Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rev3 Cedar Point 2011 photos

Here's a link to my Picasa album of Rev3 Cedar Point. I'll post an updated guide once I recover from the drive home! Great weekend and so proud of everyone who raced.
PS, ignore the time on that clock...still set to pro clock!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Disney Marathon 2012, take 2

I'd had an official 26.2 kickoff run with Cat back in March. Then the wheels came off. I had been sick for nearly a month prior to that short 4.2 mile run and then when I got home I have had a wide array of ailments and issues I won't bore you with. Sooooooo....time to start over.
We've booked our hotel and tickets and will book our flights in the next week or so so it's clearly time to get back in the saddle and start my training. I'm wanting to do it but also, frankly, scared to do it. I am working on a personality transplant to make me less Negative Nancy about things so I'm attempting to go into this new phase of training with a positive attitude, not a cynical 'just don't die' attitude. So far only about a 20% success rate. Baby Steps.
So, I'm buckling down and using my awesome TrekDesk on the days I work at home (I am on it right now, acutally) so I can get extra exercise in during a time I'd usually be totally sedentary. I'm going to follow the Jeff Galloway plan from the Disney site and probably, at least at the beginning, use the run-walk method. I find when I 'run' I'm actually moving at a faster pace then ever before but I tire quite easily. So, using the run-walk to build up will, I think, be helpful and help me with pacing. I suck at pacing. I could go buy all the fancy bells and whistles that help you with such things but I think if I find I need it I'll just steal Mr. TheyTri's Garmin.
So, here we go. I'm putting this up publicly so I'll be shamed into keeping up with my training.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ironman Texas

This is a long-overdue post. I was so wiped out after IMTX and Rev3 Quassy that I needed a little triathlon down time. But, Herewith, the spectator guide to IMTX.

The Woodlands is a very spectator-friendly venue for a race. There are shops and restaurants all around, plenty of places to rest and recharge. It's not the most spectator-friendly bike course, being on giant loop out into the Texas hinterlands, but the swim, run and finishline areas are all great for watching yoru athlete all day. Go stroll around the finishline area of Market Street before durring and after the race and patronize those great shops. LuluLemon had a great display of all the athlete names. The Cupcakery had yummy sweets. The line for Starbucks will make you want to cry. the H.E.B. also has a coffee bar...the line will also be insane. Chipolte is there for lunch. Go calm your race-day nerves at Tommy Bahama's bar.
The Woodlands is great.

Book your hotel *early*. They pretty much all sold out. People from Houston booked rooms in The Woodlands to avoid the race-morning drive. There is a Marriott directly across from venue that is the official host hotel. If it's not already booked for next year I'd be surprised. But there are many others. Don't hesitate. Book and if you end up not needing it, cancel your booking.

The expo is set up in a big parking lot across from the finish area. It's a nice expo. The check in took no time at all when we were there Thursday morning. Our athletes were in and out. The good folks at World Triathlon Corporaton have apparently taken a page out of the Disney book and the registration tent dumps you out into the merchandise tent. Exit through the Gift Shop, indeed. My fellow sherpas and I couldn't resist the IMTX cowboy hats. Why not? 
My one beef here was there was no 'volunteer' tent. There was no one place you could, as a registered volunteer, go and say "here I am, where's my T-shirt and my parking pass." This caused some stress as we weren't sure what to do race morning. Coordinating with our volunteer team captain was a bit of a pain since he was so busy getting stuff set up but we eventually managed to sort it out. It seemed like if you weren't part of a 'group' of volunteers (like, ours was run by the very nice people from Team in Training) they kind of left you hanging.
There are a million places to eat and shop but we stopped at Rudy's BBQ just off of I-45 after packet pickup for a bit of a chow-down.

Race day:
We drove up from Houston so were up very, very early to make the 45-min drive. It was easy to get into the venue to do athlete drop off. There is official parking in designated parking garages. Do try and use these if you can because if you try and park in unauthorized lots you will be towed. We got a bit lucky by going in a secret side entrance and it worked out OK but there were reports that people who parked at the nearby Mall and by the ampetheater were being towed. That'd be a really crappy end to a very long day so you're better off playing by the rules.

The swim start is about mile from transition. Plan for a crowded walk. If you want a spot on the bridge crossing the lake to see the start, get there very early and say goodbye to your athlete at transition. You can also bushwack a bit to stand on the east side of the lake to watch the start. the main Swim in side of the lake will be crowded but there is a lot of room and this is where morning clothes drop off is.
You should have plenty of time to walk back to transition/swim out before your athlete gets there.

Bike out has a nice, long road you can stand along to get a shot of your athlete leaving. I'd advise not sitting right at the mount line because it's very crowded. Head a little bit further out and you should get a nice clean shot and they'll also be able to pick you out of the thinner crowd.
The course, as I mentioned above, is one, huge loop. You can get in your car and drive north on I-45 and connct back up with the course in the national forest. HOWEVER, I strongly advise not crossing over the course to the west side. The traffic is terrible getting back across, my inlaws sat for more than an hour to get through one intersection. Getting back into The Woodlands, the greater community, not just the downtown, is very, very difficult from that side. If you miss your athlete in the forrest, cut your losses and head back down I-45 to come back into The Woodlands from the east side.

The run is a three-loop course along the canal. Plenty of great places to watch your athlete. The finishline goes in  a loop around the Market Street area. There is a park in the middle you can set up camp in.

More General:
Medical was set up in a building just past the finishline along the north side of the park.
The H.E.B. across from transition is a huge win. Having a giant grocery store right there is amazing.
There are 'real' bathrooms adjacent to transition, just be mindful of athetes who need them

We used TriBike Transport to get Mr. TheyTri's bike too and from the race. It was hugely helpful to not have to worry about bike assembly/disassembly. They *are* open in the expo area until midnight the day of the race so you can take bike out of transition and bring it over to them for transport immediately following the race. Note that if bike has a disc wheel, you'll need to take it off and replace it with a spoked wheel before you turn it over to them. (unless you're totally beside-yourself exhausted and look like you're gonna cry and then they'll take pity on you.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tri Sherpa Kit

We're gearing up for Ironman Texas here at TheyTri HQ. We leave in three short days so the initial packing phase has begun. I tend to pack first so that I'm nearly 100% by the day we leave, minus the last minute essentials, so that I can concentrate on nagging Mr. TheyTri relentlessly about his checklist. I do it out of love. And OCD. But mostly love.
140.6 distance races are a really, really long day. It's important to plan ahead as much as you can to bring what you may need while simultaneously not overburdening yourself. If you're staying near the race venue or have a car parked nearby you can get away with schlepping a lot more on the day and just grabbing what you need when you need it. Conversely, if you won't be near a stash spot all day, pare things down. Similarly, if you're somewhere busy, like downtown Lake Placid or The Woodlands where there are shops and malls, you can fret less about forgetting something. But, if you're in the Backside of Beyond for 17 hours, go prepared!
So, what goes in my Sherpa Kit? Glad you asked.

1. The bag is essential. I highly recommend a lightweight backpack over a shoulder bag. I have a great mid-sized Le Sportsac backpack with several pockets.  I love it because it's very light (though, some would argue also less sturdy) and it's roomy without being terribly bulky. It's also water resistant, which is great if you're carrying electronics like your camera and mobile phone. I also carry a little wristlet sometimes so that I don't have to carry my whole wallet. Just some money, my bank card, my credit card and my ID. I don't need my Target card or Stop and Shop bonus card for the day so leave it at home.

2. Camera. My camera is fantabulous. I love it. It's a Nikon and it's great for action shots. Do I love that it's heavy, no. But it takes amazing pics and to me it is worth it. Point and shoots are totally great, just be aware that most models don't have fast enough shutter speeds to catch a cyclist going by if they're really moving.

3. Athlete guide or similar. Whatever has the maps, the times and the contact info for the race directors. With the wonders of Evernote, I've actually been able to store the PDF of the IMTX guide electronically so I don't *need* to bring the hard copy but I feel better doing so. Just in case.

4. Chargers/extra batteries. I learned this the very hard way at IMLP in 2009. I now bring a wall charger in case I'm in a restaurant or shop or something that has plugs available to use while I'm on a break. I have a car charger in case I have a vehicle handy and lastly, I just bought a 'solar powered' extra battery. I'm unconvinced that it works but am bringing it to IMTX to give it a go. It also takes a charge via USB so worst case I can charge it before we leave and just have it as a backup battery in case of the predicted apocalypse that day. (May 21, 2011)

5. Snacks and water bottle. IMTX looks to be in a hub of civilization so food should be easy to come by for most spectators. However, I'm volunteering a mile away and want to make sure I have provisions, especially water, given how hot Texas will be. I have my Camelbak Groove, which has a built in filter so I can be ok with tap water from anywhere. I also plan for food. If I'm just watching Mr. TheyTri I can plan times to go grab something but if I have many people to cheer for it can be hard to get away to go grab something. So, I make sure I've got a few calories stashed in my bag.

6. Medical items. I carry a J&J first aid teeny-weeny kit. It has band-aids and alcohol wipes etc...but it's about 4" square. I also carry Neosporin spray and advil. Wet wipes, eye drops, allergy meds, antacid, tampons. Yes. Go to the travel section and buy the teeny packs.  I also sometimes stash tweezers but I can't find my extra pair! A tiny Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool to have tweezers, scissors and a file handy would be good, too.

7. Health/beauty: SUNBLOCK! SUNBLOCK! SUNBLOCK!! I cannot stress this enough. I have a little bag that I keep some of the above medical.health and some 'beauty' items in. Bobby pins, hair elastics, baby powder, a teeny hairbrush, safety pins, chapstick with SPF etc...i even keep a travel-sized deodorant in there. Again...a long, long day!

8. Clothing items. These vary depending on climate, but I always have a visor or hat to keep the sun off my face/out of my eyes. If I have a car nearby I try and bring a change of shoes. I bring my Crocs flip flops more often than not because they're small, light and comfy and if I had to stick them in my backpack, I could. I always wear my running shoes because you're on your feet a lot. I'm volunteering at a water stop at IMTX and so may switch out to my Crocs flops then so that my shoes don't get all wet. But, a change of shoes is nice if you can manage it. As for rain gear...I can't be bothered with umbrellas etc...if rain is forecast, I make sure to dress in clothes that dry quickly/wick.

9. Last, but in no way least: Cell phone! Essential for keeping groups together and Tweeting updates!

There are a few items that don't go in my "kit" per se but if you have a car handy consider: umbrella, chair, cooler, coffee thermos!

Hope you find this all helpful. If there's something I've missed that you simply cannot live without race day,  let me know in the comments.

Friday, May 13, 2011

MacGyver Wife

I tend to be a little worst-case-scenario. I also come from a long line of spit-and-gum handymen. My father's been known to drive golf tees into a wall to hold something up in lieu of nails or brackets (dirty family secret). But, I married into a family of people who actually measure things before they cut and read directions. These bits of Mrs. TheyTri trivia are really just to introduce my list of "Things You Should Put in Your Special Needs Bag So Your Spouse Doesn't Worry." These are things that, 56 miles from home with no support vehicle in sight, you'd want your athlete to have. Be a nag and make them put it in there...those bags can hold a heck of a lot so why not?!
  • Duct tape. Duct tape. Duct tape. It fixes nearly any problem. broken cleat? Duct tape. Loose cable? Duct tape. Hungry? Duct tape. (Kidding. but I bet it'd work!)
  • Rubber bands.
  • Zip ties
  • Gels/blocs/calories of some sort. Consider *actual* food, like stuff that grows in nature.
  • Extra tubes/C02
  • Electrical tape
  • Safety pins
  • Allen wrenches
  • Toilet paper
  • SuperGlue (see Duct tape)
  • Advil/Asprin/Tylenol
Please feel free to add to the list in comments, we'd love to know what is indespensible when you're out on your own.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The 2011 Tri season is upon us!

The snow has (finally) melted here in the NE and race season is upon us. Mr. TheyTri actually has a very early season Ironman this year, IMTX, so we're on an accelerated schedule this year. Those in warmer climes are already racing. So, I think it's time for my annual "have you had the talk?" post.
Our friend @co2legs reminded me of this the other day when he sent out an email soliciting tips on balancing life, work and training for his Team Continuum news letter. The grim reality is...there is no balance. Something always gives. The questions are, what gives, for how long and what is the consequence of that.
So, that is why I'm a firm believer that you and your athlete need to have a pre-or-early-season talk. An HONEST talk. Most people are willing to sacrifice some things so that their loved one can achieve a goal. But how much and for how long is not something that should be assumed. It's vital to sit down and hash out the race schedule. Then to try and figure out how much time will be needed to train. Compare calendars: what training sessions simply cannot be missed and, conversely, whose wedding/birthday is imperative to attend despite the training schedule. 
I think some athletes get tunnel vision. They focus so much on their A race or their big goal that other things slide to the side. Those of us who are supporters do understand that it takes a lot of time, energy and sacrifice to achieve. But the athlete needs to understand that it's a two-way street-- other people have needs, wants and goals, too. This is why the talk is so vital.
Sometimes athletes get "lifed." And it is in those times we supporters earn our stripes. Right now, Mr. TheyTri is slumped on the couch with his laptop, logged in to work after already putting in a 70+hour work week and only 42 days out from IMTX. It's a huge weight. He is exhausted. So, not to pat myself on the back (though, come on, I'm awesome!), but we're foregoing the date night we'd been so excited about and I mulched the garden and am taking on a bit more of the household load this weekend. After IMTX, when I need help as I'm training for the Disney Marathon in January or I need to drop some of the daily nonsense we 'adults' have to shoulder, it'll be his turn. Try and remember the Golden Rule.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WSJ article on tri widdows

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on the phenomenon of tri/endurance widows today. Worth a read. I'm surprised by the weird comments posted to it, to be honest. Maybe it's the audience, but they seem to be missing the point. Commenters seem to think it's a criticism off anyone who exercises and there's an odd number of "just run a 10k"-type bits of advice to the Ironman athletes mentioned in the piece. They seem to be completely missing that the article is essentially advocating ballance between life and training. It shouldn't surprise me but it does!
Not gonna lie. Being a tri wife can be frustrating at times. I can understand the issues the spouses in the article raise and relate to many of them. But not all of them. This is why it's vital to have "the talk" before every season so that you can make clear what you are and are not willing to deal with. Support is a two-way street.