Hesitations about tri(ng) – Three things that hold me back from triathlons

As the memories and soreness of my first triathlon begins to fade, I am back to the struggle of what do I want to do?

Do tri or not to tri

That is the question.  It’s a battle of being fascinated and at the same time intimidated with the endurance aspect of triathlons, particularly the half and full Ironman distance.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past month while training.  Some things are good, some are bad but for the most part I surprise myself often and in a positive way.

Things that scare me from dwelling further (distance) into triathlons.

THE GEAR

When it comes to gear, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not very techy.  Zero drop? Minimalist? Pronation? I don’t know.  When it comes to running, I’ve been lucky that I just buy a shoe (okay usually a pair of shoes), run and for the most part it works.  I have my favorites that I stock up on but I don’t really know if there’s better things out there.  Sure I love my running skirts and compression socks, but mostly because I can get them in pink and they look cute.  Maybe they have benefits, maybe they don’t.  I am not an expert, but I’m pretty sure I’d run just as fast or slow wearing anything else.

Triathlons are different.  First there’s the bike.  So many questions, that I don’t know where to start.  Also, can someone tell me what those black wheels I saw on some people’s bikes last week?  It looked badass, kinda like a biking ninja.  Besides just picking out a bike based on cost and the millions of brands out there, you can’t just buy a bike and be ready. Nope, you need to learn about wheels, breaks, gear changing device (no I don’t know what it’s called), seats, and who knows what else.  If you’re biking 90 miles and you breakdown at mile 40, you need to figure out how to fix your bike so you can at least eventually get home.  If I pull a muscle on mile 10, I can cab home.  If I break my bike at mile 40, well I’m sxit out of luck and better fend for myself.

Then there’s everything else.  You can’t just wear a t-shirt and shorts and be done. No, there’s a trisuit, sometimes its a single item, sometimes there’s separate top and bottom? What works best for me? I don’t know. I’ve come to the conclusion that most brands for running clothes are equal (as long as they are your respectable brands).  I don’t know what brands to trust with triathlons. Then the wetsuit. Sleeves or no sleeves? What brand do I get?

And for more swimming fun? I don’t even know where to start.  I just learned they have earplugs for swimming.  Things I wish I knew before.  Now which do I get?

THE COST

When it comes to running, there’s very few things you need. A good sports bra (a must!) and a pair of running shoes that work for you.  While running shoes aren’t always cheap. The latest pair can cost you around $115, you can get last year’s model for half the cost and most likely the only difference will be a minimal weight reduction and colors.  And let’s face it, unless you’re Shalane, a 1/2 oz difference will not get me to first place in a marathon.  Got shoes? Got shirt? Got pants? Now you’re good for 3-6 months depending on how many miles you run. Sure you can buy things like pretty skirts, and cute bic bands, and other stuff, but those are nice to have.  You don’t really need it.  Just look at the high school cross country dudes.  The don’t even need a shirt!

Bikes are not cheap.  Once I invest into a road bike, I better be damn sure I like that said bike.  I better be damn sure it fits me and I better be damn sure if it breaks down I can fix it. You can buy a moped for the price a nice racing road bike will cost you. You can go on a really nice 2 week vacation for the cost of a road bike.

I could buy a used bike, but sadly, there are little to none bikes that would fit my 5ft frame on craigslist in Boston.  If you see one, let me know!

Wetsuits.  Also not cheap! I don’t know where to start, but what I gather they will cost you 200-400 bucks and so if you buy one, you better make sure it fits.

Even things like tri tops and tri shorts.  I don’t really know what makes a tri shirt and what makes a running shirt, but I know the price difference its 2 to 3 times more.

I’ve acquired a lot of running clothes, I don’t think I’m into acquiring as much triathlon clothes.  Unless Marshalls add them to their workout clothes section.

So yea, the cost of triathlon gear is high, not just for money but for time.  As cost goes up, the time you spend researching your purchases goes up.  At least mine does.

TARGET WORKOUTS

If you haven’t noticed, my running workouts consist of one target, run for as long as I have time for and be happy. I do a few speed workouts like progressive runs because I enjoy them, however, I don’t have target days for different workouts.  I don’t have speed days, I don’t have track days, I don’t have preset easy days. I don’t have a long run day, other than I try to get one at some point in the week.  Maybe it’s that mentality that keeps me from my coveted sub 3:20 but it works well enough for me.

Training for a triathlon will require a schedule.  I will need a swim day, a bike day, a run day, and many days that will combine both for a brick run or bike or who knows what other wacky names you triathlon people have for workouts.  That scares me.  It scares me to know that I can’t just wake up and run as my heart feels like.  I have to mentally work myself up and mostly stick to a schedule.  Of course I can still be flexible day-to-day, but I will have more goals and targets to get through in a week than run X amount of miles.

Week 4 Triathlon Training Recap

I don’t know if people taper for sprint triathlons, but when you give yourself 4 weeks before your big day to train, the luxury to taper isn’t really there.  It’s a precious week of working on my base.

I did decrease my swimming to workouts to 2 vs my usual 3 I’ve been making myself do.  I also knew, that I needed to get in at least 1 ten mile bike ride before Wednesday.  As for running?  Running is always a big part of my life.  I’ve been wanting to sustain 50 miles a week but I had to give that up.  I did come pretty close!  Why 50? I don’t know, seems like a nice number.  Last year I was content with 35 a week.  My, my how ultra training will change your perception.

Once thing I also didn’t do was take a rest day this week.  It was probably a little dumb, but I told myself I didn’t earn it, after taking 4 days off last week.

Monday 8 Mile Run 1,000 yds swim
I had a pretty good run.  About 8 minute miles before I knocked the treadmill key out. Nothing like ruining my groove with a sudden stop. For swimming, I wanted to see if I could actually swim half a mile without a break.  So slowly but surely, and many awkward turn around moves, I swam 900 yds while trying to avoid putting my feet down in the shallow.  I got tired, But it’s good to know it was possible.

My eyes always get goggle eyes

Tuesday – 6.5 mile run, 12.34 mile bike
Not a pleasant run.  I overheated myself by starting too fast and had a miserable last few miles. The evening bike ride went much better.  I wanted to go a little faster than usual to test out my legs, unfortunately, there’s nowhere I can bike nearby without cars.  I hit a few stop lights and almost skid in a parked car but got up to a 13.8 MPH pace.  It sounds way too slow for a bike, but I have traffic, stop lights and MBTA buses to work with.  I like to avoid getting hit by a bus!

Wednesday 8 mile run
Still couldn’t focus.  Couldn’t mojo myself into a higher incline.  Stuck around 2 at 8:22 pace.

Thursday 1,000 yds swim, 6.4 mile run
I learned a new thing.  Kicking.  Yea, when people swim, they should kick. It helps you move forward. Unfortunately, I got tired of kicking very quickly. After swimming, I waited for Tony to get home and we ran a little bit on the Malden bike path.

Friday 8.3 mile run
While I can’t say I completely got my groove back, it was a nice start.  Maybe the nice 70s weather helped. I decided I couldn’t miss out on running outside, so I went on the Charles. There was some construction that derailed me and frazzled me, but I eventually got back in my groove.  Ended up being around 8:26 pace.  Not my best for the Charles, but a happy run.

Best view of Boston from the Charles

Saturday 4.2 mile run
Shaking out the legs. Went for a short brisk run around a hilly pond.  Was doing 7:45 minute miles.  I think it was here where I tweaked my adductor, because I felt the pain Saturday night but chose to ignore it since I had a race.

Sunday – 900 yd swim, 10 mile bike, 3 mile run
The big day.  So big it deserves its own recap.  Check out my Appleman Sprint Triathlon race recap.

Total Miles – 44.4

Total Feelings – Proud but injured 

I gave up doing 6 more miles Sunday night to reach 50.  I had the energy; however, my adductor on my left leg felt very sore.  On Monday when I woke up, it hurt to walk.  Luckily, with rest for 2 days, where I barely moved myself off my work chair or couch, I am back to being my wonderful running self!