OPTIMIST1948   26,750
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West Point Triathlon: I'll be here next year!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I live a hop, skip & jump from one of the oldest military institutions in the United States: West Point. I've been to concerts, the Museum (largest collection of arms & armory in the Western Hemisphere!) Mother's Day at the hotel and rambled around the grounds. I have even volunteered to be a practice cadet as the older ones prepare to welcome the newbies.

This was a totally new experience.


Camp Buckner is the beautiful location where newbie cadets have "Beast Barracks" where they are *broken* of their civilian life and turned into soldiers. Its basically boot camp.


Why do the swim buoys always look so far away?

Even though we ended up starting late, I felt that this Triathlon was very well organized. There were *hordes* of people in a very small entry way, but it all worked well. My whole family was there to support me, which I loved. Egotistical? Maybe. But they know I have been working towards a goal, so its nice to see the whole package put together.)


My sister once again came as race support and unofficial photographer. She's also on Spark, but only uses the trackers and doesnt do any of the social media. She was my support team for both Hunter Mountain and West Point. Voluntarily getting up at butt-crack of dawn and standing around to take lots o' pictures. I love my sister.


Oh, and check out my DIY Tri Suit. The top is the Athleta Energy Tank
athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?ci
d=70799&vid=1&pid=201872

(Male readers may want to skip this) I have enormous 9009s. Getting into and out of this top is a challenge, but once I'm in and adjusted, I can run in this without a separate bra. There's a nifty pocket in the back for iPod or whatever. (cant use iPod in contests, but nice feature for regular workouts)

Bottom is the Athleta Point Break Bikini Short
athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?ci
d=48567&pid=224157

I also own the top which supports enough for jogging workouts. But not in public. My midsection still isnt ready for prime time.

Back to our *hero*

There were loads of people on the course. Here, there were a group of kids right on the swim exit with hands out for low-5s as we head to transition. You see the blue cap in the foreground, she is from the wave AFTER me. Time: 20:59, same, even though 50m longer. Also, the open water practice really helped, I was not intimidated staring into the dark, but I still did about half the course as a backstroke because I struggled with freestyle for that long.

Then into transition and out onto the course. My regular readers will remember I did some nutritional experiments and settled on Swedish Fish for quick carbs and 50/50 Powerade in my waterbottle. I had frozen the Powerade the night before and topped it with water in the morning. These were resting in my bike. I had put two small piles of Fish on my towel (about 5) and just shoved these in my mouth and chewed as I got helmet, socks, sneakers and out of transition. T1: 2:44

Bike course was closed and coyote free. Not kidding, on the way in, we saw some guy cleaning up the roadkill which included a dead, stiff coyote. Mad props: we thank the volunteers that hand us water and give directions, but I'm really happy that there is someone who I was NOT able to thank, but who took care of something really important.

Hills on the bike were not as bad as Hunter Mountain, which meant I was faster overall, even though the course was slightly longer (about an extra half mile) Bike time 1:03:55
Can you spot Child? He's wearing a red sweatshirt in the background.

T2 1:13, I forgot to eat my second pile of fish. It was fine.

Running has become my strong suit, which surprises the HECK out of me. This was a hilly course, and I'm *thrilled* that my hill workouts are showing benefit. This was probably the area that I improved the most. Instead of walking 2/3 of the course, I only walked about 5 min total and ran the rest, uphills and down. I had a strong finish and felt GREAT! Organizers had about 3 different aid stations and I hit the electrolytes twice. Which also may have helped.

At the beginning


At the end. PR on the run portion: 32:11 Color me surprised.

Total time: Exactly 2:01. This was a HUGE improvement on 2:32 for Hunter Mountain. The course was slightly longer (although flatter). I cant pinpoint ONE single thing that aided my improvement. It was only 6 weeks between. Items that definitely helped me (in no particular order)
1) Swedish Fish to avoid the Bonk
2) Hill Workouts
3) Long Runs/ Rides (I didnt do *many* of these, but a few definitely helped)
4) Gear that I didnt have to change.

For y'all out there considering or are working towards a Tri goal, the first 3 are recommended and cheap. The gear is expensive but worth it if you consider continuing in the sport.

Epilogue: I've got the gear & the training. I'm going to do another one this weekend. It will be my last Tri for the season as I GOT A JOB! Temporary, 6 weeks, but it cuts out going to Sandy Hook on Sept 9th. I'm considering going for a 10K in October and then a Turkey Trot 5K in November (or a DIY Duathalon while the turkey is in the oven). Then I'm going to back off, do some Zumba cross training and hopefully start cross country skiing this winter.

I probably will NOT go back to Hunter Mountain for distance reasons. There is another Tri closer to home around the same time next year.

Spreading the Spark: My cousin has expressed an interest in the sport and a good friend of mine is giving it some serious consideration. DOGLADY of course have been each others cheerleaders from the start and I've given Rah-rahs to loads of people here on Spark. I'm heading up a very small movement.

Lastly: The real reason I started these shennaigans: I'm down to 158.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CINERICIA 8/24/2012 9:50AM

    Woooohoooo! Amazing. Simply amazing. I am busting with excitement and vicarious pride for you. Great achievements all.

Aside: I think it's funny that you listed your weight as the end of your epilogue. It's clear reading through the blog that strictly weight loss has become so secondary to health and fitness and being the best you. And that deserves a woohoo all its own. Woohoo!

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HEALTHYOTTER 8/23/2012 6:29PM

    Hero, definitely! Woo Hoo! And getting down to 158 a wonderful bonus. I'm so proud of you! I'm beaming ( a la Annette Benning) at my computer. Hope your last tri of the season is as wonderful. So glad your whole family and your child were there to watch. Thanks, again to your sister for the photos! Congrats on the new job, hope all goes well with that one, too.

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ATHENAPOWER 8/23/2012 5:58PM

    Nice job!!!! Given the location that must have been a hella hilly course - even better job! You look fantastic and more importantly, super happy! So to top off all of this awesomeness, you got a job, too? What an excellent week for you! emoticon

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AMANDA_NY 8/23/2012 2:04PM

  Congratulations on the new job and the triathlon PR! I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience with the race. If my triathlon goes well this weekend, maybe I'll put West Point on next year's race calendar! emoticon

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MISSIFISH 8/23/2012 10:29AM

    Well, well, well! Congrats on all of it! I didn't know where you were weight wise, but in all your pics, I kept thinking - she looks like a new, younger version of herself! You look amazing!

I"m so impressed with you doing these tri things - my mind boggles. I walked all over a waterpark yesterday - that is more my speed for a long day of outdoor fitness. I can't match you, but I sure can cheer you on!!!

Whoo hoo!!!!

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VIXSTERLU 8/23/2012 12:04AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

So proud of you!!!! Thanks for sharing, it is very inspiring.

And congrats on the job too :)

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DOGLADY13 8/22/2012 5:41PM

    WTH????


DID I JUST COMMIT TO DOING ANOTHER TRI?????? I haven't even done one yet.

For! Heavens! Sakes!!!


There's a lot more that I want to say, but it's not spark friendly. Fill in your favorite cuss words and I'm probably saying it.

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DOGLADY13 8/22/2012 5:39PM

    Yeah!!!! I have been checking for the write up for West Point. You give me so much courage to go forward with my own tri.

Your legs look GREAT in those pictures. Serious muscle. No doubt you are a runner.

Now, I'm running out of work so I can get to the Y and swim, swim, swim.

Next year, we'll do one together - but no wetsuits, please!





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OSANII 8/22/2012 5:06PM

    That is awesome! Thanks for sharing. I love the swedish fish idea and chewing them while you get your gear on. I had no idea what to do because most goos and whatnot upset my stomach. Sport beans have worked for me during marathons, but I wasn't sure how to consume them in the tri, so I like that idea. I also used an Athleta top - they really know how to keep the girls in place ;) Congratulations on an terrific race and achieving a running PR!
emoticon

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MISSG180 8/22/2012 5:03PM

    Great job!! Brava!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 8/22/2012 3:30PM

    emoticon
What were the distances? It's always hard for me to put the times into perspective when I'm not sure of the distance. Really, though, it doesn't matter what they were - I think you're awesome just for doing it! You sound so happy and confident and I'm glad you're spreading the Spark. Please thank your sister for being there to take pictures... they're fun and motivating for the rest of us to see!
I hope you have fun again this weekend!

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ZANNBEE 8/22/2012 1:01PM

    Wow! So great! I too love reading about your tris!

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BIGPAWSUP 8/22/2012 11:55AM

    You are fantastic! I love reading about your Tri's and how much you accomplish. WOW!!

emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 8/22/2012 11:42AM

    158? emoticon I am so impressed! I have been thinking of training for one of these either next summer or the one after. Still in the wishing stages of thinking about it though. Love the pictures!

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Its a small victory

Monday, August 13, 2012

This should be viewed as a Part 2 for the Swedish Fish Experiment blog:

1) Tried out my new Athleta workout top and bikini shorts bottom on a 20 mile bike ride to see if they would be acceptable for my Triathlon on Sunday Aug 19th. Yep. Worked fine. Jumped in the pool after to see if the top was as swimable as promised. Yep. Also fine. Should have gone for a run to make sure it wouldnt chafe anywhere. But I was tired.

2) Achieved a minor personal victory in burning over 1000 calories in a single workout session. I've hit 800s and 900s regularly, especially on Brick workouts (bike & then run), but then I never managed to get out of my own way for a little walk in the evening to round it out to 1000.

3) Tried Hammer Gel. YUCK! The goo going down my throat almost made me gag. Flavor was fine, it was a texture thing. There was no stomach trouble, but I did still run out of "gas" on the ride, but that might have been the heat (80s) distance and hills. Think I'll be sticking with the Swedish Fish for Sunday's Race.

4) There is something marvelous about biking a ride that previously you thought was just ... crazy. Its so liberating. I'm still not speedy - but the "I *can* do this!" is just so refreshing.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FAITH_T25 8/17/2012 8:16PM

    WOW!!!! That's amazing to burn 1000 calories in one workout session!!! And to compete in a triathlon---that is truly fantastic! You are really inspirational! Keep up the amazing work.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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XRSIZE18 8/16/2012 9:40AM

    You have no idea how inspiring it is to see your progress. I remember when we both could barely run a mile without breaking down in gasping pants! Now you're a triathlete with an amazing story who can burn 1000 calories in one workout session. Liberating, indeed.

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FITFORMYFAMILY 8/15/2012 7:09PM

    You are so inspiring! I love what you're accomplishing and I love that you're always trying new things. It really is a great feeling when a workout that once seemed daunting turns into a workout that seems pretty "normal". I'm glad you're getting to experience that.
I hope you have a great time at your race on Sunday!

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WICKEDIMP 8/15/2012 11:09AM

    Awesome - love the fish solution - and congrats on the 1000cal burn. emoticon

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GYMRAT_AT44 8/14/2012 12:18PM

    Good luck! Hope you do well and meet all your personal goals.

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LUVS2BIKE101 8/14/2012 12:16PM

    Good luck! Where is the location of the triathlon?
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MISSG180 8/14/2012 10:52AM

    Good to get your experimentation done now. Great job.

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YDAVIS23 8/14/2012 7:06AM

    Yay! I didn't realize your Tri was August - I had September on the brain. WOOHOO! SO EXCITING!

I use gu - I like the chocolate one. But I could see how the texture would be bad. It's funny - this is a "diet" site, aimed at reducing calorie intake, but many of us are killing it on these long workouts and need the quick sugar! I could feel my legs start to fatigue about 40 minutes in last night, and the boost was just what I needed. I guess we are all gaining a much deeper appreciation and understanding of how our bodies work and what they need to survive/excel.

I'll be cheering for you this weekend!

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COLETTEISGREAT 8/13/2012 9:30PM

    You're crazy! Just crazy enough to try triathlons!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOGLADY13 8/13/2012 9:08PM

    Congratulation on the 1000 calorie burn. Surely you burned 1000+ when you did the triathlon in June, though.

I'm glad I read your blogs today. I was in need of a push to kick up my training for the next two or three weeks before Sandy Hook.

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MISSIFISH 8/13/2012 8:53PM

    I can't wait to see photos of your suit! I love all things athleta - I think I may have said that before. :)

1000 calories??? ONE THOUSAND???? My brain can't get around that. I think I am beginning to understand why you people run. I've never used a monitor, so I have to go with SP guesses, and I do think I burn way more than they say, but ONE THOUSAND? I NEVER!!!!

Congrats, and enjoy the fish.

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ATHENAPOWER 8/13/2012 8:28PM

    You're gonna be so addicted.... emoticon

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KAREN42BOYS 8/13/2012 3:52PM

    Great attitude! Sounds like you are ready!

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CINERICIA 8/13/2012 2:05PM

    Doing more than you thought you could do is fabulously empowering. It motivates you to tackle the next "impossible" feat. Fabulous workout. And I'm glad the gear is working out for you.

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BIGPAWSUP 8/13/2012 1:07PM

    Sound awesome! I am so looking forward to hearing about your race! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IRONBLOSSOM 8/13/2012 12:44PM

    I used the gu gels for my race this weekend and at first was not a fan, found it too hard to eat while running, was afraid I would choke! But that's what I had, so I persevered and found that by the 3rd one or so I was handling them fine. Still like the gels better, but meh.

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LESLIELENORE 8/13/2012 12:43PM

    I love it when I can finally do something I thought was "impossible"!

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The new sneakers, new sports bra, swedish fish experiment

Thursday, August 09, 2012

A few people said "Wha..?" or some variant on my status update yesterday.

1) While on vacation, I went to New Balance outlet in Maine and got some new sneakers. Yesterday was their first outing.

2) I snuck out of the funeral to go to Athleta store in NYC (East Side) I have been coveting their clothes but many reviews said fitting can be odd. Since I hate spending $$ on shipping, I wanted to try a few pieces on to be sure of my sizing. I ended up buying a new workout top and a whole bikini. The bikini top is also sportsbra-able, so I wanted to see how it worked in a workout. The good news is yes, it works, the bad news, is in order to get something that compressed enough for support on my DDs, there is a bit of spillage on the top. Showed DH and he wasnt complaining.

3) I feel like in the last tri, I really ran out of gas towards the end. Many, many many things have been said about gels, gu and other nutritional suppliments. That's what *real athletes* do and I'm nervous about trying. Other noises have been made about gummy bears on long runs. I'm a swedish fish girl, and essentially, they are the same thing. So I needed to go on a long exercise to see if it worked. I did 1:15 on the bike for 14.5 miles, ate 4 about halfway thru, and then ate 3 more before starting a 3.5 mile run (half of which ended up as a walk, but I do not feel bad - bricks go that way for me). I felt like I still had energy to keep going but lacked a certain willpower. Tummy did not bother me at all. Drank lots of water.

So there you go, I was trying 3 different strategies on the same workout. All were successful.

Today I'm going to Zumba. Because I want to. And exercise is exercise.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 8/13/2012 9:05PM

    My husband and a friend have both tried gummi candy and both had bad tummy experiences with them. I haven't tried anything like that, but I am considering one of those gel things... I'm kinda grossed out by the idea of it. I'm big on texture and food. Gooey stuff gags me.

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MISSIFISH 8/12/2012 10:39AM

    I LOVE athleta. They are the only company that makes a bikini top that I will wear, and bonus, their swim skirts are awesome! I am jealous that you got to go to a real store - I've done everything online.

I can't comment on all the running stuff, because, well, I'm a non-runner, but it sounds like you are doing great!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 8/11/2012 8:35PM

    Hmmm.... I might have to try the Swedish Fish. I've been using Clif Shot Bloks on my long runs, and am pleased with them, but I'm thinking Swedish Fish (or even gummy bears) might be a little more cost effective.

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SFLORES216 8/11/2012 8:26AM

    I have found that I LOVE Advocare Lemon Rehydrate gel. Same concept as the GU but not as thick and tastes just like a lemon mirange pie. YUMMO!!

Congrats on your accomplishments

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GODIVADSG 8/11/2012 8:16AM

    Way to go! You are doing fantastic! If you ever do break down and try a GU... my favorite is the choc mint! Tastes like a girl scout cookie and I love them best in the winter when they are stiff! But ooey gooey summer time is good too! The sugar rush is important during our races. I also cut up a marathon bar by snickers... It is what I rely on at mile 17 in a marathon! Otherwise I bonk!! Hope you shook it at Zumba! I love that kind of class too. It is good laughter therapy for me!! Wish we lived near each other!! emoticon

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ATHENAPOWER 8/9/2012 9:32PM

    You're smart. Gels cost a fortune!

I'm torn about Athleta - I feel like they're just a big corporate ripoff of Title 9 (a cute little company based in Boulder that sells basically the same kinds of things) but I like their clothes anyway.

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MISSG180 8/9/2012 8:49PM

    Sugar rush can work for you! I'm thinking about trying maple sugar candies, because allegedly maple sugar digests such that it doesn't cause a rush-and-drop effect.

We just keep trying everything until we find what works!

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KAREN42BOYS 8/9/2012 11:53AM

    Okay one of the best blog titles ever! I have friends who do jellies like worms or fish, too.

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YDAVIS23 8/9/2012 11:50AM

    PS - where were you in Maine?

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YDAVIS23 8/9/2012 11:50AM

    I recently started doing gu on long runs after I picked up some for free at a race, so I didn't want it to go to waste. My immediate reaction was, "I GET TO EAT HOT FUDGE WHEN I'M RUNNING??!!?!" It was delicious!

I have also used sour patch kids. I like the tart to wake me up a bit.

Keep up the good work!!!

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IRONBLOSSOM 8/9/2012 11:02AM

    I'm just about to try gu gummis, I've been a gu gel girl for AGES. It's seriously amazing what they can do for you. You know that feeling during a run or ride where you're like, "geez, I probably CAN keep going but it hurts and I don' wanna!" If I use gu, I don't get there. I get to "holy crud, I can run forever!!!!" :-)

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COLETTEISGREAT 8/9/2012 10:41AM

    You snuck out of a funeral to buy a bikini?!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/9/2012 10:41:37 AM

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LESLIELENORE 8/9/2012 9:38AM

    Ha! What a hoot! Zumba sounds like fun. I should find out of there is a class somewhere around here.

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BIGPAWSUP 8/9/2012 9:14AM

    AWESOME!!!! That is terrific!

And thanks for clarifying. You know you can hurt a friend's brain if you left that go too long!!! emoticon

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Aliens have kidnapped my brain

Monday, August 06, 2012

Scene: yesterday's 3 mile trail run

Me: Wow, that was a great run. I wish it could have been longer.

(pause)

WTF??? - WHO AM I???

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 8/13/2012 8:58PM

    Too funny. I've had those moments, too.

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LEIAMLOW 8/8/2012 12:10PM

    emoticon

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SCAREWALDORF 8/7/2012 12:19PM

    Haha! ONE OF US, ONE OF US!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 8/7/2012 11:51AM

    Wooho! Go you! Glad the run was awesome!

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LENLEN3 8/7/2012 10:20AM

    YOU ARE RUNNER!

:)

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OPTIMIST1948 8/6/2012 9:05PM

    Just to be sure I wasnt hallucinating I did my regular 3.5 mile hilly loop today. But backwards so the mean nasty hill was at the end instead of the beginning. Ran The Whole Way (37 min). Yep. Brain has clearly been reprogrammed.

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COLETTEISGREAT 8/6/2012 6:58PM

    emoticon Don't you just love who you've become? emoticon

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MISSG180 8/6/2012 5:04PM

    LOL! There's a part of me that's thinking, "I could take a short ride today..." So I completely understand.

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MISSIFISH 8/6/2012 4:39PM

    I don't understand these words "great run". I'm sure they exist, and I am so glad you had one. I do, however, think you are part alien.

I like aliens though, so it is all good.

Congrats on being a real runner!!!

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ERICADAWN1986 8/6/2012 3:23PM

    Keep a good thing going! Congrats on your 3 miler!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 8/6/2012 1:42PM

    emoticon

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CINERICIA 8/6/2012 12:16PM

    It's actually worse than a kidnapped brain. They've actually taken your brain, rewired it, and than reimplanted it. I believe it's part of a bigger experiment in human fitness and mental fortitude. I worry for your safety now that you've caught on to their intervention.

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IRONBLOSSOM 8/6/2012 11:57AM

    It's a great feeling, isn't it! emoticon

emoticon emoticon

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ATHENAPOWER 8/6/2012 10:39AM

    Ha ha, I've had many moments of awkward mental transition from "couch person" to "active person". Enjoy them!

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HEALTHYOTTER 8/6/2012 10:17AM

    Woo Hoo! What a milestone perspective! Snoopy Dance with Joy for you!

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LESLIELENORE 8/6/2012 9:59AM

    Haha! I have moments like that. Pretty weird, right?

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BIGPAWSUP 8/6/2012 9:31AM

    Just contact the mother ship and they will fix the programming. It happens once in a while.

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Question for the Triathletes (& other endurance junkies)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Triathlon A -- West Point is going to be August 19th. I've already paid. Yes I will attend.

Triathlon B - Middletown Y will be August 25. Only 1/3 mi swim, a hilly 14 miles but a dead flat (Rail Trail) 3 mile run. This can also be done as a Duathlon 1 mi run, 14 mi bike 3 mi run.

Are Tris A & B too close together?

Oh, and Triathon C - Danskin at Sandy Hook on Sept 9th. As mentioned before DOGLADY is training for this one, it has good reviews in the Tri Community for newbies and I would really like to do it - work schedule not withstanding.

Thoughts Sparkers?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 8/13/2012 9:01PM

    Not that I'm a triathlete, but I think A and B are too close, especially if you decide to come down for Sandy Hook.

When in doubt you can consult the Magic 8 Ball for help.

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HEALTHYOTTER 8/6/2012 10:16AM

    How quickly did you recover from your first tri? I know I was pretty sore for about 4 days after I finished mine. Tri A is your "I did this despite injury" victory dance for sure!
What's the deadline for signing up for B? On the one hand, you've got all your gear, your training, B could be like a long training day. I would be tempted to finish A, decide on B that Tuesday or so before, give all you've got to enjoying C.

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CINERICIA 8/5/2012 8:32AM

    I have no advice to offer you. I don't swim. (I can; I just don't.) and so have never even considered a tri. I was reading through the comments and I don't even know what a "brick" is. However, I wanted to say, "How awesome are you? Way awesome!" for even considering three sprint tris so close together. I know how hard you've been working on all three areas and I am busting with excitement for you. I hope you get the great advice you need to make a decision that's right for you.

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ATHENAPOWER 8/4/2012 10:27PM

    I'm assuming you haven't registered for tris B and C yet (or at least, not for B, since it sounds like you're planning to race with Doglady).

Personally, I find that I recover really quickly from sprints and that racing on back-to-back weekends wouldn't be out of the question. If you know how you respond and it's no big deal, you should be fine. However, if you haven't done many tris before, or especially if A is your first ever, I wouldn't waste the money on B until you know how you might respond. My husband's from Warwick and if the hills in Middletown are anything like the hills there, you're going to need FRESH LEGS to race them, ha ha! I'm assuming West Point is pretty hilly too, based on the location, so you might want to give B a pass unless you're really used to those conditions from training.

As for C, I've raced in Long Branch NJ a few times and it is super flat and fun. I think Sandy Hook probably fits the same profile. Whatever you do, have fun and embrace all of the events you eventually decide to do!


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KAREN42BOYS 8/4/2012 8:04PM

    Okay, so they are both sprints I see. So how buff are you?

I can tell you that doing a sprint last weekend has left my body in definite need of recovery (but I had fun pushing myself hard last weekend let me tell you) this week.

How long have your bricks been the last several weeks? Is your build really strong?

I think I'd vote for Tri A and C and skip B. Or if you are just desperate to do B, then do it as the Du.

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