The Journey

The journey is more important than the destination.

Several years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would do the Fairlee Triathlon in Vermont. After training for three months, feeling like I was going to drown in the swim, feeling nauseus on the run, I crossed the finished line and was hooked.This led to my triathlon journey.

Please consider supporting my latest effort to raise money for Bretton Woods Adaptive through the Janus Charity Challenge at Ironman Lake Placid this July. Check out the Links I Like section of the blog or explore the BWA Fundraiser links.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's on your "running" playlist?

I suspect that most triathletes have a playlist like mine. "Running" is what I've chosen to label it but it is the default playlist that I use when going out for a run or strength training at the gym. It's got 60 songs but there are really about a dozen songs that have a "story" behind why they ended up on my playlist. As a result I think it's kind of an eclectic combination of songs. Some of them fit for a running playlist while others are only there because of circumstance.

Here they are:

"American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz: I heard this song at mile 139.5 out of 140.6 at Ironman Lake Placid. Someone had a stereo system set up on their front lawn on Mirror Lake Drive and it will forever be in my head as the song I heard on my last mile of my first Ironman.

"Best of You" by the Foo Fighters: This song seems to be a favorite of Keith Jordan of Endorfun Sports. I think it has only been at his races that I've heard it. One of the great things about Keith's races is there speakers he has set up along the run course. The first time I heard this one was at the Mooseman 1/2 Ironman going up the first hill just after the road peels away from Newfound Lake.

"Beautiful Day" by U2: If you've been to an Ironman Lake Placid race you probably know where this one comes from. I've been to the race for the past four years straight (once as a competitor) and it is the last song played before the cannon goes off before the swim start. My heart races just thinking about being in Mirror Lake with 2000 other competitors about to begin the day.

"Candles" and "Alive" by Dirty Vegas: Janus is a sponsor of Ironman and I'm in the process of using their Charity Challenge program for a 2nd time to raise money for Bretton Woods Adaptive. After my first Ironman in 2006 Janus produced a video with footage from the race that used both of these songs in it. They handed it out at the awards banquet after the race where I received 2nd place......definitely not for speed for for the amount of money raised. I probably watched that video a hundred times in the first month after the race.

"Sugar, We're Goin Down" by Fall Out Boy: The three years I've been at Ironman Lake Placid while not racing, I've volunteered in various parts of the race. The past two times my son came with me and we volunteered together - an awesome experience. I don't know if he'll ever want to do an Ironman but I'm glad he's been able to attend if for no other reason than to be inspired by what is possible when you set a goal. This last year we spent the ENTIRE day in a pouring down rainstorm, four hours of which were handing out supplies to racers at one of the aid stations. While waiting for some GSTC finishers that year, this song came on and it reminds me of the day in the rain I spent with my son. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

There are definitely a few others but these are the highlights. What songs do you have on your "running" playlist and what's the story?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Triathlon's hidden expenses

Triathlon is not a cheap sport. Even if you stick to shorter sprint distance races, and your starting from scratch, by the time you buy a bike, running shoes, training and racing gear and a pool pass you've likely eclipsed the $1,500 to $2,000 mark. Oh yeah, you still haven't registered for the race which will run another $50 - $100.

If you decide to jump up to the 1/2 Ironman or Ironman distance then you end up in a whole other league of expenses, many of which we never consider before signing up.

There are the direct fees like race entry.  Just for the privilege of suffering for 12 - 14 hours at Ironman it will cost you $525 to register. Though I'm telling myself this is a bargain because if I break it down by the hour it's only about $40/hour based on my finish time (if I go even slower the bargain gets even better!).  Compare that to a sprint race I did last year that cost $80 to register and I was done in a little over an hour - that's twice the cost per hour! That's how I justify racing Ironman anyway.

Here are a few examples of the hidden expenses that I've experienced:
  • Food - Last week my training hours hit 12.5 which works out to about 10,000 calories. I'm not a small guy and my basal metabolic rate is about 1,900 calories per day, or another 13,300 for the week bringing the week's total to 23,300 calories I need to replenish. Thankfully for my wallet, I'm also trying to drop a few pounds before race day so maybe I only replenished 20,000 calories that week.  Just to make sure I stay healthy with the increased workload I also take supplements from Hammer Nutrition which are not cheap.
  • Pool fees - At only $5 to $10 per visit it doesn't seem to be a big deal. Until you multiply that times 3 - 4 swim workouts a week.
  • Laundry - Especially over the winter this one can really add up.  Today is a typical example of 1 day's laundry.  This morning I ran, and it was cold, really cold.  I wore 1 pair of socks, a bottom base layer, running pants, a long sleeve top base layer, wind vest, long sleeve top layer, balaclava, a hat, a pair of mittens and a pair of gloves. this was followed by a swim at the pool later in the day which only produced a swim suit and towel.  Two a day workouts are not unusual for most of the week so needless to say we do a whole lot of laundry throughout the week (thanks Amy!)
  • Travel - Conveniently for the Ironman race in Lake Placid all of the hotels double their rates and require a four night minimum, so, you know that doesn't help any. They'll be one to two training trips this spring to Lake Placid.  Thankfully I know several people who are also racing and we'll be able to carpool and split a hotel room. I'm just praying that gas prices stay relatively low!
I'm afraid to go into any more examples for fear of talking myself out of doing triathlon any longer.

What expenses am I missing?

Photo credit: Jenn_jenn