July 23, 2012

You Learn

[Alanis Morissette]
The much anticipated triathlon is this Saturday. Can you even believe it? [Do you even care?] For ME the training period has flown by. Maybe because I've had so much fun. I fear that if the race goes well [which I pray it does] I'll be dealing with a severe addiction. Possibly worse than my running addiction. [I can just hear my husband groan.]

I thought it might be interesting to do a series on the triathlon this week. I know. I know. Isn't that what I've been doing for the past 5 months? Kinda...but I am talking about getting down to some things I have learned and questions I've had people ask that I haven't relayed here. Maybe it will make sense if I just get started.

Keep in mind...I am a novice. This is just what I've gained from my experience so far.


The triathlon consists of three back-to-back events: swim, bike, and run.

There are four triathlon distances: sprint, olympic, half-ironman, and the biggie...the ironman.

I am participating in an olympic distance race. Lance Armstrong called this race a "Shampoo, Blow Dry, and 10k Run". Sprint and olympic distance racing has a runner's advantage, where the ironman races have a cyclist's advantage.

Sidenote: I originally thought I had signed up for a sprint distance. But, the joke is on me. Let's double the work I thought I had in my future! 

So, participating in an Olympic distance tri, what do I have to look forward to?
1.5K Swim (Just under 1 mile)Expect to swim a personal record! The swim is current aided (located in the Snake River). Water temperature averages 68-71 degrees. 
40k Bike (Approx. 25 miles)The bike course is fairly flat loop of 25 miles with just a few rollers. Race elevation is 4250'. 
10k Run (6.2 miles) The 10k loop begins with a short steep hill and then levels to a mostly flat course. The run is on country roads and canal banks. The course is 70% asphalt, 30% gravel.
Honestly, I am so glad that this is an easy course. After the marathon being one of the most difficult courses in the country I've decided, "Let's NOT take the biggest challenge available for a FIRST race." Sounds like common sense, right? I learn the hard way. Every. Time.

Participants (aka - ME) will be timed on the events but also on time spent in transition areas. You have T1, the transition area between your swim and bike events. And then T2, the transition area between the bike and run events. These are where you prep and pick up your gear for the next event. The goal is to move fast, think 30 seconds. [I am pretty sure this is going to destroy my chances of getting on the podium (K, so it's my lack of speed in the events, too). Wetsuits don't come off easily. Plus, if you think I can take my cycling shoes off while riding into T2, you haven't seen me bike. That would be a crash...for. sure.]

Some interesting things I've learned about the Triathlon specifics. Non-pro triathletes are called 'Age Groupers'. All participants have their race number AND their age marked on their arms and legs. I am excited to run next to people and be able to see their ages...kind of entertaining [or depressing when an 80 year old beats me (flashback to my first 10k)].

Training has also been interesting because of the sessions called 'Bricks' that have you workout two of the events one after the other. For example, yesterday I biked 2 hours and then ran for 40 minutes. Killer workouts. The transfer to different muscles for each event is a challenge.

Now that you've got the idea of what a triathlon is. What have I had to learn for each event? I'll tell you...

To be continued...


  1. WOOT WOOT! YOU GO GIRL! I actually loved reading through your Triathlon Basics guide. I did my first sprint tri last year and loved it, and was secretly hoping to train for a half ironman this summer but alas, I'm prego with my 4th boy. That kills the plans. But if you're still gung-ho next year I'd love to join you in a race!
    You're going to rock this weekend!
    I saw your stats of how far you've run, biked, swam this year on the sidebar - ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? You could do this race in your sleep!
    Good luck and have fun!

    1. WTF...I didn't know this about you! Way to freakin' go! I'd love to do a half-ironman. It's definitely on my to-do list. I think I have another Marathon scheduled in the spring, so next year is probably unrealistic. But one day! If you do it, let me know...I'll come cheer you on!

  2. Great post! I didn't know about the different tri's so I'm glad you cleared that up. I'm SO excited for you and wish I could be there to cheer you on! Let's celebrate when you get back. K????
    You are going to do amazing! You have trained hard. You own this!

    1. Well, when you are up to it, you won't be cheering, you'll be out there with me. I'll represent at this race and then I expect you to join me at a future race ;) Until then, you are definitely invited to the celebration...not sure what that is yet, but you should be there.