Saturday, January 26, 2008


I'd like to do an Olympic distance triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 22. This is not as far-fetched as it may seem, as I usually go to Iowa in June to visit family. I wasn't sure, though, how best to get my bike there. My daughter has been my traveling companion in the past, but she surprised me by getting married in December, so ... she won't be making this trip w/ me. I also wasn't sure I'd be ready for that distance by then b/c I've only done sprints. Then one of my sisters agreed to drive to Iowa w/ me and to do the run part. But when I checked my work schedule, I discovered a conflict -- not insurmountable, but a difficult choice. A few years ago I would have put work first, but now I'm thinking I may not have this same opportunity again and it wouldn't be so bad to re-arrange things at work.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Runnin' with Garmin

My son and his wife gave me a Garmin Forerunner 305 for Christmas. I ran with it for the first time today -- 4 miles. It didn't make me any faster, but it was fun to monitor my pace -- I had moments of real speed (for me, anyway), and I concentrated on trying to remember how that felt so, hopefully, I can incorporate that movement into my total runs. Now, I just have to figure out how to use all the Garmin features. There are so many unexpected levels to my triathlon training.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Word Power

The coach of my training group has suggested that we each pick a word as a sort of mantra for the year. Several of the chosen words are "moment," "push," "balance," "endure," and "believe." I considered "prance" to remind me to lift my feet like a prancing pony instead of striking my heels on the ground and also that triathlons are, afterall, supposed to be fun. Then "accept" came to mind, as in accept where I am in my life, but there wasn't much motivation in that word. Next possible choice was "strive," but it, too, didn't seem quite right, so I've settled on "stride." "Stride" can signify working toward my goals, and it rhymes with "glide" and "pride," also words that will encourage me. And it's kind of a play on words because it contains the letters "tri." Another reason is that it makes a strong chant, "S-T-R-I-D-E, stride, glide," or "S-T-R-I-D-E, stride, pride," to replace the "1-2-3-4" that currently runs through my head as I run. Hey, someone I know runs to "Here comes Peter Cottontail," and she's a gazelle.

Bike Evolution

The bike I used for my first two triathlons was the bike my daughter had in middle school -- 3-speed, coaster brakes. Then I graduated to a hybrid with more gears, hand brakes, and toe clips. It also was heavy as sin, and I soon upgraded to a road bike that weighed much less. My bike times were faster, but I still wasn't getting the results I'd hoped for. In early 2007, I bought a Specialized Dolce Elite because it was a women's specific model and was on sale. I added aerobars and clipless pedals and felt like a pro at indoor cycling. Then I took it on the road. I never mastered unclipping without falling, and finally just decided to ride with only my right foot clipped in, but by November I was feeling more comfortable overall with the bike and was seeing some slight improvement in my times. In anticipation of the 2008 season, I had a bike fit with a physical therapist, who suggested a shorter stem and different handlebars to alleviate cramping/numbness in my hands. So, I've made those changes, and again, I'm a whiz indoors on a trainer. The real test will come in March, however, when I do my first sprint. As someone once told me, a bike goes only as fast as the person riding it can pedal.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Age doesn't matter?

In triathlon years, I am now 62. Like thoroughbred race horses, who, regardless of when they were foaled in 2007, turn one year old on Jan. 1, 2008, triathletes must register in whatever age group corresponds with their age on Dec. 31. So, even though my birthday's not until August, I'm already a year older than I was a week ago.

I sometimes find it hard to believe I'm as old as I am -- then I catch a glimpse in a mirror of the gray-haired lady who lives in my house, or I observe that the other runners in my training group can do at least 3, maybe 4, miles in the same time I do 2. I shouldn't have been surprised when I passed a group of young male spectators at a recent 8K and they called out "Go, granny. Look at granny run." But, I was. It wasn't until I told the story later to friends that I could even think it was a humorous antecdote.

So, as another season begins, I ask myself, am I too old to compete? Of course, "compete" might be too strong a word. I usually finish pretty close to last, but I do finish. And since there usually aren't too many other entrants in my age group, I've collected some nice prizes -- a coffee mug, a sports bag, an insulted water bottle. I like doing triathlons because I was never athletic when I was younger and the training keeps me motivated to excerise. I'd like to do an Olympic distance this year -- something that a few years ago seemed an impossible feat. I'm not quite ready for the "booty farm" (my son told me years ago that when I got really old I could sit in a rocker and knit booties to support myself), so I'll keep "tri-ing" instead.