Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tri One On: When Pigs Fly

Tie one on...Ty one on, Ty tries to Tri One on. Say that ten times real fast.

Sit down for this one, stop the presses, and hold onto your hat. I have stepped outside my running comfort zone and (barring a setback) I'm running a Sprint Tri in August. Yes, that is a pig flying outside your window. I am completely clueless and in "way over my head" on this one. I'm a self-proclaimed running addict who has taken the summer off from marathon training so I was in search for something that would stroke my need for competition. Why couldn't I have picked a pie-eating contest? I actually did that once as a kid, but I wasn't qualified for that either.

For those that have been monitoring my DailyMile posts, you've been noticing something strange with my workouts. I've been selecting swimming on the pull-down menu for posting workouts. Slight problem is my swimming looks more like my daughter's 5 yr old picture shown here that looks more like drowning. Besides the lack of form, my fairly busy business schedule has me doing the "hotel, motel, Holiday Inn" workout. Similar challenge to fitting in your runs on the road, but most of these kidney-shaped pools are built for kids floating in their inner-tubes and pissing their trunks. Ewwww!

Just like my first marathon back in 2007, I'm completely winging this one, but I've got a few questions and comments for those more experienced swimmers, cyclists and triathletes;

1) If you run a marathon, what do you do call it when you compete in a I wrote above, I'm not running a Tri..I'm swimming, biking, AND running. I really don't know the lingo at all.
2) After looking online for triathlon bikes, I found a great site that described ten bike options, but the best advice was, if you are beginning, use whatever is in your garage before you drop the cash. Good advice as my heart skipped a beat looking at the price tags on these bikes.
3) Are they called bikes or do you avoid the confusion of Sturgis motorcycle lingo vs. Sprint lingo? Aren't they both bikes?
4) Wetsuit. Same freak-out on cost of a new wetsuit, I may only use a couple of times (or maybe once depending on how this charade goes.) Advice...rental...SBA loan? If I go with a mountain Tri, do I need one with arms, or can I go sleeveless?
5) Garmin...pace...? I will have to swim the 400M by feel since I am not going to go out and spring for a water-resistant GPS watch. I'll want to have my Garmin for the other 2/3 of the race. Do I have it strapped to the bike?
6) Transition area. So many questions...any advice for the transition from swim to bike? I suppose this depends on what wetsuit I get, and how easy it is to get out of it. I will have to practice this in the privacy of my home--getting in and out of clothing really quick. This is a bit overwhelming.
7) Transition area part II? Do you normally ditch the bicycle helmet for running hat, or do you go hatless? Do they typically have an area to grab anything for the running leg, or do you strap it on to your bike?
8) Nutrients? This is probably another transition area item. Once I get to the 5K, I won't need any goo or Shot Bloks, and it looks like there's at least one water stop, so that leaves the bike leg. Just how much crap can you attach to the bike?
9) Clothing? Looks like this sport is getting expensive because it looks like I'm buying a tri shirt and shorts. I know how to buy running gear, but this is virgin territory for me.
10) Shoes in transition. I may have to go for those springy shoe laces that essentially turn your shoe into a slip-on. How much time am I wasting sitting there tying my normal running shoes into double knots. More like double "Don Knotts."
11) Bib and number? Color me stupid, but I don't know what I'm doing here either. Is there a bib on the wetsuit and on what you're wearing under it?
12) USAT License? I need a license to do this?....and what's the tennis association have to do with this?

Those are just a few of the questions in my mind, but there's also the lingo do I blend in to make it not look like this is my very first time. (In case they haven't read this blog.) Perhaps some common phrases I can throw around like;

"Hey, did you see that wicked barbed wire fence crash on the 'Tour'?"
"You going to Kona this year?"
"Nice trunks!" No that last one sounds kinda creepy and I'm not even sure if they're called (swim)trunks.

What haven't I thought about? I'm sure there's something else big I'm missing out here. As I usually do, I'll be pouring over the blogs and pinging my local and virtual running friends who have more experience here. Pick one of the above and weigh in...I'd appreciate any and all comments.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Son Who Inspires Dad

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Talking Heads

"You start a conversation you can't even finish it.
You're talkin' a lot, but you're not sayin' anything.
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?"

"Psycho Killers" by Talking Heads

DailyMile posted their topic of their day this week which provoked a lot of online runner discussion; "Do you have conversations with friends/strangers/yourself while racing? Why or why not?" I started to answer then thought, much different question when comparing training runs to races, before the race, after the race, and friends vs. random strangers so this turned into a blog.

We are taught at very young age, when to talk and when not to talk. You aren't supposed to talk (loudly anyway) in the library, standing next to another man at a urinal, church, during a movie (but somewhat okay during the previews,) and during a golfer's backswing. Ironically, you can hoot like a drunk frat boy once the ball is struck, "it's in the hole!" even if it may be veering off into the woods. There are even age-old sayings like "don't speak until spoken to" for children--what kind of f'ed up Puritan made up that one? It's no wonder we don't know how to act or behave when running unless you've read Mark Remy's "Runner's Rulebook" which covers everything from snot rockets to ass propulsion.

Training Runs

There are a variety of training runs and the faster and shorter they are (or if they're goal pace) will dictate much less talking. When I'm doing Yasso 800's, there ain't much talking going on until after they're done. On long training runs, most are not at goal pace and many are recommended to be at "conversation pace." Even that requires some clarification.

Without getting in trouble with the female readers, I think they may out-do the guys in this department. Guys don't typically get together and chat, but I've found that I've made good friends in the running groups I've run with that help the long runs go by very quickly by talking about your training, upcoming race, last race, or the plethora of reasons why you bombed in your last race (another blog story.) Like all things, this should be done in moderation. I've had the
"chatty Cathy" who talked the ENTIRE time. I don't put a cup of sugar in my coffee and I don't want to talk the whole time either.

Taboo topics?

There may be a guy code vs. what women talk about when they're amongst themselves, but us men don't typically go into the "deep end of the pool" on topics. A good rule of thumb for all of us is avoid the heavy drama (your divorce, failed business, lawsuit, and the like.) Many of us use running as a way to escape from life's tougher patches; at least I do. Having said that, I'm guilty of breaking that rule on occasion and thought to myself afterwards, "why the hell did I bring that up?" Buzz kill for a good run.


This is a tough one. If you're under the Boston Marathon Athlete's Village tents in Hopkinton and waiting for the megaphone to announce that it's time for you to head to the corral; this is like a runner's nightclub. It's okay to talk to people you know and people you don't. As it gets close to the starting gun, I find myself getting my game face on, getting into a zone, whatever you want to call it by rehearsing the race game plan in my head. I'm not being rude; I'm just amp'ing up for the race. In the corral, you wind up meeting some pretty cool people and most often complete strangers. If you have run with a pace group in a race, as you stand in the corral around the pace group leaders sign you seem to instantly bond as you have a common goal to hit that time.

In the race

This depends on whether you're running a marathon or racing a marathon. I don't typically know how to do the former and I'm typically pushing the pace which means that I'm not wasting a lot of time by talking. While I'm happy to see friends if it should happen during a race, the conversation is brief and I'm back to hitting my pace and rhythmic breathing. This is where Chatty Cathy should put a sock in it. Given that, I ran into running buddy Matt (@luau on twitter) at the later stages of Boston and we were both struggling. Brief words of encouragement are allowed in this situation--kind of a man running code if you will. I think we both helped each other finish a tough day at the (running) office.

Post Race

Back to full talk privileges. Revel in your accomplishments with friends, strangers and anyone who spots the medal hanging around your neck. You worked for six months training for this (or more,) and you have a right to talk about it as much as you want. Talk, blog, tweet, facebook the crap out of it. All is allowed, but there seems to be some imaginary line where you quit talking about the last one and start talking about the next one.

"All you do to me is talk talk
Talk talk talk talk
All you do to me is talk talk
Talk talk talk talk
All you do to me is talk talk"

"Talk Talk" sung by Talk Talk (who else)

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine