I went on a nice rolly ride this morning with my best friend's brother-in-law. We headed out to my favorite spot in Tucson, on the far eastside at Saguaro National Park. We started north of there, but eventually made our way into the park and through its 8-mile loop, back out to the main road and finally back to our cars.
I mention this ride because my cycling buddy for the day has been in numerous triathlons and gave out a few tips for race day.
1. We've heard this before, but practice what you're going to eat before the race. If you decide on Gel or Gu, consider taping them (duct tape) on the top tube of the bike's frame. Tape them so the tabs are secure, that way you can rip them off as you ride and slurp 'em down. I have yet to try this. He said this also works for energy bars.
2. Hydration. It's good to hydrate, but he said drink water the first half or two-thirds of the bike portion. You want to eat and drink during this section and not too close to the run because you may run into digestion problems.
3. I thought this one was kind of neat. On race morning, at your transition area, put your socks on and then roll them off. Later, when you come in from the swim, you can roll the socks back on instead of struggling to put them on wet feet.
4. He keeps his transition area pretty simple. The bike has its own water bottles. Next to it he has four other water bottles. He will use one of them to quickly rinse the sand off his feet from the swim. A small towel is nearby, which he dried his feet off with and then rolls on the socks. He actually doesn't race with socks anymore, but warned this could be problematic for folks not accustomed to running and riding without socks.
San Francisco - for those of you not in the know - is hilly and a perfect place to get some much needed training in. And that's what I did while I was attending a convention there last week.
My husband, Adrian, has become my running coach and taskmaster. Naturally, he got us up early Friday morning to hit the streets of San Francisco. We started in Union Square and headed towards Chinatown. As we headed through the Chinatown gates most of the stores were still closed - their windows protected with plywood - and only a few shopkeepers were roaming about the front stoops.
We climbed up - arrghhh these hills -- and then plateaued as we approached North Beach. We kept to its edge, passed the famous City Lights bookstore and then made our way to Washington Square, where on an average morning you might see Italians sipping espresso and seniors practicing Tai Chi. It is here my favorite breakfast restaurant - Mama's - exists. We grubbed on some serious eats, hiked up to Coit Tower and then pounded out another mile or more back to the hotel.
OK, later that day we left San Fran and arrived in Glen Elen, a small town in Sonoma County. We decided to get a longer run in and took off from the Glen Elen Inn. We completed about a five-mile loop along small rolling hills, past ancient Zinfandel vines - per Adrian - and homes big and small. Adrian kept us off the main roads and even though I struggled a bit in the beginning and middle, we made it back to the room without stopping.
The final run. The next morning we drove up to Jack London State Park. Adrian took me on a trail run that began at about 400 feet up to the park summit near Sonoma Mountain at about 2,400 feet. We walked up the steep uphill and ran the whole way down. My quads were screaming at the end and a day later they were still rebelling.
I'd love to hear from some other guys on the first tri about any interesting runs they've been on lately.
When I was getting fitted for my new running shoes, I told the guy that was helping me that I was training for the Wildflower and he said he would be going up their too. I thought that was pretty cool until he said, "Hope yer training for some hills." At that point, we both sort of chuckled and proceeded to talk about something else.
Well, the word "hills" sat in the back of my mind for about a week or so before I went on to the website for the Wildflower and found the actual Race Course map. I found out in fact that the "hills" were no joke and it looks like the cycling portion is a straight roller coaster followed up with a gradual uphill run until you hit the 6k mark and then start climbing some sort of monster. I'm not so much intimidated, but more motivated right now to train harder and change my routes up.
I'd love to hear details from anyone who has raced the Wildflower and how their race went.