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.


  1. 1) If you run a marathon, what do you do call it when you compete in a triathalon? Well, first of all, there's no second "a" in Triathlon. You "completed" it, or "competed" in it.
    2)Use whatever bike you've got. For now.

    3)We usually name our bikes. Dolores, Cindy, that kinda thing.

    4) Wetsuit. Buy one...with sleeves. There are on-line sources for getting them cheaper. $200. It's like owning a tuxedo. You may not use it often, but it will always be waiting for you when you need it. Putting them on (installing them) is a whole other subject. The expensive ones are no faster than the cheap ones. Plus- you're gonna' get hooked on Tri's. they're a hoot.

    5) Garmin...pace...? Even if you have a 310xt... you won't be looking at it during the swim. So yup. you're on your own.

    6) Transition area. see Youtube videos.

    7) Transition area part II? you'll have your own little area where you lay out your stuff. I leave my running hat and race belt (see #11) next to my shoes. Running with your cycling helmet on would be funny.

    8) Nutrients? For a sprint tri- not much. Take water and some sports drink on the bike. Drink what they give you on the run. You won't need much nutrition for a little over an hour.

    9) Clothing? there's no changing area for short tris, so plan on wearing one thing throughout the race. Invest in tri shorts, at least. Putting on a shirt at T1 when wet is nearly impossible. If you have a pair of swimming jammers- they'll work in lieu of tri shorts, but cycling shorts don't. Like running in a wet diaper.

    10) Shoes in transition. Yup. Spring $5 for bungee laces. You may like them so much you may never go back to the laces they give you.

    11) Bib and number? you wear your number on your body for the swim. your bike will have its own number on it. and you'll have a number for the run. You could pin it on your shirt- but its far more convenient to spend $6 on a 'race belt'. The number stays on the belt, and you grab it at T2 and clip it on as you run out of the gate.

    12) USAT License? I need a license to do this?....and what's the tennis association have to do with this?

    If you're not a member, all races let you pay $10 for a one day membership, which you must do. USAT membership is $40/yr. So, 4 or more races and it's a deal.

    triathlons are a whole other world- that's a lot more complicated, but more fun than just running. Most are really casual, easygoing, supportive events.

  2. Thanks a bunch Morey! Some great advice including how to spell triathlon. :)

  3. I found these tips very interesting -and they come from Chrissie Miles. I guess she knows.

  4. Seems like you already got answers, but I'll answer too. I'm so proud of you!

    1)I say I'm doing a triathlon.
    2)Yes. I did my 1st 2 tris on my old hybrid that was in my garage. Decided I loved it and bought a (used) road bike off Craigslist. I don't have the money for a brand new bike. See if you like it first, use whatever you have, or borrow. You'll see people using mountain bikes, 1-speeds, etc.
    3) I call it a bike.
    4)It depends on your water temp. You can rent them. My tri store nearby rents them 10 days for $40. I'd go full-sleeve, but that's me.
    5) People do different things with their Garmins. I keep it in my shoe and strap it on my wrist after the swim in T1.
    6)Get a tri suit. You can compete in all 3 legs in it, no need to put anything on in transition!
    7) Make sure you take off your helmet, maybe put it on your towel or hook it onto your bike. If you like to wear a hat running, then grab it. You'll have ALL your gear set up on a transition towel. I HIGHLY recommend going to YouTube and put in "triathon transition". There are tons of videos showing how to set up. It helped me immensely.
    8)For a sprint you probably won't need anything. Before the tri starts, when you're setting up, attach your water bottle to your bike filled with whatever your drink of choice is (I use Gatorade myself). You can also grab a Gu or whatever as you leave T2 and eat on the run.
    9) As I said, yes, a tri suit is great. Expensive, but you only need one and it is good for all 3 sports.
    10) I don't use bike shoes yet (haven't gone clipless) but if you do use those, then your running shoes. I am bad at Yanx. You'll figure it out.
    11).No bib on the wetsuit. Just wear the bib during bike and run. I highly suggest buying a race belt and attach your bib beforehand.
    Strap the belt to your bike so you dont' forget it...and you'll have it on during the bike and run. You'll also have a race number on your helmet and your bike. But not during swim (although I've seen some tris, namely Ironmen, that have numbers on the swimcap)
    12) I am not a USAT member. Some tris require it, but the ones by me dont'....but you get a discount during registration if you are.

    You'll do great. I've done 4 so far and at each one there were TONS of first-timers. Especially for a sprint, it's great for the newbie. You wont' be the only one, I promise!

  5. Some additional comments (moreyooo got most of what I was going to say)

    #3 I don't think you can go wrong. Bike, bicycle, whatever. :) I need to name mine...

    #4 Depends on where you're racing. I've done 4 and only one was wetsuit legal (below 78). Never really needed it. Optional unless the lake you're swimming in is super chilly.

    #5 I take the extra 10 seconds to put on my garmin after the swim. I hate extra time in transition, but it's worth it to me.

    #6 Practice your transitions. I didn't do this until my last one and it made a world of difference. I spend the last part of my swim prepping my head for T1.

    #8 I have 200-300 calories before and some champagne and brunch after. On the olympic, I added some sport beans. But I am a notorious under eater.

    #9 Yeah, my hubbs only has tri shorts. He just puts on a baggy tech tee after and is fine. I just don't think you should get around this one. I lucked out and found a 5$ one piece at a thrift store and washed the hell out of it, but that was sheer luck.

    You'll get hooked, don't worry. Tris are way too fun and the community is amazing. :)


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