LP’s Advice for Newbie Triathletes

Now that I have four sprint triathlons under my belt, I am ready to take home the Olympic gold in Rio 2018. (Bahahahaha!) Ok, competitive tris may not be in my future, but more races definitely are.

I am writing this blog post for those of you out there who think, “Hey, if LP can do this, I can too.” You know what? You can! And I bet you can do it better, faster, and more gracefully than I have (all thanks to my super helpful tips.)

1. Focus on Your Worst Sport – I picked up this gem from a tri clinic. If there is one sport your feel uncomfortable with (cycling for me), then spend more of your training time on that sport. Doing this will give you extra confidence during your race.

2. Buy Sweat Wicking Socks – Do you know what makes for an unhappy first time triathlete? Running in saturated cotton socks and getting blisters. Solution? Wear sweat wicking socks designed to let moisture out instead of sponging it all up!

3. Pack Your Bag – You need a ton of shit for a tri. (Just being honest.) So, I recommend making a packing list and gathering everything you need well in advance. You don’t want to get to the race to find out you didn’t remember a change of dry clothes after the race.

4. Diversify Your Training – Some people spend hours every day training for these races. For those of us that don’t have 28 hour days, I suggest one sport a day. One day swim, one day bike, one day run, etc. I also recommend at least one session with weights each week – it will help muscles. There are some newbie-tri training plans out there if you want something with more structure.

5. Embrace the Start – I am learning that there are many ways to start a tri. Pools, beach runs, treading water, pier dives… so many options. Do some research to figure out how your race will start so you can mentally prepare for the upcoming frenzy. (For the Erie race, they didn’t post that information so I stalked past year pictures to learn it was a beach start race.)

6. You Don’t Need a Road/Tri Bike To Complete a Tri– Bikes are the most expensive necessary component of tris. If you are just testing the waters with these race, use whatever bike you have. If all you have is a mountain bike, use that. If it has two wheels, it will get you the distance. Sure road bikes will be faster, but why spend $1500 on a bike if you discover you don’t care for racing?

7. Try a Sprint First – Maybe you are already a stellar athlete and the thought of a mile swim, 26 mike bike, and 10K run doesn’t scare your pants off. To you I still recommend starting with a short distance – not because you can’t do a longer one, but because the transitions are killer.

8. Register for Races Early – If this is going to be your “thing” for the year (some people prefer the term goal), you will need to plan and register early. Many of the larger races sell out months in advance. (In the DMV area, August and September races sold out by April!) Plan ahead so that you have options!

9. Don’t Fear the Wetsuit – I feared the wetsuit, and, as a result I lost round 1. The do make LP-sized wetsuits, so I am sure they make them in your size too. YouTube is helpful for learning how to get one on and off. Plus, at my first wetsuit-wearing tri, there were other newbies trying to get theirs on too – so people will help.

10. Train for Transitions – Swim to Bike takes the longest (for me) because of the wardrobe change. Bike to Run is the hardest (for me) physically because of the sudden shift in muscle groups. I would practice going from a pool to a bike or run, and then again from a bike to a run. Maybe it won’t make the rubber legs issue go away, but it will at least give you an idea how it will feel on race day!

Ready? Go Try a Tri!

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A Meat(less)-&-Potato(less) Girl?

After two weeks of indulgence (celebrating my 1.0.1 weight loss and my 3.0 birthday), I have been struggling to get refocused again. So, to make things easier on myself (and to not waste tons of time searching for new ideas and recipes), I decided on a little craft project.

Using popsicle craft sticks, I wrote down some of my go-to meals and recipes that I want to try. That way, when I am not sure what to make that week, I can just reach into a jar and pick something instead of playing search-the-net.

 

Step 1: Compile a List of Recipes/Meals

This was easier said than done. I had previously made a spreadsheet of recipes that I like, but it was far from inclusive. I gathered other ideas from my WeWa eTools recipe catalog, some blogs I follow, and of course, Pinterest. At the present time, I have about 60 meal ideas to choose from!

Step 2: Organizing the Ideas

I decided to break out the meals using color coding. I know, I know, this is such a novel idea I should trademark it, but here I am sharing the colors of the rainbow with my readers.

  • Red = Meat Dishes (beef, poultry, pork, lamb, etc.)
  • Blue = Seafood Dishes (shellfish only)
  • Green = Non-meat Dishes (vegetable based, beans, pasta, etc.)
  • Orange = Misc. (breakfast foods, desserts, snacks, etc.)

Step 3: Gettin’ Crafty

I colored the ends of the popsicle stick with its designated color, and wrote the name of the recipe/meal in the middle. On the back, I wrote the source so I can easily find that actual recipe should I need a full ingredient list or to recall steps. I am thinking about writing some of the main ingredients on the back of the stick as well, but that might be too ambitious.

 

Analysis

In doing this little craft project, I had a surprising discovery. My initial list of about 30 meal ideas completely lacked any recipes with red meat or potatoes. Not only that, but I discovered that more than half of the ideas were meatless! AND 10 of my recipes featured beans, which until a year ago only my chili recipe featured.

I love red meat!!! What gives?? Then it dawned on me – I really have made a lifestyle change. Red meat and potatoes are much higher in P+ values than its chicken, pork, and vegetable counterparts. It is not that love beef less, I just love my health more. Recipes that I used to make with beef have been substituted with other products: chili is now made with soy crumbles or turkey; fajitas are made with chicken or pork; burgers are now made using ground turkey or veggies.¬†Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.

What are some of your favorite meals?

I Want Candy

Everyone in the world knows that I have an insatiable sweet tooth; it is actually gross how many sweet and sugary foods I can consume.

For the past two months, I have seen advertising for McDonald’s newest treat – the Rolo¬†McFlurry. I am not going to lie…I reallllllly wanted to try it. There is something about chocolate and caramel that makes it a combination that is second only to chocolate and peanut butter. Every time I have gone past a Micky D’s, I wanted to stop, but the timing wasn’t right (ie. by some weird freak of nature,¬†I wasn’t hungry).¬†So, I started thinking about the yumminess¬†of Rolos, and finally, I decided to pull the trigger and to buy a pack.

I unrolled the paper and foil, and I was excited to have¬†my first¬†Rolo¬†in, well, ages! As I savored my first piece, the disappointment immediately set it.¬†It tasted stale. The chocolate didn’t really taste milk chocolatey¬†and the caramel wasn’t ooey-gooey. I had another piece…the same reaction. I checked the expiration date – good until 5/2013. Weird.

And then it¬†dawned on me – the last few times I have¬†splurged on¬†candy bars, I had the same reaction. I thought there was something wrong with the chocolate or the taste was off. ¬†It happened with a¬†3 Musketeers, my all time favorite candy bar. It happened with the new Hershey’s Bliss candy pieces. The chocolate just doesn’t taste like chocolate to me.

Is it possible that every candy bar I buy every few months is a stale one? Well, I guess it is possible, but since I switched it up (3 Musketeers, Hershey’s, now Rolo) I don’t think¬†it is probable. Upon further reflection (and without scientific research), my instinct tells me that its my taste buds and not the candy. The candy may have the same taste that it always has, but¬†my infrequent consumption¬†has given me a new perspective on flavor.¬†And the new taste isn’t what I remembered it to be. Sad.

So, going forward, I guess I have two options. (No, consuming more candy to acclimate my taste buds isn’t one of them!) (1) ¬†Deal with the funky tasting candy when I need a sugar fix, or (2) Just stop buying candy bars altogether. I am leaning toward option 2.

I like cake frosting better anyways. ūüėČ