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The Good, Bad, Ugly, and Funny

November 10, 2013

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Dan the Man.  Yep, that’s what we called him growing up and I can’t help but still use this nickname.  He recently completed his first triathlon and is pretty active in the short distance run races.  We were planning to participate in a triathlon together last month but the logistics didn’t work out.  I want to share with him and all of you some of the lessons that I have learned over the years as I finished my first run race in 2004 and first triathlon in 2005, to my last marathon just a few weeks ago.  Believe me, some are classic novice mistakes and others are just stupid.  But we all have to start somewhere!

The Good

  • Anytime you complete a race, it’s good.  Even if you feel like poop doing the race because you didn’t train enough or had a flat tire, you still finished and get to add one more notch to the belt.
  • Take as much swag as you can from the expos.  Nothing is better than free stuff.  If it is a multi-day expo, go twice if you have the time.  Twice as much free stuff!
  • when standing around the water cooler at work and you brag that your WOD  was a brick with a 25 mile bike ride followed by a 3 mile run gets you stud status immediately.
  • spandex is hot

25 mile bike 2 finish line! bike_2image_server.cfm  IMG_9005

pictures from my first triathlon in 2005, first half IronMan bike ride 2006,  and finisher pics from my 4th marathon–the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009, and 5th marathon –the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon  2013

The Bad

  • make sure you have a great saddle if you are doing triathlon or any kind of bike racing.  Saddle sores are not attractive and can be rather uncomfortable while sitting at work.  Invest the money and get a good one now.
  • You may get blisters in places you never imagined.
  • Waking up before sunrise is realistically the best way to get a “2 a day” workout in…one at the butt crack of dawn and the other after work.
  • Triathlon is not a cheap sport.  Running is less expensive.
  • You won’t sleep in on the weekend during training or racing season.  Look forward to the “off season”.
  • smooth is fast, fast is smooth….this is bad until you learn and/or understand it.  Once you get this concept, it moves to a different category.  Transition for the tri is when this is most applicable. I also use this advice when arguing with my toddler about her self dressing skills.
  • Don’t ever show up for a hill repeat run work out after happy hour.  Just go home and save yourself.

chicago 001 blisters from my first marathon….Chicago 2004

The Ugly

  • screaming, “my crotch hurts” to the spectators as they ask how you are doing… Did I mention you should invest in a good saddle?
  • taking an ice bath to prevent rigor mortis after 15+ mile training runs…even though you aren’t dead, you will wish you were every time you try to sit on the toilet…ice bath = less soreness.
  • your friends that aren’t into the sport, they will never understand.
  • going to sleep at 9 pm on a Friday night so you can feel good for your 50+ mile bike ride at 0’dark thirty
  • getting a charlie horse in your calf in the middle of an ocean swim and you are still 200 yard from the shore

25045_1_

The Terry Butterfly Ti Saddle…my favorite component to my bike

The Funny

  • laughing at the rookies as they mark their transition spot with a mallard balloon
  • secretly laughing on the inside at every “sucker” you pass on the course…until they pass you once you blow up
  • never, ever, ever do anything new in a race you didn’t do in training.  For instance, when your friend Brett mentions just before the gun goes off for the swim that he heard taking your wet suit off in the water is helpful…don’t listen.  If you do listen, you will end up with a wetsuit half off/half on as you literally fall on your butt in the knee deep shallow water and roll around trying to get that damn piece of neoprene off while every spectator on the beach LAUGHS OUT LOUD .  And you know there will be pictures taken of this misfortunate event….never, ever, ever do it unless you practiced it in training.
  • more shameshamemy number!

After sharing a few of my “lessons learned” I hope you remember to have fun.  That is the most important part of being active, training, and racing.   I am active because I love it.  I’m just your average weekend warrior.  I’m not winning races but I am having fun.  I am thankful and humbled enough to be happy I am healthy enough to train and race.  I am happy I can set an example for my kiddos that being active is part of our lifestyle.  I am happy that I can set goals and usually achieve them.  I am even happy when I don’t achieve them because those are the days I learn the most.  Dan the Man, I hope you enjoy this new chapter in your life and enjoy racing as much as I have.  Keep calm, train hard, and go fast!

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