9 Crazy Things Triathletes Experience That Normal People Just Don’t

For my American readers, hope you had a great Independence Day!

Bring it on IRONMAN!! This week I wrapped up my final training block (20 hours) and I’m preparing to crank out the taper heading into the race. Seven hours on my bike Saturday (121 miles) and I’m certainly ready to not be on it again anytime soon.  Ah, sweet, sweet rest, I’m looking forward to you…

There’s just something great about putting in 6+months of solid effort, 15+ hours a week, and then being able to kick back and sharpen your mental game in order to drop the fatigue as you prepare for the big plunge. This time last year, I was all about Tahoe. For 2015 – I’m out for revenge at another course. There’s a lot to be excited about, and I may not have logged in the quantity of hours I did last year, but I feel the quality is there. Plus, I’ve been able to run about 10% more this year (thank you Mizuno Wave Runners!).


When push comes to shove, I like to think that racing, of any kind, has far more to do with mentality, emotional endurance, and willpower then it does leg, back, and shoulder muscles. Yes, the physiology and endurance need to be in place, but the turtle never complained about being physically unprepared. He crossed the finish just fine. Plus, he had spent many years building his endurance before the race…

  1. Wetsuit peeing – This needs no introductory and only the slightest explanation – it happens!
  2. Chafing in all the wrong places – Well, what did you expect from keeping your tush in the saddle for 6 hours prior to running? You’re going to get rubbed – always the wrong way. Stock up on Vaseline. You’ll thank yourself…
  3. True bonking – Hitting the wall, bonking, and blowing up are all the same thing. Crashing into a miserably humbling wall built on the bones of self-doubt, exhaustion, and a glaring deficiency of energy. In my experience, a true burnout doesn’t really occur under 3 hours of exercise time, although being improperly fueled the night before can certainly cause you to crash well before. Tack on an additional seven hours of racing, and you’ve got yourself a machine that needs feeding.
  4. Eating at 24 mph – Last Saturday I consumed five date balls, four sweet potato cakes, a banana, and a peanut butter and jelly all while blazing away through the gorgeous scenery of Tahoe. Granted I was getting rained on and feebly attempting to avoid thunderstorms, but way to keep it interesting! A 3000 calorie workout leaves a pretty serious deficient if not kept in check, and we certainly want to avoid the almighty bonk (see above).
  5. Scheduling life around workouts – No, it isn’t vice versa. Workout placement drives a busy athletic schedule for many months out of the year. Lunch trips to the gym are only a small piece, usually taken for granted, of what is encompassed by the commitment that needs to come with race prep. Much like other hobbies, it often drives (read: demands) 100% commitment.
  6. Religiously sticking to a schedule – Whether up before the sun or out running long after it’s down, race training is unforgiving. You can’t “make up” a workout just like you can’t wind the clock back. To succeed, you’ve got to stick to your guns and your commitments. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
  7. The WORST tan lines – Seriously, laser engraved lines slice across the legs and arms revealing a division of tan vs pasty musculature. My personal favorite is the giant gap on both of my wrists where my Garmin and my RoadID rest for hours at a time while the heat scorches the rest of me…
  8. Grocery shopping – 2, 3, 4, even 5 times a week trips to the great store of all things energy provisioning. If training is my life for a few months, then food is certainly the lifeblood. Rice, potatoes, fresh meats, tons of fruits and veggies, a billion dozen eggs (1,000,000,000 x 12), and a deliciously healthy amount of dark chocolate (>80% cocoa) all make their way into my cart on a regular basis. Mmmm….!
  9. Gear collecting – Socks, sunscreen, snacks, tubes, tires, chain grease, towels, wipes, aspirin, compression clothing, helmets, bags, bags to hold your bike, bags to hold your food (which you got at the grocery store), shoe bags, miscellaneous bags, dirty clothes bags, bags to hold your bags… it goes on and on!

10. The bonus triathlete-only experience – I have no words other than Donner Lake 2014. Haha! See below and wonder…

It’s like putting your foot in your mouth… but different

There’s nothing quite else like triathlon, and it only gets more exciting each year. It provides a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and success all with the added benefit of vitamin D! Whoohoo! See you soon Whistler… see you soon!

Picture credit 1. Picture credit 2.


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