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Triathlon. Me?!!!

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  • Triathlon. Me?!!!

    So Tigerlily suggested a triathlon as a goal for me, specifically the Danskin next summer. It's been rattling around my head all morning, which is usually a sign I'm about to have a whim and GO FOR IT. I hate swimming (even in a pool), I'm dangerous on a bike, and (until discovering VFFs) dislike running. But hey, running is now much more fun. I just ran a mile around the soccer fields before watching my son play. Furthest I've run in probably 30 years.

    So maybe I can overcome my fear of water and bikes and do this crazy thing? Seems no more crazy than not using shampoo, eating butter, or walking around barefoot

    So...two concerns. Doesn't something like this translate into chronic cardio? And second....how do I approach something like this without getting injured along the way? I do have a tendency to overdo it. I downloaded Slow Fat Triathlete onto my Kindle, and that may well answer some of the second question, but I'm very interested to hear experiences/recommendations from primal-folk.
    Last edited by lizch; 10-30-2010, 10:39 AM.
    Liz.

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

  • #2
    heh heh heh. I've gotten to you! That's what happened to me too when I was first introduced to the concept. Completely rocked my world.

    Granted, something like the Iron Man IS overtraining (as Mark will tell you), but this is a short-distance ("sprint") tri: 1/2-mile swim, 12-mile bike, 3-mile run. I've seen a 250-pound woman finish (and finish STRONG!) in just under 2 hours. This is not chronic cardio! If you need to, you can walk the run part (or walk part of it). The swim is for sure the most intimidating, but you can do any stroke you need to -- I've seen backstrokers, I've seen doggy-paddlers! As far as the cycling goes, you can train out any clumsiness. I hadn't been on a bike since I was 8 years old when I began training for my first Danskin. And I could only swim to save my life. (I ended up having to take swim classes.)

    Inspiration:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E9miwR-Ajk
    (What did I tell you about the tears?! It's hugely emotional.)


    There is a wealth of free sprint tri training info online:

    http://www.danskintriathlon.net/

    http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/

    Also, there will be an optional formal 8(?)-week training program leading up to the Danskin, but it's not free. (You meet up with the coach and other women in person and practice open-water swimming and the transitions together.)

    They have the Danskins all over the US throughout the summer -- Florida, Texas, Chicago, NY/NJ area, California, Seattle, more....
    Last edited by TigerLily; 10-30-2010, 02:28 PM.
    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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    • #3
      A short triathlon like that sounds kinda fun, although a half-mile swim is a hell of a long way if you hate swimming.
      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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      • #4
        I ain't gonna lie: The swim is the worst part for most folks (myself included). Luckily, it is up first, and then it's over and done with.

        I wasn't going to let something like a little fear stop me, though.

        For the Danskin, they have "water angels"--volunteers out in the water to help you if you panic and get into trouble. They have buoys and floats you can stop at and hang onto for a bit, if need be.
        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
          .... although a half-mile swim is a hell of a long way if you hate swimming.
          True. And although barefoot running seems to make running more fun, I'm not willing to see if bare swimming makes that more fun, for both modesty AND hypothermia reasons
          Liz.

          Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
          Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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          • #6
            Oh, there are also such things as duathlons -- cycling and running. I'm not sure about sprint duathlons, however.

            Regardless, event training with a goal to cross the finish line strong, rather than exercising for weight loss or getting a saggy butt lifted up, can be a very powerful, wonderful, paradigm-shifting thing for many women. (Sticking to the short-distance events, so as not to get into chronic cardio and overtraining.)
            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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            • #7
              I think that's what has me intrigued by your fabulous suggestion....this would be a challenge mentally and physically, it would yank me out of my comfort zone. It would feel like I was missing out on part of that if I didn't face the swimming part!

              How did you train for your first? With a group, on your own, or with a trainer? Did you train evenly for all three parts, or start with one and add the other two over time?
              Liz.

              Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
              Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

              Comment


              • #8
                Liz: I've gotta head out to work, so I'll answer in more detail later. But, for now, I'll say that I trained for my first with a group of other women with a triathlete when I was living in the Bay Area. Especially for the first one, I'd highly recommend that rather than going at it solo. You'll make many new friends and will have all the support and formal preparation you'd ever need. Plus, race day is so much more fun with a bunch of people you know there with you; it's a party. I know for a fact that Seattle has many such training groups. The Danskin is huge in Seattle. (I'm not sure if Redmond is a suburb of Seattle? I'm on the other end of the state -- just across the river from Portland.)
                "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                • #9
                  Thanks TigerLily!

                  Yes, Redmond is east of Seattle, about 20 miles. Sounds like you're down in Vancouver?
                  Liz.

                  Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                  Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    more inspiration/info:

                    http://aliedwards.com/2010/08/seattl...triathlon.html
                    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                    • #11
                      Definitely join a group for training. Helps motivate you and they usually provide training tips. The group I worked with even did mini races to get you prepared and comfortable. These help a lot with the transitions.

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                      • #12
                        Liz:

                        Yes, I am down in Vancouver. But it's likely that I'll be moving to Seattle if/when (more like when) my department at work is outsourced. Ideally, I'd like to be laid off around April so I can take my own sweet time packing and moving and then join up with a Seattle training group.

                        So, as I was saying earlier, down in the Bay Area in 2003 or 2004, I joined a group of women and trained with a certified trainer who was also a triathlete and had also completed the Danskin numerous times. No one in the group had ever done anything even close to a sprint tri! This was not an official Danskin-sponsored training program, so I don't know exactly how they do theirs, but since Sharon (our fearless leader) had participated in some form or fashion everything Danskin Tri and had gone to the (very optional) weekend camp, I'm sure it was structured similarly, if not identically.

                        Starting off, it is understood that you need to be able to swim and have a fair stroke down and you need to be able to ride a bike without bobbling around. If you don't have these under your belt, you'll need to work on this prior to the start of the formal training. They will NOT teach you how to swim or how to ride a bike. I needed help with the swimming and, as I said earlier, hadn't been on a bike since I was 8, so I started on my own before the group commenced. I didn't even HAVE a bike, so I had to buy one (used, of course).

                        We met every week, once a week, for (I think?) 8-9 weeks. We also had "homework" that we did on our own, sometimes getting together with a few other women in the group informally to train together. We got a syllabus, of sorts, that laid everything out for us, day by day, week by week, what to train on on our own. In the very beginning, each week we just worked on one element. Later, we practiced transitions/bricks--going directly from the swim into the transition and going immediately into the bike, without stopping. (We did shortened versions at first--not full distance.) The next time we practiced doing the bike (a shortened distance), practiced the transition, then launched into the run (or walk). We did several open water swims, as that is without a doubt the most intimidating part, with you sucking down the choppy water and legs flailing all about your head. You will see on race day very clearly who has practiced in the open water and who hasn't.

                        Something to watch out for: It's a big time commitment, especially that last month, and many of the women with families expressed difficulty juggling work, kids, a neglected husband, and neglected housework. Also, it will become THE topic of conversation. You will be all into it, but the people around you will get sick of hearing about the "T" word. If you already have a very full schedule, it might not be right for you until the kids are older and/or you've got less on your plate. Just letting you know in advance.

                        Ginger
                        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                        • #13
                          Thanks, Ginger!

                          I definitely need to work on the swimming part. I can swim, but I can't do freestyle very well, and can't abide having my head below the water. I've read that it's possible to breaststroke the whole way, but every reference I've found has made it sound like that's very unusual. Luckily, the public pool 4 miles from my house is reopening tomorrow after an extended closure, so I'll look there for swim classes.

                          I also need to get more comfortable running. I've done so little, and the little I've done has all been wearing Vibrams. Can't think it would be a good idea to ramp up mileage wearing those any time soon, but I'm loathe to switch to regular running shoes since I hate running in those. So I need to puzzle over whether to VERY gradually add on to my walking by running in the VFFs, or whether I need to just bite the bullet and switch to shoes.

                          The final piece I'll tackle is the bike. I'll need to buy one. (My now 17 year old was hit by a car while riding my bike 3 years ago. Wrote off the bike, did $4000 worth of damage to the car, but thankfully left him in one piece.Thank god for helmets!) I will hold off on investing in a new bike until I'm comfortable enough with the running and swimming that I have faith I can actually do this thing next summer.

                          Thanks for the warning on the time commitment. Luckily, I work from home with no fixed hours (other than teaching childbirth classes 2 evenings a week) and my youngest kid is nearly 11, so life's a heck of lot less committed than it was even 4 years ago. On the other hand, the risk of overstraining my family's eye-rolling muscles is extremely high, given how bored the family is of me and primal already
                          Liz.

                          Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                          Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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                          • #14
                            I spent waaaaay too much time stressing out about learning the freestyle stroke with my head in the water and the proper breathing. For the life of me, I simply could not get my breathing coordinated! Turns out I didn't even need to do that and, in fact, it was even preferable that I didn't do the face-in-the-water breathing as open-water swimming makes it very difficult. If you watch Iron Man footage (plenty available on YouTube, for inspiration), everybody is doing freestyle. But the Danskin is geared toward women first-timers (although elite athletes do compete in the Danskin -- they'll be done with the whole thing before you and I even get out of the water, haha!), so there's not that pressure to do freestyle. There are a lot of breast-strokers and even more doing what is a sort of freestyle stroke with the face held above water. I saw a few backstrokers and, at the back of the pack, the doggy-paddlers.

                            As far as the bike, don't feel like you need to spend a lot of money. Bikes there will run the gamut from $6000 down to Huffys. I did my first tri in a bike that was about two steps up from a Huffy and did not feel out of place at all.

                            For some reason, I was thinking you had much younger kids. You know, doing something so powerful for yourself will be so good for your kids to see.
                            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                            • #15
                              Oh that's a relief on the breaststroke!!! I really think they should do some sort of publicity work to separate "triathlon" from "ironman"...all my preconceptions seem to be based on ironman-esque events. Still, 8 lengths of a swimming pool (let alone open water) is going to be a stretch, whatever stroke I use, so I'll definitely need to ramp up there.

                              My kids are 10, 12, 17 and 20, and they all go up a year between Dec 31st and Feb 5th (there's a 5 week period when I should not be left alone in a room with my husband!!!). Only three of them are still home, and the 17 year old will be leaving for a college next year. Before I know it I'll be an empty nester!

                              Thanks, you're such a useful resource as a contemplate this (which is just as well, since YOU are the one who got me thinking about it.... )
                              Liz.

                              Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                              Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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