Post Triathlon Rituals


After you finish a triathlon, you are usually pretty exhausted, very sweaty, and maybe a little loopy.  So, you just finished a triathlon, what do you do NOW?

Hhmmmmm….

Usually the first things you do is hand over your chip, hug the people at the finish line there to support you, and then…

  1. Hit the bathroom?
  2. Grab some food?
  3. Run check the results?
  4. Grab your stuff and get away fast?

The bathroom trip is usually one of the first things I do.  But if you are anything like me, I am not ready to eat immediately after a triathlon.   Instead I focus on my cool down, wandering around, looking for triathletes I know to congratulate them and share stories.  During this recovery time, I consume lots of water and a protein shake.  After that, anything goes!

The Triathlon Club Tent

If you are a member of a triathlon club, check to see whether or not a tent has been setup as a meeting place.   This is a great opportunity to share stories of the triathlon with people directly involved. It is also a great time to relax and have a beer (if the club is cool and alcohol is allowed, beer will be present).  Before you know it, you will be lost in the joys of each others’ company.

The Sponsor Area

The sponsor are is always a fun place to peruse after the triathlon, which is a good time and place to reflect on any equipment you need or need to replace.   It is also a great to socialize with potential sponsors, people that can help you with future equipment, race fees, etc.   The best part of the sponsor area for me, is simply seeing all the cool stuff that is on the market to help triathletes perform their best.

The Finish Line

Instead of grabbing your stuff and running off, it might be a good idea to hang out near the finish line.  Not only does this help support other, slower triathletes, but it gives you an opportunity to watch people’s run form, get ideas for new running gear, and even check out the latest or not so latest in fashion!

The Results Board

The results board is always surrounded with zombies, but don’t let that stop you from striking up a conversation.  They are staring at all of those hard to read sheets for a reason…  share!  If no one is interested, be a zombie and stare.  I always like to look for patterns in the results.  Who beat me on the swim compared to who I beat on the bike.  It is really a fascinating thing when you realize that you were beat by a runner that couldn’t swim, but had a decent bike and killer run! Yep, the results board is a fun place if you love numbers and patterns.

Just Enjoy Being There

If all else fails, bask in the ritual of being at a triathlon and completing one.  Enjoy the experience, the people, the weather, and the venue.

What do you do after a triathlon?  Please share your rituals and thoughts.  You can also send a tweet on twitter to @AricInTraining or hash tag #posttrirituals

Cheers!

2010 Ventura Triathlon Sprint… Done!


After an early start this morning and pushing my body to new limits, I completed the 12th Annual Ventura Breathe of Life Triathlon sprint in 1:37:47.   I placed 270 (of 363) overall and 20 of 24 in my age group (M30-34).

So what was it like?  It was satisfyingly hard.  From the 8am start of the 400m swim to the somewhat confusing 13.3mile bike course, to the left sided 5k run, each sport presented its challenges and I met them head on!

(note, a link to the official results appears at the end of this post)

SWIM: I stepped on a fish!

The swim was 400m, just inside the breakwaters of the Ventura Harbor.  The water was warm at 66 degrees, calm and quite pool like. This was going to be a little easier than I thought.

Heading out for the practice swim, I was surprised to feel how uneven the sand was walking out into the water.  It was like hiking along an old road full of potholes and bumps.   But that wasn’t the real surprise.   As I took another step, I felt sand being pushed against my leg.  It wasn’t sand being moved by the wave, it was too concentrated and seemed to be coming up from the bottom.  Then I put my foot down and felt the fish fluttering.  As I started to panic, it swam off.  Oh boy… swimming with the fishies…  this was going to be interesting.

The horn blows and I hit the water just behind the group.  I started out side stroke and was keeping up.  I switched briefly to forward crawl with my head in the water.  Only got in two strokes before I realized I had a breathing problem.  Back to side stroke… “just keep moving and breathe” is what I reminded myself.

Half way to the first buoy, the happened.  My arms and legs hurt like no tomorrow.  Every stroke was painful.  Slow down, breathe and glide was the best move. But then, I was swimming in a pack, which made it difficult to relax.  Every time I stroked, I hit someone.  I was not used to swimming in such a crowd, so that added to my anxiety.

To make a long story short, I settle into an alternating left/right side stroke and got through the swim.  As I noticed people starting to stand up in waist high water, I took advantage of the footing and did two dolphins to avoid having to run through knee deep water.

Running up the beach to the transition area sucked.  It was a very long (0.15 mile) beach run which drained me even more.  I was so happy to step onto pavement and cross the timing pads!

T1 – Remember the Sequence

Transitioning to the bike, it was all about going through the steps.  Unfortunately, my transition area was setup opposite as it had been in the past (stuff to the left of the bike, before it was right).  It took a little getting used to.   I didn’t have the GPS out, so I didn’t turn it on until after I was ready to put on my shoes.  Putting on my left shoe, I found my right glove riding glove. ugh!

Eventually I got everything together, but I forgot the bib.  While this wasn’t mandatory for the bike (both the bike and helmet had my athlete number) it was something that I missed.  The sequence of T1 was out of order, but I got 99% covered

This points out that I need to practice my transitions more.  I hadn’t practiced them since the UCSB Triathlon in March, perhaps I dropped the ball.

Bike – Just Keep Cranking

The bike course was a little odd and required a turn around on Harbor Blvd followed by a right hand turn onto Gonzales Rd. The turn around isn’t so bad, but the right hand turn could be missed.  I personally didn’t miss it, but I heard that a number of riders in the event did and were disqualified.

Heading east on Gonzales Rd, I just kept cranking.  The course is fairly flat and there isn’t much time to relax on a downhill.  Just keep cranking isn’t hard, until you try and eat something.  Fuel for this event was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I had in a ziplock bag in my jersey.  I clearly wasn’t thinking about how I was going to open it while riding, so I did caveman… tore open the bag with my teeth enough that I could bite a piece off and suck it through the hole.  It worked, but the peanut butter… well you know what happens when you eat peanut butter.  I never tried eating one before while on the move, now I know!

The bike itself was really good, fast and fun.   I settled in behind #45 for a bit and just cranked.  I eventually passed him and found myself back at Ventura Harbor for T2.

T2 – Grab the Droid, stupid. Don’t Forget the Bib!

T2 was pretty fast.  All I had to do was put the bike away, strip the helmet and gloves, put on the running shoes, and go.  Unfortunately, I was a little concerned about finishing the race without my Droid.  I wanted to take pictures and video of a friend of mine finishing after me.  In a last minute decision, I grabbed my water belt and crammed the Droid into it.

I started off and suddenly realized that I sill didn’t have my bib!  Ugh.  Run back, where is it?  Its under the shirt that I didn’t put on as I decided at the last minute just wear the jersey.   With the bib on, it was time to run.

Run – The Pain and the Surprise!

Starting the run, I quickly learned that grabbing the water belt was a huge mistake.  My Carpinteria Triathlon water bottle kept bouncing out of the holder.  I had to stop multiple times in the first quarter mile to stop and grab it.  After the third time, I just held it in my hand.  Annoying, but better than stopping.

After the bike, it is always the first half mile that is the worst.  Unfortunately, this run never improved.  I was tired, my muscles sore and I was mentally drained.  Still, I had a goal, to beat my 2009 time of 35 minutes and finish this 5k with a sub 11:00 pace.  I pushed on.

Then I saw my friend, passing me on her way BACK to the finish.  H0ly moly, she was kicking my butt, how did that happen?  I had to catch her, despite the pain.  At this point, my mental ability took a downfall.  The person that I thought I would beat was ahead of me and it really made me think about the pain, the pace, and the humiliation of defeat.

I think too much.  I pushed on, inspired by fellow Olympic triathletes and the fact it was only another mile.  I can do this!  Then I saw her.  I caught up…  but my legs weren’t going faster.  Strategy, sometimes, is more powerful than mightiness.  I decided to follow her to the finish and pass her in the last few hundred feet.   It worked well, I surprised her, she took off sprinting, I took off sprinting and I passed her just in time to beat her across the finish.

As it turns out, she was one of the ones that missed the turn and was dq’d.  Figures, as glorious as I was about the win, I was a little embarrassed too

The Results

I finished the triathlon in 1:37:47:  12:37 swim, 52:14 bike, 32:56 run.  Placing 20 of 24 in my division and 270th overall.  I know this is a repeat of the beginning of this post, but let’s look at what happened last year.

Last year I placed 24 of 25 in my division and 312th overall.   The 2010 results definitely show improvement… and I am happy!

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If you are looking for your results, follow this link to Prime Time’ website.

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For an interesting account from an Olympic triathlete’s perspective, read: They Can’t Take That Away From Me…

Ventura Triathlon 2010 PreRace Jitters!


The 2010 Ventura Breathe for Life Triathlon starts tomorrow morning at 7:15am with the first wave of the Olympic triathletes starting their journey in 2010’s event.   My journey is that of a Sprint triathlete, so I start with wave 8, sometime around 8am.  Those 45 minutes are usually the longest minutes of my life!

Sitting in a motel room right now and typing this post, I must say that I am quite nervous. These source of these nerves are the prerace jitters. Prerace jitters are nerves, thoughts, and anxiety that one experiences in the weeks or days before a major event.  These are perfectly natural.

An example of prerace jitters are the questions running through my head at the moment:

  • Did I train well enough over the last year?
  • Do I have everything I need?
  • What are the conditions going to be like?
  • What if….  (place worst nightmare here)?

The bottom line is that prerace jitters are no fun.  The trick is to not let them get the best of you.  As much as I want to panic about the questions above and many more, I know that this is useless behavior and a waste of energy.

When the jitters start to pull you away from preparing for your best race, try these tactics:

FOCUS ON POSITIVE VISUALIZATION!

I know, I know, it is hard!  But if it was easy, everyone would be doing a triathlon!   Think about how well the race is going to go.

If you have time, experience the swim, bike, run courses ahead of time.  Travel the weekend before, or even the day before and at the least, drive the routes.  Make sure you are familiar with potential hazards, turns, hills, and any fabulous scenery that must see along the way.  Make a mental library of these areas and use them in your visualization exercises.  It there is a tough corner, visualize yourself going around it at top speed safely.  Heck, see yourself passing your competition on this very turn!

PREPARE WITH A CHECKLIST

In the weeks before your race, start making a checklist of things that you will need throughout the triathlon.  Include not only your gear for the swim, bike and run, but also nutrition/fuel needs, bad weather gear, a change of clothes and anything that you might like to have with you the day of the event to make you more comfortable.

The checklist does not have to be a work of art or even typed.  In fact some of the best checklists I’ve ever written were on the backs of envelopes and napkins.   Whatever it looks like, it is  mental game to record the need so that you can clear the need from thought.

You don’t even have to save it from triathlon to triathlon.  The master checklist is in my head and it is part of my prerace ritual to write out the checklist for the upcoming triathlon.  Once I have packed and head off to the event, I seldom look at it as I am mentally prepared and comfortable.

SOCIALIZE WITH OTHER TRIATLETES

You would be surprised how wonderful it feels to arrive at an event with a group of triathletes. Not only does this help cut down on pollution and parking, but gives each triathlete a wonderful support network.

When you are alone, the mind will run wild about what has yet to come.  When you are with someone, your mind is thinking about the conversation and being in the now moment.  Instead of thinking about the worst case scenario, you will be laughing with your fellow triathletes at how ridiculous it was that you spilled your coffee all over your wetsuit and the crazy jokes the newbie can’t stop telling.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE – BLOG!

At the moment, I do find myself alone in a motel room waiting for friends to arrive later.  Instead of letting prerace jitters drive me insane, I am sitting here typing this blog post, sharing my experiences with you all.  The power of sharing is an amazing thing and I am honored to provide the posts, videos, and tweets of my triathlon career.   I get just as much motivation and inspiration from you all in return for simply sharing my life.

Don’t hesitate to tweet, write, and share.  If you find yourself alone for a few minutes and something is stuck on your mind, write it down, discuss it with yourself and before you know it, it will solve itself.

BRING IT ON

These were just a few of the strategies that you can use to get around prerace jitters.  The bottom-line is to never stop thinking positive, seeing yourself in positive ways and visualizing yourself crossing that finish line stronger than ever.

With that said, I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow morning and start my Sprint journey.  It will be memorable, fun, and yet another fantastic milestone in my triathlon career!  Bib 283 says, “Bring it on!”

Cheers!

Triathlons, Kayaks, Runners and 2010


2009 was such an awesome year for my fitness goals.

I finished three triathlons, half dozen running events, and found inspiration where I never thought I would.

With my recent completion of the UCSB Triathlon, I am looking toward 2010 with more motivation than ever.  That sense of competition, meeting people and hearing their fitness stories, sharing tips, pushing myself to the next big milestone, and enjoying the wonderful outdoors all make my 2010 fitness goals that much more alluring.

With one down, what’s next?  Morro Bay Triathlon, a very unique race, including a 3 mile kayak of the Morro Bay Harbor.   I have never kayaked before, which makes this that much more challenging.   Time to start kayak lessons! The bike and run will be great as well, but the kayak is the icing on the cake.

After Morro Bay, let’s PR (personal record) at the Ventura Triathlon Sprint, my first triathlon of my fitness career.  This year they are taking the venue to the harbor, with a challenging swim, an awesome bike, and run around the harbor.  Last year I did well, finishing it in 1:38:00, but this year will be even better!

Of course, the biggest goal this year is the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course.   This will be the longest triathlon I have ever done to date.  While I may not do it fast, finishing is going to be sweeter than finishing the recent UCSB Triathlon course.

In addition, I plan to carry forward with many running events in 2010, I already have done two, the Boney Mtn Trail Run, the Resolutions 5k.  Coming up in April is my first 10-mile run, the Chardonnay 5k/10 fun run.    I will also be putting my FiveFingers to use and using them in more events, on and off the road. Barefoot running is the wave of the future.

Looking at this brief list, I am amazed at the challenges ahead.  As daunting as they appear, meeting each one head on and putting them into the history books is going to rock!

Cheers!

My Race Report: UCSB Triathlon


UCSB Campus Point

The UCSB Triathlon has been one of those important races that every triathlete, athlete, and runner must encounter at one point in their racing careers.  Setting the goal to compete in it last November, I knew I had a lot of work to do over the winter off-season.

Before I knew it, November 2009 became February 2010 and life events really started to pile up and I hadn’t sufficient time to improve where I really needed to improve, the ocean swim.  Not only were things at work getting hectic, but the weather prevented me from getting proper practice time in the ocean up until a week before the event.  To make matters worse, I was coming off a month long burn out and was not psychology ready for the first big challenge of 2010.

I stayed on the fence of whether or not to compete up until the last few days.  My trainer told me I was backing out and not participating in the event clearly disappointed many more.  Even with a few ocean swims during the final week, I was no where prepared for this event.  However, life is not always a walk through a field of wildflowers, so I bit the bullet and went for it, nervous, exhausted, and scared to death of the swim.

Here are some highlights.

Pre-Race

The day before I picked up my packet.  I took this opportunity to get one last practice swim in.  While the advantage of this was to get familiar with the conditions, I ended up wearing myself out and even hurt my right knee.

Continue reading “My Race Report: UCSB Triathlon”

UCSB Triathlon is Done!


Campus Point, UCSB TriathlonYesterday, I finished the 2010 UCSB Triathlon.  It wasn’t easy, it was lonely, it was a learning experience, and yet somehow I disappeared off the results!  However, I met my first big goal of Q1 and finished my fourth triathlon and my first barefoot triathlon!  Time for celebration, relaxation and get geared up for the Morro Bay Triathlon in early June!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though, here is the break down of times:

Swim (800m) ~ 26:48

T1 ~ 1:34

Bike (16.93 mi) ~ 1:06:10

T2 ~ 2:34

Run (3.06 mi) ~ 36:30 (ran this wearing my lucky FiveFingers KSO)

Overall ~ 2:13:40, which puts me into 85th place of 86 competitors.  Second to last… I’ll take it!

Unfortunately, bib 371 is not listed on the official “Open” results.  I emailed the timing officials, but have not heard back.  It is very disappointing to put so much work into an event and be left off the official results.  However, glitches are always possible… (Update: There is an updated list of results at the SBTiming website here, that includes me!)

I am writing up a summary of each leg and some final thoughts, which I will share in the coming days.

For now, it is time to recover and relish in the accomplishment of finishing my longest, barefoot triathlon yet!

I also want to give a huge shout-out to Chris Petrosian, my personal trainer, who finished the LA Marathon in 4:41:49.  “Congratulations, Chris!  You are inspiration!”

Such an awesome Q1 for both of us.

Mind Mapping a Triathlon


I have just seven days to pull myself together and get ready for the UCSB Kendra Payne Triathlon.  Ever since I hit burnout a little more than a month ago, getting going again has been a huge struggle.  At one point, I even decided I was not going to participate this year.  Of course, this disappointed everyone, but since the disappointed everyones will be at the LA Marathon….   So….

Anyway, to help get my head around preparation for this event, I created a mind map with event details, the final week’s training, some visualization focal points, checklist and nutrition. Seeing all of these things laid out on an image, helps organize and visualize the different areas that I need to focus on this week. I still need to finish out the nutrition and checklist portion.

With seven days to go, time to get organized.

So, if you aren’t doing anything from 8:00am to 12:00pm on March 21st, please come by UCSB and cheer the triathletes and duathletes on.  Some of us would be really happy to see you all there!

With just seven days to go…  miracles can happen!