with 3 other triathlon bloggers (Cynthia from You Signed Up for WhatMiranda from Cupcake Triathlete and Courtney from TriGirl Chronicles) to discuss the swim portion of a triathlon. Linking up is a good way to find other blogs in your niche and to connect with some new people. The purpose of this link up is to connect specifically triathlete bloggers with one another on a different topic each week. This week we are discussing the swim. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let me share with you how my first swim experience went down. It wasn't pretty.

My first open water swim (OWS) was in Lake Mead for my second triathlon. I've swam in Lake Mead before and I thought how hard can it be? Then again my so called "swimming in Lake Mead" really meant jumping off the back of the boat while keeping your hand up so you don't spill your Coors as you jump in.

Again how hard could it be?

The morning of Pumpkinman triathlon I pulled on my wetsuit for the first time (fail #1) and panicked because the long sleeves felt way too tight! My breathing started getting faster and faster and I felt like I was going to choke. I began waving my arms over my head to see if I would even be able to lift them at all and I couldn't. I couldn't move my arms so I grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting the sleeves off. My brother and his wife (aka Mr. and Mrs. Ironman) looked on in horror and tried to talk me down off  "the ledge." It was either swim with the suit or without at this point. I chose to swim with it.

I stood on the edge of Mead frozen like a statute looking at the other waves starting their swim and didn't dare get in the water to warm-up (fail #2). My wave was announced and I turned to Mr. and Mrs. Ironman and told them I was going to barf. I think they just said, "go have fun and you'll be ok!" The gun went off and I put my face down in the water and saw darkness, mud and bits of plants under me. I immediately pulled my head up for fear that I was going to see a giant Carp like the ones near the dock from the day before.
I'm pretty sure my heart rate was well in the 200's at this point. I couldn't get my breathing under control and was being kicked and punched by other swimmers as they swam over me. I finally pulled off to the side and flipped over on my back and looked up at the sky. Something about the blue sky calmed me. I took some long deep breaths as I felt the panic attack coming on and just kept focusing on the sky. After a few minutes I got myself under control and swam. I closed my eyes a lot during the swim because every time I looked at the bottom of the lake I feared seeing a fish and it would immediately bring me back into panic mode.

I followed the trail of other swimmers and probably dog paddled most of the time. But I was so glad when I spotted the big arch that meant water exit. I couldn't have been happier to see that arch. I got out as fast as I could but had trouble getting my wetsuit off. It was then that I remembered that in a hurry that morning I skipped using any Body Glide or TriSlide (fail #3). It took several volunteers to pry it off me and I even wished I had packed those darn scissors, I considered cutting the darn thing off.

I've since done several other open water swims and found each one gets easier and easier. I have learned to relax in the water and while I still fear the fish, I just talk myself down when I start to think about it. I bought a new wetsuit (a sleeveless) and that made a huge difference in my comfort level.

This fall I will return once again to swim in Lake Mead for Silverman 70.3. Here's to hoping it goes a lot smoother this time!

Have you ever done an open water swim? How did you feel the first time? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Do you have a triathlon blog? Would you like to link up? Visit one of the blogs listed at the beginning of this post to include your link.