Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Road to 140.6

I am a big fan of podcasts.  It all began years ago, when my favorite radio show went off the air.  The host started his own podcast, available on iTunes.  Interested in more content, I checked out some podcasts about running and triathlon.  Some we great, others less so, but all were interesting because they were hosted by real people, with real stories.  I love hearing other people’s stories about their training, racing, and journeys as endurance athletes.  Each one is so unique, and there is so much to learn from other people’s experiences. 

In hindsight, it was the content of those podcasts that planted the seeds of my triathlon career.  I have been a runner for years.  11 marathons and counting, 3 half-marathons, a handful of relays and many 5ks (including two first overall female finishes on a tough 5k course, something I will never forget and am very proud of).  After years of running in “never quite the right pair of shoes,” it was a podcast, not the running store or my own research, that finally turned me on to the right pair.  Side note here:  the running store kept putting me in different brands of stability shoes.  Turns out what I needed to do was to stop heel-striking.  The right shoe, running with better form, (something I continue to work on today), was key to becoming a much stronger runner.

 It was a podcast that got me on the spin bike, too.  The host, a runner and triathlete, suggested that runners try 10-15 minutes on the bike, before a run, to get the legs warmed up and ready.  I tried it, liked it, and it became my routine before many runs.  I’ll never forget another podcast host, who talked about the “euphoria” he got from swimming.  He made it sound so wonderful, I just had to try it for myself.  It turns out that swimming is one of those sports that takes practice before you get to the “euphoria” part, but after a few months of drills and working on form, one day I felt the “euphoria,” and I’ve been enjoying the swim ever since. 

One of the podcast hosts also suggested that runners try a Sprint triathlon.  Swimming and cycling are  fantastic for cross-training, so why not have some fun and try a Sprint?  This made sense to me, as someone who always ran a spring and a fall marathon.  Why not mix it up and add in a summer Sprint?

That’s exactly what I did.  It wasn’t all easy.  I fell off the bike a lot at first, and was very frustrated that I wasn’t immediately good at it.  I couldn’t figure out how to shift gears, I was chafing in unpleasant places and my rear end hurt.  A lot. But I loved swimming and running, and was not going to get the bike stop me.  It took some time, but I got the gears under control, found a good brand of ant-chafe cream, found the right saddle and comfortable bike shorts.  I’m glad I didn’t give up.  My first Sprint tri was a great success.  I went on to compete in an Olympic the next month, and a 70.3 the following summer. 

I just registered for a 140.6.

Other athletes, their stories, their lives and their dreams are hugely inspirational.  I’m glad I took the time to listen.  You never know what little tidbits will stick in your mind, and ultimately change your life!

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun.

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