Trying Realities in Triathlon Training

At first I called these “My Triathlon Training Pet Peeves” but “pet peeves” have the connotation that you can’t really do anything about them and they simply annoy you. The following are unfortunate situations of training rather than “Don’t ya just hate it when…?”'s whose annoyances I can choose to indulge in or see the positives of – I choose the latter! Plus, I like alliteration. 1.The people who take the most breaks while lap swimming spot and snag the open lane first.

I see you, grandma Sally with your flowered cap doing elementary backstroke in the fast lane that you swooped up during one of your 10 minute goggle and cap adjustment breaks. Your frog-like stroke and flopping arms makes it unpreferable, if not impossible, to share the lane with you. Your inflatable-arm-flailing tube man self makes you an undesirable lane partner. I’m forced to maintain my status as medium lane champion with kickboarding Kenny and forgot-his-swim-shorts-so-wears-boxer-briefs Bobby.

The Good: More people in my lane means more waves and open water simulation. No one to draft off of, making it a more honest swim. Kenny’s kickboarding takes me back to the opening credits of Gilligan’s Island “The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed…”

tube man
tube man

2. The brutal winds on the GWB.

Nearly strong enough to blow a contact out and the gel from my pocket, these winds always make me feel like I’m about to blow over into the Hudson to join the many bodies a year who enter those waters, and not just during the NYC Triathlon.

The Good: The winds make the guarded, shaded River Road so much more inviting. They force me to more carefully maneuver oncoming cyclists and pedestrians, and slow down just a bit in anticipation of the tha-dunk of the concrete slabs every 10 feet.

3. The cost of the NYC Triathlon

There are so many things I could buy with $300 (other than the latest Kate Spade purse - sensible things like a nicer helmet, half of an indoor trainer, or a pair of goggles that don't make me look like a raccoon), and that’s if I even get in on lottery.

The Good: I heard that after a swim in the Hudson, you have a "film" on your face. The film is just to distract from the extra ear you just grew while in the questionable waters. I like to mix it up with smaller, independently-run local races sprinkled between larger, more competitive races. To anyone who does dare the swim in the Hudson - I kiss your feet...actually, I don't want to go near your feet. But I do I bow down to you.

4. The windy ramp on the way to the GWB

Not only do I need to unclip, I need to get entirely off my bike and run it to keep up with my more finessed cycling buddies. There's always someone coming the opposite way. I usually just pretend I had to tie my shoe - oh, your cycling shoes don't lace up?

The Good: This is really good practice for transition. Especially since Coach Cane said I carried my bike through transition at the Brooklyn Duathlon. I have no recollection of this, but I believe it - it was muddy!

GWB Windy Ramp
GWB Windy Ramp

5. Waiting for a swimming lane at my gym

I swim at Equinox gyms, and while their ads show supermodels and nearly naked male fitness models, nothing of the sort grace the pools (see #1). However beautiful or not, there are many athletes and non-athletes that occupy the lanes. At peak hours, I have to wait for a lane for 5-15 minutes at the most. I want to glare at them, but they are just getting in their workout like I am about to. And they never look at the people on the pool deck glaring at them anyway.

The Good: I've started to do core activation exercises when forced to wait for a lane. I should be doing these regardless, because last I heard, a plank-like body makes for a faster swimmer than a noodle-like one.


6. The ramp when leaving River Road, heading to the GWB

I’m always ready for Ranger Station hill, Rock Hill (does anyone else call it that?), and every other hill on River Road and 9W. But here’s how it goes once I’m on River Road and I’ve just gone under and south of the GWB: I’m cruising along the gentle uphill, start the clockwise windy turn, go above the curb as I maneuver between the posts, and I ascend the “ramp” hill parallel to route 505. And, oh my gosh, am I in my absolute lowest gear again?! This ramp looks gentle, steady, heck, almost inviting! And here I am, chugging along the fence knowing the GWB is just around the corner.

The Good: I get stronger! And another view of NSQ's powerful bum! There is plenty of time to cool down on the way home.

7. Chafing

Just when I think I've learned every spot that needs extra BodyGlide, marking myself up like a plastic surgery candidate, there is always the rare occurrence that something pops up, or rather burns up, that you forgot to grease down.

The Good: Actually, there is nothing good about chafing. Lube up or burn up, friends.