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Friday, January 24, 2014

My Road to 70.3

Fact:  I am almost 44 years old and have been a triathlete for almost 7 years.

Fact: I am still challenging myself in my sport. 70.3 is up next.

Me and my Tri Teammates, the K's
I've lost count of all the races I've completed.  My medal hanger is overloaded.  I had to stop hanging my race numbers because it started to look like wallpaper.  I've done many Sprint distance triathlons, mini, regular and super, and several Olympic distance triathlons.  I've done duathlons, tri-relays and half marathons, and swim-only races.

I've always said I'm not great at any one of the three sports, but I'm pretty good at all three together.  I don't race to win, but it's nice if I get a top ten age group place, or as with my relay team, an actual top 3 medal.

The fun of triathlon is training with my friends, discussing our triumphs and our disasters, and being outside moving and enjoying exercise.  I can chat up a stranger at a race expo, or a bike shop or running store, because once you race triathlon, you just KNOW.

My tri-buddies come in all shapes and sizes.  Some have done mini-tri's and I respect them deeply for doing it.  Some have done the big daddy, Ironman, and I am in awe.  My bestie K started training for her first Sprint tri with me one year, and within the next year she'd completed several Sprints and an Olympic tri (which I hadn't done yet even after 3 years of racing) and then she signed herself up for Ironman! Whoa!

Ironman K
I watched her train, mostly alone, because the schedule for Ironman is relentless and time-sucking.  I would meet her on her long runs to run alongside for the time period I had available, and then she would continue running to get her planned miles done.  Finally she went to her race.  Me and our other relay teammate went later in the day to find her on the Ironman course.  No point in going until the end of her bike course (112 freaking miles) because we'd never see her.  So we positioned ourselves to cheer her through the marathon.  Late into the evening we cheered her every time she came by.  We cheered even louder when she ran through that finish line, and became an IRONMAN.  Truly awesome.

My busy-mom schedule does not realistically have space for Ironman 140.6.  But I have allowed myself the challenge to find the time for Ironman 70.3.  The Half-Ironman.  Not enough to get the M-dot tattoo, but still nothing to snort at.  I watched several of my friends do the Galveston Ironman 70.3 two years ago and I knew I could do it.  Now in 2014, I am.  Luckily I have a huge group of training buddies also doing it, so there is no shortage of training-mates.  No excuses either.

Its the end of January already, and the race is April 6th.  I thought, oh April that's 4 months after the new year.  Um, not really.  April 6th is right at the beginning of April so really we had 3 months.  I was running and biking before Jan 1st, but not consistently.  I ran a tough half-marathon in December.  But that isn't training for 70.3.

My weeks now consist of weekday running and swimming (at the pool since its cold), and biking on weekends.  Its still getting dark by 6pm so biking after work is out of the question.  The alternative? The dreaded bike trainer, indoors.  My bike mounted on a contraption that allows me to pedal as long as I want.  I've gotten a total of 30 minutes on there so far.  So boring and unrewarding.

I can run anytime but still choose to go after work, trying to beat sunset.  I look for hills and have even done some speed work at the track.  I'm kind of doing running workouts loosey-goosey without a plan . I know this isn't recommended but I get in what I can.  If I was a SERIOUS Ironman-in-training, I'd be getting my ass out of bed at 5am and running a set amount of time on a set amount of days.  Apparently I'm not that serious because I prefer to sleep at 5am.  In my defense, I consider sleep part of my training too.

I go to the pool and swim.  I do the swim workouts I learned while taking a 5:45am adult master's swim class these last two summers.  I put in the laps and stretch my arms and legs out to try to go faster.  I never have been a fast or efficient swimmer, and I probably won't improve that much, but I get through my long swims in a good enough time to not worry about a cut-off time in an Ironman race.  And it feels good.

In Texas this year it's been colder than usual this winter.  Bike rides have been harder to come by.  I'm generally not going to ride in weather cooler than 40 degrees.  I know triathletes and cyclists in other states probably think I'm ridiculous.  You all bundle up with multiple layers and boot covers to get out and ride in sub-30 degrees.  Good for you! I'm waiting til later in the day or another day to ride.  So far I've gotten several cool 25+milers in, and plan to build up to 50 and 60 milers in these next months.  That's also 3-4 hours of my Saturdays or Sundays (or both), so it comes when the kids' schedules allow.

This is my hometown beach, Galveston
My first 70.3.  I picked the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston. I grew up on Galveston Beach.  I was there volunteering and cheering for my friends 2 years ago and know what it looks like.  It's a flat run and bike course and the swim is in the warm-ish Galveston Bay.  That April I was there I watched the pros, like Lance Armstrong and Chris O'Donnell (who won) do it in under 4 hours.  My friends did it in under 7 hours.  It was a long, hot day for them, but I stayed to see them finish and I can visualize that while I prepare for my race.

I have SWAM 1.2 miles before.  I have BIKED 56+ miles before.  I have RAN 13.1 miles before.  I have not tried to do all of the above in a span of 7 hours in one day.  My brick-workouts will get more intense and more time-consuming.  I will have to pick and choose my social activities these next few months and watch what I eat and drink.  I will have to plan nutrition on the long bike rides and runs.  I will have to get my wetsuit out and head into the lake to open-water-swim.  I have 10 weeks to be ready.

I can do this.


  1. I have no doubts that u will succeed!! Still my inspiration!

  2. What an awesome goal, Cristy. I hope your training is going well & you're feeling good about it all. You go, girl! Cheering for you. :)