Sunday, March 12, 2017

Are You "Saddle Sore"?





Unless you are one of a very select (and small) group of cyclists you have experienced issues when it comes to finding the right combination of a bike saddle, and cycling shorts. Those issues can include chaffing, numbness, and the dreaded saddle sores.

When I first started riding and training for triathlons some 32 years ago things were very different. The cut out, or relief channel in a bike saddle wasn’t around. It was unbelievably uncomfortable down there on a bike. The first saddle that made it a little better had somewhat of a groove down the center. Then I found one with a cut out, it was a Profile saddle and it was soft and squishy, but there was a hard plastic piece around the cut out to help it hold its shape. That thing felt like it was slicing into you. I pulled out the plastic piece and it was a little better. Then the saddle sores started, at the place where your body and leg come together.

That plastic piece was mean!

Years of dealing with saddle sores... Vaseline, Chammois Butt’r, Aquaphor… I tried a lot of different things. Still I had saddle sores. I had friends who said they would use their fingernails to basically pop them…yikes! My solution was using the sterile lancets that you could get in the diabetic supplies in the drug store, and open them up. It was painful, and gross. I would use Stridex or Clearasil wipes to clean the skin before and after, and then put Neosporin on them, and hope they would heal.

Ironman training was the worst, because it wasn’t like you could lay off riding and give them time to heal. We used moleskin or bandaids to try and protect the skin. We would wear tri shorts and bike shorts on top of them, so that the friction was in between the two, kind of like those double layer blister free socks that used to be on the market. And it never failed that I would start the race with a saddle sore (or two) …112 miles of pain, no fun.

Comfort=Speed


I’ve posted before that I’ve ridden a Cobb saddle for a long time, back from when they were still being handmade, and progressing to what would become the original V-Flow. And still I had issues with saddle sores. It wasn’t until last year when I bit the bullet and started exclusively riding in my Cobb Mobb team tri shorts for all of my rides that the problem went away. I would use them for short rides, but was nervous about riding long in them. Then I went for a 50+ mile ride and they didn't let me down!

It was the shorts! Now, I have tried lots of different shorts over the years, too. I definitely found that the zigzag stitching created a problem. Even around the back of the “chamois”, it would rub on my skin and create sores. I tried shorts that had the chamois had 4-way stretch, laser cut edges, no stitching, and still had problems. The thick padding and/or the rough stitching was the culprit!

Women's Shorts:  Why Cobb Shorts?
“There are a number of problems that come about when riding in a thick padded cycling short.

One: they bunch up into the relief channel, or general crotch area, of the saddle. This brings pressure (and maybe even pain) back to the area where the crotch relief was supposed to be. Two: they bunch up on the sides of your legs and in the creases where the leg meets the crotch. This can cause inner leg chafing and saddle sores due to the increase in friction in that area. Three: thick pads hold in sweat and reduce airflow to the crotch area, causing hot spots and can lead to some unwanted bacteria. I don’t have to tell you why all those things are unfavorable! Thin, triathlon chamois improve the airflow to the crotch, they don’t hold in sweat, and they don’t bunch up in unwanted areas.” 

So what is the difference between Cobb shorts? What makes them special? First they are 10 panel shorts, so there is no seam down the middle of the shorts in the crotch, and are sewn with 4 needle stitching. The benefit of this is a very flat and smooth seam. Second, the shape of the thin pad is not your typical hourglass, the sides are actually down your leg a bit, not right at the point where your leg meets your body. And third, “the panels are aligned so that they pull outward away from the crotch to align in the gap in the upper thigh area (where the crotch meets the leg). This way, the shorts do not wad up in that gap area.”

BINGO, that had been my problem, all that fabric would bunch up and rub and crease and cause the saddle sores. My 31-year saddle sore problem had finally been solved! (The other benefit, was no more greasy shorts from the products! Bonus!!)

Now many of you have just started riding and racing, I’m sure that is why I see so many questions about saddles, and discomfort. And luckily for you there are so many advancements in products, and research that you don’t have to go through years of discomfort.

Oh, if you want to give the Cobb shorts a try there are a couple of really good deals on the website right now. There is a super cute women’s set of shorts and tank – It says “Look Like A Beauty Train Like A Beast”! And there is also just the shorts that you can purchase separately, both are on sale! Oh and for you guys, the same thing applies to you! And there are men’s shorts as well! Cheers!

This is my friend Rachel, if you call Cobb to discuss your female comfort issues, you get to speak to a woman. So much nicer to have her to talk to than talking about your "girl pain" with a guy....




I was going to continue on in the post about saddles, but I think I’ll do that in a separate entry. Don't forget to check back!!

If you feel like doing a little reading there are many great articles on Comfort Issues on the Cobb Cycling website:



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This is My "Why" - Coach Cori Moore

I just read something that really struck a chord. I could not have said it better and I want to share Cori's words with you. Please share these thoughts, and keep them in close when self doubts start creeping into your mind!



"So, I'm just thinking out loud here (literally a monologue). My passion in life is empowering others, especially women, because we're hard on ourselves and each other, we *want* to reach our goals, and yet, we're often the ones in our own way. And we aren't always each other’s champions.

I've chosen to address this issue via endurance sports, coaching, creating women specific events. Here are my thoughts though...


Women often avoid getting into sports because of other women. The comparison. The I’m not good enoughs’, I don't know enoughs'... and whether we admit it or not, many of us are scared to look stupid - in front of other women.

I've experienced this and still do quite frequently. So how do you inspire women to get out of their comfort zones and into the zones they 'feel' they are the most judged?

I want to change that atmosphere. I know, and so many others know, just how much growth can happen mentally and emotionally, when you accomplish something physically. It crosses over... that confidence and that motivation. It's contagious. The self-discipline, the hard work, the habits of pushing yourself in training transfers to other areas in your life.

This is my 'why'."

Cori Moore
iTRI365 Coach & Owner
www.iTRI365.com





"Be Each Other's Champions!" You are good enough!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Women For Tri - Blog Roll


I belong to the Women For Tri Facebook forum, it is a closed group, and a place to discuss all things women, training & triathlon. "Women For Tri’s mission is simple: Identify & diminish primary barriers to entry, mobilize triathlon advocates to encourage & engage female athletes across all distances & represent all athletic abilities."

There is a file on the page that contains a big list of blogs from some of the members. I thought I would share the list! (I included all the blogs that have a post from 2016 and forward).  You may find some good bits of information, or just follow along on someone’s triathlon journey!
Hope you enjoy! Lose yourself in Blogland!!


Impossible Is Nothing

Facing Forty Upside Down

Swim Bike Mom

Be Brave

90/10 Nutrition Blog

Marathons & Motivation

The Accidentally Running Mama

Nutrition In Motion

Swim Bike Run Roar

Swim Bike Run Bri

Amy Dixon Blind Triathlete and Sommelier

Half Nuts Half Ironman

Beating Down My Inner Fat Kid

Yoga Peach

Eiswuerfel Im Schuh

Swim. Bike. Run. The TriGirl Chronicles

Angie’s Excellent Adventures

Four Season Fit

The Ultra-Life Project

Cajun Mile

Fearless Nutrition

Chaslan's Adventures - A triathlete's tale

Triathlete 4 Life

Orange Visor

Nutrition, With a Side of Fitness

The Log Blog

More Than Just Dessert

Irongirl 101

Tri Inspired Life

Fat Girl Tri-ing

The Hungry Athlete

French Fry Runner

A Promise To Dad

Inspired Endurance

No Salad, Extra Gluten Please

Running From My Excuses

TRIMAMA43DOESIMTX

Call Me Koko

Running Happily Ever After

EmilysTriJourney

Just keep Tri-ing

From Trippin’ To Triathlons

StrongerBetterFasterMore

PBJ and Wipes

Running A Life

Fat Girl To Ironman

Not A Fast Runner

Still Tri-ing After All These Years

AmandaBolger.com Dream Believe Achieve!

The Bruised Banana

Year of Alison

Just Another Day in the Sub Artic…

The Turtle Triathlete



Thursday, January 12, 2017

End of The Year - Beginning of The Year


How was your 2016? I’ve read a lot of people claiming “good riddance” to the end of last year. Glass half empty people? Of course in every year there will be the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s try to concentrate on the good.

2016

I found a fantastic Podcast called “Tower 26 - Be Race Ready”. Gerry Rodriguez has been a swim coach for many years, and coaches a triathlon masters in California. These podcasts are amazing! I listened to them while I was running and then came home and wrote down the “workout of the day” that he outlined. If you’re a triathlete, whether or not you swim with a master’s swim program, do yourself a favor and check it out. A mass of valuable information!

Here is one of my favorite workouts from the Podcasts. I named it the” Foundational Swim” because he outlined it in that particular Phase of the year – here is the main set of the swim, it doesn’t include the warm up, drills, cool down, etc.

                                                EZ      ½ IM      EZ       Fast
                                                100      100       100       100
                                                100      200       100       100   
                                                100      300       100       100
                                                100      400       100       100 

The intervals you want to use for this base from your typical 100. For instance, for me I swim my 100’s on 1:30, this give me anywhere from 5-10 seconds of rest (bringing my 100 in on the 1:20-1:25). The EZ 100s would be your 100 interval plus 20 seconds. Using these numbers, the EZ send offs would be 1:50, and the ½ IM pace and the Fast on 1:30. On round two the ½ IM pace increased to 200 – 3:00. Round three 300 @4:30 etc. If you’re training for an Ironman as the season progresses you could build this to 600. Making the entire main set 3,900.


Okay… next thing that I discovered this past year. This one is very uncomplicated. Blue Dawn dish washing liquid for your hair. WHAT???? Wash my hair in Dawn? Yep… about every 3-4 months I wash my hair in Dawn. It deep cleans your hair, takes out all of the built up product and leaves your hair silky smooth. Of course use your favorite deep conditioner after you wash, leave it on for about 5 minutes. (word of caution for color treated hair – it will lighten your hair).


Speaking of hair, another discovery was TRISWIM shampoo and conditioner. I got some in a race packet and at also at the Masters Coaching Swim Certification that I did a couple months ago. THIS STUFF ROCKS!! If you haven’t tried it you’re missing out. If you’re a Masters Swimmer you get a discount code when you renew or sign up for USMS for the SBR products, which include the TRISWIM shampoo, conditioner, body wash, TRISLIDE, and FOGGIES.

I get a rash on my neck sometimes from the chlorine levels in the pool, and this seems to really help! It detoxifies, hydrates, and nourishes the skin! "Chlorine Out... Nutrients In!"




I mentioned getting my USMS Masters Coaching Certification!  Coaching adults vs. kids – one of pieces of advice that they gave us in the clinic… “Masters swimmers get up in the middle of the night to come and swim, make sure that every day you make a connection with each and every swimmer. It may be a correction in technique, or a simple recognition of a good job, and a Good Morning”. The quickest way to lose adult swimmers is for them to think no one cares that they are there.” Hey… we all need an “at a boy” (or girl). The thing I like the absolute least about a swim coach is when they write a workout on the board and say nothing else during the entire workout. I’m probably on the opposite extreme of this, my swimmers would probably tell me to leave them alone! So whenever the Masters Coach no shows at our practice I get my chance to write the workout! I really miss coaching!! Oh… the other bonus of getting certified is that the folks at TRISWIM reached out to me (as a coach) and asked if I wanted samples for the team!!! Heck yeah! So I was able to get some product for my friends!! BONUS!



ZOGGS Goggles would be on the list of favorite things. I bought two pair, the Athena and the Podium. The Athena is a soft frame, one-piece goggle (meaning the nose piece isn’t adjustable). I didn’t care for these so much, I have a small nose bridge and haven’t had the best of luck with getting a good seal with goggles that don’t come with various nose pieces. I gave them a good try, but they’re living in my swim bag as emergency goggles. But then I tried the Podium goggles!!! They come with 3 nose pieces so you can get the perfect nosebridge width.

These are AWESOME!!! The lenses are super clear (as is with all the Zoggs products – it’s one of the things they’re known for), but the best part is that the nose piece. The ends that snap into the lens are round like a ball, so they swivel almost 180 degrees which means they really contour to the shape of your face. I just love them!



2017

2017 ZOGGS Ambassador!!
So when I saw that ZoggsUSA opened applications for Ambassadors I took a chance and sent it in! And got selected! Sweet!! We haven’t received our Ambassador package yet and they haven’t told us what is expected of us but I am excited to be involved in something related to swim! Ironically, their office is located in Northridge, California. I looked up the address…it is about a mile and a half from our old house in California! We actually used to ride our bikes as kids over to the little strip center where the office is! Go figure!



More good news – I’m back for year 4 with The COBB MOBB!! Most people in the triathlon world have heard of John Cobb and Cobb Cycling. If you’ve followed my blog you’ve seen me post photos at racing in the kit. I refer to him as the GURU of bike aerodynamics! I had the honor of being named The 2016 Cobb Mobb Top Female Performer last year, and I am very excited to be welcomed back for another year with this great team! I got my friend, Jenn to apply and she was selected, too! But… she is moving to Wisconsin this month…. (insert extremely sad face here). So my training partner is gone, this is definitely not good news. I was really looking forward to us representing the Cobb Mobb and representing at the local races.


I’ve ridden on a Cobb saddle from way back in the day when I bought my Javelin bike from him in 1999. Back then he was taking an existing saddle and custom cutting the wings off the back of it, so the hamstrings would not come in contact with the saddle at the back of the pedal stroke. The result was a narrow saddle and you can see it in the original V-Flow. I read people’s questions in tri forums and Facebook pages talking about the width of their sit bones and how they need a wider saddle. In actuality, when you’re in the aero position, your sit bones are not in contact with the saddle – you are rotated forward and you don’t need a wide saddle. In fact, on every pedal revolution if your hamstring at the glute insertion is coming in contact with the saddle it can inflame and irritate the sciatic nerve. Saddle comfort is very individualized, at Cobb Cycling they have a number of different saddles, experts to help you find the best one for you, and a 60 day comfort guarantee.

V-Flow
This past year I finally took the advice and ditched my usual cycling shorts and rode only in my Cobb tri shorts. I’ve suffered with saddle sores for the entire time I’ve been riding, were talking 31 years! Voila, no more saddle sores for me! The bunching of the thick material on regular shorts was the culprit in my case. Cobb Saddle + Cobb Shorts = Pain free riding! If you’re having issues with comfort on your bike you should do yourself a favor and reach out to Cobb Cycling. And if you’re a female they even employ a Women’s Expert so you don’t have to discuss our specific issues with a guy. (903) 253-8555 - ask for Rachel! Check out the website for contact information as well as a lot of great articles about fit and comfort that may help you!


I was also picked to represent HERevolution for 2017. This company has a great backstory. I think Darcy, the owner and founder of HERev says it best:

“Today, HERevolution is solely online offering exclusive HERevolution Apparel. Our focus is to offer you bold, bright designs, maintaining high quality, supporting American made and sizing, while embracing eco friendly choices. Our fabulous partner, Zoca Gear, employs and manufactures here in San Diego, California, uses eco-friendly water base ink, and adheres to true American sizing. This is very important to us at HERevolution. I believe the slight extra cost is worth supporting these ideas.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a routine we strive to implement. Every garment is shipped to you in the original packaging from our manufacturer. We use minimal recyclable packaging.

HERevolution celebrates women in sport and every goose bump, tear of joy and adrenaline rush we experience from both our own accomplishments and others. We have a sport that every woman can participate in and it is our heart and soul that brings us together to find camaraderie, friendship, growth and empowerment.

We embrace women sharing the love of our sport, on and off the course. Supporting others' endeavors makes them feel good which makes us feel good. Believe me when I say you will feel “the Love” when you wear HERevolution Gear. So, represent well, and share the love."

#RevItUp Ladies

Major Tom
And last, but not least for 2016… another knee surgery. #groan. In November I sat cross legged painting our deck and the floor of our screened porch. I actually remember thinking that I hadn’t been able to sit like that in a long time. Tiny bit of history – micro-fracture knee surgeries on both knees, the left in 2002, and the right in 2008. I don’t know if I did something to my left knee by sitting like that or not, but the day or so later I felt it buckle, and then swell up. Long story short, the doc found a loose body in my knee, a torn meniscus, and a lot of junk in there from all the years of running and racing. On December 30th I had arthroscopic surgery to debride, do a partial removal of the meniscus, and remove Waldo from my knee. It will be two weeks tomorrow, and I am happy to report that the recovery from this surgery (compared to the micro-fractures) has been a breeze! Hope to be in the pool, and on the bike in the next few days. Running in another week or so! Gotta get ready for the season!!



                           So cheers to 2017! Hope to see you at the races!!

Bye Jenn! :(


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

COBB MOBB 2017


  • Want to be a part of an awesome team? 
  • Registration is open for the 2017 Cobb Mobb! 

"We are thrilled to announce the 2017 Cobb Mobb Team registration is now open!!! We have HUGE plans next year and looking for passionate people that love triathlon and want to keep the fun in the sport! We encourage all levels to apply, looking for cheer and race support, and open Internationally! Spread the word!"


Registration Link


#thecobbmobb #cobbcycling #comfortequalsspeed #swimbikerun #triathlon #ironman



Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's The Off Season... Or Is It?

I follow a couple of Facebook pages and have been reading a lot of people mentioning the lack of motivation to train now that the season is over. Another common question I see is people asking what others do during the off season.

So the question arises, is there really an off season for triathletes? I would call it more of a time to re-energize. Take a couple weeks off completely after your last race and do nothing. I lasted only one week being out of the pool, and then went back. Two weeks off running. And in all honesty I still haven't been back on the bike, but I was having some knee pain on the bike at the end of the season and I wanted to give it a little more time so I would be able to tell if it was an over use, or an actual injury.

The off season for swimming is an excellent time to work on your technique. The people who don't swim at all during this time of year are really doing a disservice to themselves. Stay in touch with the water, even if you're only going to get to the pool twice a week. Swim fitness goes quickly for most people, so don't forgo this part of your training. Remember, when you're doing swim drills, please don't do them on an interval! When you swim a drill and put a time constraint on yourself you rush, and with drills you want to do them slowly! If you do swim by yourself and need to see some good balance, and technique drills check out the Tri Swim Coach App.

Cycling through winter can be tough, the cold temperatures make it difficult to get out the door, and that is even in the South. Most people resign themselves to the trainer in winter. If you are lucky enough to be able to get out with friends and ride don't turn it into any kind of a training race. Learn to enjoy just riding, and being able to catch up with your buddies! Then after the first of the year start incorporating some harder work into your cycling. Here is a great little App for What To Wear Cycling.

Many people run a marathon or half marathon during the winter. The best time to run long is when temperatures are nice and mild. I had a friend once say that the best time to run a marathon is the first of December, or end of November. Train through the fall, run your marathon, then relax for the month of December. Enjoy the holiday parties not having to worry about leaving the party early because you've got a long run the next morning.  After New Years (and your New Year's Eve celebration) get back out there and start running again. Hey.. what better day than an easy run on New Years Day to start the year off right!

Give your body and spirit a chance to heal with some easy training. Don't stress out if you gain a couple pounds over the winter (a couple....).

The people I've known that don't do this, they're the one's who stay strict and rigid all year long don't seem to last very long in the sport. It's just too hard on yourself (and your family) to be like that year in and year out. Give yourself a little mental, and physical break and it will make you start to look forward to those hard training sessions for the next season!

Cheers to all, and enjoy the season!!

P.S. Registration for the 2017 Cobb Mobb is open!! Do you ride a Cobb saddle? What are you waiting for??
 #ComfortEqualsSpeed







Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tri The Gulf and Possum Town Triathlons!

Two final race reports!

Tri The Gulf! Dauphin Island Triathlon!

I finished up my 2016 race season with a great new race at Dauphin Island, Alabama called Tri The Gulf. I enjoy first time races; they did a nice job with this one. A couple little things that could use improvement, but overall I would highly recommend this race. Of course it helps that Dauphin Island is our favorite vacation beach. We rent a beach house here every year in the summer. It’s a family friendly, pet friendly, laid back beach. We even made the trip here after we moved to North Carolina for our annual beach vacation. If you’re looking for bars, and restaurants, and amusement parks then DI is not for you. There is one little store called Ship ‘N Shore, they have a little grocery section and a big hardware store in the back.

Bill wasn’t able to make the trip so I stayed the night before with one of my friends from Jr High! Lisa and I were Gautier Jr High cheerleaders together and we’ve kept in touch. She and her husband live in Mobile. We had a great visit, it was like we see each other every week. Love friends like that; when you don’t see them for years and pick up exactly where you left off!



Got to the race early (as usual) and they parked those of us that arrived early at the far back of the lot. I overheard some people around me talking about how why is it that the early arrivals get parked the farthest away? I wondered the same thing, get there early… relegated to the farthest parking place.
It was a little windier on race morning than the day before at packet pick up. Wind was out of the south east at about 10, made the thought of going up and over the DI bridge a little scary. But that was one of the best parts of the race, the chance to ride over the bridge twice for the out and back.


When my husband and I vacation on the island and drive that bridge at night, it feels like you’re going over the edge at the top, so I had really looked forward to cycling on it! It did not disappoint!
Racks were numbered by range, and numbering was the “Line Up as You Sign Up”, meaning if you were the first person to register, you were #1. I signed up pretty early and was #15, great rack position by the bike in and out. Just before transition closed I watched at a guy with a number in the 200’s came and put his bike on the rack……really?? Thought about letting an official know, but it’s his problem not mine, if he feels good about himself with “not doing the right thing” then I’m not going to be the one to rat him out.


We had a little bit of a wait before the swim start; they had to make sure that the traffic control on the bridge was set. They closed vehicle traffic to one lane, and had a police escort for the cars, taking turns going and coming on to the island. Really well planned!! They started us in time trial for the swim, but instead of going one at a time, we went by twos (brilliant idea!). Cut the swim start for the last competitor by half the wait time. Cajun Timing does a very professional job. They announced that the swim was wetsuit legal, saying it was 77; I decided to go without mine and just wore the speed suit. I’m glad I did, the water temperature was perfect for swimming hard. I must have passed everyone except one woman (#8 – she wore a full sleeve wetsuit and came out second). Had a good swim! 1:24/100 yard average, but this included some pretty shallow water where you needed to do several dolphin dives in and out.







Had a really good T1, 32.2 seconds which included fumbling with the speed suit on my ankles, it was a pretty good run up the beach and on the boardwalk they had built, so I was a little shaky taking off the suit. I noticed only one other set of wet footprints and that was how I knew I came out of the water second!  Had the fastest T1 of the day!! Felt pretty good on the bike, and on the flats was averaging 22-23 mph. Could see the woman ahead of me, she was powering away. That’s okay, I overheard her saying something in the swim line up about bike racing, and she was really tall and strong. Ended up with a 20.5 average on the bike, happy with that with those two big climbs.



Just before the end of the bike course two or three guys passed me, one was Joey Lee. His wife Casey and I are friends, we cheered each other on as he went flying by. I saw Casey on the bridge too, and we yelled for each other! I love seeing friends at races, and I am so glad that they were there! The ride over the bridge wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, nothing worse than some of the hills that I ride in Tuscaloosa. The wind was a little scary, a gust got me and I had to take one hand off the aero bars for a bit on the downhill.





Back through the neighborhood and into transition. Off onto the run, the first mile was straight down the Dauphin Island Golf Course fairway, it took some navigating to avoid the soft sand, but it wasn’t bad. Then up to the bike path that runs along the main road on the island. I was in familiar territory, because I run this path daily when we are on vacation! A new race but being familiar with the run course was great!

I’ve gotten into a bad habit in my racing this year, it started with Sunfish. When my heart rate gets high, I walk 10 or so steps. I did it twice in the race...this came back to haunt me. Really need to break this bad habit. When I came to the second aid station on the run there was a little boy holding out a cup of water, and behind him a little girl, I tried to get it from the girl and she had pulled it back just before I reached for it thinking I was taking the first cup. I heard her mom yell “Girl Power – Thank You!” and then the little girl “I’M SORRY!!”, she was so cute!!  I finished the run with an 8:04 mile average.



Awesome post race food and drink! They had jambalaya, and shrimp and grits, beer, sodas, and sports drinks! We got a finisher’s mug, and a medal that doubles as a bottle opener – great swag! The pool was open for us, so Casey and I went and cooled off in the water! Awards were held quickly, no waiting around for hours (more kudos to Cajun Timing!) and Lisa Ann McCall (RD) for doing a great job. The awards were some very nice handmade pottery just for the race!

I finished 4th Overall Female – AND MISSED 3RD BY 1.5 SECONDS! Remember when I said it would come back to haunt me? The girl that placed 3rd has beat me every time this year, darn it! NO MORE WALKING!


Along with the awards they gave special awards for the fastest male and female swim, bike, and run. AND my friends Casey and Joey Lee both won the swim prime!! Very cool!! I had the 3rd fastest female swim, 8th fastest overall swim!! Some people I know seem to always talk about what went wrong in their race, make some excuses for one thing or another. I like to find the great part of my race and dwell on that!

Casey and Joey Lee - Fastest Swim of the day!
I loved this race! I would have to say it was my favorite of the year! The venue, the race course, and OH.. the spectators!! The people that live there had tshirts on that said “LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE!” They were out in force all along the course, cheering and taking pictures. On the bike in, I saw a woman taking pictures on her phone, and when I ran in she said “Got you that time!” I waved and smiled, and it gave me a little added boost for the last section of the run!

Award and Swag!

Possum Town Tri – Columbus, Mississippi

Possum Town was another great race for me this season. I will be adding it to my schedule for next year, too! Columbus is within race morning driving distance, so no overnight hotel stay! Save money, race more! Bill was able to go with me to this one! When I was warming up on the run I found a little path that led to a nice little dock surrounded by lily pads. It was secluded and peaceful back there, so I told him about it so he could check it out while I was racing, next year bring a fishing pole!

This was another “Line Up as you Sign Up” race, so I was up toward the front. I tend to sign up early for races, it not only keeps me motivated in my training but also allows me to save money before the price goes up. The savings usually pays for an additional race per season! The water was a little murky, but it had been raining in the days leading up to the race so it had the water stirred up. 4th fastest female swim on this day!




The bike course was flat and fast! Averaged 21.3 mph, I think that is the best for the year for me. One tiny section that was rough, but overall a really fun course.

Smiling at Bill!


The run was also flat!! We lucked out with an overcast morning on race day, if the sun had been out this could be a pretty steamy run! No shade, but since it was an out and back with one little dog leg it was a great course to see your friends and competitors! I was the first female across the line and got a lot of cheers from the crowd, and was even interviewed by the local paper. I didn’t think my placing would hold and I was right, I ended up 2nd overall female. The same woman who beat me at Dauphin Island was over 5 MINUTES ahead of me!



All three top females were over 50 at the race! After we stood on the podium for our picture I reached over and shook hands and congratulated the other women. Now… this is an observation that I’ve noticed, you rarely see anyone acknowledging or congratulation anyone else anymore. I think this is sad, and telling of the times. Another thing that I can’t control others, but I can absolutely try and lead by example, who knows maybe it will spread. I always say that “We’re not putting food on the table” with our racing, these small races are fun and while we are competitive and want to do our best we should be good ambassadors for the sport. If you’ve read this far down in this blog post, I challenge you to cheer on your fellow competitors and show your sportsmanship at the end of the race!




Possum Town had a good post race party, beautiful awards, great swag, and a good course! It will be on my schedule!



Oh.. post race note. One of other local Tuscaloosa triathletes also did the race, he typically has been doing only Ironman and half Ironman races. He made a great comment about not realizing what he has been missing by doing smaller local sprint races, seeing everyone out there racing and doing their best was inspiring for him, and he said he will be adding some “non-branded” races to his schedule!


Lesson today: Be gracious. Be a good ambassador. Be friendly.


The off season has begun! Time to work on swim technique, and lay the base for 2017!

 See you at the races!




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Emily Post Race (a.k.a. Podium Etiquette)

Last weekend at my race, I noticed something... something that I used to do but haven't in a long time.

If you're up on the podium do acknowledge the other athletes up there with you?? I don't know what made me all of a sudden do this, but after the awards were presented, I reached over and shook hands and congratulated the other women. It was contagious because after I did it, most of them all did the same with everyone else.

I remember always doing this in North Carolina. I can remember doing it at a lot of races in the past, but not this year. Maybe it encourages it if a race has actual podium blocks?

I would like to start this initiative. If you make it to the podium, commend the other athletes, shake their hands and congratulate them. See if it starts encouraging other people to do the same. Who is in?

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It's so hard to keep moving and racing in new places. Wandering around alone after the race, not knowing anyone. Trying to meet a few new people. A guy at my last race spoke to me after and told me that he followed my blog! He even knew my name! That was really nice!





Thursday, August 11, 2016

River Cities Triathlon and the USAT Hall of Fame!


I’ve been thinking back all the places I’ve lived and raced, and tried to think of which was best for swimming, cycling, and running. We moved from Dallas in 2008 where I had lived since 1990, so I’d raced primarily in that area. Since then we have lived in Fayetteville, NC; Sunset Beach, NC; Hattiesburg, MS; Shreveport, LA; and now Tuscaloosa, AL. I've listed my favorite places, based on several factors. Consistency, safety, challenge, variety.

Best Swimming 

Hattiesburg, MS - Kyle Joplin (now Assistant Coach at Centenary College), pushed us harder than I ever thought I could swim. The challenging workouts designed for triathletes, but conducted like an Age Group practice made me swim faster than I ever had before. No other Masters Program that I had ever or since swam has been that intense, I loved it.

Best Cycling

Sunset Beach, NC – The Ocean Isle Beach Cyclists were the most consistent group. Every Wednesday, and Saturday we had a regular ride. This works out for me, because I like my training scheduled and consistent. I named our group “The Usual Suspects”.

Hattiesburg, MS – For riding solo, Hattiesburg was my favorite. The Long Leaf Trace is there, 42 miles of blacktop with no vehicle traffic (a few crossovers). Albeit a little monotonous, it was a safe place to ride by yourself and not have to worry. And the bonus is I could ride the 7 miles over from my house, so I didn’t have to drive anywhere to ride.

Shreveport, LA – Absolutely the hardest training rides. These were rides with the other triathletes, 70 miles, consistent tough pace, everyone on their aerobars taking pulls. Riding with these people made me the fastest I had ever been. Smooth, no drama, tough training.

Best Running

Sunset Beach, NC – This area of the country is filled with golf courses. We lived on one and I could run the cart path, or leave our subdivision and easily run over to another one and run all the roads there. On the other side was a deserted, overgrown golf course, and I could run on what used to be all the fairways. The beaches on the East Coast are flat with hard packed sand, so for a change of scenery I could run on the beach.

RIVER CITIES TRIATHLON 

THESE COLORS DON'T RUN!!

I was back in Shreveport this past weekend for the River Cities Triathlon. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that this is one of my all-time favorite races. This weekend was the 21st time that I’ve done this race.

I drove over from Tuscaloosa on Friday, so I could volunteer for the IronFish Kids Triathlon on Saturday morning. I’ve helped at the race for the past couple years and I’ll tell you what, if you’ve never helped out at a kid’s triathlon then you’re missing out! I wanted to be there because several of the kids that I used to coach in swimming would be racing. This year I was going to be in the swim, it was really amazing watching the run from the beach that these little guys do for the start. They look like pros! After the last kids were out of the water, I headed up and helped out in the transition area. Sportspectrum does a great booklet that comes in each packet with all the instructions for the parents, it never fails to amaze me at how many don’t bother to read it, and go through it with their kids. There were kids with no race numbers…. kids with no wristbands…. kids that didn’t do all of the bike course. But even with all the fiasco they all had a great time! I know I did!

Evangeline and Harrisen! Two of my favorite kiddos!

Oscar's first Triathlon! One of my former swimmers!

Saturday night I got together with some of the people that I rode with in Shreveport, the very ones that I mentioned above, and my good friend, Hallie - we coached together at COSST. Two of my friends from Dallas came and joined us! We went to one of my favorite places, Superior Grill – it was great to catch up with these folks! The only bad part was that I couldn't have one of their awesome frozen margaritas since I was racing the next morning.


Race morning – this year the race started at 7:30, instead of the typical 8:00, so the park gates opened at 5:15. The race fills to capacity with 1200 people so they have to have enough time to get everyone in the park. And It’s a pretty good walk from where you park to transition, so it’s good that the gates open that early. I was racing in the Invitational Wave which went off first. Now, I have to admit that the only reason that I race in this wave instead of with my age group wave is because the 55+ women go off dead last. That means almost 1200 people in the water ahead of you, and of course later in the morning so the air temperature is higher. It was a beautiful morning, we had rain the evening before so the temperature wasn't quite as bad as it had been in the preceding days, it was still really humid though. We also lucked out with a slight cloud cover which kept the sun from killing us. Shreveport had been making the national news with their projected heat index of 115, I think it hit 111 on Saturday, and Sunday.

I had a good swim. At just about the half way point I was able to get on a guy’s feet and draft for a bit. But then you know what happens… it feels too slow… should I go around… should I stay here and save energy? So I tested it a couple times and moved to the side a bit to see and I found I was moving up on him, so just before the second turn buoy I went around. I tried to bridge up to a swimmer about 15 yards ahead but wasn’t able to. I came out of the water 2nd female, and ended up with the 4th fastest women’s swim.



The bike…oh the bike. I rode so badly, that I thought I had a flat. My legs didn’t have any snap. Every time I have a long drive before a race they feel like this, so it wasn’t unexpected. Even giving myself the extra day, and spinning in the hotel room for 20 minutes didn’t seem to help. And also adding to my bike frustration was seeing the drafting. I know I shouldn’t let it get into my head, and it’s not even like I was in the same league as her, but seeing a woman drafting with a couple men just made me mad. Play fair or GO HOME. Period.


I suspected that I wasn’t going to have the best run after I saw what my legs felt like for the bike, so I was pretty much resigned to that. I’ll tell you what, I was running much faster at the beginning of the season, it’s the heat. I wonder if it affects you more as you age? I need to go do some research and see if this may be true. I would sure like it to be… then I’d have an excuse for my run. Frankly, I think I need an attitude adjustment and stop feeling sorry for myself about getting older.


I finished 15/346 women, and 123/933 total. 2nd Grandmasters.

Finishers Medal

THE BEST PART of the race was being around so many people that I know! Hearing all the cheering, high fiving friends on the run course, visiting with lots of people after the race. So far for most of this season, I’ve been standing around by myself after a race, trying to make some new friends. I got to see Cobb Mobb teammates, Sunrise Tri Club Teammates, friends from Dallas, and swimmers I coached. It was a great post race day!

Casey Lee - 5th Overall Female, Angel Martin - 3rd Overall Female!!

And the pinnacle of the post race festivities was getting the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame award. I mentioned in a previous post that friends had nominated me and I was supposed to get it at one of the Regional Championship races. It was supposed to be Sugarman Triathlon, in October, but the race was cancelled. At the last minute the HOF Committee sent the award to River Cities for presentation. I got choked up as Matt Brown, the Race Director read the Nomination Letter that was submitted by my former Team Aquaphor teammates. Having this happen in Shreveport was icing on the cake. It is a humbling honor to be nominated for something like this by your peers, and receiving it here made it even better.

HOF Award



I wonder if I should stop now, and let this be the highlight of all the years of racing…… NAH!



OH.... and the FAMOUS RIVER CITIES RACE PACKET!! Once again Sportspectrum and Matt Brown did not disappoint! Embroidered backpack, Tasc Bamboo T-Shirt, Fleece Jacket, and a really cool Hat. Sportspectrum also sent out a coupon for another free t-shirt with any $25 purchase at the store, so I got one of those, too!!








Two more races this season, Possum Town in Columbus, MS, and then Tri The Gulf, in Dauphin Island, AL. I'm really excited about this one, inaugural year, at the beach where we vacation! Beach time, yah!!!