Tag Archives: Syracuse Ironman 70.3

Packing for Lake Placid

Hey, friends—happy Thursday!  Is the week flying by for anyone else?  Although maybe it’s because I leave for Lake Placid today—woohoo!

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Even though I signed up for body marking and wetsuit stripping at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse last July, Ironman Lake Placid will be my first time volunteering this year. (Side note:  how did Syracuse take place more than one year ago?!) I’m traveling with one of my teammates who’s volunteered at Placid before (five times to be exact, so she has the weekend down to a science!), plus another friend who’s tackling the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run.  And being supportive triathletes, we made signs and t-shirts last night.

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Shhh, it’s a surprise.

Anyway, I finally got down to packing for the long weekend, and unsurprisingly, I’m bringing more workout clothes than “real” ones.

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Here’s what I’m packing:

For swimming – swim suit, wetsuit, BodyGlide, flip flops, three pairs of goggles (really), plus way too many swim caps.

For biking – my too heavy road bike, helmet, cleats, water bottles, biking shorts and jerseys.

For running – shorts, tank tops, Garmin, only one pair of sneakers. (I know—I’m proud of me too!)

Miscellaneous – sunglasses, sunscreen, lots of socks, etc.  Oh, plus a bag filled with snacks and nutrition.

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Hey, it’s going to be a long drive!

And like I said, I will have some “real” clothes, but I’m crossing my fingers that t-shirts, sweat pants, and running shorts will be the unofficial dress code.

Talk to you in Placid—and have a great weekend, everyone!

23

At approximately 8:41 a.m. this morning, I turned 23 years old.

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Holy cow—talk about old!

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Ballet days throwback.  My grandparents included this photo in the above birthday card–aren’t they sweet?

It seems like yesterday I was playing high school basketball, then hanging out at CampHoho going to college.  Where has the time gone?

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In all honest, though, 22 treated me very well.

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I rang in my second year of official adulthood with plenty of homemade cupcakes and Pinot Grigio.

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I ran my first relay race, the Seneca7, with some awesome Writing and Rhetoric teammates.

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What?!  Who doesn’t like pondering grammar?

I had so much fun fully embracing the sweetness of senior spring—after completing my Honors project, of course.

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I survived my first wine tour.

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I graduated?!

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I decided to give blogging and triathloning a shot.

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I volunteered at the Syracuse 70.3 Ironman—and watched MB kick some serious butt!

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I partied through ran the Boilermaker 15-K with Sara.

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I bonded with Zelda at the Grapehound Wine Tour.

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I finished my first triathlon—and was instantly hooked!

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I completed my second and third swim-bike-run events.

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I moved to New York City, survived Hurricane Sandy, and found a big-girl internship.

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I explored Brooklyn with Gabby and Connie.

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I spent lots of quality time with my family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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I officially started training with Full Throttle Endurance.

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I trigeeked out and met Craig Alexander.

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Twenty-two was pretty sweet, but 23, I’m ready for you—let’s do it!

My 2012 Running and Triathloning Recap

Happy last day of 2012, friends!  How are you spending the last 24 16 hours (and counting) of this year?  Will you set resolutions for 2013?  Even though I’m not one to set goals when the clock strikes midnight (you don’t have to wait for a new year, month, or week to make a change), I do like reviewing what happened this year–on the running and triathloning fronts, of course.  Seeing which races and distances proved successful—and which turned into struggle fests—I can better make my 2013 training schedule and race calendar.  This post has been circulating the running, triathloning, and healthy living blogs recently—and a big thanks to Miss Zippy for conceptualizing this idea—so with the new year only hours away, it’s time to reflect on 2012.

Best race experience?

Running:  The Seneca7 (during pre-Fitness and Frozen Grapes days). (The Boilermaker 15-K was a close number two!)

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This seven-person relay race around Seneca Lake promised everything—running (three legs and double-digit mileage for the day), eating (the swag bags contained nut butter and chocolate!), and lots of laughing.  At the beginning of the day, I didn’t know everyone on Team Run-On Sentences, but there’s nothing like running 77.7 miles to bond people.

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It was literally one of the best days ever, and four of the original Run-On members are looking to get a team together for 2013; I’ll keep you posted!

Triathloning:  Cazenovia Triathlon.

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It was my first triathlon in my hometown—I got to swim in “my” lake, bike on “my” hills, and run on “my” roads—and my family showed up in full force!

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Even though I completed brick workouts in the weeks leading up to the event, doing a true triathlon ignited a passion in me that I thought died during collegiate basketball.  After I crossed the finish line, I was totally hooked; deciding to give this triathlon thing a “tri” (sorry, couldn’t help myself) was a huge turning point for me, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in 2013.

Worst race experience?

Running:  Tromptown Run (half-marathon).  In hindsight, training for my first triathlon and half-marathon simultaneously wasn’t the best idea.  Doing my first multisport event provided enough of a challenge (not to mention a learning curve!) that I could’ve done without increasing my mileage; if I hadn’t spent so much time running, I could’ve worked more on my swim and bike.  Anyway, this race itself proved to be my toughest run (mentally) of the year.  On the bright side, I can only improve, and looking forward (wayyy forward), I know I can and have run 13.1 miles … for when I train for a half-Ironman.

Triathloning:  Honestly, I didn’t have a disappointing triathlon (thanks to low expectations—ha!), but the swim portion of the DeRuyter Lake Triathlon ended up being especially brutal.  Wind and choppy water equated to my slowest swim split of the season.

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Again, that just means there’s room for improvement.

Best piece of new gear?

Running:  Mizuno Wave Elixirs.

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I’ve been an ASICS girl for the longest time, but I’m really glad I switched over; these sneaks feel so light!

Triathloning:  As a swim-bike-run rookie, I had to get all the necessary gear—tops and shorts, wetsuit, bike, everything.  Today, especially during the winter, I’m grateful for my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer.

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If I didn’t have this apparatus, I wouldn’t be riding regularly.

Best running/triathloning advice you received?

Running:  “Run the mile you’re in.” (I think I read it in Runner’s World.) While running, it’s easy to get caught up the distance or time remaining.  During the summer, heading out for a 10-mile run seemed daunting, so I’d break it up into smaller chunks.  Sometimes, I could handle running five and then another five, or maybe eight plus two, but there would be those days that making it to the next mailbox was the goal.

Triathloning:  A lot of running advice translates to triathloning—don’t try anything new on race day, always have several (“A,” “B,” and “C”) goals and races, etc.  Overall, though, I’m still learning so much about the sport, and my cousin MB has been great putting up with all my questions and offering tips.  Most recently, she told me about her general fueling strategy on the bike.

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?

Runner:  How can I pick one runner?!  Everyone has overcome obstacles, challenged themselves, and pushed past their limits, which sounds inspirational to me.

Triathlete:  Again, same thing. (Although I do have a total soft spot for Craig Alexander now.) Each triathlete has a story to tell, and each has a unique journey that lead them to the swim start.  Inspirational people are everywhere; you just have to look.  I’ll freely admit to tearing up while watching the Ironman World Championships in Kona–crossing the finish line means much more than swimming, biking, and running.  And after being inspired by these athletes, how can you not want to do it too?

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Challenging myself, going outside my comfort zone, and ultimately making a lifestyle change.

Running/triathloning ups?

Tackling new distances—like my first 10-Kvolunteering at the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse and with New York Runners in Support of Staten Island, and finishing my first sprint triathlon.

Running/triathloning downs?

Where I was mentally during my half-marathon; and honestly, the end of the triathlon season bummed me out.  In terms of confidence, I hit a turning point during my third tri, and I felt like I was starting to somewhat figure out what I was doing.  That’s off-season motivation, though!

Surprise of the year?

The fact that I started triathloning—and having people call me a triathlete.  I still can’t wrap my head around it sometimes!  If you told me one year ago—when I was a wee college senior—that I would be swimming, biking, and running after graduation, I probably would’ve looked at you in complete disbelief and had a good laugh.  Now, though, it seems like such a logical transition, and I can’t picture myself not triathloning.

Let’s hear about your 2012:  favorite race?  Best piece of new gear?  Surprise of the year?

What I Learned From Doing My First Triathlon

Making the decision to join the triathlon world was one of the scariest and most rewarding choices I’ve ever made.  Prior to starting this adventure in June, I had been thinking about giving it a “tri” for a while:  I interviewed my cousin MaryBeth—an accomplished runner and super legit triathlete—for my Honors project, and she said I’d be a great triathlete and would pick up the sport without a problem; one of my spinning instructors at college, Donna, wondered if I had given any thought to doing a triathlon because I’m a good runner and strong spinner; a few of my college friends completed sprint tris, as well as a handful of healthy living bloggers I follow, so it seemed like everyone in the healthy living community was talking about triathlons.  Plus, I figured since I would be spending the summer at home, I might as well do something worthwhile with my time. (Hello, blogging and triathloning!) Learning about the sport and training for my first swim-bike-run event has been a challenging and rewarding fitness adventure, and here’s what I’ve discovered from completing my first triathlon.

Every triathlete needs a mentor, and it takes a community to develop a triathlete.

At the beginning, joining the triathlon world seemed like a daunting decision.  Aside from the general progression of the swim-bike-run event, I knew zilch about the sport.  Enter MB; she answered all my newbie questions, made workout suggestions, and helped me dress for triathlon success.

She was also the one who suggested I join the CNY Triathlon Club.  When attended my first CNY Tri Club training series, I thought I would be in over my head; everyone looked so experienced, and I was just a newbie.  However, every club member I met was friendly, encouraging, and more than willing to help and offer advice.

And now, I see familiar faces every Wednesday night, and everyone wants to hear how each other’s training and racing are going.  It’s crazy to think that until six months ago, I had no idea this community existed.

Once you’re part of the community, keep an eye out for smaller niche groups.

In addition to the CNY triathlon community at large, I’ve discovered smaller niche groups for each tri segment.  There are master swim classes at the YMCA and other fitness centers, plus swimming gurus who run triathlon-specific workshops and one-on-one seminars (similar to the one the Fleet Feet Learn to Tri coaches facilitated).  In terms of biking, I’ve taken advantage of Syracuse Bicycle’s Women on Wheels rides, which helped make cycling less daunting.  Plus, attending these meet-ups let me ask questions and practice proper techniques in a safe (i.e. not racing or riding solo) environment.  CNY is also a hotbed for running, so there are a ton of groups, including the Syracuse Chargers, that hold public workouts.  Just like the greater tri community, these smaller groups welcome triathletes of all ages and abilities.

Don’t forget about digital communities; they’re just as important.

Not to get all academic, but our 21st century technology has made the world seem smaller while digital writing and new media have revolutionized how we interact.  Case in point:  Ten years ago, I was never a click, text, tweet, or Facebook post away from talking with fellow triathletes; now, in 2012, it’s simply to stay connected.  The CNY Triathlon Club has an email subscription list and its own Facebook group, and both of these features keep members up-to-date and allow them to instantly interact with each other.  This blog (thanks for reading!) and my Twitter account (@CarrieStevens25) makes connecting with tri addicts across the globe possible; it’s comforting to know I can post a question to any of my social networks and receive an answer within minutes, even seconds.

Pay it forward.

Triathletes are a special breed.  Every workout has a specific purpose, and our lifestyle revolves around the sport. (More on this later.) Because a common interest—or borderline obsession!—bonds us, moral support comes standard, and it’s great to pay it forward.  At CNY Tri Club training events, plenty of people passed me while biking and running, but almost everyone said “good job!” or “keep up the good work!”  And during Sunday’s triathlon, I found myself automatically encouraging another triathlete on the run as I passed him; I remembered how much I appreciated verbal support, so I paid it forward.

Everyone—and every body—is capable of completing a triathlon.

By volunteering at the Syracuse Ironman 70.3, attending the Fleet Feet OWS clinic, and going to the Iron Girl Chalk Talk at Syracuse Bicycle, I saw triathletes of all shapes and sizes.

This proves anyone—and literally every body—can complete a swim-bike-run event; you just need to train.

Each triathlete started off as a newbie, and there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

Even though I was intimidated during my first few trips to Jamesville Beach, I reminded myself that each triathlete used to be in my newbie shoes, so everything I was feeling—uncertainty, inadequacy, lack of experience—was normal.

I knew practicing and asking questions would remedy these feelings, and even after completing my first triathlon, I’m still seeking advice from more experienced triathletes.  There’s so much to learn!

Practice makes almost-perfect, but watching is helpful, too.

You need to practice any skill to get good at it, but it’s also worthwhile to take a step back and observe.  By volunteering at the Syracuse Ironman 70.3 and watching the men’s and women’s Olympic triathlons, I noticed what worked and what didn’t.

Triathloning isn’t just a sport; it’s a lifestyle.

After deciding to train for a sprint triathlon, my lifestyle has undergone a small shift.  I’ve always maintained a healthy lifestyle, and triathloning has only intensified it:  My summer days revolve around workouts, races, and rest days; I wake up early to train and go to bed at a reasonable hour; I watch what I eat and follow a “food is fuel” approach in the weeks leading up to a race; my social networks (both in-person and digital) have expanded to include fellow triathletes, biking gurus, and knowledgeable mentors.  Basically, almost every decision I make—both those related to trishorts and ones that aren’t exclusive to Bodyglide and the like—needs to answer this question:  “How is this helping me become a better triathlete?”

Having the support of your family and friends is invaluable.

Training for a sprint swim-bike-run event falls on the initial tip of the triathlon iceberg—can you imagine preparing for an intermediate-/Olympic distance or half- and full-Ironman?—and I needed my support system.  Even though they thought completing a triathlon was nuts, my parents still supported my goal and bought me a road bike as a college graduation present.  My extended family thought my decision was nuts, too, but they always asked about my training; my aunt event road the Cazenovia Triathlon bike course with me.

As race-day approached, my mom spotted me countless times when I practiced open-water swimming.  When I made plans to Skype with my friends from college, they were understanding about my 9-9:30 p.m. bedtime. (And they also refrained my calling me after they consumed adult beverages during the wee hours of the morning because I “actually needed to sleep because I was training.”) And on race-day, my family came out in full force to cheer me; heck, they even made me a sign!

Although trying at times (pun unintended), this triathlon journey is definitely one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  I’m totally hooked, and I can’t wait for my next race on Sept. 1!

What fitness journey have you embarked on recently?  Was it smooth sailing, or did you experience a learning curve?  What did you learn from the experience?

Reflections and Afterthoughts from Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, Part II

Whew, I can’t believe the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse was only two days ago!

I had a blast volunteering, cheering, and watching the triathletes complete the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run.  Since there is now some distance between the event and my initial reaction, I want to articulate some additional reflections and afterthoughts.

Happiness, belonging, pride – After my first job as a body marker, I spent the rest of the day with volunteers from Fleet Feet. (Someone asked if I was a “Fleet Feet girl,” and it killed me to say no!) Since I’ve been to Fleet Feet more times than I can count, a few of the girls recognized me, and it was awesome hanging out with a group of people who love fitness, specifically triathlons, as much as I do.  And since MaryBeth works at Fleet Feet part-time, everyone got to know me as “Carrie, MB’s cousin.”

Everyone had nothing but great things to say about her—as both a person and triathlete—and I felt so proud watching her kick some Ironman butt.

Inspiration, motivation, drive – The pro athletes—and a lot of the age groupers, like MB—populate an elite level of physical fitness, and it was inspiring to watch them complete this journey.  As they crossed the finish line, a bunch of them looked good, as if they could’ve kept running. (Most do, for this was an half-Ironman/Ironman 70.3; a full Ironman entails a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run.) However, there were a ton of “everyday” people competing, too.

Seeing them complete this race sparked some personal motivation; if they can do it, then I can do it.

Inadequacy, laziness – Watching each and every athlete embark on this journey was awe-inspiring, but with it came sense of inadequacy.  These individuals completed a half-Ironman; they swam, biked, and ran anywhere from 4:16 to 8-plus hours straight—the only thing I’ve done for 8 consecutive hours is sleep!  Moreover, it made me question my workout plan and fitness outlook.  The individuals train hard and diligently for the 70.3.  Comparatively, in the words of my high school basketball coach, I seem to be “farting around” with my workouts.  Sure, I run, bike, lift, etc., but not at the level that would adequately prepare me to finish a half-Ironman.  But I’m starting to accept that it’s OK—I have yet to complete an official sprint triathlon!  In terms of my triathlon training, I’m starting at the beginning, learning the ins and outs of the event, and building my swim-bike-run endurance; I’m guessing most of Sunday’s triathletes have completed multiple sprint and/or standard/Olympic-distance triathlons.  However, I know if I made completing a 70.3 Iron one of my fitness priorities, I would make it happen.  But since it’s not on this summer’s calendar, I can still attack my workouts with more intensity, vigor, and dedication than before.

Every shape and size … – It’s so surprise the pro male and female athletes—and a lot of the age groupers—have enviable physiques:  chiseled shoulders, defined arms, and strong legs.  These individuals definitely looked like triathletes, but there were athletes of every shape and size who tackled the course—extremely tall, pocket-friend short, (sadly) dangerously slim, football player-like hulkiness, you name it.

This proves that everyone—and literally every body—can train, compete, and complete an event like an Ironman 70.3.  Now that’s inspiring!

… and every age – From body marking and holding swim wave signs, I got a pretty good visual of who participates in triathlons.  When I body marked, I met only one 22-year-old guy who was competing; the youngest female athlete I marked was 26, and the majority of individuals were between the ages of 30-45.  During the swim starts, the 30-35-year old men were broken up into two separate waves (based on their last names) because there were so many of them.  Out of curiosity, I studied the race results, and only 13 women comprised what would be my age group (18-24), most of whom were 24.  Interestingly, the youngest men seemed to be 26, and the biggest groups seemed to be the 30-35 divisions for both genders.  I’m guessing age 26 is the first big group because these individuals have graduated college, have jobs, and have settled into a routine that includes triathlon training.  I think it’s difficult to find a tri-community in a college setting, and plus, most college students are busy … being college students if you know what I mean.  Moreover, training for a half-Ironman is a yearlong fitness endeavor.  Right now, I have no idea where I’m going to be in one year or what I’m going to be doing, while the 26-year-olds have established lifestyles.  With this in mind, I think training for and completing an Ironman 70.3 is definitely feasible down the road.

From volunteering, spectating, and/or competing in triathlons, have you noticed similar things?

Volunteering for the Syracuse 70.3 Ironman, Part I

Hey, everyone!  I hope you had a restful weekend!  As you know, I spent Sunday volunteering for the Syracuse Ironman 70.3—what an amazing experience!  I’m still teasing out some reflections, afterthoughts, and takeaways, so look for that post later today.

Day as a Volunteer

2:50 a.m. – Woke up before my alarm went off—I was that excited!

3:00-3:20 a.m. – Got dressed, chugged two cups of coffee, and ate a banana—there was no way I could stomach a “real” breakfast at this hour.

3:30 a.m. – Left the house.  It was still dark.

3:57 a.m. – Arrived at Jamesville Beach Park.  I was one of the first volunteers who arrived, so I waited in my car for about 15 minutes.

4:15-4:20 a.m. – Congregated at the volunteer tent with fellow body markers and reviewed the proper procedure:  With our permanent markers, we would write each triathlete’s race number, or bib number, vertically on both arms and both thighs; on their left calf, we would write their race age. (For the professional athletes, we just had to mark a “P” on their calf.)

4:30 a.m. – Assembled outside the transition area and began marking the early-bird athletes.

5:15 a.m. – MaryBeth arrived!

She came right over, gave me a hug, and I marked her appropriately.  We chatted for a few minutes, and then she went to layout her transition gear, get into her wetsuit, and prepare for the race.

5:00-6:30 a.m. – About 20 people comprised our body marking team, and in total, we marked around 1,100 athletes.  I even got to mark one of the professional (and very cute!) men!  Although the conversations were relatively short, I really enjoyed welcoming each athlete to the competition, shooting the breeze, and talking about the triathlon. (The big question of the day was if wetsuits would be permitted, and I got to break the good news that the water temperature was 75.3 degrees, which meant it was wetsuit-legal.) There were more men competing than women, but I probably marked an equal number of each.  One interesting thing I noticed during this process:  nearly all of the female athletes sought out female body markers, but the men didn’t seem to gravitate toward same-sex markers; in fact, I marked several very fit and good looking 25-35-year olds.  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

6:45 a.m. – Headed down to the waterfront to help out with the wave organization.

In order to reduce congestion in the water and traffic on the bike/run course, triathlons began with wave starts for the swim. Divisions are broken up into “professional” groups (known as the “pros”) and age groups (individuals referred to as “age groupers”).  Since the pros finish the triathlon the quickest, they have the earliest starting time for the swim.  Down at the shore, I held up a sign for the women’s pro swim wave. (In this picture, the pro women waited outside the corral because the pro men occupied it.  After the men took off, the women filed into the area, and the next group moved up.)

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Thirteen women stood in front of me, and it was crazy knowing they were some of, if not the fittest women I’ve ever seen in-person.

7 a.m. – After the National Anthem, the male pros were off.

7:03 a.m. – The professional women started three minutes (I think) after the men.

7:10 a.m. – MB’s wave started, so I snapped a few pictures.  I lost her in the crowd, but I think she took a starting position on the left.

7:23 a.m. – The first pro men finished the swim.  This is insane—they swam 1.2 miles in 23 minutes!  The pro women had an astonishing showing as well—the first swimmer finished in 24 minutes, and the other pro women posted times around 25-28 minutes. (There’s a generally accepted notion that the person who places first in the swim rarely/never wins the overall triathlon, and this hypothesis held true at the Syracuse 70.3:  Two male pros completed the swim in 23:10, but they placed fourth and sixth overall.  The female won finished the swim took second place overall.)

7:30 a.m. – Watched the rest of the waves begin.  During the starts, I stood near the lifeguard tower, manning the chip/swim cap station with a few other volunteers (in case an athlete lost their swim cap, misplaced their chip, etc.), which was about eight feet from the starting line.  As each wave inched to the corral, the group engulfed the lifeguard tower and volunteers, and we would be standing next to the athletes, which was pretty cool.  Let’s just say I especially enjoyed being surrounded by the 25-29 and 30-35 men’s waves—just a perk of being a volunteer!

7:40 a.m. – Headed over the wetsuit stripping area to lend a hand.  As each athlete completes the swim, most will start unzipping and taking off their wetsuit as they jog to the transition area; this multitasking—covering ground and transitioning—eliminates wasting precious time.  As a wetsuit stripper, I help up my hand and yelled  “Wetsuit peeler!” and “Wetsuit stripper!” to the athletes as they exited the water. (Holding a hand shows the athlete you’re available.) As the athlete approached, they would most likely have their wetsuit taken off to their waist, and it was my responsibility to get them to sit down and literally tear off the suit.  Needless to say, I couldn’t take any pictures, but here’s what a wetsuit peeling station looks like:

Something interesting about this process:  The majority of female triathletes sought out female wetsuit peelers, and most male competitors went to male peelers.  I was stationed next to a guy peeler, and nearly all the male athletes bypassed me and went to him.  Also, not all athletes took advantage of the peeler volunteers. (I can’t say if the pros used peelers because I was still watching the wave starts.) Those who did were extremely grateful—nearly everyone said thank you.

I saw MB come out of the water, and she was in the zone.  I was hanging out with the Fleet Feet group of volunteers, where MB works part-time, so nearly all of the volunteers knew her or knew of her, so as soon as she exited the water, our group’s coordinator took over:  “Here comes MB!  You two, peel her!  MB, we’ve got two peelers for you right here!”

8:40 a.m. – Got some rest, ate breakfast—I brought a Kashi granola bar from home and grabbed an apple and banana from the food vendor—and hung out by the volunteer tent.

9:30 a.m. – The first male pros finished biking, returned to the transition area, and set off on the 13.1-mile run.  Again, I still cannot believe the athleticism these guys possess—they biked 56 miles in basically two hours!  The first biker took 2:09 to cover the course, and he had a solid, three-minute lead on the second place athlete.  The top pro women took around 2:21-2:28, which is super impressive.  As to be expected, there was a gap between the pros and age groupers, and MB was with the first overall “wave” of women to finish the ride.  Our group cheered for her as she ran by and set off on the 13.1-mile run.  There were several CNY Triathlon members competing, and it was easy to pick them out (and cheer extra loudly!) because of their CNY Tri tops.

10:50 a.m. – Continued to camp out by the transition area and watched Joe Gambles, the first pro male, cross the finish line—in 3:53:51!

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Seeing his half-marathon splits is astounding; after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles, he ran 5:40 miles!  Canada’s Angela Naeth took first for the women, posting an overall time of 4:16:27.

(source)

I still cannot wrap my head around her splits—6:21 miles!

12:00 p.m. – Headed over to the finish line to watch MB cross.  She wanted to break 5:20 (conservative for her), so I assumed my post at what would be 4:55 for her. (She started her swim at 7:10 a.m., so I adjusted the overall time accordingly.) I’m glad I headed there early—she came charging in at 5:03!

I found her in the athlete tent afterwards, and we talked and recapped the race for a bit—she thinks I can do the Syracuse 70.3 next year!  I’ve added a half-Ironman (Ironman 70.3)/the Syracuse 70.3 to my fitness bucket list!

Paying It Forward

Hey, hey!  Happy Saturday!  I have some exciting news to share, so let’s zip through my workout and eats!

Workout

Man, I sure missed Ron yesterday, so I was extra pumped to go to spin class this morning.  After 45 minutes on the bike, I was in “the zone”—thank you, endorphins!—so I headed into the weight room and completed about 20 minutes of upper-body work.

Breakfast

Say hello to an old favorite—the best breakfast ever.

However, this isn’t your typical overnight oats in a jar.  Last night, I prepared overnight oats in a bowl (no almost-empty PB pars yet) using FAGE Total 2% yogurt (with strawberry jam in the mix), 1/3 cup Quaker Oats, and 1/3 cup almond milk.  Before digging in, I added about two spoonfuls of chia seeds and banana slices.

Lunch

We’re getting into food desert territory.  Around 1:30 p.m., I searched the fridge for signs of food.

An open-faced sandwich:  Two leftover pork medallions and hummus on a slice of Ezekiel bread.

Syracuse Ironman 70.3

So far, my transition from runner to triathlete has been incredible.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have several individuals and groups help me over the bumps and face the learning curve head-on; all the components of the triathlon community I’ve enlisted—Fleet Feet, Syracuse Bicycle, the CNY Triathlon Club—have been simply amazing.  Embarking on this fitness goal has been extremely nerve-wrecking—and, at times, it still is!—but everyone has been helpful, encouraging, and supportive.  I feel truly grateful to have both these individuals and mini-communities at my fingertips, ready and willing to offer help, advice, or guidance.

Since I’ve gained invaluable knowledge and constant support from this triathloning community, I’ve decided it’s time to give back:  Tomorrow morning, I will be body marking triathletes for the Syracuse Ironman 70.3.

Not only will this be my first time volunteering at a triathlon, but it will also be the first true triathlon I attend.  This is the ultimate win-win opportunity:  I give back to the community and learn from the best-of-the-best triathletes.  Volunteering will also give me a true “behind-the-scenes” look into what happens on raceday.  And let’s face it—right now, I might not be able to complete the Syracuse 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), but simply being around these athletes will provide a burst of motivation and inspiration.

I have an extremely early wake up call tomorrow—volunteers must be on-site by 4 a.m., which means I need to get up at 3 a.m.—so my Saturday night will be spent sleeping.

Have you ever volunteered at the triathlon or other race?  What was your experience like?  Did you enjoy it?