Wednesday, March 21, 2012

To Tri or Not To Tri?

I've had a lot of anxiety ridden thoughts about my goal to do a sprint tri this year. Since starting this blog, I haven't really failed at any of my fitness goals and in the back of my mind there is high potential to fail at this one.

A sport so unfamiliar. An event that combines THREE sports into one. A sport that will force me to swim against others....something I haven't done in about 20 years.

I've thought about dropping the goal to do it this summer and instead join a bootcamp of some sorts and get all toned up instead. But I can't deny that I want to do this.

But I have no idea where to start. I need a place to swim, so I guess the first step is to join the local Y. I also don't even have a swimming suit that fits. So I have to get one of those.

Another thing is, what the hell do you wear during a triathlon? I know a lot of people wear Tri Suits. Do you swim/bike/run all in this one piece of clothing? Is it comfortable? Will it compress my fat rolls so I don't jiggle (no, really). Should I get one? Thinking about a Tri Suit makes me see dollar signs. I don't want to invest a lot of money into new gear for a sport I don't know if I will like participating in. But, if I don't get a tri suit, what do I wear? I don't even like changing in front of people at the gym, no way I want to do it at a race.

Then there's the bike. Is my bike sufficient enough? I have a 1992 Schwinn cruiser style bike that came out of my aunt's garage last year. I know I can ride 9-10 miles at a leisurely pace on it because I've done that already. But can I race on it? And what if one of my tires goes flat during training or the race? I have no idea how to change a tube or where to learn.

Basically, the only thing I know I can do is run/walk the 3 or so miles that would be part of a sprint triathlon. Easy peasey right? But what about running 3 miles after spending 1.5 hours exercising? No way I can run after that, right?

I've considered joining a Tri group, but every one I've looked at is intimidating. I don't want to be the 240-lb beginner that shows up and can't keep up with the group on a group ride or swim (or even run).

The anxiety on top of being in the middle of half-marathon training is really getting in my way of getting started swim and bike training and picking a definite race to sign up for. Anyone know of any good beginner races in the Nashville area or within a 3-4 hour driving distance of Nashville? (Birmingham/Louisville/Lexington/Memphis, etc)

I need help! If you've done a triathlon, please comment with your best advice, I have no idea what I'm doing here!

7 comments:

Jess + Alex said...

I think you should for sure do it!

Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point did a series on tris- Here is the final one, and has links to the others!
http://www.healthytippingpoint.com/2012/02/so-you-wanna-do-a-triathlon-training.html

In Nashville there is the Nashville Triathlon club, which if I were in the area I would TOTALLY join! I think having others to help you would be so great! And it openly says they welcome first timers!

http://nashvilletriathlonclub.com/

I really want to do a tri, and plan on training for a sprint after I get some 5Ks under my belt. I don't have any personal experience, but have been reading up a bunch, and you don't need lots of "stuff" for your first race. Caitlin (link above) talks about ways to use equipment that you might already have or that wouldn't be crazy to get!

I hope you do it! I can't wait to hear more!

Skinny Emmie said...

As soon as I'm cleared for training again, I will be your virtual training buddy. Seriously.

Diana P. said...

I hafta head to work right now, but I'm going to message you when I get home....my husband is a triathlete, so I've observed him training and been to tons of events, so I can tell you what a lot of the women do about some of your questions. Totally go for it though!!!!

Lydia said...

I don't know anything about tri-training, but I'd encourage you to try to quash down that fear and intimidation you feel and just go for it with a local training group. I suspect that it seems intimidating from the outside, but once you take that first step then the experienced athletes just want to share their enthusiasm for their sport of choice.

Melanie said...

It is super easy to change a tube on your bike! My husband and I took a (free) bike maintenance class at REI (one night for about 2 hours). They have a bunch of different free class all through every month - you should be able to find the schedule for your local REI online. If you don't have a local REI, check out another store of that kind.

The first thing you should do, though, is go to a local bike shop and get your bike looked over and tuned up. (You should do this anyway, even if you decide not to try the tri right now). Especially given the age of your bike, you need to make sure everything's in working order, and they can tell you if it will hold up for that kind of effort.

I think you can definitely do it - look how far you've come! I've only been reading you a short time, but I'm totally impressed with your drive and determination. Think how great you'll feel when you cross the finish line!

Big Life, Little Blog said...

Thank you ALL SO MUCH for your encouraging and informative comments!

@ Jess + Alex - I will totally check out Caitlin's blog and I've seen the NTC's website, I'm just hugely intimidated! The terms "beginner" or "first timer" mean a lot of different things to different people! But perhaps I'll reach out to the leaders of the group and see what they have to say.

@ Melanie - the bike was all taken care of last summer - new lines, new tubes & tires and a full tune up. Cost a pretty penny, but it rides nicely. I've only ridden it 2-3 times since then so although I know a tune up doesn't hurt every year, I think it's still good to go. I'll check out our local REI, thanks for the tip!

S.Kelch said...

Do not buy a bunch of crap for your tri. I am an experienced triathlete. I swim in a 2 -piece speedo swimsuit (I'm a woman) or a sports bra. I pull on basketball shorts and a t-shirt (polypro, not cotton) for the bike and run.

Everybody is out there with tri suits (they are flimsy and do NOT hold rolls in). I definetly get some looks because of what I choose to race in....but the best looks are at the awards ceremony when I place in my age group... and the people with all that gear don't!!

Pointy helmets, compression socks, tri-suits... they do not make you fast. Training makes you fast.

On the flip side of that coin, I do NOT recommend a Schwinn cruiser. A bike is the only purhcase that makes you faster (besides maybe a personal trainer lol). You don't need a $6000 carbon-frame tri bike. You don't even need aerobars. But you do need a bike with a lightweight frame and skinny tires. Even an old 10 speed will do. But it needs to have skinny tires and you need to practice on it before the race day. Just borrow one or start looking on the curb. People throw them out all the time because it may not look "cute" like your cruiser - but it goes a bazillion times faster.

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