General Discussion Introduce Yourself!!! » 37 years old, learning to swim and working toward my first "real" triathlon next month Rss Feed  
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2024-04-13 10:54 PM


3

Dayton, Ohio
Subject: 37 years old, learning to swim and working toward my first "real" triathlon next month
Hi, I'm 37 and working toward my first sprint triathlon next month (and my second a month and a half after that). I'm actually still learning how to swim, a process that I've been in intermittently for over two years. I'm working with a USMS coach for that. I really decided to go after a triathlon because I wanted a goal to work toward for my swimming ability, and also because it sounded cool. :P

Current swimming ability is that I just last night swam my first ever continuous 50 yards (or maybe 50 meters?). But the effort completely wiped me out and so I had to call off the workout after just two more 25s. In the recent past, I've done 200 to 300 yards of freestyle in a workout of just 25s in about 30 minutes (which also includes some pull sets), working on reducing my rest time at each wall (currently around 30-45 seconds average).

In February, on a whim I signed up for an "indoor triathlon" at a local outdoor adventure expo: 15 minutes on the treadmill, 15 minutes on the spin bike, and 15 minutes in the pool (in that order -- reversed from a normal tri), scored by total distance completed with no weight given to transitions. It was a completely noncompetitive event, and the attraction for me was that I didn't have to worry about being able to complete a fixed distance as the format was to just go as far as you could in a short fixed time. I enjoyed it enough to sign up for two "real" triathlons the next day.

The first is May 12 at a local YMCA (no outside sanctioning). It is a 300-yard pool swim (so I can rest at the wall as often as necessary), 10.5-mile bike, and 5K run. The second is June 23 and is a standard USAT-sanctioned Sprint event (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) with an open-water swim in a small lake (almost certain to be wetsuit legal). My real goal is the June race, and I'm treating the May race as a warmup, equipment test, and transition shakedown -- I likely won't push to 100% effort in the May race.

This morning (Saturday) I ran a local parkrun as my run workout, and tomorrow (Sunday) I get to try my first brick workout (the plan calls for a 25-minute bike ride into a 6-minute run, then rest briefly and repeat). Monday morning (really, every Monday morning) it's back to the pool. For weird reasons relating to my schedule of other activities, Tuesday is my active rest day. Wednesday mornings I have swim lessons with my coach. Thursday through Sunday are flexible, with the goal starting this week of a run, a bike, a brick, and a full rest day over that period, in whatever order makes sense given varying schedules and varying weather.

I'm also big into whitewater kayaking, and so I travel for that from time to time, and so that creates breaks in my training program. One such trip/break was this past week from Saturday through Thursday, so I'm just in my first couple of days of getting back into it. I have another trip planned from Tuesday through Sunday ending a week before the YMCA tri that will disrupt things a bit.

Bike skills are also an issue right now -- I learned to ride at age 15, and then starting soon after, I delivered newspapers by bicycle 6 days a week, but stopped shortly before turning 18 and have barely touched bikes since. My total bike mileage in the past 10 years before I started this was under 5 miles, and total mileage since becoming an adult was in the neighborhood of 15-20 miles. I bought a cheap used bike (a rigid mountain bike) and swapped out the knobby tires for pavement tires. So far I've had a couple of brief shakedown rides around my apartment complex, and one 7-mile ride on the bike path. But as of now, I still lack the skills to ride on streets or on wet pavement, and my apartment complex is in a very non-bike-friendly area, so I've been unable to get back on the bike for over a month now due to logistics and a very wet spring and have been substituting the spin bike at Planet Fitness instead. But I've finally come to the conclusion that I have to get on the actual bike even if it means just doing half-mile laps around my apartment complex over and over. Tomorrow (Sunday) looks like good weather for that.

(Sorry, this ended up longer than I thought)


2024-04-15 9:30 AM
in reply to: jcgoble3

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Champion
7547
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bronze member
Subject: RE: 37 years old, learning to swim and working toward my first "real" triathlon next month

Welcome to BT and the world of multi-sport (aka triathlon). 

I'll trust that your USMS coach can get your swimming worked out. 

Honestly, whether it's swimming, biking, or running (or really anything else in life) attitude plays a significant role.  If you approach things from an "I'm not good" perspective, it will be very hard to improve.  If you go into a workout saying:  "I'm going to make this fun..." and then do whatever it really takes to make it fun, you'll be surprised how quickly you progress.  For swimming, I encourage people to release their inner river otter.  Just practice gliding under water, turning over, popping up to the surface.  Think all of that is a waste of time?  You'd be surprised what you learn about body positions that either help or hurt sliding through the water that apply to front crawl. 

For biking, you may want to haul your bike somewhere you *can* ride freely.  Find a linear park (many cities have parks that run along a river bank for several miles) or even some quiet secondary roads when traffic is relatively quiet.  If it's a quiet road (and not during rush hour), understand you are entitled to the lane of traffic.  I was riding with a buddy one time (early in his cycling career) and he was hugging the white edge line.  I told him to get out into the right tire track.  1)  It gives you more room to move to the right before running out of pavement.  2)  Visually, you now "occupy" the lane and overtaking drivers will pass with wider clearance.  If you're all the way to the right, you are essentially telling the driver behind you that they can squeeze by you without changing lanes (and don't really have anywhere to go if things go bad).

Something about bike setup:  Many people adjust the seat so they can put their feet on the ground while seated.  That's way too low!  You shouldn't be able to sit on the saddle while standing over your bike.  A first pass is to adjust the seat height until your leg is *almost* fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke (if you place your heel on the pedal, it should require you to fully extend your leg).  Subtly, cycling is about shifting your weight from pedal to pedal while using the saddle to stabilize yourself.  (Getting the seat height right will also take a lot of pressure off the delicate parts of your anatomy that are in contact with the saddle.)  Of course, you don't want to extend the seat post past the minimum clamping engagement (there's usually a line that you don't want exposed). 

 

2024-04-15 10:25 AM
in reply to: #5288406


3

Dayton, Ohio
Subject: RE: 37 years old, learning to swim and working toward my first "real" triathlon next month
Thanks! The bike seat is set up right - I had a local bike shop help me with that. When on the seat, I can barely touch the ground with my tiptoes, and the leg extension when pedaling is as you described.

I have taken it to a local park with a trail coming out of it that runs along a river, however the issue with that is it's more logistically challenging (bricks are a non-starter away from home for security reasons as I have not been able to figure out a good solution for fully locking the bike up - at home I can just stick the garage door opener in my pocket), more time-consuming, and weather is a big issue as it's the rainy season here and the river has a propensity for flooding over the trail and then leaving a bunch of mud and debris behind blocking the trail that the metroparks office won't bother to clean up until the wet season ends and flooding is no longer expected.

As for roads, there is no such thing as a quiet enough (for me) road around me. I would be dealing with much more traffic than I'm comfortable with anywhere I go where I know how to navigate. Also, the one time in February that I tried to ride down the street to get food, I barely got out of my apartment complex before I had someone almost run me over and scream at me to "get that #&%@$ing thing on the #&%@$ing sidewalk!". Which is now my one and only experience with attempting to ride on public roads outside a purely residential plat, and now I'm scared to ever try it again.
2024-04-15 4:58 PM
in reply to: jcgoble3

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Champion
7547
5000200050025
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bronze member
Subject: RE: 37 years old, learning to swim and working toward my first "real" triathlon next month

You must have updated your profile, or I overlooked you're in the Dayton area.  I grew up in Springfield.  My mom currently lives up by Huber Heights. 

Dayton may be a little more like Fayetteville.  There weren't a lot of "good" places to ride in Fayetteville, but it also wasn't *that far* to get to the edge of town and ride rural roads.  Try to avoid State Routes (due to traffic) but there are plenty of rural roads near SR's where you can stretch your legs, so to speak.  Stop in at your friendly bike shop and ask for recommendations where you could get 10 mile rides in.  A county road that follows one of the rivers/creeks in the area might be a good starting point.  Washington Mill Rd near Bellbrook or Germantown-Middletown Pike near Germantown if you're towards the South.  Post Town Rd. West of Trotwood and Lower Valley Pike from Medway to George Rodgers Clark Park might also be promising.  I'd recommend driving the route(s) before committing to them on bike.   As usual, please let someone know when and where you're planning to ride and when you expect to be done and then let them know when you're done! 

As for transitions (bricks).  It is what it is...if it takes you 2-3 minutes to lock up your bike you know your transition will be faster during the race.  You'll still get the feeling of running right after riding. 

 

2024-04-15 5:20 PM
in reply to: 0


3

Dayton, Ohio
Subject: RE: 37 years old, learning to swim and working toward my first "real" triathlon next month
Originally posted by McFuzz

You must have updated your profile, or I overlooked you're in the Dayton area.  I grew up in Springfield.  My mom currently lives up by Huber Heights. 

Dayton may be a little more like Fayetteville.  There weren't a lot of "good" places to ride in Fayetteville, but it also wasn't *that far* to get to the edge of town and ride rural roads.  Try to avoid State Routes (due to traffic) but there are plenty of rural roads near SR's where you can stretch your legs, so to speak.  Stop in at your friendly bike shop and ask for recommendations where you could get 10 mile rides in.  A county road that follows one of the rivers/creeks in the area might be a good starting point.  Washington Mill Rd near Bellbrook or Germantown-Middletown Pike near Germantown if you're towards the South.  Post Town Rd. West of Trotwood and Lower Valley Pike from Medway to George Rodgers Clark Park might also be promising.


The problem is that I don't know the area well enough, even though I've lived my whole life in this area, because my life is centered on the urban/suburban areas and so I don't know the back roads well enough (or really, at all) to navigate around them without depending on Google Maps turn-by-turn directions. I'm scared I would get lost and panic trying to find my way home or back to my car. And I don't have, nor do I want or will allow, a phone mounted to my handlebars -- it would be way too much of a distraction for me. Even my smartwatch goes into do not disturb mode when I'm working out.

As usual, please let someone know when and where you're planning to ride and when you expect to be done and then let them know when you're done! 


That's another problem: I don't have any local friends who are actually supportive of my goals who I can safely do that with. So I have no one who I could trust to actually be that safety check. Which is another reason to stay in populated areas where I'm guaranteed to be seen if something happens and avoid back roads.

As for transitions (bricks).  It is what it is...if it takes you 2-3 minutes to lock up your bike you know your transition will be faster during the race.  You'll still get the feeling of running right after riding. 


Yeah, I need an actual working lock that I'm strong enough to use to lock it up in the first place. I bought a lock but it's of the self-coiling variety, and I found that I cannot use such a lock because I am nowhere near physically strong enough to pull it out against the self-coiling force straight enough to thread through the frame, both wheels (since I have quick-release wheels), and whatever I'm locking it to. I am struggling to find a non-self-coiling lock that is long enough (at least 8 feet) and reasonably secure (at least a 4/10 security rating). Every lock I look at is either too short, self-coiling, or super-weak.

Edited by jcgoble3 2024-04-15 5:21 PM
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