Triathlon Bling, Swag, and Gear

Just in case there is some poor soul out there that wants to know what a newbie picks up for his first sprint tri…

All my swim gear for training is TYR from

TYR Splice Jammers because they have angled seams on each side instead of the moose knuckle inducing center seam. The TYR Socket Rockets are like the Swedish goggles I wore in college only these have a soft silicone coating on the seal surfaces – much more comfortable and better seal.

My bike is 2012 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 courtesy of craigslist.

I’ve already posted my Army jersey and my running shoes…

Last but not least is my tri suit. I decided to go with a grown up onesie for the race. It’s incredibly flattering in the way that it shows all the lumps and bumps instead of muscles courtesy of my advanced age… maybe I’ll be in better shape by the race. Ever the eternal optimist…

Pearl Izumi offers discounts for new USAT members, so I picked out this little number that matches my bike and my shoes. How cute. Did I mention that I’m a bit self conscious about how great my belly is gonna look?!?

There you have it… my bling, swag and gear. Or most of it anyway.

Triathlon Training, Week 2, Day 3

Run Day

Plan: 30 min at base endurance

I went with the 80/20 Running workout on the Pear Sports app again.

Excitement for today was two-fold: new Saucony shoes and (gasp!? all Spencer’s fault!) lululemon running shorts and shirt. They are soooo comfortable! It pains me that I can no longer make fun of Spencer for wearing girls’ clothes. Oh well…

The shoes were as comfortable as any shoes I’ve ever run in. I’ve been running in barefoot style shoes for the last few years, Merrell Trail Gloves to be specific. They have been great for developing the strength and flexibility in my feet, ankles and calves. I didn’t want to train for race speed (or my version of that) without a cushioned shoe, hence the new Saucony shoes. They are really light and flexible – exactly what I hoped. Ok, back to the workout…

My workout results:

So… I did really well staying in zone 2 according to the score in the app of 79% for the workout. However, (comma) (dramatic pause) I cannot for the life of me stay in zone 2 and actually run. My heart seems to object to this behavior and immediately runs for zone 4. As you can see, my average pace of 14:17 is terrible and the saw tooth pattern in the heart rate chart clearly shows my run/walk alternating to get any time at all in zone 2. Ugh! I really hope the zone 2 training improves my running over the course of this 12-week training plan.

Triathlon Training, Week 2, Day 2

Cycling Day

Plan: 45min as 10 min easy spin warm up, 5 x 5 minute hill climb at tempo with downhill recovery, 5 min easy spin cool down

I decided to go with the Pear Sports app again for this ride. I called Pear to ask some questions about the app and they answered them all and followed up with an email, too – great customer service! The app doesn’t use cadence sensors (yet, I hope). It also defaults to the Apple Watch for heart rate, so I have to shut my watch off if I want to use my chest strap monitor.

I picked the Long Intervals Ride 3 workout by coach Matt Fitzgerald. The workout is 45min as 5min zone 1 + 5min zone 2 warm up, main set of 5 x 3min Zone 4 + 3min zone 1, and 5min zone 1 cool down.

I couldn’t get my chest strap to pair, so I restarted my phone and then all worked well. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice until half way through my ride that I hadn’t enabled the GPS. Oops! No distance and speed stats to judge this workout.

I did manage a decent score of 73% for hitting the target heart rate zones. I actually felt like I was working out since the fast intervals were in zone 4. Another day in the books. I’m enjoying the riding even more than I thought.

Oh and I rode in my new jersey tonight:


Triathlon Training, Week 2, Day 1

Plan: 300 warm up, 5 x 100 with 50 race pace & 50 easy, 200 cool down

After last week’s swim after the interval run, I realize that my need for recovery trumps my swimming base. Humble pie anyone?

For this workout, I followed the plan a little closer.

My swim: 200 S/K, 5 x 100 @ 2min, 100 IM and 100 free cool down

So I only did an extra 100 yds and swam the full 100’s at pace. The IM for a cool down doesn’t really do anything to cool me down but butterfly with fins is just fun.

I swam this one without my Apple Watch + MySwimPro app combo since the workout was easy to remember and 2 minute intervals are easy to manage with a pace clock. I didn’t get any heart rate feedback, though, so I’ll use my watch for that reason going forward.

Triathlon Training, Week 1, Day 5

Plan: 60 Minute Cycle @ Base Endurance (BE) level

For today’s workout, I’m using the Pear Sports app and the “Burn Fat & Go Fast” workout by coach Timothy O’Donnell. The workout includes 3 x 10 minute intervals in Zone 3 and the remainder of the workout is in Zone 2.

This ride is consistent with my impressions of triathlon training so far. I am training a lot in Zone 2 and am not able to ride or run very fast or very long in this “endurance” zone. I am attempting to keep the faith in the 80/20 concept where 80 percent of your training is in Zone 2 and only 20 percent is above that. The theory is that you train your aerobic systems to burn fat for energy and flush lactic acid faster than it builds. I am curious to see how my speed, time and distance builds within Zone 2 as the program goes on… time will tell!

Here is the info from my ride:

I did pretty well hitting the target zones – a score of 78% for that. My average speed of 12.1 mph is woefully short of the ~20 mph that it seems I will need to ride in the race.


Triathlon Training, Week 1, Day 4

Day 4 is a two-a-day with an AM swim and a PM run. Since I’m on vacation and Saturday is travel day, I decided to do the PM run Friday morning and the AM swim Saturday morning.

The run plan was a 10 minute warm up, 3 sets of 4 x 400m at race pace for #1-3 and easy for #4 with 45 second rests in between, and then a 5 minute cool down. Since I don’t really have a race pace that I know just yet, I watched my pace on the Apple Watch and tried to stay consistent. I ended up running the first 400 at an 8min/mi pace – too fast. After than I kept them between 8:45-9:05 through the rest of the workout. My easy reps ended up being half walk half slow jog. I used the Nike+ Run Club App for this workout to get the periodic time, distance and pace audio cues and to see my current pace on the watch at any time during my workout.

I didn’t really pay any attention to my heart rate during the workout, but you can tell by my average of 151 that it was not in zone 2! That workout kicked my butt! I got in a nice cool down by going for a 2 hour walk at the OdySea aquarium and a 2 hour walk at Old Town Scottsdale.

My Saturday AM swim was less than stellar after than run. I didn’t make any of my intervals and felt drained. I was in an outdoor pool at ASU, though, say I can’t say it wasn’t an enjoyable swim – just not one to brag about.

The plan called for a 300 warm up, 10×50 drill/swim, and a 200 cool down. I swam a 300 warm up, a 500-400-300-200-100 pull ladder with minute breaks, and a 200 cool down. I tried to hold a 1:40 pace which I beat easily on Monday but no doing after that run. Gotta a ways to go before I’ll claim to be in shape!


Triathlon Training, Week 1, Day 3

Running day. Spencer and I went for a run along Tempe Town Lake. Which is to say Spencer went for a run and I went for a much shorter slower jog. I used the Pear Sports app for a hear rate run.

The plan run called for 30 minutes at easy effort and run any hills at tempo. I used a Pear Sports workout that called for a 5 minute zone 1 warm up (heart rate 110-117), a 25 minutes zone 2 run (heart rate 118-136), and a 5 minute zone 1 cool down. I am apparently in lousy running shape because I couldn’t stay in zone 2 if I actually ran. Lots of work to do!

The Pear Sports app and 80/20 run workout worked ok. I didn’t really yell at me when I went up over zone 2 like I thought it would, so I had to check my watch periodically to check my heart rate. It did give me occasional updates but not triggered – more timed I think. Here are some screenshots:


Triathlon Training, Week 1, Day 2

I’m adjusting things again! Day 2 is a rest day per the training plan, but I’m switching rest days around to fit the vacation schedule. I did follow the workout plan to the T, however.

Spencer took me to the SDFC and we found the spin bike room completely empty. No need for worries about embarrassing myself on the bike. Read this post for some laughs and to understand my fears.

I got my bike all adjusted, and heart rate & timer going on my Wahoo Fitness app without any difficulty. Time to ride!

10 min warm up
3 x 8min in Zone 4 and 2min in Zone 2
5 min cool down

I have no idea what the numbers mean or how they correlate to actually riding a bike, but here are some numbers:

45 minutes with average heart rate of 129 bpm and 601 calories over a simulated 14.7 miles. My power output was around 220 watts during my 8 minute reps in zone 4 (140-145 bpm) at 85-90 rpm cadence.

Good first official riding workout. I wonder if I’ll be able to walk tomorrow!?!

Triathlon Training, Week 1, Day 1

The first workout of the training plan is a swim.

300 warm up
2 sets of 4×50 :15R build up from easy effort to race pace over the 4 reps
1min rest between sets
200 cool down

Total workout 900 yds

I thought it was a bit short given that I’ve been swimming all winter, so I bumped it up a bit.

300 warm up
500 pull in 7:55 then 2 min rest
5×100 pull at 1:30 pace on 1:50 interval then 2 min rest
10×50 pull at :45 pace on 1 min interval the 2 min rest
200 cool down

Total workout 2000 yds

My swimming app kept crashing when I tried to load the workout, so I just swam the old fashioned way with the pace clock. Luckily it was an easy workout to remember and count.

Swimming outside at Mona Plummer at ASU makes for an amazing workout! And I got a tan while I was at it.

This Year’s “Out of My Comfort Zone” is My First Triathlon

I swam a few masters swim meets after Jamie talked me into my first. Now that I’m done with those for the 2016-2017 winter season, I decided I needed a new competition to continue to challenge myself and make working out fun and purposeful. I am officially signed up for my first triathlon, the Warsaw Optimist Triathlon in Winona Lake on June 24. I ended up enjoying the masters meets and swimming more than one, so I also have my eye on the Indy Eagle Creek series which will give me a chance to do 2 more this year if I do indeed get bit by the bug.

Today marks Day 1 of my 12-week training plan. I found quite a few options online for training plans and finally settled on this plan from TriathlonPlus magazine on for a first time sprint triathlon. I settled on that because it had a nice symmetry with two each swim, ride, run and rest days. One of the workouts each Saturday or Sunday is a “brick” with two workouts on the same day. Two rest days helps me fit it in my schedule and gives the old man a chance to recover. The swims early on are a little short so I’ll improvise for longer swim workouts. I’ll need the baby steps progression for the riding and running!


This will be my first open water competition and my first swimming race longer than 200 yards. I have to train for a quarter mile or 440yds. I swam a 500 last week for a baseline at 7:43 in a 25yd pool. Paula at Green Earth Multisport says no need for a wet suit for this race, so that is good. I’ll need to get a tri kit (2-piece) or a tri suit (1-piece) and learn to swim with a shirt and run with a riding pad. And I’ll need to practice sighting when I swim so I can swim in a straight line without those handy lane lines and the black stripe at the bottom of the pool.


This one is the relatively new sport. I rode some in high school and college and then sold my bike to focus on running in ROTC. That was decades plural ago. First step, buy a bike. I found a nice used Cannondale Synapse Carbon on eBay. Was it the right size? Turns out sizes are different from brand to brand and product line to product line. Lots of opinions online… buy small and make it bigger with adjustments… buy big and make it smaller with adjustments… follow the size chart or else… ignore the size chart and ride what feels comfortable… get a professional fitting so all your body parts are at the perfect angles… A bit overwhelming. Guess I’ll go stand over it and sit on it. Bike was pristine. Fella bought it for a cancer fundraiser ride and never rode it again. I stood over it and had clearance for the low hanging parts. Took the bike to Human Motor Works since they are a Cannondale dealer. They were wonderful after we got past the “wrong size – you need one size smaller” conversation. They shortened the seat post to get me started, sold me some nice shoes and installed the cleats. Two days later after a tune up, I picked up my bike. First ride since college, first ride with clipless pedals that you clip into (perfect oxymoron since clips and straps were replaced by clipless pedals that riders immediately adopted “clipping into” as the appropriate verb for use), and first ride with shifting integrated into the brake levers. I forgot how much I enjoyed riding and laugh at how much I don’t know about riding and how slow I am. This will be an adventure!


I’ve been running off and on my whole life. Soccer as a kid, track in high school, Army ROTC in college, active duty Army, and to try to stay in shape ever since. The last few years I’ve enjoyed zero drop minimal shoes, Merrell Trail Gloves to be specific. They have strengthened my feet and ankles and have made running feel good. I haven’t run fast in them, however. I think I’ll need a little padding underfoot to train and race faster. I have a pair of Brooks Pure Connect 4 shoes that are discontinued. They are zero drop but more cushioned. I’ll run in those for a bit and see how that goes. I really like the looks of Saucony Freedom ISO… so if I need to upgrade… In the meantime, Spencer finally talked me into trying on lululemon clothes, so I can no longer make fun of him for wearing “girls clothes.” I bought a pair of running shorts and a shirt and they are sooo comfortable.


I’ve got a few apps to help train. MySwimPro lets me swim my sets from my Apple Watch 2 instead of a piece of paper and a pace clock. Wahoo Fitness on my iPhone lets me ride with GPS, heart rate+zone, cadence and speed, audio cues and music along the way.  Nike+ Run Club lets me run with my Apple Watch 2 only (no iPhone 7 Plus in a giant armband) with GPS, heart rate, time, distance, pace, audio cues and music. I like the heart rate zone training capability of Wahoo Fitness, RunKeeper and PearSports, but I don’t want to run with my iPhone. We’ll see how the running goes, and I’ll switch around some to see what works best for the various workouts.

Wish me luck!!!