Sunday, March 30, 2008
Ok, so I dropped about $120 today, but I got myself a REALLY nice pair of bike shorts at REI (Pearl Izumi Short Attack Shorts) which, amazingly enough, fit me. Maybe they're just REALLY stretchy... But they are an XL and fit me just fine. Of course, I bought them to wear UNDER some other shorts.... maybe by the time the Tri comes around I'll be body confident enough to let them fly solo :) They're $70 shorts, but we had a 20% off coupon, so after tax I got them for $61. Hopefully they will do great work towards avoiding the dreaded NCS. A big shout out (did I just freaking say shout out???) to Beth at the Schaumburg, IL REI who talked me into spending the extra $$ on the heavy duty cootchie protectors. She's doing the Danskin too, so we'll see her there! :)
After REI we went to the Campbell Street Bike Shop in Arlington Heights, IL (plug plug plug) so my Lovely Wife could look at a new bike. Tiffany (she and her hubby Peter are the owners) works for the Park District at one of the other locations, and she covers shifts at Oly for me from time to time. They are AWESOME people and I want to give them a shameless plug because the small business owners of the world need all the help they can get in this economy :) So if you need anything bike related and live in/near Chicago, go see them. They rock.
ANYWAY, at CSBS I got myself a pair of Pearl Izumi Pittards Leather Gloves so I can pad my hands as well as my butt, and a Cat Eye Velo 8 so that I can see how many miles I'm hauling my fat padded ass around *LOL* :) Oh, and a sample thingy of Chamois Butt'r. I'm guessing I'll end up going back for one of the big things of it, but I want to try it out first to make sure that I'm not allergic to it. That is NOT an area you want to have an allergy in. EEKS! Looks like a fairly safe formula, but I'm not taking ANY chances.
So, I'm done spending for a while :) But I look at all of this as an investment in me, and I like to think I'm worth it :)
More later! :)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
10. Know the course. Look at the map of the swim or go to the lake,ocean etc., itself and figure out which direction you will need to swim and when. Talk to people who have previously done the race (in past years). Also pay attention when the waves(groups of swimmers) in front of you go and watch the pattern they are swimming in. If it is legal take another racer with you and swim the course in advance.
9. Learn more than one stroke. breaststroke,backstroke, and side stroke can all be used both to give you a rest from crawl and to help you to stay on course. Fly can be used if you really want to impress people or just have them think your plain crazy.(just joking, but you probably already realized that). Using breaststroke and backstore can also help you adjust to cold water.
8. Don't forget that you have two more events to go. Don't kick like crazy on the swim. Don't go for your all time swimming record and exhaust yourself. Additionally, don't start the swim to fast either.
7. Be prepared for the next wave of swimmers. Don't swim right on the course if you are not a strong swimmer and there are more waves to come. You will most likely end up in collision with a pack of swimmers or with faster swimmers. It is easier just to stay to the side a little and not get run over.6. Be prepared to be able to swim a little further than the distance. Collisions with other swimmers, having to spot where you are going, and swimming off-course can all add extra difficulty/length to the swim. Also, in some (aka many) races the distance may not be measured accurately
5. Don't draft if you have not practiced the skill or only practiced it a little bit. At least not yet as a beginner. This is controversial, as I have seen a lot of articles and such advocating it. I don't advocate is though because, if you get to close to someones feet, you can end up getting kicked in the face and or loose your goggles. It also doesn't allow you to concentrate on your swimming-your form and your pace.
4. Concentrate on form. With all the other swimmers and trying to stay on course this can be tricky and you may only be able to focus on one element of form to correct which is fine. It gets easier over time though.
3. Don't practice open water swimming alone. No matter how good a swimmer you are you should never swim alone. Swim with another person or swim at an area with a lifeguard. In addition to safety having another person around can help you with technique.
2. Don't start at the front or middle of your wave if you are not a strong swimmer. This is a frequent mistake made by new triathletes. The natural tendency is to start further up so that you have less distance to swim, but it can be quite rough in the front or middle of the pack if you don't have much experience with open water swimming. You might also swim the first part too fast and get tired. Also don't start right behind someone try to stagger yourself so you don't get kicked by their feet when you start.
1. Don't Panic. Stay Relaxed. Also cold water can make you breathe rapidly which may make you feel like you are so nervous your breathing is being impacted. It the water is cold and this happens, relax, your body is adjusting to the water temperature and with time will adjust. Concrete on breathing deeply or visualize yourself handling the swim calmly. This will help you greatly.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Women are choosing triathlonsMarco R. della Cava
See Jane run? Hah!
See Jane run, bike and swim is more like it.
In yet another nod to today's maniacally multitasking heroines, women increasingly are finding time to make triathlons -- those famously grueling triple-feat trials that test the fittest of the fit -- their new physical and social outlet of choice.
While those diving in range from teens to octogenarians, the sport is proving especially alluring these days to 30-something moms looking to reclaim the trifecta of adjectives that defined them in their college years: athletic, competitive and connected. Not to mention happy.
If you look hot, you feel cool
All of which is why 40 women can be found on a recent Bay Area night jogging around a local college track under a patchy sky. Typical of this crew is Jenna Phillips, 35, whose teacher husband, Perrin, is back home giving a pre-bedtime bath to their two young daughters.
"I quit my job as a teacher when I had my kids. Ever since, I've been looking for something to do for myself, but nothing ever felt right," says Phillips, who is training for her first triathlon later this spring through the aptly named area sports retailer See Jane Run, which is riding the surging wave of female triathletes.
"From the first day I joined this group, I've had a perma-grin on my face," she says. "You could say I have a new perspective on life."
In decades past, fighting for equality and storming the boardrooms may have defined the Empowered Woman. But today, many seem to be subscribing to the Greek belief that perfecting the body leads to a harmony of spirit and intellect. Or put in 21st-century speak: If you look hot, you feel cool.
Evidence ranges from a proliferation of nationally-sponsored events to growing grass-roots organizations, not to mention the new businesses popping up to cater to this energized and often moneyed boomer crowd.
Events for women
Take the Danskin Women's Triathlon Series. It started modestly in 1990 when 150 women plunged into the Pacific near Long Beach, Calif. Now the series has events in eight cities; participation has rocketed from 13,000 in 2000 to 22,810 last year.
Seattle's more recent Danskin tri, as the cognoscenti call the sport, broke a record for most entrants when more than 5,000 women snapped up spots. While the biggest age group was women 30 to 49, nearly 100 of the triathletes were women 65 and older.
Danskin's success is spawning imitators. Iron Girl -- a division of the company that each year sponsors the famed Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii -- used to organize only footraces, assuming that triathlons weren't something the average woman wanted to pursue. This year, Iron Girl will stage triathlons in Irving, Texas, and Columbia, Md., with other cities possible for 2007.
Most tri newcomers start with a sprint; distances vary, but typical is a 200-yard swim, 5- to 10-mile bike and 3-mile run. The ultimate is still the Ironman: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.
"It's the tell-a-friend phenomenon that's making this grow," says Maggie Sullivan, longtime Danskin triathlon race director. "Let's face it, at the start of your first tri, it's not about who's pretty or who's rich. The playing field is leveled. At that moment, you're all scared, and you're all triathletes."
Helping women train for triathlons are organizations such as Moms in Motion, founded in 1999 by a Santa Barbara mother who wanted company while pursuing her new goal. Then, a few women joined Jamie Allison; today, 30 cities boast chapters of Moms in Motion, whose motto of "fun, fitness and philanthropy" lays out the volunteer-based mission.
"The perks of getting fit through a tri are huge," says Allison. "You look better, feel better and have more energy. You get that flushed face, that glow."
You also will need to get some gear, which is where newly thriving companies such as See Jane Run, TeamEstrogen.com and SkirtSports.com come in. Capitalizing on the fact that most tri outfitters are oriented to men, these women-only oases offer guidance geared toward a woman's body and her sense of aesthetics.
Lori Shannon founded See Jane Run in 2000 after feeling neglected by clerks. "I'm short and a bit overweight, so because I didn't look like the marathoner that I am, I was ignored in those stores," she says.
That same feeling was the spark for onetime elite triathlete Nicole DeBoom. Tired of "looking like a boy" at her tris, DeBoom, who is married to male tri star Tim DeBoom, last year launched Boulder, Colorado-based SkirtSports, whose Triks ("skirt" backward) line of gear was aimed at feminizing the female triathlete. Her stock sold out fast. "The biggest surprise was the buyers," she says. "I was sure it was going to be 20-year-olds, but my new target demographic actually is the 40-year-old multitasking mom."
Add educated to that list. DeBoom, who was a competitive diver for Yale University, says that tris "seem most compelling for Type-A type women who are very good at juggling things. I'm amazed by how many are ex-Ivy Leaguers."
Not just for 20-somethings
Smart, athletic and defying middle age; USA Triathlon, the sport's governing body, reports that nearly a third of its 20,000 women members are 30 to 40.
"Many in this crowd are the first generation of women who got to play competitive sports in college" and now find themselves craving both the camaraderie and competition from those days, says Shannon.
"The other big group is what I call the Oprah generation," she adds. "That's the 50-plus crowd, women who have been told they can do anything. Besides being a great overall workout, a triathlon does have the mystique. It's empowering."
That's exactly what Dawna Stone is hearing from female triathletes when they call in to her new fitness-oriented satellite radio show: "The self-worth you get from a triathlon is amazing. Complete one, and you feel you can do anything."
Stone credits triathlons with keeping her fit and focused. The former collegiate swimmer-turned-marketing exec took a gamble two years ago and started Her Sports magazine; more recently she was Martha Stewart's winning Apprentice, which has led to her new Martha-branded radio show.
"A growing group of women want to push themselves in the ways they did before marriage and kids," says Stone, who is training for a summer tri. "They aren't saying sports comes above family. But they are saying, 'We need something for ourselves.'"
Back at the hilltop track in Oakland, all that's missing is the Sister Sledge anthem We Are Family. There are a lot of backs being patted and encouraging words being shouted. The women assembled here defy stereotypes; some are model-lean, others are not. Some are single, others are single moms such as Barbara Caruso.
"I have two teens, and at first, they were really skeptical about me doing this," says Caruso, 51, a corporate communications executive from nearby Piedmont. "But, wow, what a turnaround. They're so proud now. As for me, I have a new view on aging. What's 50? I see women in tris who are 70."
As Caruso stretches out, triathlon newbie Phillips wraps up a sprinting exercise. She's winded but can't suppress a grin: "What can I say? I guess I never realized I could be this strong."
Just then, See Jane Run trainer Rebecca Whittaker claps her hands and issues the latest directive to the group: "OK, ladies, I want another lap, the first half slow, the second half at 80 percent. Let's do it!"
And in a flash, these tri warriors are off, leaving jobs, boyfriends, husbands, kids and other anchors of life in their determined wakes.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
- Tri suit
- Goggles + backup pair
- Swim cap from race bag + backup cap
- Wet suit
- Timing chip neoprene band (optional)
- Ear plugs (optional)
- Nose plugs (optional)
- Bicycle with bike number attached
- Bike helmet
- Bike shoes
- Bike pump
- Spare tire kit
- Water bottle or Camelback
- Bike gloves (optional)
- Running Shoes
- Race belt with number attached
- Gel / Power Bar / Other nutrition; may want to tape these to your bike
- Extra water bottle
- Body glide
- Lip balm
- Bike tools
- Large pump
- Black marker to avoid standing in body marking line
- Toilet paper
- Small basin for washing feet (optional)
- Vaseline (optional)
- Anti-fog for goggles (optional)
- Large trash bag for wet gear
- Helium balloon for locating your stuff or so your friends can locate you (optional)