The following eleven articles were published weekly in the Del Norte Triplicate, Crescent City, CA, newspaper in 2016, to encourage new athletes, by Susan Roberts
Article One: Are You Ready to Start
Are you ready? What will it feel like for you to finish under this arch on August 21st? You will be elated, exhausted, pushing just a tad harder as people cheer you in, when you really really really want to be walking, slowly! You'll even be surprised it is over. It's hard. It's worth it. You will be a triathlete/duathlete! Ready to give a tri (triathlon) a try?
Come with me, these next ten weeks, to put your race together, Then, you'll be ready To Finish!
Always Finish; What Did You Learn?
Motivation is required: it's personal. Figure out what would motivate you to go out to try a fun goal, expanding your horizons.
They say 'sitting is the new smoking.' Let's get off our seats (hey: get up right now and walk while reading this!), and let's focus on three sports. Three sports always are better than one: swim bike run! Three ways to use your body, multi growth. And why would anyone want to do all that in one day? Because : they can!
Our local triathlon and duathlon is down at the Fred Endert Pool. This fairly small very friendly event can be as competitive as you want! You can stop to change clothes or have a sandwich or you can race it, every single second.
A triathlon is three (tri) sports strung together. Distances vary from a 'sprint' as we have here (about 15.4 total miles) to an Ironman totalling 140.6 miles. In town, ours is a ten lap pool swim, a 12 mile bike ride down Pebble, a 3.2 mile run around Beach Front Park and the Harbor. It can be done individually or as a team, when two or three members share the relay.
A duathlon is two (du) sports: run, bike, then run again. Individuals or teams are encouraged.
A kids triathlon is held for ages 5 through 12. Their distances are much shorter than the adults and vary by age group. They can use flotation devices in the pool; their run and bike are all held safely within Beachfront Park; and parental support is encouraged.
In the next ten weeks, we'll review the ins and outs of the Crescent City Triathlon and how you might consider training: swim bike run nutrition and rest! Check out general information at beginnertriathlete.com or similar websites. Write firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to answer or refer your questions.
Before starting out, do get your doc to approve!
Now: imagine, after turning the corner, seeing that Finish Arch,
suddenly you run stronger, ignoring the music, the cheers, the announcer...
go for the finish. You are now a Triathlete!
This is what it felt like to me a few weeks ago:
Triathlon: It's a head game
This is your challenge: make that move and take on the August triathlon or duathlon. "The force is with you - force yourself."
The Annual Crescent City Triathlon/Duathlon is for individual adults and for relay teams, but also has a kids triathlon for ages 5 - 12. Details in the next weeks. But first, why even do it? What is your motivation?
One big advantage of triathlon is that you don't need to compete against anyone, not even yourself. Do it for your own physical and mental health. Do it because you learn something new, accomplish a new activity, feel better about yourself, make new friends, increase self-confidence, ....
If, however, you are driven by competition, you can find it here, too. You compete against people in your own age group (ex: women ages 45 to 49). Or you can compare your times against what you did last year. A local athlete said, "I love to compete even if I don't come out on top. Someone else makes me work harder."
Before getting your gear ready (bike, shoes, goggles), before taking a pedal stroke, a swim stroke, or stepping out on the run path, you need to get your head together! It's all in your head! What is your motivation to go for this finish line goal? If you already exercise, you know the satisfaction, the runner's high, the self confidence, etc. If you don't exercise right now, try some simple steps to move forward. Either case, identify the goal, the finish line. And figure out what will get you outa bed to swim at dawn or put in a beach run at lunch or bike further in the evening. You need both the goal and the motivation.
Randomly I've been quizzing local athletes: "What motivates you?" The answers are ALL different! Here are a few:
To be outside, not bound by four walls
Social: running in the redwoods chatting with my friends.
Food: the fear of gaining back the 50 pounds
Online challenges and Fitbit or virtual competition
Keep moving or lose ability to move
Role model for my children
Death will come to me but I shall be a moving target; not to have the long slow lingering deaths of my parents.
To feel good - besides, my doctor told me to!
First it was health but now I guess I just want to keep being able to do it.
Consider what training time you have available. You'll be allocating your training throughout the week, including one day of rest. Perhaps you will swim two days, run two days, bike two days per week. Somewhere in there, it's important to include weight training, which is the basis of a healthy body. If unsure of what to do, ask at a gym, signup for some classes, check the web or library. For general information check the pages on this website and for answers to questions: email@example.com.
It's time to check out your equipment. Do you have bathing cap, goggles, appropriate swimsuit/trunks? Do they fit? How is your bike? Does the bike fit you correctly? Have it checked out at sponsor Tom's Back Country Bicycles on Northcrest. Helmets required! Can you change a flat tire? Are your run sneakers fairly new? A good fit will make all the difference. Do remember our weather and how layers often will be needed. If you haven't already thought of daily nutrition and race day requirements, now might be the time.
Did you check with your doctor yet?
When you finish, we'll be there putting your finisher medal around your neck. Who will be prouder: you or I?
The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses -- behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. Muhammad Ali
Article Three: Swim
If you want to learn to swim jump into the water.
On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you. ~Bruce Lee
Have been to the pool yet? The City's Fred Endert's Municipal Pool is a gem. If you haven't been down, go check it out. The staff will be happy to explain times, charges, and procedures. Their website, http://www.crescentcity.org/pool.html, gives detailed information. It's nice to get comfortable and train in your race pool. But don't forget that river and ocean swims are awesome, too.
Gear: Test your goggles. They should fit tightly and not leak. The pool sells goggles. If you wear a bathing cap, do train with it. If you need ear plugs, train with them, etc. Does your bathing suit fit and stay on? or up? Are you dragged down by it? Bring an extra set of goggles and bathing cap to practice and on race day.
As an adult, you'll need to swim back and forth the pool ten times; that will be 500 yards. You can use any stroke you wish: freestyle, breast, side, or floating. If you're not used to swimming much, start your training slowly! You have 8 weeks to work up to ten laps. Start with just one length, rest, repeat over and over. For those familiar with drills: do them! They are basic to technique. Don't increase your time in the pool too quickly. Try to get in twice a week: meet a friend, 'play' in the water. Remember that the pool is excellent for water jogging, too! Try their aerobics classes.
The swim portion of a triathlon often is the most nerve racking. Before the start,you watch the other swimmers, you see the crowds... Suddenly you're swimming with people with similar times and your head goes crazy. You forget your stroke, you cannot breathe, you nearly panic, personally and honestly, it is not easy. But, having experienced it, I know it will calm down. Get through the first part of the swim and remember it is you, not them! Find the stroke you were working on.
You don't need to count the laps as there are volunteer lap counters at the end of each lane and they will warn you when you are starting your 10th lap by putting a kickboard in the water for you to see. Although you 'share' a lap lane with another swimmer at the race, you keep to your own side. You start at the shallow end, standing in the water.
For assistance, chat with the pool staff. Children can join the Swim Team and, for adults, there is an excellent Masters pool program, meeting Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 a.m. and Saturday morning. See swimsmooth.com website for tips! or again, Beginnertriathlete.com.
fyi: Do you know the difference between triathlete and triathlon? Many people don't. "Tri-athlete" is the person, "tri-athlon" is the event/sport.
So: head to the pool; put it on your schedule. Don't forget to spend some time on your bike and in your running shoes. More to come...
It's a good idea to begin at the bottom in everything except in learning to swim. ~Author Unknown
Article Four: RUN
"our body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue.
Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions
independently of logic.
Tim Noakes, Professor and runner of 70 plus marathons and ultramarathons.
A triathlon finishes with a run, often longer than you expected. The finish line seems miles away but, suddenly, it comes and you're relieved, nearly surprised. Hard to imagine that. Train for that success. If you have an organized local 5K run available: try it out!
Absolute necessity: comfortable running shoes. Do not try to 'make do' with old ones or 'just' sneakers. You'll pay for it: blisters, ankle turning, stress fractures, tendon or muscle strain... it goes on and on. Injury can be avoided now. Train in your race day shoes.
Running or jogging or walking will get you to the finish in the triathlon or duathlon. The triathlon run is after the swim and bike and it is 5 K, ie, 3.1 miles; the duathlon has two such runs with the 12 mile bike between them. This website includes run maps.
Figure out how far you can go today. It is from one telephone pole to another? That's the way I started. Is it half way around the high school track? Is it to the end of the pier?
You may decide that a combination run/walk is the way you will handle the run. It will 'pace' you.
Or you may decide to run the entire course. Training should include endurance and a little speed. A good training session might include a warmup of walking two laps (half mile) at the high school track. Then do some stretches and then start running. Professionals do 'intervals,' and so can you: run or jog for three minutes, then walk one minute. Increase the run distance each week and throw in a few faster runs for half a lap every other lap. Mix it up.
Some tips: try not to land on your heels; rather, midfoot so that you don't 'brake' your stride. And, run with your elbows back and forward not side to side. Make believe you have a butterfly in each hand so you don't clench your hands. Smile! A smile relaxes your face. It is neither your hands or your face that needs your energy; it is the legs.
Mix up your running location. Besides the track, there are asphalt trails, and better yet there are gravel/dirt roads and the beach. We are fortunate to have the redwoods, wildlife areas, and the beaches. Running less on asphalt is better for your body, especially your knees.
If you were a runner in high school do not expect to attain those times later in life. So often, people will get down on themselves or stop running simply because they are no longer 17. Aging brings maturity, often not acceptance.
Drills and stretches are so very important. I'll recommend BeginnerTriathlete.com again or any running book or websites for beginners. There is (way too) much information out there. But do those stretches: they will enable you to run again.
Remember the sun screen, the hat, the layers.
Lace up and out you go!
Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still. Chinese Proverb
Article Five: Ride The Bike
Peek outside the confines of your imagination. Jeff Matlaw
12 miles needed for both the Triathlon and Duathlon Let's go biking.
Hopefully you own or have borrowed a bike by now. It can be any kind of bike: cruiser, mountain, road, race, etc. Whatever you do, train on the bike that you will race on. Have it checked out at the bike shop for being road-worthy. Be able to change a flat. Keep it clean and learn how to maintain it. Check with Tom at Back Country Bicycles on Northcrest with questions.
Do you have a water bottle cage and a water bottle. Take water on all rides and practice drinking water while biking. If you have difficulty, it is far better to dismount, drink, and ride on. Tis better to take your time than be halted with dehydration. Think about what clothes you might ride in on race day and train in those; more on that soon.
Always wear a helmet. Never use an iPod when biking: you must listen for traffic.
Where to ride (again, this is local to Crescent City):
We are fortunate that there are many bike lanes in our area and several dedicated bike paths especially around the harbor for training. Do check out our race bike maps here on our website. Know where the bike route goes, know where it is flat and where there is a little hill, know that smiling is a necessity.
Remember to ride WITH traffic. That is because you are a vehicle and ride in the same direction as other vehicles. Do not ride against traffic. EVER! You walk/jog/run against traffic, but never bike. You obey all the rules of the road as any vehicle. And other vehicles are required to give you space and respect. If uncertain, 'take the lane' so cars need to slow down for you. You have every right in the Vehicular Code! But remember to anticipate and be cautious.
How to train:
Depending on your bike skills and endurance, you'll need to work on both the distance (12 miles) and speed. Right now it's best to bike twice a week, in a comfort zone. Do not push yourself into injury. Establish a base and each week increase it about 10%. Put some speed work in each week. It could be as little as 4 one minute pushes, separated by 3 minutes of slow pedaling, for example, but never more than 1/4 of your bike time. Smell the roses before you race! We must remember to save energy for the run that comes. Spinning a high cadence will save your legs more than grinding through a hard gear. Think about pedalling in 'circles.' It works.
At any time, should you be sick or feel a niggle of pain, do not push through... rest will give you many future days of training.
Don't try to 'win' training. Know your own goals and follow them. Try not to fall into the trap of beating your friends or showing off your fitness. Training is training, racing is racing.
If you do not like to bike, find someone who will be a team member with you: they bike, you swim, someone else runs, or any combination!
Get those gears moving: A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. William Shedd
Article Six: Kids Time To TRI
Let's focus on the children's triathlon this week. Kids from ages 5 through 12 have races designed just for them. The courses are shorter and the rules more lenient. Plus, it is very family friendly. When adults encourage kids to train throughout the summer for an organized race, everyone wins.
5-6 yr olds: 50 yd swim 1 mi bike 1/4 mi run
7-8 yr olds: 50 yd swim 2 mi bike 1/2 mi run
9-10 yr olds: 100 yd swim 3 mi bike 1/2 mi
11-12 yr olds: 100 yd swim 6 mi bike 1 mi run
The kids race starts in the pool at approximately 11:00 once the adults races are completed. This enables adults to race and finish before their kids head out. Each age group goes off by itself. 50 yard swim is up and back once, the long way. 100 yards, obviously, is two such laps. Flotation devices are allowed. Goggles are encouraged.
Both the bike and the run are held within or next to Beachfront Park. The distances vary by age. Maps, color coding, volunteers, etc. lead the kids through the course. It is helpful to have parents there, counting and encouraging, also. One caveat of triathlon is: know your course. We recommend that parents know what their child is to do, as things get frenetic during the race. Check out the website for a map!
As with adults, helmets are required. As the child will wear a bathingsuit in the pool, it may be wise to have warm clothes to slip on before the bike starts. They will wear a 'chip' around their ankle, which is a means to record their times.
Each finisher receives a medal, and awards are given to the top 3 finishers in each age group for each gender. The award ceremony starts once the kids' triathlon is complete.
Sadly we cannot hold a kids duathlon (run bike run) without many more volunteers. Speaking of volunteers, we never have enough. Please do consider volunteering your time or asking others. You would count laps for swimmers, assist out on the course giving directions or at a water station, work the transition areas, etc. Call Linda at 1-707-218-5467.
The entry fee is $20 until August 1 when it goes to $25.00. As with adults, registration forms are at the bike shop, at the pool, some gyms, and here, online. You may register the evening prior to the event or early race morning. With entry each child receives a goody bag, swim cap, and run hat, plus a medal at the finish.
BackCountry Bicycles has donated a Trek (adult) bike for our donation drawing. Check out the bike at the shop; the drawing is not limited to athletes. They do, however, get one free ticket.
Watching the children infused with incredible enthusiasm and determination is heartwarming and brings on smiles and laughter.
When a Mom asked her toddler why he was lining up cheerios throughout the living room, in no explainable order, he said he was "making a trail to see where it goes."
Article Seven: Sleep and Eat
Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.
Don Kardong, 1976 US Olympic Marathoner
One month away! Are you getting ready? Raceday will come quickly. How is the triathlon/duathlon training going? Don't forget these two important concepts: rest and nutrition. Some suggestions/ideas/tips:
Rest: Train for the swim/bike/run but remember to rest. Get a full night's sleep and take off one day a week. Mix the sports up, never doing the same activity two days in a row; do each sport at least twice a week.
On your 'off' day, try something different to avoid injury and keep you enthused. Play pickleball, surf, hike, kayak.... We live where people visit to do 'our sports.' Let's do them ourselves.
Race Day Nutrition:
Nutrition for training/racing should include water and some fuel. Buy or make a sports drink with electrolytes/sodium to avoid dehydration. Perhaps take some protein and carbohydrates. It need not be fancy or expensive. Think: fig newtons or PB on whole wheat bread.
Be cautious by reading the labels on sports drinks and bars, some can be out of sight with their fat and carbs. A little protein in there is good. Figure out what your stomach can handle on a fast run, train with it, and stick to it. Figure out where in the race you'll eat; usually it is easiest on the bike. Be prepared to drink as you wait for the swim start. Take advantage of the aid stations on the run. Carry water on the run if you'll be out there a while. Nothing new on race day, ever! Be prepared for an apres race healthy snack (after that, splurge - you earned it!).
Every day nutrition: There is no magic (sorry), some tricks but no magic. You may be creating more of an appetite with your training, but don't over eat.
Think outside the 'barcode.' Eat as many unprocessed foods as possible; fresh fruits, vegetables and fish are now available locally. If you cannot 'go fresh,' try to 'go light.' Delete the highly sugared colas, opt for plain water, coconut water, low to non fat milk. Look at your dinner plate: it 'should be' 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 whole grains, 1/2 fruits and veggies of five different colors. Ideally four to six small meals are better than three big ones. You're not as apt to 'go hungry' and eat caloric snacks to get through the day. Enjoy your food and eat slowly as it takes 20 minutes for your tummy to yell up to your brain that it's full...
An example of a healthy day could be small portions of: oatmeal with raisins, skim milk, juice, coffee; snack of low fat yogurt with almonds; lunch of lean chicken, very little low fat mayo, whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomato, pretzels and fruit; snack of banana with two tablespoon peanut butter; dinner grilled salmon, small baked sweet potato (no butter, try mustard!), salad (low fat dressing); and snack of strawberries and tea. Lots of water.
Consider your meals the days before the race and raceday breakfast. Don't let a stomach, upset with too much fat or sugar, ruin your day with races to the portapotty. A race car needs appropriate fuel; so do you.
Most of the steps are small but they all matter. There are a lot of ways to trick your brain/your tummy.
Whether you can or you can't, you are always right. Henry Ford
Succeed Now: sign up!
I was unexpectedly faced with a choice between regret and fear.
So, I opted for the affliction with less staying power.
Emily Jo Cureton, Daily Triplicate reporter regarding rappling
Two reasons to sign up now for the August Triathlon/ Duathlon
1. Registration fees go up August 1st (details below).
'Success' starts with an S. Start by signing up. Once you fill out that form, drop it at the bike shop, mail it in, or hit the 'enter' button for your on-line registration, you have already succeeded. Second letter of 'success' is U. You have committed. It is up to you. Triathlon is all about YOU.
Without one iota of a doubt, the finish line is about you, but the work is accomplished only with a support team of family, friends, coaches, fellow athletes etc. It ends up being a team support.
You'll always miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."Wayne Gretzky
Lessons to remember: This last weekend (2016), ten local athletes showed up at the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove to do either the sprint or olympic distance triathlon. Their successes started with their commitment. Their finishes were all successes despite flat tires, hyperventilation, potty stops, and other surprising unexpected unwanted occurrences. The day was a good 'slice' of the sport. One trains for the best but prepares for the worse.
Taking the athletes separately, one person had to pull out after the swim, after hyperventilating and not able to continue. It was the athlete's first open water race. Sure, one might say it was a failure. But failure would occur if the athlete had given up hope. Rather, after researching, it was found that hyperventilation at water start is common with triathletes. Calming your breath down just isn't something for which you can train til you experience it. Athlete'll be back. That is success.
A flat tire resulted in a long tire change and hence a very long bike in. The athlete could have thrown in the towel and headed to the car then, but gamely went on to run. Finish line was crossed. Don't know if the timing was last overall, but am sure that feeling was there. Success was overcoming a setback and soldiering on.
Three brand new triathletes, great bikers and runners, had to learn to swim for this event. They struggled through pool and river swims this summer. They had no idea what to expect, but finished, smiling at their personal successes (probably surprised at the competition out there).
A few struggled with time-demanding portapotty stops. Nothing unusual there. Another suffered with lack of training, unable to keep to previous times, but personal success was there in a better swim time and good nutrition. One beautifully finished fifth woman overall, truly an elegant athlete. Always looking calm but very fast; were pre-determined internal goals met, I don't know. Same question with two athletes who are training for an ironman; they looked at this as a training day, giving them a faster shorter workout, practicing transitions.
Another two other athletes could not come this year due to foot injury and to family commitments. It happens.
Every success is about the one person doing the work. There were no failures. Finish times become irrelevant. Failures only occur in the head. And triathlon is all about head work.
Time to signup to save money:
Fees go up August 1st: ages 5-12 from $20 to $25, adults ages 13-18 from $40 to $50, adult triathletes fees from $55 to $65, duathletes from $40 to $50, and adult relay team fees go up from $35 to $40 per person.
What you do today can improve all your tomorrow. Ralph Marston, author/motivator.
Article Nine: FAQs
The important thing is not to stop questioning.
1. "What kind of bikes do people use? I have a basic mountain bike, will that suffice?"
Every kind of bike imaginable is used: from a cruiser to BMX to race.
2. "I look foolish, everyone is watching." No, you don't; no they don't; and, do you really care? It's all about you, not them.
3. "What are the cut off times?" There are none.
4. "Can I use a swim snorkel?" Yes, but you're not eligible for placing on the podium. You will get a finisher's medal, though.
5. "Do you have a map of the course?" Yes, on the website and maps will be in your goody bags and on large map boards at the race.
7. "I've done two sprint triathlons in a lake. How does the swim portion work if done in a pool. Am new to this."
Open water enable swimmers to start as a group. That cannot work in a pool. With six lanes, 12 swimmers start at once. You will have your own 'side' of a lane and you swim ten laps (20 lengths). Based on your estimated 500 yard swim time, we place you with swimmers who have approximately the same times. The first heat goes off around 8:30 and each following heat goes out once the previous group is out of the pool. Your heat start time will be posted race morning.
8. Am interested in the kids triathlon. How much can parents help? Are floaties allowed? Are parents able to ride along with the kids on the bike? Do different ages groups go at different times?
We definitely encourage parents helping with their children. You cannot swim with the child, but floaties are allowed. Parents are allowed to bike next to their kids, being aware of the other little ones. Kids age groups do go off at different times. Kids 'waves' are dependent on the number of registrants. Parents often help the child from the pool, warm up, dress up, and get on their bikes.
9. "Is there a hotel sponsor? How deep is the pool?"
The pool goes from 3'6 until midway when it is 4'6" and finishes at the deep end at 10'6." There will be sufficient and careful lifeguards. We have no sponsoring hotel, unfortunately. We'd love one!
10. Why does it cost so much?
Honestly, having paid many triathlon/duathlon registration fees, I know ours is a deal. That might be hard to imagine, but it is. The registration fees do not cover our costs.
Triathlon costs include: permits/costs for the County and City streets, the use of the pool, lifeguards, insurance, medals, timing chip/company, posters and applications, athlete goody bags with hats and swim caps, volunteer tee shirts for quick identification, signage, flags, bike racks, etc.
The only way the Crescent City Triathlon is able to maintain these fees is due to our fabulous sponsors and dedicated volunteers. Without them, there could be no event without charging athletes three times as much. Do check the sponsors out online
11. "Why do you suggest weight training?"
Not only is a gym workout good for a training basis for swim/bike/run, but also for your overall health. "If you don't use it, you lose it." The local gyms offer programs and classes. Books and websites offer much information. Figure out what motivates you: meeting people in a class or focusing alone. You can do it.
12. "What do people wear? Do you keep your swimsuit on when biking/running?"
Typically, yes. Some people own a specific triathlon suit, others may pull shorts and tee shirt over their swimsuit for the bike. Others may opt to change in the locker rooms.
13. "What is a team relay?"
Two or three people divide up the race. Three people may each take one leg. A two person team might decide that one swims and runs and the other bikes.
14. "Are headphones allowed on the run?
At this point we have no policy, but as with most races, we definitely discourage it. Larger races ban them. You need to hear other runners, directions, etc. Get your energy from other runners around you!
15. "Can parents race before their kids do?"
Definitely. You may wish to ask for an earlier start time so to be certain you are back before the kids race. Many families do the race.
Direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Race Director, Russ Burnette, at 707-951-1180.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
Article Ten: Take a Walk
Do not go gentle into that good night. Dylan Thomas
Let's take a walk through raceday, for the Crescent City Triathlon/Duathlon.
"When?" You will get to Fred Endert Pool sometime after 6:30 a.m. wrapped in fleeces, with all your gear. If you haven't registered ahead of time, you can do so at packet pickup Saturday night at the pool (5-7) or raceday morning. Sunday morning you'll get a goody bag and an envelop that includes your race number, an ankle strap and a chip.
"My what? a chip?" In order to time your race, AA Sports supplies each athlete with a chip that is attached to an ankle strap. Once your swim heat starts, your time starts. Then, as you run out of the pool, you go over a mat, which records your time. Those mats also are located where you exit bike, enter bike, exit to the run. and then at the finish. This will give you your total time along with separate times for swim, transition one (T1), bike, transition two (T2), and run. Put your chip and ankle strap on right away and then you'll be body marked.
"What? mark my body?" yup, a volunteer will mark your forearms and calves with your race number and age, with a big old black marker. You need to pin your race number to your biking outfit. Don't pin the number to the front and back of a tee at the same time - I've seen that. Hard to get the shirt on! Some people have race belts for their numbers.
"Rack my bike?" Find a spot for your gear and set it up in T1. Volunteers will help you in transition; details next week.
"More details?" Athletes' meeting 8:00 to go over race details. It is your responsibility to know the race course. Look at the website, check on posted updated maps raceday, practice on the courses. Now take a necessary walk.
"Why walk?" Learn the transition exits. Walk from the swim exit down to your bike. How will you know where it is, what towel/ballon/tree etc. will help you out as you rush out of the pool, chilled? Then make believe you are running your bike to the bike exit and bike mount. Know the route. Where do you come with after the bike, where do you exit for the run. Exactly where is the finish, it is NOT transition. Know these things. Do them. I will guarantee that you'll get mixed up otherwise.
"Bollocks up?" Practice getting into your bike clothes when you are wet. It's not easy. Suddenly that 'loose' bike jersey is bollocked up, twisted, and stuck over your arms. Unpowdered socks stick to your toes.
"Jelly legs?" Do a pre-race practice of jelly legs. Take a good bike ride and head back home where you already have your run shoes and cap set out. Transition from bike to run as quickly as you can. Then take a run. Going from horizontal swim to biking and then running demands different muscles and sometimes those legs feel like jelly when they try to run. Know ahead of time what that feels like.
"Food: yes!" Nutrition is most important. Be sure you do nothing new on raceday. Make your Saturday meals and Sunday breakfast what you have practiced and know your tummy can handle.
"Nerves: not me, never!" This is the hardest part of the whole day. btw: pool locker rooms with bathrooms are available from 6:30 on. You will wait on the pool deck for your swim heat to start. That is very difficult; it is nerve wracking. Suddenly, though, it is your time to jump in to the shallow end. You wait for the start gun start, do your ten laps, and exit at the shallow end. A volunteer counts your laps and sticks a board into the water to let you know when you are starting your tenth lap. Then, you exit the pool, heading to your bike.
You know the transition area, you know the bike course, you know the run. Now: do it! And SMILE
Head down that finish line to the arch, shocked that It Is Done! and you are a Triathlete with a medal to prove it. Recovery snacks await; then lunch at food trucks and awards after the kids races.
You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go.
Don't ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.
Three days to go to race day, August 21st, 32d Annual Crescent City Triathlon.
Why/What am I doing? I am not ready. I will guarantee that on raceday, no triathlete ever says they are fully ready. But to quote Sister Madonna Buder, the Iron-Nun, at age 86 (check her out on the Nike ad shown this weekend on Olympics coverage):
“The only failure is not to try, because your effort in itself is a success.”
You carry your attitude with you,.... You either achieve or you self-destruct. If you think positively, you can even turn a negative into a positive.”
What to do these next few days:
Rest as often as you can, especially Saturday: legs up, no last minute training. You are as ready as you can be.
Don't do anything different on raceday as in training, especially don't eat foods that might disagree with you these few days. Be wise. Celebrate afterwards.
Set up your transition towel at home so that raceday transition will go smoothly. Using a small towel, put everything on it in the order you are going to use them: helmet with sunglasses in it, bike shoes/sneakers and socks, then run hat/shoes. If adding clothes, put them on top, having pinned your race number to the front of your top. When you exit swim your cold fingers (and mind) won't be working well. So, plan ahead. Open your shoe laces and helmet strap. Keep it simple, leave your kitchen sink at home.
On Sunday, in transition, setup your bike and towel as at home. Check to see: are you in the right gear to start? Water bottles/nutrition on the bike?
Do the walk-through of the two transitions and know where you are going.
Know how to find your bike, using a bright towel or a landmark. I've used trees or signage to help me find my bike. One year, in a very large race, where we racked our bikes the day before the race, I asked the owner of a huge RV if he were staying overnight near the transition area, so I could 'site' off him in the morning. He said, definitely/absolutely. Well, not true: race morning: no RV. Panic, dummy.
Professionals and racing athletes will speed through transition (the time counts against your total finish time), but don't be intimidated. Many, many amateurs take the time to visit, take pictures, visit the head, change clothing, laugh a little... that's why triathlon/duathlon offers so many options for so many goals.
Go out slow: start each segment a tad slower than you hope to finish, or you will burn yourself up.
Paraphrasing Mike Pigg (another triathlete legend): make your goal to be the best you can, so when you are done whatever you did, you gave it your best shot... never needing to ponder ' I could have done better.'
Remember to shop our sponsors, see the page on the website.
And bring some cash for lunch.
Do encourage people to volunteer. They gain, you gain. We need them, you need them. Call 1-707-218-5467.
Do bring fleeces for the ideal cool race day morning and suntan lotion for later.
Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Christopher Robin to Pooh, A. A. Milne
and my personal motivation: "Because I get to" I don't need, ought, want, must, should... but "I get to" (run/swim/bike).