One of the amazing things about triathlon training and racing, and even each discipline as a stand alone, is that no matter how seasoned you are, each race teaches you something new. It can be something small, like turning your socks halfway inside out so you can slip them on easy in T1, or something more major, like if I use a higher gear ratio cog I can get a few more gears on the hills. But there is always something.
As a newbie, with only two seasons under my belt, my lessons come in floods, and much like Noah, I feverishly build an ark to stay above the water. What amazes me though, is when I read blogs and tweets from experienced racers, both pro and elite age groupers, talking about a bad race or some mistake they made in set up or nutrition. As bad as it is for them, it makes those of us still learning a sense of relief, just knowing that even experienced people make these mistakes at times. So when I look at the picture on my desk of my first every triathlon, Fort Desoto in March 2011, of me coming down the finish chute and still wearing my bike gloves because I forgot to take them off … well … I don’t feel as stupid.
You pick up these tips and tricks by listening. And I listen to everyone. And I read everything. One of the things I picked up on was a off handed comment by Genna Beth before one night run in preparation for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. I had been having blister issues, but they didn’t happen all the time, so just kept dealing with them as they came. Before the run when we were waiting on people to show up, Genna Beth stated that she had forgotten to put Vaseline on her feet and would probably now get blisters.
Why had I not thought of that??
So the next run I slathered my feet with Vaseline before putting on my socks, and wouldn’t you know it, I have not had one blister since. Freaking genius I am right?? It had never occurred to me that the same thought process which I use to protect my twig and berries from chaffing might also work on my feet.
Yes … I AM a college graduate … THREE times.
In my defense though, they did not include that in my MBA or MPA coursework.
Along the same line is putting socks on at T1 after the swim. Ever try to put socks on wet feet? Near impossible isn’t it, but you struggle and struggle and finally get them on, hopefully straight so some stray seam is not cutting off the oxygen to your little piggie which will later need to be removed (but you still complete the race because who needs a toe right? Ask Summer!). So how do you fix that? Well, the answer was even easier than the Vaseline, basically, who ever said you need to wear socks in the first place?? I noticed that while watching pro races on TV. None of them wore socks. So on a training ride I decided to see how it felt, and to be honest, it actually was a better feeling for me and I got LESS hot foot than I normally do with socks on.
But what about the Vaseline in the socks before the run, you say? Won’t it take time to slather your feet now in T2??
Well, again, who says you can’t fill the socks pre-race with the stuff and stick your feet in, or for that matter, just slather the inside of the shows itself if going barefoot?
So much still to learn … but plenty of time … but it’s fun to have these epiphany moments from time to time. Makes ya feel smart.
So I cannot wait until Maxwell visits me again …