I’ve been at this triathlon thing for a few years now and I’ve come to learn a lot about myself.
This year, of course, will be the true test as I prepare for Ironman Canada in August. As January comes to an end, so does the first month of training. It was aggressive. I mean, we were swimming 2000+ yards three times a week during Week 1. Swim-Bike and Swim-Run bricks were introduced in Week 2. And today’s workout marked the first Bike-Run brick (33 miles + 2 miles).
Here are a few observations that run through my head as I plan my training, map my routes, actually do the workouts, hydrate and eat accordingly, and recover:
- I am not good at practicing proper nutrition when I train because I am more concerned about my weight than proper fuel. This needs to change, and fast.
- I prefer a loop to an out-and-back. I prefer a loop so much that I will re-route myself mid-ride (sometimes making it harder) just so that I don’t have to simply turn around and re-ride the same course backwards.
- I am pleasantly surprised that I have become a strong swimmer. Considering I couldn’t make it 25 yards without stopping to catch my breath at the other side when I started, I have come a long way. I owe it all to that swim clinic, and the subsequent time I’ve spent in the pool practicing what I learned.
- I am tired of men and their egos. A guy can very clearly be out for a leisurely stroll while I’m out for a serious training ride when I pass him. He will then go into heart attack mode to re-pass me, just to save a little face. Get over yourself.
- I’d be lost without my Garmin. (Not literally – ha!) I am addicted to the data and won’t train without it. As my friend Ryan says, “If I didn’t track it, it didn’t happen.”
- I need a professional bike fit in the worst way. I have owned my bike (a Specialized Roubaix Expert, purchased before I got into triathlon) for 4 years and have never been all that comfortable on it. My shoulders pinch and my hands go numb at the wrist, among other things.
- After all this time, the Bike-Run bricks never get easier for me. Not even during a real race.
- My stomach doesn’t do well on the engineered food like gels and chews. I need to find REAL FOOD that offers quick sugar/energy to fill this void. Dates filled with peanut butter are great, but too messy.
- My typical hydration is a bottle of water and a bottle of FRS on the bike. I like to run with a bottle of Nuun and take plain water at the aid stations. This has been working well for me.
- I am not a snob, especially when it comes to my workout gear. Being unemployed for 2+ years contributed to this, and it also proved that I don’t need all the highest-tech gear to get my training hours/miles in. Time trumps gear.
- I don’t have a go-to recovery food. Sometimes I’ll have chocolate milk. Sometimes I’ll have a beer. Today, I had a slice of a kid’s birthday cake and a glass of cheap red wine. It did the job.
- Naming our dog has had the exact effect I hoped it would: a positive connotation with lots and lots of Miles.
Am I really a triathlete?? So many of the people whose stories I follow and carouse with are much more scientific about this whole thing. Every calorie is planned and accounted for. Every piece of gear has been chosen. Every training route is executed without question. And yet, this works for me. I don’t take it too seriously and still manage to come across the finish line in reasonably good spirits each time. To each her own!
What have you learned about yourself over time? And does anyone have a suggestion on what I can do about real food??