Tips for your first Triathlon

My sister and I both did our first triathlons this summer.   Like I mentioned before, I didn't see this as something I ever wanted to do, but I was dedicated to training for it.  I like to run, but I am not really a "triathlete" type pf person. For that reason, I thought I would be the perfect person to write some triathlon tips for the "average" person, you know the one who never thought they would do a triathlon but ended up signing up anyway.  Maybe YOU!

So let's start at the beginning. What you will need (without spending a lot of $)

My suggestions on equipment.

I already had running shoes and a bike but I needed to get some swimming equipment.

I have my own swimming pool but never had a swimming cap. First instinct is to order one off  Amazon. These are fairly inexpensive. You can pick one up for less than $10. However, I went to my local swim shop (which I assumed would be more expensive) to buy one.  They print swim caps for local swim teams and they sell the extras for real cheap so I was able to pick one up there for less than $2.  Swim caps can be sort of uncomfortable and not always required.

Goggles can be tricky, especially when they are packaged and you can not see through them before you buy them. I would suggest buying clear ones.  Being a first time triathlete I wasn't quite comfortable in the water and I wanted to be able to see as clearly as possible. I had tried other goggles that had lenses that were tinted blue and ones that were tinted gold and I just did not like them. They fogged up too quickly and made me discombobulated. If you wear glasses, you can also get prescription goggles at the swim shop.

If it is your first triathlon your goal is to probably just get through it and not to set any records.  My suggestion is to ride a bike you are comfortable with.  I did not have a tri bike or even a racing bike. I used my Diamondback bike that I bought a Dick's Sporting goods a few years back and ya know what? It was perfect for me because I was comfortable. Yes, I could have borrowed a racing bike, but I was comfortable with the one I had. Don't worry, not everyone that is racing will have a racing bike. You won't be the only one.

You will be required to have a bike helmet. I already had a helmet but it was time for me to buy a new one anyway. My local bike shop sells them from $75 on up, but other than this race most of my bike riding is on the rail trail so a bike helmet from Target was fine for me. I got one that has the adjustable wheel in the back to make it more tight or loose.

Clothing- You do NOT need to have a tri suit.  Most women swim in fitted tanks and bike shorts. Whatever you swim in you should be prepared to bike and run in too.  My suggestion is to wear your race day outfit for all of your training.  I wore the same outfit each time I swam, biked, and ran because I wanted to see how the clothes felt during each activity, especially since they would be wet. I didn't want to wear something that would be too heavy when it got wet or would start to chafe as I rode the bike. You'll be doing laundry more often but it will be worth it.

One of the things most first time triathletes worry about the most is the swimming portion. I know I did.  But I would encourage you to find out more about the swimming situation. I later found out that the deepest portion of the pool I would be swimming in on race day was only a little over 5 feet. This put me a little more at ease. The pool I practiced in was 9 feet at the deep end and I did not like that.

Also, find out which strokes are allowed. My plan was to swim freestyle up a lap and the backstroke down a lap, and then alternate each lap between freestyle and backstroke.  Right before the race started it was announced that the backstroke was NOT allowed! I quickly had to switch up my plan.  I did find out that aqua jogging or walking was allowed, so I knew I could use that as a back up when I got tired.

If you are already a runner, you might not worry about "practicing" the running parts. You may think I got this. That's fine, but you NEED to practice running immediately after biking.  You need to get use to this feeling.

When you run after biking, you will feel it in your hips. Make sure you are consistent with your foam rolling.  Your hips are probably not use to the immediate change in activity.

And lastly, you should practice ALL THREE activities.  Although I practiced each of these activities separately, and at different parts of the day, I did have at least 3 "trial" runs  where I swam, bike, and ran the entire distance of the tri.  Yes, I was exhausted afterwards but simulating what race day would be like really gave me confidence. Plus, I got  a sense of what my time should be for each portion of the race. That gave me something to work towards on race day.

Because I'm not a talented athlete, I really stuck to my training. But then again, If you are good at all these activities you can just "wing it" like my sister did and you won't be any worse for wear!

Hope these tips help anyone who is thinking of doing their first Tri. If you'e done a Tri, what would you add? -M

Weekly Wrap...September 23

Happy Fall Ya'll!  We spent our first day of fall just as one should, closing our swimming pool and decorating our home for fall.  Other than that, there really is no signs of fall yet as the leaves have not started to change yet.

I'm pretty proud of us for all the things we accomplished so early in the season. We usually don't do the pool closing till closer to October and sometimes not until well into October. I always want to extend Baylee's swimming season as long as I can. I guess this proves that I am indeed ready for fall.

I'm ready for cozy nights on the couch and wearing leggings. I've never really had that "Fall" itch before as I just LOVE summer, but I think I have it this year. But I'm sure I'll be ready for summer again by February!

This week I started running some of the route where I think part of the 5k race will go through on Friday night.  Besides the fact that this is not a flat course, and it is at night, I decided that I'm not "racing" this race.  I know this sounds lazy and I can't believe I'm even saying this, but I don't really care to put that much effort into it. I just want to run it for fun. I feel like earning a 3rd place medal at the Harvest 5K earlier this month was already a great accomplishment for fall so I don't feel the need to try to place in another race. Is that lazy?   

I think this race is really just a big party anyway. It's suppose to be a glow race with an after party at one of my favorite taverns in town.  We are suppose to wear bright colors but all my fluorescent colored tops are long sleeves and it's definitely not time for running it that yet, not even at night. So,I'm not even sure what I want to wear.

Lacey is continuing to train for her fall races ( 13.1 and 50 miles).  She found a nice trail during her layover in Denver this week and had enough time to knock out 11 miles!

And that's pretty much a wrap for us this week. Nothing too exciting.

Thanks to Wendy and Holly for letting us share our week with them.

Plans for Fall

Since tomorrow is "officially" the first day of fall, we thought it was time to get our fall plans down in writing!

It actually happened last weekend, but the Harvest Festival 5K was the first "Fall" race for both of us. I guess we can already check that one off the list!

I actually earned a free entry into any race in our local series (The same race series that puts on the Monumental Mile and Running of the Elves), so I chose a new to me race  The Lewisburg Lights 5K. This is a night time race so I'm sort of excited because I have not ran a night race since Rock n Roll Las Vegas a few years back.  -M

I'm doing my first 50 miler race! I've done this race before as a relay but this year my best running buddy and I decided we would run the entire 50 miles by ourselves! -L

The third fall race I'm scheduled for this year is a Halloween race that I'll be running with my mom. This is also a night time race and it sounds like it's going to be a big costume party so I guess I better start working on a race outfit!  -M

As if running a 50 miler is't enough, I'm also RUNNING VEGAS this year!  I ran the full marathon back in 2014 and I have to say it was rather boring, dark, and little crowd support. My mom and sister ran the half marathon and had much more fun. I have a friend that recently started running and she asked me to run the half with her and I said yes! -L

Those are just the races we are registered for so far but we do have some fun fall things planned  as well like a corn maze, some work outings, and some mini getaways for fall!

What fall race are you looking forwards to?

Harvest Festival 5K Race

On Saturday my sister and I both ran the annual Harvest Festival 5K.  This race is somewhat of a big deal in our area as it is in conjunction with a two week harvest festival. The first weekend is the bike race (which we’ve never participated in) and the second weekend is the 5K race, which we've run several times.

Our dad usually runs this race with us but because he had shoulder surgery this year, we thought it best that he set this year out.  You don’t realize how much you use your shoulders in running until you start to do it!

As soon as we got our bibs, we headed towards the start line and immediately saw our Pap.

My Pap knows I am not as fast as Lacey, so real seriously he says to me before the start of the race “I know she is faster, so I brought you something.”  At that time he pulls an inhaler out of his pocket.  “When you start to get short of breath, just take a poof of this” he says.   I know he meant to be helpful and at 85 years old I guess you can say whatever you want, but I had to tell him that I couldn’t use his inhaler.  I don’t have asthma, I’m just slower!

In all the years I have run this race, this is the first time the National Anthem did not play. It was a 1,2,3, and we were off.   

Here is how our individual races went.

Before the start I eye up my competition (don’t judge, you know you do it too at local races) We started promptly at 9:30. We had a new race director this year and he put on a great race!  

The first mile I was running way too fast like I normally do (6.38) (6.55) (6.59) average 6.49. I knew I needed to slow down but I was feeling good. So far no one had passed me. After seeing my time I thought well someone will be creeping up behind me soon like they usually do. But that was not the case. Instead I passed a few other runners. I was still feeling good at mile two when my watch clocked in at (6.55) I was wondering if I had enough gas in my tank to keep my last mile under 7 mins. 

About this time I saw my parents cheering for me along with other spectators and that must have gave me an extra boost of energy.  Still no one had passed me and I wanted to look behind me so bad to make sure no one was going to sneak up behind me but I didn’t.  Usually I sprint that last couple feet because I am trying to pass someone, but this time there was no reason to because there was no one behind me. I finished first female overall with an average pace of 6.49 per mile. I received a nice plaque and a gift card to a local shoe store.  My sister has a very different experience with her race.  -L

While Lacey finished her first mile in 6.38, I finished in 8:50. I didn’t feel like it was too fast for me, but it must have been because the next two miles were much slower.  My only goal for this race was to finish in the same time that I’ve been practicing. I pretty much ran my own race, passing a few, and people passing me here and there.  I had passed the 3 mile mark and I was about 200 feet from the finish line when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone in an orange shirt coming up on me. 

I had not seen this person the entire race and I don’t know what got into me but I just put it into high gear and started sprinting to the finish line. I heard the crowd all screaming and cheering and I didn’t know if they were cheering for me to “go” or cheering for the other runner to “pass me”.  My legs were moving so fast that I seriously thought I was going to trip and fall.  I made it across the finish line before the other runner and earned 3rd place in my age group.  I wondered if me speeding up at the end was sort of a jerk move.  We congratulated each other at the end and I found out that we were in the same age group. -M

It was a great race for each of us! If our dad was running, I'm sure he would have kept up his streak and placed in his age group as well.

The race got a new director this year and he really stepped it up with the awards. Aren't they awesome?  

                                                      We will be linking up with the gals from TOTR.

Weekly Wrap...September 16

How is it the middle of September already?  It still feels like summer though (we just had Baylee swimming this afternoon).

We both have a pretty fun schedule of events coming up this fall so I imagine the next two months are going to go pretty fast too!

This week started off pretty rainy (which has been the theme for the East Coast this week).  Monday was the last day to register for that race on the Island I wanted to do.  Because of all the rain we got, I decided that I wasn't going to sign up because there would be no way the island would be dry enough to run on. I was right too. They had the island closed most of the week due to flooding. We went down today just to walk around and a lot of the paths were washed away and it just looks rather mucky. My poor island!  The race is schedule for this coming Saturday and I'm anxious to see if it goes on.

I did my runs in town and on the treadmill this week and actually enjoyed each one.  My running route was decorated with Scarecrows this week.

Look at all that fog over the river. 

A lot of this week was spent watching the Weather Channel.  Our rivers got so high here that some of our roads were closed and I honestly did not know if we would have our race and Harvest Festival this weekend.  The water had gone down by the end of the week and everything went on as scheduled this weekend.

Saturday was a really fun day. My sister and I ran the annual Harvest 5K  race and than got to spend some time at the festival afterwards.  We went back into town later to watch the parade and then headed to a birthday party for my dad and aunt for the rest of the evening.

And that's pretty much a wrap!  I look forward to sharing more about the 5K race this week and hopefully sharing some things that will be on our fall schedule.  -M

Thanks to Wendy and Holly for letting us share our week with them

The Summer DONE List

This weekend we will be visiting some fall festivals that two of our neighboring communities will be hosting. I take this as the reality check that even though it it still feels like summer, that summer is indeed over!

This made me want to look back over my "Summer To Do List" and see how many things I actually did do (besides running).

This list was generated from a previous blog post I wrote earlier this summer.

1. Go to a baseball game -Nope, not even a little league game

2. Watch Fireworks- I did make it out to a few 4th of July Fireworks shows and as an added bonus got to see the Disney Fireworks too!

3. Go to the horse races- I did not do this one but I did get to ride a horse, so that's better!

4. Go to the beach -Did this one. I feel so fortunate that going to the beach for us can be just a day trip if we want it to.

5. Go boating - We went out on the little boat a few times, but I did not get to go out on our big boat at all this summer.

6. Do some day activities with friends - I did a few (including meeting up with Megan) but I definitely should have made the time to do more.

7. Remove wallpaper in  my house - Got this done and I even painted it too. I thought I was going to put new wallpaper up but I never found any that I was in love with.

8. Swim with the dogs -Done!

9. Go golfing - I went to the driving range once but other than that, it was too hot to get anyone to golf with me.

10. Read some books!  I actually complete 8 Books! Some I enjoyed better than others but they all had "Summer" as their common theme. I'm hoping to find a few "Fall themed" books for this season.

Of course I did plenty of things that were not on my list too like amusements parks with my family, bike rides, hiking, parades  and I finally starting selling some clothes on Posh Mark!  I've actually sold two items so far! 

I always worry if I used my time wisely over the summer. I did do a few things for school but I also feel like I had a good balance of  family time, travel, relaxation, and "getting things done". 

What do you feel your greatest accomplishment was this summer?  Do you want to talk about any of these books? I love talking books!  -M

Rock n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon 2018

VA Beach half marathon

Last weekend was the 7th year in a row, I ran Rock n Roll Virginia Beach. I know every year when I sign up for the race it is always hot and humid. And of course this year did not disappoint.

In the past I have had VIP parking or had a parking pass where I used to work that was close to the start. Unfortunately this year I didn't have either one of those, but no worries my friend that I was going with is a Realtor and had a house on the market close to the start. 

We decided we would stay together and run so I didn't even bring my Ipod. We ran together until about mile 7 then I took a GU and sped up to the next water spot to get some water. When I turned around  my friend was no where in sight so I continued on by myself. At this time I was regretting not bringing my Ipod. But I will say I was actually able to take in all the great music that Rock n Roll has to offer so that helped.

Borrowing from MarathonFotot

By mile 10 I was over this race and ready to be finished. During this time the race is on both sides of the road and I felt bad for those other runners that were on the other side probably only about mile 4 into the race. They had such a disadvantage because not only was 
the heat and the humidity a factor and getting hotter by the minute, they didn't start at the beginning of the race due to their corral placement. Perhaps this race should start earlier?

Borrowing from MarathonFoto

I knew I was close to the finish when I arrived on the Boardwalk. Why does the finish line always look a lot closer than what it really is? I told myself that I wasn't going to Sprint at the end of the race. Is it really worth it to be sore the next day? But who am I kidding; yes it is! I passed one lady. Then I saw two men up ahead. I ended up passing one of them and I started creeping up on the other one, but just about that time he saw me and knew it was a sprint to the finish. People noticed this and started cheering for us. I finally threw up my hands and gestured yea you got me. I ended up finishing about 5 seconds behind him. After I crossed the finish line we high fived and congratulated each other! 

rock n roll va beach

I waited for my friend to finish, grabbed a celebratory beverage, and caught up with some runner friends. By this time a shower and a nap sounded better than sticking around for the after party. 

Later that evening we came back to the beach to watch the headliner ZZ Top. Overall a great race weekend despite the heat. -L

                                        We are linking up with the gals from TOTR.

Weekly Wrap..September 9

This week was so busy that I don't actually remember the exact days I did each activity,  but this is what happened over Labor Day week.

Sunday morning I did my very first Zumba class on the boardwalk. This stuff is hard! I didn't know any of the moves so I just tried to keep up. For those of you who do Zumba, is every class different or do you eventually do the same "dances" so you get to learn the moves?

Since it was Labor Day weekend, we spent a lot of time on the boardwalk and on the beach. I did get more the 3 miles in but 3 is all I officially tracked on my watch.
I also got in a 7 mile bike ride.

Later in the week I actually did a treadmill run! I cant believe it. I've NEVER used the treadmill during the summer but it was WAY too hot after I got home from school and I felt it was a better option. I opened the doors for a while so it was kind of like I was outside. Of course this didn't last lo g because the humidity was too intense and I needed air conditioning!

I had "Back to School" night and our school cook out this week and then had to pack for a weekend trip.

We rented a lake house along the Finger Lakes in New York with some friends. The weather has been cooler up here than what I've been use to at home but felt absolutely perfect (and peaceful) as I did my run at 6:30 am Saturday morning.  I never run that early at home.

I'm looking forward to seeing what this coming week brings.  I have until tomorrow to decide if I want to run that race at the Island park that was cancelled earlier this summer, and then the annual Harvest Festival 5K with my family is this weekend.  This is usually the weekend that we put our fall decorations out too (and maybe close the pool).

Tell me how you spent your Labor Day weekend. -M

Thank you to Wendy and Holly for letting us share our week with them.

Grandiose Plans

Although the temperatures continue to creep into the 90's, I guess I can say that "Summer" running is officially over!

I always have these grandiose running plans for the summer.

I'm going to get up early and run before it gets too warm. I don't work over the summer so I'm going to spend loads of time on the trail. I'm going to be able to run SO many miles and than after that I'll walk tons of miles while listening to whatever audio book I've downloaded that week. I'm going to sign up for at least one race a month, maybe more! I'm going to practice running the race route on the island so when race race day comes I'll be familiar with it.

So, how did this work out for me?

I'd have to double check that stats on my Garmin but I'm pretty sure I didn't make it out the door for a run anytime before 8:00 am.  Yea, by that time the humidity already starts to creep up.

I did listen to one audio book while doing a walk/run on the trail and that was enjoyable.

Now let's talk about races.

 In the month of June I was dedicated to training for my triathlon. I mostly worked on swimming and biking and trying to run After biking. I was pleased with the results of my first tri so I will call that a win. In fact, that was pretty much my main goal this summer.

Also in June I was suppose to run the Monumental Mile but because of all the road closures due to the parade I totally missed it.

I ran the hot and hilly 4th of July race and I'm serious this time when I say I may forgo it next year.

Also in July I ran Disney's newest resort race the Beignet Dash. I'm hoping to return next summer and run another fun run in that series.

In the month of August I usually run the color run and the Love inc run. I passed on both of them this year. First off those races in August are always so hot and humid. Second of all, I just didn't think I was prepared for such a rugged trail race. Lastly, those races are on the island and with all the rain we've been getting ( and the bugs being worse then usual) I did very little of any training on those wooded trails.

However, just last week I did see that one of those races was postponed from the original date (due to flooding) and will be put on at the end of this month so I guess I get another chance to run it if i want to!

What were your grandiose running plans this summer? To just survive the heat? -M

Weekly Wrap....September 2


Since August is "officially" the last month of summer, I thought it would just fly by but really I think it was just the right amount of time.

This last week of August I was pretty exhausted. With preparing for back to school and all I did not feel like running in the heat this week. I really do think just being in the heat (not even running) can make you exhausted. Do you agree?

With that being said, I did get a run in on Sunday to participate in the Miles for Mollie movement. The story about Mollie first appeared on the news while we were in Florida. I watched it on the Hotel TV and have been following it ever since. I obviously did not know her, but  continued to be saddened about the situation.

When I was done with this run I checked my stats and saw that each mile was faster than the last. I was not trying to do that but was surprised because that hasn't happened in a very long time.

During the week there was a lot of THIS ^ going on!  I am so blessed that Baylee is such an obedient dog. There was a time I got off that raft for a while and she continued to float all by herself.

Friday morning I decided to head out for a run. It was raining but I went anyway because I didn't know if it was going to clear up or not.  I decided to just take it easy and run by feel. I wasn't really pushing the pace but was shocked after the first mile when I looked at my watch and saw how good I was doing. I hadn't seen numbers like that in a while. I glanced down again at Mile 2 and saw I was still doing well. My just go with the flow run now turned into Okay, let's keep this pace up.  I ran hard for the rest of the course. I finished the 3.1 miles and then found myself practically vomiting over top of a water drain in the parking lot. Okay maybe that was TMI, but low and behold my watch again showed that each mile was faster than the previous one. That's not what I was going for but I'll call it a win.

The rain didn't really bother me and I'm glad I went out early because when it did stop raining it got very humid.

Saturday was like the quickest day ever. I got up early to run 3.1 miles at the park and while I was there they were setting up for the dog festival.  I came home and ate breakfast, showered, and then my family and I took Belle there. Although Baylee is a wonderful dog, she tends to get a bit anxious at events like this (and you know she has a heart problem) so she stayed home.  There was a doggie dash (but we did not participate because Belle can't really run), lots of vendors, a petting zoo, and a Priest that gave each of the dogs a blessing. When he came to Belle, he said "I bet you are a pampered dog"!  It was a really nice time and we met a breeder whom we may use for our future puppies.

Afterwards, we went to the bike shop, we bought another bike, and another bike rack.  After that we biked on the rails to trail almost 7 miles.  The day just went by so fast. I'm looking forward to relaxing another few days before starting back to school again.

Hows the weather near you, still hot?  When you run, is your first half mile faster than your last half mile or vice versa?   Any Labor day plans?  I hope to spend some time at the beach -M

                        Thank you to Holly and Wendy for letting us share our week with them!