Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Triathlon Journey: Part 1

A good friend of mine signed up for a sprint triathlon last summer and a few months later did an olympic triathlon.  After a lot of thinking, I decided that triathlon may be my new thing.  I've been a runner for at least 10 years, but I don't like long distances.  I've done one half marathon and don't care to ever do one again.  I love running 5Ks and the occasional 10K, but that's about the farthest I want to go.  I think it's because I like variety.  I started working at the hospital as a PRN pharmacist and loved that I could be working in a different area every day.  Monotony is not my friend.

So I started researching triathlons.  The first one I looked at was at Lake Lanier since it's so close to home, but I realized it was the day after my Disney World vacation.  So I kept hunting.  Finally I found the perfect beginner sprint triathlon for me.  It's Ramblin' Rose.  The race I signed up for is in Charlotte, so it's not too far from home.  It's a little less than sprint distance.  The swim is 200 yards, the bike is 8 miles, and the run is 2 miles.  Best part--the swim is in a pool!  I have been swimming all my life and grew up around water, but I don't know how to swim properly.  I take spin classes at my gym at least once a week, and as I said before, I've been running for a while.

So I did it.  I signed up at the end of 2015 since there was a discount code.  I was thinking, "Oh it's only $75," but boy was I wrong.  I didn't realize how much equipment is involved in training for and actually doing this thing

I started thinking about purchasing a bike.  I haven't had a bike since I was living at my parents' house.  I figured I didn't need to rush to get one since I get plenty of practice with riding and using those muscles at the gym.  My birthday is in February, so when my family asked what I wanted, I just told them "money for a bike."  I went out with my husband and daughter to Performance Bicycle one Sunday because we were in the area, and I figured I should start looking since I know NOTHING about bicycles.  No one paid us much attention until my daughter brought a small bike crashing down off the shelf.  Everyone was fine, and someone came to help us after that.  The guy asked for my price range, taught me a little about bikes, and gave me some examples to go home and research.  The number of brands and materials and types of bikes and shifters was quite overwhelming.  A few days later, I went to a smaller independent shop called Suwanee Creek Bicycles by myself.  The couple who owns it were very friendly and informative, and a few hours later, I left with my bike.  They had one brand of bike at the store, but I was able to choose from a flat-bar type or a road bike or "the other room" where the prices were much more than my price range.  I went with the road bike, and we spent lots of time practicing in the parking lot and even took a quick spin around the neighborhood.  I decided it worked for me, and had it custom fitted to my measurements.  I added pedals and picked a helmet, and I was good to go.  Here is my new baby, the Fuji Roubaix 1.3:

We had to make a spot to hang it in the garage.  I equipped it with pedals that are flat on one side and able to clip into on the other.  I've taken it around the neighborhood on a few 6 to 8 mile rides and am practicing with all the gears I have available.  Here are some pictures of my pedals:

I'm still working up the courage to use my cycle shoes and clip in.  I know I'm in for a fall at some point, so I'm not rushing that day.  Plus, someone on a triathlon Facebook page I am a member of gave me some good advice.  She said it may not be worth using my cycle shoes during a sprint since it will take time in transition to change shoes.  Good point!

Ironwilled, my triathlon page was selling some extra tri kits, and they looked really cute, so I wanted to order one.  The brand was Coeur, and I have no experience with them.  They sell women's sports clothing and the tri shorts have a "seam-free chamois."  I did some research and found a store that sells their clothing.  Since I had no clue what size I would be, I took the family out to Endurance House before a dinner in Alpharetta.  I met one of the owners, and she gave me some advice as well as helped me to find a good fitting Coeur pant.  Since I knew I wanted to buy the Ironwilled kit, I purchased a short and matching running top that were on sale so that at least I would have two pairs of these awesome shorts.  Here are some photos of both sets:

And here is the inside of the shorts:
This large thighed girl wishes they were a little longer, but they do not ride up during my rides, and so far I have had no problems.  Now I'm just trying to take my bike out at least once a week and maybe expand my horizons beyond my neighborhood.  I will probably take my bike on our vacation to Hilton Head but I need to find some sort of rack for my Rav4.  I'm telling you, this race is getting expensive!  I'm also toying with the idea of signing up for 1 or 2 more sprint triathlons this summer.  We'll see.  I'm starting swim lessons and will write more about that later.  Stay tuned for the next installment of my triathlon journey!