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Thread: Am I nuts?

  1. #1
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    Am I nuts?

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    I know what you'll say, but hopefully you can assuage my fears and provide some advice.

    There's a small tri being put on by a localish (not mine) university as part of its homecoming event. 1/4mi pool swim, 16-mile bike ride around the campus, 3.2-mile run. The bike leg should not be a problem, the run...well, I'm not really a runner, but if worst comes to worst I walk pretty fast. My concern is the swim. I haven't actually been in a pool much since I graduated from high school...while cardiovascularly, I'm in much better shape than I was then, I'm not entirely sure I can swim efficiently. Doggie-paddling a quarter-mile is probably not effective, is it? (Oh, and I may need to buy a swimsuit...)

    My other major concerns are the transitions (there aren't really any details), since I don't own a pair of tri shorts (yet?) and the fact that this thing is in October. I really don't want to go out there with wet hair...
    If nothing else, the tri falls on my birthday (10/22)--it's an excuse to eat a bit more cake than I should, right?
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  2. #2
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    Well, I'm not sure how much use my input is, but then on the other hand, every time I ask something like "should I run a half marathon," all the Ironwomen and ultra runners chime in with "oh no problem." So maybe a little perspective from the shallow end of the pool...

    I did a sprint tri on a lark last summer (0.75k/20k/5k). Up until three weeks before the event I hadn't swum for distance since 1977 - had barely swum at all.

    I could do the distance in the pool the first time I tried, and although the event was in open water, it was in very shallow calm water. So I didn't even worry about "efficient" swimming - that would've taken me a whole lot longer to learn anyway - although I did spend a couple of sessions doing the first couple of drills in the Total Immersion DVD.

    Yep, I was so jacked up that I wound up breast-stroking at least a third of the swim, maybe more, just so I could breathe. Dog paddling might've been quicker. But so? I didn't drown. I didn't panic as some people do in open water. I didn't win, but I wasn't expecting to. (Although I still grit my teeth a little bit over the 23 seconds by which I missed third place in AG. )

    I did the whole thing in sport top and bike shorts. I tested a couple of likely pairs of shorts ahead of time, by wearing them into the shower - if the chamois doesn't take up gallons of water, and the fabric doesn't get too saggy, they'll work for a sprint distance. In cooler weather you'll want to put something on top for the bike/run, but a lot of people do that anyway for modesty's sake. Just have it ready in T1. If it's really cold you could always leave your swim cap on for warmth.

    And oh yeah, I had to buy a swimsuit to train for it. You'll be fine.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 09-13-2011 at 08:02 AM.
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  3. #3
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    "...the shallow end of the pool." <snicker>

    I so resemble that remark. No, really. I saw my last half mile in the first lane. The one next to the steps. The one that only gets about 3.5 feet deep. <g>

    Okay, so my input: I can swim a half mile in the pool. (I was doing a mile before my sinus surgery in May and I'm rebuilding.) I am not fast, and I don't do it all in one steady beautiful freestyle rythym. Oh, no. I break up the laps. Breaststroke, crawl, side one, side two, breaststroke...and it takes me about 25 minutes. My side stroke is actually a lot stronger and faster than my breaststroke, and it's easier to breathe. (I think because I'm Weeble-shaped and not at all aquadynamic.)

    And another thing, I was reading an article, I think in Competitor magazine, from a woman who was winning triathlons talking about her first one. She said she did the breaststroke the whole way. She was slow, she said, but she was hooked. I think you just need to do whatever gets you to the finish line breathing.

    My point is, if I can do it, you can do it. Just go practice a couple of times and you're good to go.

    Good luck!

    Roxy
    Getting in touch with my inner try-athlete.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2007
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    I know all about that birthday motivation thingy, I signed up in July to do an aquabike (1.2 m swim/56m bike) on 9/24th, my birthday.

    You've got a little more than a month to get ready, you'll do fine. Check out the Total Immersion videos, they've helped me a lot and also the website www.beginnertriathlete.com

    Have fun and good luck!
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  5. #5
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    Yes. Yes you are.

    And that is why you are going to do the race. enjoy!

  6. #6
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    My doc, who had last completed Danskin 9 years in a row, said that her first time, she doggy-paddled all the way through a 1/2 mile swim and said she was absolutely positive that she did not even get her eyelashes wet. Go for it! It'll be fun. And then eat your cake. :-)
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by salsabike View Post
    My doc, who had last completed Danskin 9 years in a row, said that her first time, she doggy-paddled all the way through a 1/2 mile swim and said she was absolutely positive that she did not even get her eyelashes wet. Go for it! It'll be fun. And then eat your cake. :-)
    doggy paddled for 1/2 mile!!! that's hilarious
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  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=channlluv;601713

    I think you just need to do whatever gets you to the finish line breathing.

    [/QUOTE]

    Yup! Doggy paddle works, breast stroke, side stroke--and if you have a wetsuit on, you can darn near scull your way to the end of the swim.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  9. #9
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    There are no rules in triathlon that say you have to swim using the "xxxx" stroke. I have seen people walk the shallow end and dog paddle the deep end of the pool. I'm not kidding and they do it pretty fast. All you have to do is get from point A to point B in the pool and you won't have any problem with that. This sounds like a perfect forum for your first tri. Go for it and have a good time. Oh, and by the way, happy birthday!!!!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Well, I'm not sure how much use my input is, but then on the other hand, every time I ask something like "should I run a half marathon," all the Ironwomen and ultra runners chime in with "oh no problem." So maybe a little perspective from the shallow end of the pool...
    D
    Mandatory for someone to say:

    No problem! You'll be great! Go for it!

    Kidding. Just weigh your fears/desires. If you REALLY want to do it, do it!. If you really doubt it, do it as a birthday relay with someone who can swim!

    But to answer the question--you are no where near nuts.
    Slow and steady (like a train!)

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  11. #11
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    I don't think it's going to happen

    Alas, it turns out that I cannot make any of the open swim times at the pool, given my current class schedule.

    I'm going to try to ride double (or at least 1.5 times) my age on that day, since I've tentatively made plans to go home. I can do 36-48 miles, right?
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  12. #12
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    Glad to find this thread - I have been curious about doing a triathlon for quite a while, but I *don't* swim well. I can breaststroke just fine, but I didn't think that would cut it - but I can run and ride fast, so I guess I could make up for slow swimming.

    So I guess I really have no excuse not to train (swimming) - I have a pool in my back yard.
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  13. #13
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    I didn't swim well either when I signed up for my first triathlon, I knew how to swim (meaning I didn't sink much) but had never swam laps. 3 weeks before my first tri I got in the pool and barely did one lap. Luckily, the first race I signed up for was a 250 yd pool swim, so I just focused on getting through the 5 laps. I did it, although very slow.

    3 years later I can swim distance but am still slow. I did a HIM last year and this year am training for the full IM. I keep telling myself if I get through the swim I will be all set :-)


    The one thing I wish I did was get instruction earlier, I just started doing coached workouts this winter to improve my form so I can get faster, the problem is now I have all these bad habits that I need to break.

    So, no your not nuts - you have plenty of time between now and October to prepare and no one really cares how fast or not you are.

    I do warm you, that it is addicting.

 

 

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