Okay so blah blah blah I'm training for a triathlon, its hard, wah wah, I'm having to do all sorts of different stuff, blah. You already know that.
But that being said, the triathlon is less than a month away. Eeek! I am getting pretty excited about it, but have realized in the past few days, as people tell me stories about their first triathlons and the lessons they learned, that, well, I still have a lot to learn. I feel confident with my ability to do each of the legs with competence (especially since I looked up the times from last year's race and figured I was at least faster than the slowest person there...I think), but I've started to get apprehensive about the transition stations.
I have a lot of questions, most of them revolving around the issue of whether I will be able to eat. I have this thing where I get nervous doing endurance sports on an empty stomach, which of course would lead to low blood sugar, which of course would lead to me passing out on the course, lying defenseless and alone for a rabid animal to drag me into the woods and devour me before anyone even noticed I was gone. So if I could stash a banana somewhere that would be cool.
But I have other questions, too, like...what do I do? Luckily the internet is FULL of helpful people who are so friendly and eager to share their expertise with me! Actually, I was pointed in the direction of some really great resources that helped answer some of my burning questions.
1. Can I eat in the transition area? If so, should I? And what?
This article recommended putting some energy gel in my station, but I prefer to eat actual food. So I plan to pack a few Lara bars, which are small and all-natural. I may also need to eat a bunch of pancakes the night before just to be sure I have an adequate storage of glycogen.
2. What should I do to make the swim-to-bike transition easier and faster?
I found some great tips on TriNewbies, like having a bucket of water to get sand off of my feet, and Active.com suggested wearing shoes with elastic laces to save time with tying them. Other tips like hanging my bike helmet on the handlebars, making sure my tires are inflated, and having plenty of water may seem like no-brainers but could easily be overlooked in all the excitement of nerves, adrenaline, and carb-loading. And I'm pretty much expecting to be no-brain by the time I get to the starting line anyway. A great example is provided at FitEgg with a walk-through of a sample swim-to-bike transition, which is the one I am most concerned about.
3. What do I wear?
I have a borrowed wetsuit for the swim, but after that I am at a loss. I assume I'll wear my speedo and tug on some shorts for the bike and run. This article suggested slathering up with BodyGlide, which sports a website featuring pictures of intense-looking athletes unburdened by chafe. Naturally a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses will be required...although my prescription aviator glasses might not be quite what I need.
4. How can I maximize the limited training time I have left?
I've been invited on a few "brick" workouts, which I've passed on partly because they were not at convenient times and partly because I still have nightmares of a swim coach that made us tread water holding bricks over our heads as he sat on the diving board eating doughnuts. For real, that actually happened. But I don't feel so bad now that I realize I've been doing them on my own. A brick workout, from my interpretation, is pretty much a practice run. I've done a couple of bike-to-run workouts and felt the burn of trying to run a 5k after biking 15 hilly miles (not fun). This article at Active.com explains how to do a much more technical version than my homemade practice session. I don't know if I am going to get that intense; I mostly just want to finish the run without throwing up or collapsing.
There are a lot of people out there who are really passionate about triathlons. It makes me excited to be planning my first one; the energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement I've received adds a whole new training element to the workouts themselves.
Okay, enough blah blah, time to go practice my transition....to bed. :)