Thursday, November 29, 2012

40 Rules of Triathlon

You've head of "The Rules." Well, this version is for the triathletes out there. A friend sent this to me and it was too good not to share. You may recognize yourself in some of the items below or at least know someone who fits the bill! Enjoy! 


#1. Not everyone thinks what you do is awesome. Most think you’re a bit nuts, and they’re right. Remember that at your next cocktail party. 

#2. No race jerseys of races you haven’t raced in, especially if the distance is longer than you’ve been. T-shirts are exempt. If you roll up in an Ironman France jersey, be prepared to explain how you handled the Cole de I’Ecre. 

Nice would be nice . . . maybe next year!

#3. Only refer to courses/segments/people by their nicknames. Highway 19 is unacceptable. It’s called the Queen K, and Crowie owned it. And Macca before him. Don’t let this happen again. Pay ‘N Save Hill. Look it up. 

Going to see this guy next week!

#4. Training in rough conditions makes you tough. A little rain or heat won’t make you melt, buttercup.

There's no crying in triathlon . . . 

#5. A reality check should be performed once per year. MIT is not going to test the effectiveness of brick workouts. The rolling resistance “expert” uses a 100 pound sac in his garage for testing. Not all wind tunnels can even record data at the slow speeds we ride. Not everything that glitters is gold. 

#6. Gadgets are strongly encouraged. An old pair of shorts and some Keds are not our gig. You absolutely need every item that is out there. Afterall, we invented aerobars. If we stop with the gadgets, who the hell would cyclists copy? 

#7. Feelings are for Oprah, use your data. If you own a heart rate monitor and/or a powermeter, yet train just by RPE, then you either don’t know how to use it or you’re embarrassed by what it’s telling you. 

#8. If you’ve raced the distance, it counts. If you’ve trained the distance, it doesn’t. Nailing a training day is one thing, nailing a racing day is quite another. Please don’t confuse the two. Ironman/marathon/etc. only counts if you are in there mixing it up. I’m the heavyweight champion of the world if we don’t have to actually compete. 

#9. The number of logos allowed on a race kit are equal to that of NASCAR. In other words, go nuts. Only Wimbledon and the ITU restrict logos to the point of communism. 

#10. Ironman tattoos are perfectly acceptable. You just finished one of the toughest days of your life. A bit of ink is just fine. Don’t let douche bags rain on your accomplishment. 

The only tattoo I'd ever consider: 

Love this one:
#11. No buckets. It’s doesn’t matter how well thought out your transition is, don’t bring a bucket unless you plan to paint parking lines on the concrete or are going fishing after the race. 


#12. Shave. You’re representing a group of people generally regarded as some of the fittest in the world. It’s a hot, sweaty, sometimes muddy sport, that keeps clothes to a minimum. Hanging out all day with gorilla legs and a hairy back does not make you a good steward of the sport. Clean it up. 



Or this?

Uhhh, let me think about that one . . .  

#13. Learn who the pros are. In this sport everyone likes to think they’re the next big deal. Do yourself a favor and learn the names of those who actually make a living at being a badass. 

She's awesome:

#14. Support the sponsors. They pay money so you can have a great time. Don’t spend 45 minutes picking their brain and then head to the ‘net so you can save 3 bucks. That will get you flogged. 

#15. Exaggeration of training is perfectly fine. Just keep in mind that Rule #39 is still in effect at all times. 

#16. Drinking and triathlon are first cousins. Embrace your first cousin. There’s a reason beer is offered at 9 am at the race. Because we love it. Science has actually shown that a buzz and runner’s high is very similar, and endurance athletes drink more than your average bear. 

Will Tri for Beer! Cheers!

#17. It’s a transition area, not your hotel room. Spreading out all your stuff for transition beyond 1 small towel is not acceptable. 1 bag limit. 


Not Good: 

#18. White race kits are only allowed if you know your body well. Really well. If you’ve ever worried about poo leg on a long run, then white is not for you. Ladies, if you are expecting a visit from your “Aunt Flow” then white is not for you. I don’t think I need to say anymore. 

#19. Qualifying for Kona and your local “wellness” or “anti aging” clinic do not go together. If by some coincidence you decide your wanker doesn’t work right the exact same time you’re trying to get to Kona, stop everything and look for a new sport. Getting HGH, Testosterone and EPO shots in the name of ‘aging’ or wiener health won’t fly here. There are sports where cheating seem to be acceptable like here and here, so try those sports. This isn’t one of em. 

#20. This sport has a history, learn some it. If you don’t know who the Big Four are, unfamiliar with the ’82 Moss Crawl, or think the Ironwar has something to do with the Industrial Age, then you got some reading to do. 

Amazing people: 


#21. No “trunks” in the pool. Look, we get it that you’re a little self conscious wearing a skin tight swimsuit. Get over it. I promise you that you will get 10X more comments trying to swim laps in basketball shorts than you will a jammer.

Not for triathlon: 

#22. It’s OK to hate swimming, but you still have to do it. It’s not OK to use your wetsuit as a life preserver. Learn to swim. If you don’t there’s a sport called duathlon just waiting for you. 

#23. Learn to circle swim. You really don’t need the whole lane to yourself. Stay to the right. 

#24. Complaining about the water makes you look like a sissy. This is a tough sport. The distances are tough, the conditions are tough and the people are tough. Whining that the water isn’t as clear as your last trip to Grand Cayman isn’t winning you any cool points there Nancy. 

#25. Learn Flipturns. You can pick the person out racing in high-tops right away. You get the idea. 

#26. Obey the law – Nothing gives us a worse reputation than someone blowing through a red light like he’s above it all. The law applies to vehicles. You’re on a vehicle. Don’t be a douche. Obey the law. 

#27. Don’t ride with headphones. Save the Rocky Soundtrack for your run. Your ears are needed to help keep you alive on the bike. Plus, depending on your state, it’s illegal. See Rule #26 

#28. Support yourself. Others should not be obligated to babysit you on your ride. Flat tires should not take a village to fix. 

#29. No aero helmets in training. While you might ride a whopping .2 mph faster, you will look like an absolute dork. 

#30. Save the race wheels for the race. Yes, the bike does look cooler with $2,000 wheels, but your wallet will be thinner when a pot hole or rock crack that carbon. Leave some sizzle for the race. 

#31. Learn to ride in a group. Wobbling down the road being afraid of anything around you is no way to go through life. 

#32. Hold your line. Erratic movements in a group ride will take everyone out. Tighten it up. 

#33. Don’t make accordions. Taking a turn up front is expected and appreciated, but not if you floor it the moment you take the reins, The guy 20 people back is going to get dropped by moves like that. Accelerate slowly so everyone can play. 

#34. No shorts over your cycling shorts. Sister to Rule #21. Dress like you know what you’re doing. 

#35. Learn to pee on yourself. You’ll spend $5,000 dollars to shave 55 seconds but won’t pee down your leg to save 3 minutes?

Just say no: 


#36. The engine always trumps the rig. Always. 

#37. Be on time, but don’t leave early. If the group ride or run is scheduled for 7 am, courtesy allows for 5 minutes. That means that sometime between 7 and 7:05 the wheels start rolling. If you roll up in your car at 7am and think everyone should wait for you to assemble your bike and pump up your tires, think again. Likewise, convincing the group to leave at 6:54 because you have a t-ball game is just bad form. 

#38. No tan-lines allowed. This is not cycling. A farmer’s tan doesn’t make you look cool in anyway. The only exception is cycling short lines. Those are permitted, but need to be laser sharp. 

#39. If you decide to talk the talk, be prepared to walk the walk. See also Rule #15. If you claim 3 hours at 300 watts, you’ll be expected to prove it. 

#40. Crawling is an acceptable mode of transportation. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done, and this sport is about getting the job done.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The most important triathlon

My husband and I went to a party last week, one where the guests are asked to make up a poem to go with a theme. This year's theme was the Olympics--If you could choose your Olympic event, real or fake, what would it be? 

Triathlon, of course, was the sport we chose. However, there's a twist: I've always thought my real triathlon was the one I participate in each day--raising three daughters!

There's this triathlon (for fun) . . .
. . . And then there's this triathlon (the most important one)
Here is our poem:

Triathlon is our Olympic sport
But not the tri of the usual sort

This one’s not a swim, bike, run
It’s raising daughters 3, 2 & 1

With the first one’s birth we were swimming upstream
Desperate to get our baby to dream

Then along came our 2nd daughter
And we had to pedal even harder

To keep up with a toddler and infant
Required Hammer Gels and Infinit

And just when we were up to speed
Along came daughter #3

Which required us to run even faster
To escape from imminent disaster

11 years of training done
And mostly it’s been lots of fun

While raising daughters we’ve grown old
In our quest for parenting gold

But we have 3 great girls who are so much fun
This is one event we know we’ve won. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Knowing when to let go

My marathon quest has come to an end.

In the past month I have run/walked four half-marathons in a crazy six-week bid to run the Outer Banks Marathon.

Outer Banks Marathon & Half Marathon logo

The idea came about nearly 10 months ago as my husband and I planned our 2012 race calendar. It was to be a non-Ironman year, an "off" year, with our last triathlon of the season in late September. That race, essentially a half Ironman with a twist, was a 75.2-mile event, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 64+ mile bike, and a 10-mile run. So we considered the following . . .  

If we're running 10+ miles in September, could we simply carry on with our running after tri season ends and take on the OBX Marathon in mid-November? 

                    2007 jockeys ridge            

A scenic, flat course in a little corner of the world that I love . . . definitely worth a try! However, when it comes to running, nothing is ever simple.

My husband, plagued by piriformis syndrome for the past year, dropped his bid for OBX months ago. I, however, was running strong and injury-free. So, with my husband's full support along with that of a friend who'd agreed to travel to the OBX with me, I continued on my quest . . . one that began out of curiosity--how far can I  push myself?--and progressed through stages of determination, hope, certainty, frustration and denial before ending up at my present state--peace.

But, throughout this quest, I've been unbalanced--my mind playing the mediator between a spirit that has been "all in" and a body that's been unsure and hesitant, though gamely rising to the challenge.

You see, I am not a runner. I know, I know--"we're all runners, we were born to run." Blah, blah, blah. I've said it before and I'll say it again--running is the necessary evil of triathlon. My weakest link. I was not born with joints made of rubber and feet made of springs like the gazelles that glide past me at mach speed, seemingly effortlessly, on the run course. I'm just not built that way.


When I first started running, I was plagued by IT band and knee problems to the point that I'd finish a run and could barely climb the stairs or bend my knee. After my children were born, I tried running again and, yep, more IT band issues. Eventually, I overcame this problem--but I was also a heel striker, so it wasn't long before I was sidelined with a double dose of plantar fasciitis, which took ages to heal. While recovering from PF, I learned about Chi Running, experimented with barefoot running and switched to barefoot-style shoes, only to be set back again by a stress fracture. Ultimately, I found my "stride" by pairing Chi form with minimalist shoes and all has been good. Until now.

The IT Band has reared its ugly head again, leaving me to wonder; Where have I gone wrong? Maybe I didn't stretch enough before and after my runs, maybe I didn't do enough strength training, or maybe I just pushed myself too hard, too fast. Who knows?

This body, which has worked hard and served me well, began protesting last week toward the end of a 16-mile run. But today I barely made it past the seven mile mark of my intended 18-miler before my body shouted loud and clear: "Enough!" I walked six miles home, completing 13.5 miles with an average pace of 12:08 despite walking the last half. I could have probably called a friend to pick me up but I was determined to make it home on my own power. I couldn't run, but I could walk. So walk I did.

Without my IT Band on board, OBX is a bust. But that's okay. It really is. I don't regret going down this road and I'm at peace with both the experience and the fact that the journey has come to an end. I've challenged myself and pushed my running more than I ever have, and I've run stronger, further and faster than ever before. This particular race is not going to happen for me, but there will be other races. Many others!