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!!!




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