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
(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
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.