Pumpkinman Half Ironman Triathlon Race Report

Let’s start with a recap of how my past few months have been:

My training consisted of me spending more time complaining about how I much I dreaded swimming than actual swimming.

My biking consisted of some pathetic rides on the trainer while watching canceled scifi shoes like Terra Nova and Firefly.

My running was awesome but that’s because running is awesome.

My pre-day race routine was probably not ideal but in the grand scheme of things would not have made much of a difference.

Despite all the steps I took to fail, I did it! Yup, I’m a half iron (wo)man!

Finisah

How did it all begin? Well, almost a year ago, I decided to fork up $275 and many hours of my time to do this. I don’t know what I was expecting, I guess I had such a fun time doing a mini sprint tri that I thought I would love a longer distance.

More miles more smiles! Right? Right? right…

Plus all my cool friends were doing triathlons and I wanna be cool like my friends. All my cool friends are also running 100 milers, but that’s still a bit out of my league.

I had months, and months to prepare and yet raceday, September 7th, came in the blink of an eye. Well if that blink of an eye consisted of many months of swimming, a major bike crash that resulted in separated shoulder and a long winter of snow that refused to end.

Actually, lets get back to the race. The Pumpkinman Triathlon is a festival that consists of three events, A sprint tri on Saturday and Aqua-bike and Half Ironman Tri on Sunday.

So raceday, yea it completely sneaked up on me. My alarm was set for 5:30AM, early but tolerable. Waking up at 7AM to go to work is a nightmare, but waking up at 5:30 for a race is tolerable. I even woke up about 5 minutes before my alarm. My morning routine was short, I was already packed, so I just got dressed, fill up my water devices with water and told Tony we gotta go by 6AM.

It was about a 20 minute drive with parking. It probably took me about 10 minutes to figure out my timing chip and drag all my stuff to the transition area. Only athletes were allowed in the transition net so I my assistant ūüėČ waited for me outside.

I had about 15 minutes to set up my transition area and get into my wetsuit.

Start

But wait Liana, don’t you start at 7:21?

Yea, except the race has time cut-offs for everything. I had to pick up my timing chip by 6:30AM of race day, it was not included with our race number packets and transition area was closed by 6:45 for a mandatory national anthem and some messages that I couldn’t hear. So yea, I could have woken up even earlier but I picked sleep. So at 6:45, I was being gently told that I must depart from the transition area.

The end result?

My transition area looked like someone vomited up gear. I was so nervous that I kept rearranging all my stuff and trying to calm my breathing that I couldn’t focus and I haven’t even eaten anything yet.

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While the first 7 waves were starting, I decided to eat my white chocolate cliff bar because not having anything in my stomach would have been a huge mistake. I nibbled on my breakfast as I tried to spot the boeys and gauge just how far a .6 mile loop is.

Swimming Leg

The course is a 1.2 mile swim but it’s a double loop. So even though it’s a waved time start, your first look will always be packed.

Now I’m not going to lie, I was terrified of the swim, swimming in the Y is one thing. you can take a break every 25 yards, but with this, I wasn’t certain what I would be doing. In theory there’s kayaks and paddleboard people to the side. In theory you’re allowed to rest on those as I read in the rules. In reality, those kayak’s were close, but definitely not worth the extra 25 yard swim to rest.

I did have one new advantage. A wetsuit. My friend Lori let me borrow hers for the race (along with her trishorts). Now, I have to confess again, I actually have never, not even for a second took a practice swim in this wetsuit or any wetsuit. I was told it would be easier and I was desperately clinging onto the fact that this was true.

Start Wetsuit

My goal was to stay on the edge to avoid the more aggressive swimmers and getting kicked in the face. Because being a terrible swim and getting kicked in the face in the first mile of a 70.3 journey would probably have been terrible at best. However, I had trouble getting to the right side of the starting line and somehow ended up at the left, the inner loop.

Swimming start

I start swimming and the first thing I noticed was that my lower body just stayed up without me exerting a large amount of energy to stay buoyant. Yes, wet-suits are indeed awesome and if I ever do any distance swims, I will need to invest in one from now on. They’re awesome. Normally when I get into the warm, my lower body just sinks down so this gave me some reassurance that I just might be okay.

I did make one mistake. For the first 1/3rd of the loop, I was swimming with my head poking out because I was so nervous on the other swimmers and getting kicked. However, this completely ruined whatever form I normal have and I probably wasted a great deal of energy and time swimming like a drowning dog.

Swimming

Once, I realized that the world isn’t going to end if someone’s limb touches me, I went into a normal freestyle stroke and the rest of the 2/3rd of the first loop went great. I even continued onto the second loop without a stop. Because the second loop starts around shallow water you could in theory stretch your legs and stand up. I didn’t want to waste any time and just kept moving.

Swimming 2

There was about one instance when I wanted to take a little rest. My shoulder was starting to bother me and I was about halfway into my final loop. I was getting tired fast and at one point lost my stroke and swallowed some really nasty pond water. However, I looked at the distance between me and the kayaks and decided I’m better of swimming forward to the finish then resting. Before I knew it, I was in a shallow part where I could stand up.

Drowning Liana

I was ready to sprint through the water, until I felt like pokey on my feet. Yea, the shore of the pond is covered in mussels, so I delicately walked out of the pond and saved the sprinting for later.

Official time: 49:49 about 10 minutes faster than my training swims! (Overall 396/426) 

The hill climb sprint

So as I was getting out of the pond, I started immediately working on taking off the wetsuit

Sprint Hill

Before I could get into the transition area, I had a mini hill sprint. A volunteer was standing warning us to slow down because the area got so slippery and I guess a few people took some wicked falls. I just went on my climby way. I needed to slow down my heart rate anyways. Total time 1:46 (252/426 overall)

Sprint Hill 2

Transition 1

I don’t know exactly what took me so long, maybe it was pinning my number, changing shoes and removing the wetsuit but I spent almost 5 minutes in transition. 4:49 to be exact.

Transition 1

The one stupid thing that I would go back on from transition 1 would be taking my camelpak. In retrospect, it was a stupid idea and I didn’t get much use of it as I thought I would. I don’t get a ranking for transition time, but I’m sure I was on the longer end.

Bike¬†Leg –

I don’t know how to describe the bike part. You know when You have a dramatic experience and you mind kind of blocks out most of the memory and it almost feels like a hazy deja vu. That would be my bike leg. I made it. I did it. But there was no savoring the moment. It was just surviving.

From the beginning, I struggled with slowing down my heart rate. My legs and my whole body was so shakey that I had trouble clipping into my pedals.

Bike Struggle

Bike Walk

Still Struggling

Nothing like a personal photographer to capture every embarrassing moment out there.

The bike leg of the race is 56 miles and just like everything else on this day, it too consists of a double loop.

I remember right from the start, it was a bumpy ride.

Literally.

Very bumpy.

Since I started towards the end of the swimming legs and I was pretty much almost the last person out of the water, I was probably a good 30 minutes behind most riders. Combine that with me being a very novice cyclists, I was in for a scary ride.

The roads were not closed, not even remotes. About 75% of the course was a bumpy granite road with potholes, large cracks and absolutely no shoulder to get you space between you and the cars.

Now my first loop was okay. Eventually, I saw other riders who were probably on their second loop as I was doing my first. It was still relatively early in the morning so there was less cars on the road. However, I don’t have a fancy bike. I have a fairly minimum not even a brand name road bike. So every crack in the concrete, yea I felt that.

After mile 18 or so, the road even got nice. It looked like a recently repaved road. There was two aids stations, one around mile 4 and one around mile 20 that I passed by. I probably had a nice 16.5 mile pace. I’m no doped up Lance Armstrong, but considering I just swam the longest and fastest distance of my, I was feeling content with my pace.

My second loop was a nightmare. I just remember being mostly alone with the except or one of two fellow cyclists. I remember constantly being absolutely terrified that I was going to get hit by a car on this narrow road. Car literally kept zooming around me because both them and I had nowhere else to go. I felted stressed and drained for about 75% of the second loop.

I also remember most of all that I’ve been wanted to pee pretty much since I started this race. I finally gave in and took a stop at mile 40. Since the one bathroom they had was occupied by someone who seemed to behaving an even worse race than I was, I took that time to calm myself down, eat two hammer gels and stretch. My quads were absolutely killing me. I’m not sure from what. The course was hilly but not that hilly and besides that my quads hurt from the moment I jumped onto the bike. Maybe I used them in swimming? Still have no clue.

Anyways, my second loop was getting slower and slower and I heard rumors that I was one of the last 20 people on the road. Yea, that was fun.

I knew I was getting close to getting timed out. Yea, that’s right, the bike leg, a leg that I thought I would have some catch up, was the leg that was slowly almost disqualifying me from the race.

Relentless forward progress, I repeated. That was all I could focus on because the least I could do was try and finish. I was going slow, but I was still moving.

Total Time: 3:49:41 Overall place 421/426 (I have never been so last place in my whole life before)

Transition 2

I went into T2 with a very bruised ego. I was falling apart. If I wasn’t so focused on finished. If I took the time and evaluated my race at that time, I would have cried. However, I tried to remained focused. My transition 2 was just as slow as transition 1. By the time I finished the bike leg of the race; I was baked. I really felt like I had no will to continue besides my own stubbornness. I changed my shoes. I opted for my Mizuno Waveriders vs. Skechers GoMebs because if the running course was anything like the biking course, major potholes and a terrible road shoulder, I wanted a little extra cushion. I even took a minute to stretch and move my Garmin from my bike mont to my arm. I took a few more Shotbloks and then when I finally felt ready, I went off for my run, knowing I was probably in almost last place.

Transition 2

Total Time – 5:03

Running Leg

So as I got to my final leg, all that was standing between me and the finish line was a small little 13.1 mile run. A half marathon as some might call it.

I started my run, just like I started my bike. With a mistake. I took my phone with me for music.¬†Yes, technically we were not allowed to have any audio on us, but I was already in last place so I didn’t feel like I had much to lose at this point. I also was partly concerned that I was already disqualified for being too slow. However, within a minute of my run, I changed my mind and passed my cellphone to Tony as I saw him at the start of my run. And off I went.

running

My first mile somehow ended up being 7:30. Considering I was barely pulling 14MPH on the bike leg, this came as a complete shock. It also made me realize that since I was no longer in fear of my life and getting run off the road by a car, I actually have a lot more left in my tank than I thought. I decided to go with all I got. It wasn’t a lot, but I went with it all.

The running course was a 3 mile loop. It was a really boring shoulder of a road that we looped around twice. The terrible part was that it was repetitive and didn’t have much shade. The positive was that, I got to see some of my friends who were hours ahead of me. ¬†The terrible part was that I was never sure if I was passing people or if those people were on their final loop and I was still many miles behind them.

The great part was that the volunteer were amazing on the running leg. They were organized and had everything I needed available. There was Hammer Gels, Salt Tabs, cold sponges, water and coke (coca cola silly, not cocaine). Although, I think I would have totally accepted cocaine at this point.

The aid stations were about every 1.5-2 miles and I made sure to make use of everyone one of them whether it was a drink, or ice or just water to dump over my head, they were there and I used them and add that to the fact that I was in full out, OMG I don’t want to finish last mode adrenaline, I kept doing the only thing I could do, run. Run fast, run smart, and just keep moving. Uphill I slowed the paced but still ran and on the downhill, I pushed up my pace.

I don’t know the exact breakdown but I probably took a water or a coke every 3 miles or so. I took a cold sponge every chance I could and stuffed one in the back of my sports bra to cool my back and one in the front to cool off my chest. I was in serious heat. It was probably around 78 degrees with not a cloud¬†in the sky. Add to the fact that I already spent 4 exhausting hours trying not to die on my bike, I was more than mildly overheated. I didn’t grab any more gels, but I did drink more than a few cups of soda and a salt tab somewhere along mile 7.

I expected my run leg to be about 2 hours with each mile dragging on since I would probably be running 2 minutes slower than my normal pace. But I surprised myself. With each mile, I wasn’t slowing down. I kept expecting to hit a wall and having to walk like the other runners around me. Shockingly, the miles, even without any music or much entertainment were flying by. To be honest, I don’t remember what I was thinking about to pass the time, most likely not much. I was in full survival mode to run, run and be done with this race as soon as possible.

Before I knew it, I was in the final grass sprint area. I’m proud to say that as far as I’m aware not one person passed me on the run! Even if I did start almost last haha.

Finish sprint

Finish Sprint 2

Yes, I sprinted to that finish line.

Total Time – 1:47:47 Overall 89/426

Finish Line

The first thing I did after getting my medal was walk over to the massage area which I was told was already full. Made me a little cranky because when races advertise massages, they should be available to all participants not just to the top 20%. Us slowpokes pay the same race fee as the fast kids and I think we deserve the same service.

I pouted and walked to find Tony. And as you can see in my photo, I also decided that it’s too hot to continue wearing my shirt, belly fat and paleness be damned, I was overheating and needed to find shade. when we got to the eating area there wasn’t any place to sit, but there was still plenty of food left.

The race entry fee to the race gives you a turkey dinner, a la Thanksgiving style with stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, cold slaw and all the other things I don’t normally eat because I’m just not a fan thanksgiving food. They also had a dessert area where I picked either a pumpkin whoopie pie or a brownie. I asked if I could take both and was denied.

So no massage, turkey dinner that I don’t really eat, and a dessert denial…

But then I found the beer tent with shipyard pumpkin and all became better. Although, I stilled wanted to go and take a brownie because the Pumpkin whoopie pie was pretty tasty and I kind of survive of sugar and beer.

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I let Tony have my food since it was paid for in the race fee and throwing it out would have been a waste.

Total Results and Ranking

Total Time :

Overall Place: 342/426

Gender Place: 122/180

Division Place: 10/12

My final thoughts on Pumpkinman…

I haven’t done a lot of triathlons so I’m only comparing it to running events. But overall, I found it very poor value for what it costs. I’ve gotten pretty good where the majority of my marathons cost me under $75 with the exception of Boston which is $150 and it’s Boston so I suck it up. But personally, because I don’t enjoy triathlons and because of the experience I had due to my training and experience, I thought the ¬†70.3 race was poor value for my money. I think my race fee with the something or other 1 day membership was $275 and the only thing it provided was lifeguards, kayakers and a few paddle boarders on the water. I’m not even sure if they were paid or volunteers. I know triathlons require more logistics and more insurance but I don’t know what else there is. Maybe, I’m missing something. The bike and running course was open to traffic. I saw one police detail the whole time. Everything else, from the turns to the aid table are volunteers, free labor. Yes, I know the Gatorade, the timing chip, the hammer gels cost money but I just don’t see how it adds up to the cost of the event. I’m sure if I loved swimming and biking as much as I love running, it would be totally worth it but I don’t so I’ll just have to stick to what I enjoy.

The one big thing that I would like to mention is that I thought all the volunteers were great and helpful and all the fellow race participators were great sports and very encouraging to one another.

I don’t regret participating in this race. While I can’t say I’m thrilled with my time, it was a worthy experience that I will treasure for a while. You should always tri ūüėČ everything once.

Will I ever do another one again? While I see plenty of sprint tris in my future, I don’t think I’ll do another half ironman or longer distance event again. While the actual event was sort of fun and I loved the challenge of it all, the training made me absolutely miserable. At the root of it all, I love running and having cut back on that for biking and swimming made me cranky. Also, I’m pretty sure that I’m allergic either to the Malden Y or chlorine because my skin would always burn in the pool. Regardless, I already canceled my Y membership and probably the only way I would ever sign up and train again would be if I had a training buddy for those long rides on the road that I never did or had a super flexible schedule so I could hit the pool when it was empty and get in bike rides when there was less cars out there.

Half IronMan Weekend, Portsmouth, NH; South Berwick, Maine; and What I packed

Besides the 70.3 triathlon, I had a great weekend! Just kidding, I had a great weekend even with the race. I’m still in the glow of the moment of having completed this 70.3 miles of sweat and tears. I’ll get to the race in another post.¬†The whole race still seems a bit surreal.

On Friday, we took it easy for dinner and some drinks at Pier 6 in Charlestown that gives you a lovely view of Boston from Copley to Seaport to Financial district. Probably my favorite spot to view the skyline. The food was okay, but it was 90 degrees that night and being on the waterfront has never felt more pleasant since I am easily cold.

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On Saturday I woke up bright and early to get a haircut just to learn, the salon near my house opens an hour later than I thought.

After chopping off a few inches of hair, because every ounce counts, I went to pack. Yup last second packer for the win.

What did I pack for my half Ironman?

In a summary, way too freaking much.

The main outfit

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I’m such a triathlon pro, that I didn’t even own a pair of tri shorts, luckily, I borrowed from a friend.

Swimming

2 pairs of goggles – main one and a back up pair

Swimming Cap – just in case

Ear drops

Wetsuit borrowed from a friend

Wetsuit spray

Biking

My bike

Helmet

Sunglasses

Patch kit/tubes/air

Air pump

Bike shoes

socks

2 water bottles

Camelpak

Running

Socks

Running shoes – Mizunos waveriders and Skechers flats because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run in racing flats after biking

Fuel

Nuun

3 Cliff Bars

3 packs of shot blocks

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Misc.

Garmin

Two Towels

Back up outfit

Swimming suit

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Jack was there to supervise the whole process!

Anyways after loading up and packing up more crap for half a day than I took with me for 3 weeks in South East Asia, I was ready to go. Had I done a destination triathlon, I would need 2 suitcases of baggage. This is not an efficient sport.

On the drive up we stopped by Portsmouth, NH that I’ve been wanting to stop by.

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I didn’t know much about it, but the highway signs always made me want to stop. The town looked cute with lots of little restaurants and historical buildings.

Tony grabbed a meatball sub from a deli to eat as fast as possible and jetted over to the Portsmouth Brewery at 3pm. They give free brewery tours that comes with a card to get 6 samples!

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For a brewpub that only does direct sales, they had a nice selection.

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Between Tony and I we had 12 flights. Since I’ve been so stressed about packing, I realized that I haven’t eaten yet. So of course, I ordered the healthiest item I could think of.

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Now that I had some nice liquid courage and my mind wasn’t thinking about all the ways I can drown, I decided it would be a good time to roll up and get my numbers for Sunday’s race. When I got to the race site, I freaked out. Here’s the thing, runners come in all size and shapes, that chubby kid next you, might surprise you and pull a 3:15 marathon. However, everyone around me, all these triathletes, were super fit looking with pure lean muscle. I instantly started regretting my nutritional lunch of nachos and beer.

Unfortunately, the pond wasn’t set up yet so I couldn’t judge what the distance would look like. I guess its good because I rather just not know until I had to swim it. My race packet came with a bunch of numbers that I had to stick to everything. I’m actually surprised it didn’t come with a sticker for my butt because there seemed to be one for everything else. Good, I always wanted to be photographed drowning.

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I did love the fall theme. Fall is my favorite season and there’s nothing I love more than pumpkin and the color orange.

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After freaking out some more about how fit everyone else is and how I don’t belong there, we drove to Dover, NH to our Airbnb place. Our host’s friend who was also there, has done several triathlons and gave me some tips about taking my time in transition. After reorganizing all my gear for the 10th time that day, I decided that I should probably eat something for dinner. Technically the nachos at 4PM could have been dinner, and I wasn’t hungry. However, skipping dinner would have left me starving in the morning which would have been a terrible idea. I’m not very good at eating well morning of the races so Tony and I set out to find something to eat.

We found the perfect place back in South Berwick, Maine. So we drove the 10 minutes over the state line to Thistle Pig. It was the perfect prerace meal. Actually, it would have been a perfect dinner, and I’m hoping to return another time when I’m more hungry to try more things.

They had this amazing veterinarian squash risotto.

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Tony got the heirloom tomato salad

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and we shared a jar of homemade pickles that we regret not keeping the brine from.

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My photos don’t do this place justice, but if you’re ever driving through Dover, NH/ South Berwick, ME definitely check out this place!

We also tried a glass of their white Sangria to help me fall asleep earlier than my normal bed time.

And before I knew it, I had less than 8 hours before it was race time.

Weekly Recap – ONE MONTH BEFORE PUMPKINMAN!!!!

Weekly Recap

When I see others training for events, I always wonder how many hours and miles they put into their week. For me?

When I train for marathons it’s 50-60 miles which is about 7-8 hours if there’s no trail miles…

For the triathlon? Specifically this 70.3 I’ve been targeting 8-10 hours. Sometimes I come close to 10 hours but usually I don’t make it. I had high hopes of going into 12-15 hours a week, but the 10 hours a week alone is close to burning me out.

In the end, the best weekly hours of sweat should be whatever leaves you feeling the most energized and prepared. I could be a better athlete and do more morning workouts, but I find myself craving more and more sleep.

My goal is to finish and I’m working on that being enough. Type A personality take a back seat!

This week my mileage dipped below 35 miles, a minimum that I used to try to hit within 4 days. However, I did hit 10 hours of “training” and 102 miles of sweat.

Monday – Rest (Traveling and errands day)

Tuesday – 10 Mile Run (8 miles on incline 3 and 2 on incline 2) average pace was 8 minutes but the first hillier 8 were a little faster and last two were around 8:15 pace to cool down.

Also did an evening swim after avoiding the pool for a week once again. 42 laps (2,100 yds or about 1.19 miles) in 65 minutes with up to 4 people in my lane. If there’s one thing the Malden Y has prepared me for, it’s swimming in a large crowd with people limps constantly whacking you.

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Wednesday 8 miles at 7:48 pace. Stayed on incline 2 because my legs felt pretty tired from Tuesday. I realized just how tight they were when I tried to line them up against a wall.

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Harder and more painful than it looks!

Thursday – 50 minute spin and 10 mile run

Spin class went okay. Had some trouble with the bike I was on… Very squeaky but I tried to make the best of it. Around 17 miles per that meter but who knows how true that is. I did a runmute home after work with a little bit of a hail storm 3/4ths into it!

Check out my instagram video – Running is hard enough without giant ice balls gunning you down. Who needs an ice bucket challenge when you can just run in a hail thunderstorm while the sky is still bright blue. The run ended up being 8:24 pace for 10 miles that excludes the hail storm pause.

Friday – Rest day It wasn’t planned but we went out to celebrate Tony’s birthday on Thursday so I was a little tired and I also discovered that I have 9 episodes of pretty little liars to watch. So you have one guess

Saturday – 51 miles bike and 3.2 mile run!

I did an indoor brick workout. I’m ashamed to admit it but I don’t do my long rides outside. I feel like I don’t get to train as hard or well when I’m constantly stopping for lights and other cars. So yes, I do my long “rides” on my trainer even when the weather is gorgeous because you know the outside world? It truly is a scary place but mostly a slow place without police detail. Instead I found some movies and shoes to watch on Netflix.

But it’s not easy. As soon as I got on the saddle, my mind just wasn’t into it. it’s hot and my brain was coming up with alternatives to ditch my “ride.” Maybe I should go run or maybe I should go swim instead? Or cook a 10 course meal while cleaning out my closet. Luckily, I stayed put and played around with some music and different movies. Finally about half way into my workout I started to get into it. I have to admit that hour three was my favorite. Sometimes you just need to fight through the wall to find eureka moments.

I was on such a high of fighting through the wall that I decided now is a perfect time for my first brick workout! 3.2 miles on the treadmill in my basement because I wanted to finish watching my movie. It wasn’t fast but it was a running speed. So 51 miles according to my Garmin for 3 hours on the bike and 8:21 average pace for a 5K earned me a break and helped me avoid swimming for another day.

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To reward myself I justified why it’s okay to only swim once a week and made these tasty treats instead stuffed with ground turkey!

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Sunday – 1,950 yard swim

I thought I would spend my Sunday with a long run but the sunny weather made me sluggish. Finally when I knew I only had one hour to go until the pool closed, I dragged myself to the Y. I compromised to 20 laps, 30 minutes and then I can call it quits for another week.

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but when I got there, the pool was empty! Something you almost never see at my Y. I’m used to swimming with 4 other people in my lane, not just me myself and I.

Before I knew it, my 30 minutes changed into until the life guard kicked me out in 53 minutes with 39 laps. One of my faster swims yet!

Overall I’m happy the effort I’ve been into the other two legs of my race next month. This week I have a 50K trail race so I have an idea that my running numbers might go up ūüėČ

>QOTD
How many hours a ¬†week do you “train”?
What are you training for?

I hate the term training, I’m not in the army and I’m not a pro so if anything it’s a hobby. That’s why the word “training” or “train” is followed by air quotes.

Weekly Recap – 70.3 Training, or something

This week I finally added spin class to my training and I gotta say, I’m loving it!

I thought it would be forced type of relationship sort of like swimming, but I actually look forward to my spinning days. I still haven’t tried it with Spin shoes since I often run to work and would like to be my only pair at home for my bike.

It helps that I also found a studio that is not only basically 2 minute elevator ride from work, but also offers a 45 minute lunch class. The lunch classes are fairly empty with really nice instructors and I’m enjoying the added mix to usual runch!

Swimming on the other hand is becoming more and more of a stress factor for me. I used to enjoy swimming and find it almost relaxing on these hot summer days. That is until I found out there’s a one hour time limit at my triathlon.

Suddenly, my slow and steady approach might not be enough. I might get disqualified within 1 hour of an 8 hour race. I thought I could rely on my biking and running strengths, but I guess a triathlon is really not something you can do and have a swimming weakness. You can be an average swimmer, but you can’t be a terrible swimmer and still participate in a 70.3.

I’ll still try but I’m also accepting that it will be a fight for the first hour.

Weekly Recap

Monday – 16.2 Miles – Ran to work 8.1 miles 7:54 pace and ran home from work 8.1 Miles 8:23 pace

Tuesday – Spinning Class 45 minutes (about 17 miles) which I guess I went a little low resistance on the hills, Ran 8.1 home after work 8:16 pace and even went for a late night swim for about 20 laps (1,000 Yards) in 27 minutes! I guess swimming longer is cutting some times of my shorter swims

Wednesday – Fake rest day. Swam for 40 laps in 55 minutes! I did use fins for some drills which is why my time is faster than usual.

Thursday – 8.1 Mile Run to Work 7:37 pace and 45 minutes of Spin of about 15 miles.

My pace for running to work really surprised me because I really had to drag my feet to get myself out the door and not take the train. Maybe it was my super light shoes? Or this amazing light breeze.

Weekly Recap (1)

Spin on the other hand felt a little bit more difficult, not sure if my legs were tired or just the fact that I kept the resistance higher. I love how after Spinclass, I get an email with these stats that I have no idea how to use. And the tacos I had for lunch in case you’re wondering were indeed awesome.

Weekly Recap (2)

Friday – 13.1 Mile Run, 8:02 pace. This run was almost completely flat, but I found myself struggling between the heat, and probably general exhausting from the week a bit.

Weekly Recap (5)

Saturday – 7 mile Trail run with a friend as a very easy pace. 13:50 pace. I could tell my body was tired because this easy pace didn’t feel as easy as it would at other times. I could also use a new pair of trail shoes

Weekly Recap (4)

Sunday – 1 hour swim about 40 laps (2,000 yds) and 90 minutes on the trainer. I don’t use my garmin on the trainer so I went by a steady effort. Either way, the 90 minutes on the trainer seem pretty easy after hills and sprints at spin class. My swim felt easy for the first 30 laps but the last 10 I kept swallowing some nasty pool water.

Weekly Recap (3)

It’s a smile of determination or maybe I’m drunk of chlorine water

 

MS CAPE COD – 175 mile ride

On a whim, I signed up for the MS Bike Ride that consists of 75-100 miles on Saturday and 75 miles on Sunday! Which is about 25 miles more than I ever biked before. I’ve done 50 miles once last year and it took me a while. I’m nervous and excited to be trying something so new and challenging and yet under a supportive environment with some of my coworkers. My fundraising page is here if you want to donate to MS research and assistance! It’s a really great course and I’m excited for this weekend regardless of how far I make it before the too slow people bus catches up to me.

Catching Up on 70.3 Training – Weekly Recap

I always wondered why blogs get quiet whenever someone starts training for a 70.3 or full Ironman distance triathlon. Well, wonder no more. Because, while there are many benefits to cross-training, and this crazy sport, it is definitely not easy.

I feel confident in running. No matter how miserable and tired I am, I know to a certain point I can slum through a marathon at this stage in my running life. Now, I need to take this confidence and autopilot skills to master two new skill sets – cycling and swimming and apply them to endurance.

So, the reason I’m not blogging as often is because I’m either working, or training… swimming, biking, running, or thinking about when I’ll have time to do either of the three with a small core workout added in at least once a week. And when I’m not “training,” I’m eating. Seriously, jumping between three endurance sports disciplines leaves you hungry. I’m either stuffing my face, or wondering what’s the next thing that I want in my belly.

Now don’t get me wrong, it sounds like I am complaining, but I love it. I thrive on new challenges and while I am having some struggles:

1. Swimming

2. Having safe places to bike

I know that come that day in September when I’m swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and running 13.1 miles, I will be grinning ear to ear. Otherwise, why bother? It’s all about the fun, even if it comes with some struggle

When did my training begin? I would say the week of June 2nd when I made the ugly and embarrassing return to the pool.

Weekly Recap 6/2 -6/8

Monday – 10.5 miles on the Charles at 8:05 pace, 6.5 miles trail at 13:15 pace

Tuesday –¬†Nothing

Wednesday –¬†7 Mile Run Incline 3, 7:54 pace;

Thursday – Nothing

Friday – Nothing

Saturday – 25.6 crazy trail miles for a crawling pace of well over 14 minutes

DNF

Sunday – 20 minutes Core + 1,500 swim in 45 minutes and 20 pulls on the diving board

what I look like swimming

Weekly Recap 6/9 -6/15

Monday Р20  minutes core & 8.1 mile run home 7:57 pace from work

Tuesday – 7.1 Mile Run incline 3, 7:48 pace and 40 minute spin class (~15 miles) at Healthworks on buddy day

Wednesday – 8.06 mile run to work 8:05 pace and an evening swim session, where the person who I was sharing my lane with took pity on me and tried to teach me how to kick. Not sure of the actual distance since it involved fins and lots of kicking.

runmute home

Thursday – 8.1 mile run home from work 7:54 pace

Friday – Nothing

Saturday – 13.1 Mile run 8:05 pace in the blazing sun
& 30 minute spin class at the Y that was absolute wreck. Look at what they used for a cooling system!

fan

I was dripping in sweat and I wasn’t even moving, I had to walk out 30 minutes into the 1 hour class

Sunday Р1,550 yds swim  + 45 pull ups in 45 minutes, 45 minute ride on my trainer

biking trainer

 

Overall, I’m trying to add swimming and biking to my routine and keep my running miles around 50 per week. Some weeks I miss, but I’m hoping it will all work out.

QOTD

Do you have any summer goals? Training for anything special? 

3 Things You Might Not Need For A Sprint Triathlon

Like most anxious little type As, I did a lot of research before my first sprint triathlon.  I googled my heart out, read some guides on Beginner Triathlete, and went to a few Triathlon Clinics at a local (okay it was a chain) sports store.

While I did learn a lot, at the end of the day, the triathlon clinic was there to sell me shit I might not need. Nice to have, but not need to have. Now, first I am no expert in triathlons. I do however enjoy running, biking and swimming. To date, I’ve only done one and while I did not take home any age group prize, I consider it a success. I didn’t drown and I made it to the finish line. In the end, unless you’re an elite athlete, that’s all that matters for any race you do. I do races because they’re fun, not because it’s my job (because otherwise I might have to starve and beg for change on the corner).

Like any addictive habit, its easy to empty out your wallet into many negatives collecting gear for fear of missing out, or just things that are nice to have. In the end, to find a balance between everything I love, I try to first separate what I need to have and what’s nice to have. Sure my collection of nice to have has grown, but it’s been growing over three years, and not in one day. Maybe it’s the accountant in me, but I don’t have a Warren Buffer trust fund to inherit, so I must spend my pennies carefully.

You Do Not Need a Trisuit –¬†One piece, two pieces, & all the brands are hard to tell what you need. Sure, they’re nice to have and if you plan on doing more triathlons, they will be a nice investment, but if you’re only planning on doing 1 a year or less, I don’t think they’re required.

I wore a sports bra and a pair of shorts I love for all three legs of the triathlon. I ended up putting a running shirt on for the bike and run to avoid sunburning my ghostly skin that sees no sun. Otherwise, I have no clothing issues, even if I wasn’t wearing $180 trisuit on.

You Don’t Need a Wetsuit –¬†Okay this is only half true since it depends on the weather, time of year, and where you’re swimming. I’m an awful swimmer and I didn’t find much advantage in the buoyancy¬†for a short distance. ¬†Only benefit to me would have been warmth if it was too cold. ¬†However, if you are swimming midsummer in a pond or lake where the water is in the 70s, you don’t need a wetsuit. In fact, unless you’re A. used to swimming in a wetsuit (the sleeves can be constricting) and B. great at pulling it off in transition areas, it might just slow you down. After all, the swim leg is probably the shortest in a sprint triathlon ranging from 1/4th to 1/2 a mile. ¬†Also, if the water is too warm, you might not even be allowed to use said wetsuit.

Don’t rent one out on race day just because the race company keeps sending you emails about the rental option and wetsuit benefits unless you tried it out at least once the day before the race. Just as with any sport, you shouldn’t try anything new on race day. ¬†If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

And best advantage of no wetsuit? I didn’t have to worry about forgetting to retie my time strap on my leg. It might not look sexy, but neither do wetsuits ;).

You Don’t Need a Fancy Road Bike – Yes a road bike will be faster than a mountain bike. A fancier road bike will be faster than a lower tier road bike, but at the end of the day it is the carpenter and not that tools that make it work. I saw a kid blast past me on a mountain bike, and while I didn’t blast past many, I definitely passed more than a handful of roadbikes during my race.

A beginner road bike can start at $1,000 with everything included and unless you’re planning on going longer distance, and love road biking, it’s not really worth the investment. I’ve had my hybrid for 5 years and only recently upgraded to a roadbike because I wanted to start biking more than 20 miles at a time.

Similar to the roadbike, you don’t need the clip in pedals and bike shoes if you’re not used to them. It’s extra time at transition and clipping in and out can be tricky if you’re not used to it.

In conclusion¬†there is a cost/benefit to every piece of gear from the bike to shirt to the Garmin. Things that are nice to have tend to be for a reason that’s beneficial in one way or another. However, it’s important to not get lost in the gear and stick to the basics to enjoy the sport. Or at least your budget. As with running, the further distance your triathlon goes, the more beneficial certain gear will be. If you’re doing an Ironman, I’m pretty sure you need to be pretty talented or miserable to get through it without the three things listed above.

One thing we can all agree that you need on race day is fun!

What’s your favorite piece of Triathlon gear?

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.