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40 year Old Half IM Newbie with 16 days to go!

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  • If you don't count the sprint event I did way back in 1994 then my first Tri was a full Ironman (New Zealand 2007) one month before I turned 40.

    In terms of how much final training you do in the lead up to your event really depends on whats sort of hours you have been putting in during the last 4 weks or so. I would only ride half distance in the last week or so, just keep the legs ticking over and take it easy with the swim and run too. Plenty of rest and don't forget to cut back a bit on the food front too as your not burning off as much.

    [color=#ff0000]From my experience[/color]:

    [color=#ff0000]The Swim[/color]:

    Tri suit under your wet suit will make life much easier in T1 even being a sea swim.

    Two swim caps will keep your head warmer too.

    Being a strong but not fast swimmer I started at the back and just got into my own rythme then managed to draft off a few people who started fast but got caught up in the scrum in the middle of the pack.

    If you can pick out a point in the direction you are swimming say a high point on shore or any fixed point above the horizen then aim for that or else just try and follow the buoys. There should be some safety kayaks and swimmers too who will guide you back on course if you drift too far off.


    [color=#ff0000]The Bike[/color]:

    If it's being offered in T1 get sun block put on.

    Depending if you trained with socks or not try and ride with out them. It will keep your feet cooler and saves a lot of hassle getting socks on in T1.

    Arm warmers are good too, will keep the early morning chill out and protect from the sun later, you can allways take them off.

    Carry at least two bottles, one with your energy drink and the other with water for when you take a gel, carry a few of those too so you have one for when you need it as you may be a fair way from one of the aid stations. Pick up fresh bottles from the aid stations once the one you have is down to less than half, much better to have more than you need rather than running out. You want to be drinking every 15 to 20 minutes.

    [color=#ff0000]The Run[/color]:

    As with T1, get sun block in T2 if it there.

    New dry clean socks even if you did ride with them.

    Hat and sunny's.

    Carry some gels again and feed at all the aid stations, eat different things at each too just to mix things up, savoury and sweet etc. Flat coke is good too.


    Go at your own pace and enjoy it.

    Good luck.
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    Good stuff!

    Conehead - no need to write that book now then.....

  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    15 Days to go..........................thats one day closer to the event.

    Ironman NZ 07

    Your the (iron) man!

    Many thanks

    Reference swimming, saw your post at the beginning of my lunchtime and had time to try it on a 800m sea swim. Gave it a try but I probably need to practice alot more and no bouys to aim for. Guess I'll remain directionally challenged and just bounce between boats and shore on the day plus get torpedo'd by the elite types coming around for their second lap then. That said, my training swim follows a beach in open water as opposed to the confines of a harbour type place on the day itself. As for the sun block, I should have added that to my original list. Last week, which was lovely over here, I had a lovely white trisuite tattoo on my lobster skin colour - still on moisteriser.

    Would never have thought of the sock thing and even gives me an excuse to do some last minute gear shopping - cool!!!

    Anyway, entering tapering with another sea swim today (its quite liberating after all those pool sessions - though back on a few pool drills tommorow - boo!). Quite uneventful really - though probably went much further as still zig-zagging down the coast and heading out to sea - thank god for a training partner and shouting fishermen. A nice one hour bike ride at a steady pace also made the day quite enjoyable and a good diversion from the office.

    Tommorow its that running thing (My favourite part, bizarely but each to their own) and back in the pool getting lapped by the 70 year old who I am sure lives there. Saturday is the last big big ride between now and the event.

    On a final note, tried out my new Aquaseal goggles - awesome - why didn't I have these before....

  • Thats great! You should write a book.....[:D]
  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280
    Jules, very interesting reading your journey into triathlon. Hope everything goes well for you on your first race.

    I'm also doing this race but slightly different goal as I'm looking for a qualifying time to get on the GB team for Prague European Long Distance Champs.

    Any course tips?

    I've heard it can be windy on the bike course and there is a tough little uphill on the bike turn around, is that correct?

    One bit of advise for sighting during the swim, every 6 or so strokes lift your head out the water and look straight ahead to see you are on the right track, might take a while to get use to but something to practise on leading up to the race.

    Good Luck
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    jthet.... great stuff here. Keep it going. I'm rooting for you - as a 39 year old 70.3 or IM wanabee.

    Just one small point: referring to your first tip.....

    1. On no account whatsoever do a Half Ironman as your first Triathlon (I could really stop there).

    You utter bloody idiot! You are an irresponsible imbecile who clearly had no idea of the enormity of the task involved but took it on anyway. Now you are getting closer to the start line and you are rightly cacking yourself now you understand the stupidity of what you have done!

    Bloody well done, sir! [:D]

    I salute and admire you. And I really, really, really hope you achieve your goals. I'll be doing a 70.3 and an IM at some point in my life, but haven't had the guts to attempt it yet. Thanks for the 'JFDI' inspiration and GOOD LUCK my friend! [:D]
  • 1. On no account whatsoever do a Half Ironman as your first Triathlon (I could really stop there).

    Bloody hell, in that case I should never have been allowed to get on the plane with bike box at Heathrow. The cabin staff must have had a straight jacket on hand just in case.
  • I loved reading this post. I think "[color=#0066cc]never tell the boss to rearrange a meeting so you can go for a run[/color]" one was the highlight for me.. how many times have i been tempted??

    [color=#0033cc]i have actually invented dentist appointments [/color][color=#000000]so that I wouldnt have to miss training runs and swims... that's bad isn't it?? I think that's obsession. [/color]

    Also about the tri suit under wetsuit thing, you should definitely wear it underneath. This will avoid any possible nudity issue.. I understand that's not allowed. [;)] i dont think ive ever seen anyone doing anything else.

    well done on entering the half ironman though! like bopomofo i totally intend on doing it one day and did get as far as preregistering this year, I just didnt have the money on my credit card when the entries eventually opened. *sniff* **sob**

  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    13 Days to go...

    Oh my god - 13 days to go...

    Training Update

    Yesterday pretty uneventful with boring boring swim drills and some spinning.

    Today I had the perfect bike ride. However, today my training partner had his second worst training day. His worst bike day was having his previous bike T-boned at a junction (""Sorry mate, didn't see you and your 5 friends in bright red / yellow / green clothing on your bright red / yellow / green bikes in the middle of the day[:@]""). He was extremely lucky but the result was a brand new Bianchi Carbon from the insurance that he finally got and set up last week. Having had time to buy brand new shoes, colour coordinated Bianchi tops etc etc, we set off from a car park near Guincho Beach, the aim being to do a 60km followed by a 5km run. Me on Giant Defy 4 Entry level, tri suite with 1980 shirt over the top - Him looking like a Tour de France stage winner. His gears seamlessly slipping into place, mine clunking (At least I know when the gears change - the bike sorte of completely stops then starts again - the professional opinion of my gears at the Bike Shop are "They are Sh**" ) .

    Anyway, I digress, it had rained in the night but was drying out fast. Second junction - kapow! - his front wheel went and aforementioned brand new, first main outing, race carbon Bianchi and rider scraping along the damp patch on the roundabout. And grown men do cry when there new toy has the metal work scraped. In typical bloke style we thought how lucky it was that the frame was relativelly untouched as his badly bruised, bleeding and possibly broken thigh had taken the impact. Much relief all around. Phew.....

    So I have another lesson (though not strictly mine)- don't go out in the wet on a brand new super carbon in slick tyres (You will come off, not because you have slicks - simply becuase you are on a brand new bike). Fortunately, I had normal road tyres on; this being simply because they are the only ones I've got and the Giant Defy 4 Entry Level racer with clunking gears hasn't got any other!.

    Anyway, after tenderly making sure the bike was okay and back in the car with training partner driving off I set off on the run down towards Lisbon. The weather was perfect (slight tail wind down the coast = slight head wind on the way back). One of the nicest things about a Saturday or Sunday morning ride along the Lisbon Coast is the road is full of other riders doing the same thing. Its very friendly and you can solo, join a peloton or, in my case, watch all the aforementioned go past at speed). Anyway, there were plenty of other riders on the road to join and leave at will and managed a sub 2 hour 60km while feeling I plenty left (Including the inevitable strong head wind that appears out of nowhere when you head back along the final 3 km to Guincho). Even enjoyed the 5km run at the end. It was just a day when the body was in synch - and that rarely happens to me. And the aforementioned time feeling quite relaxed is not my norm.

    Tapering from this moment on because thats what everyone is telling me to do - I guess that means do less...

  • jthetjthet Posts: 45

    Reference your post, took my family for a nice trip to the Expo Centre today (Which just happens to be where the event is). Not sure about course tips as have never done a Triathlon before. Let me know any specific questions and I'll go and have a look. However, what the picture of the swim area doesn't show on http://www.lisboatriathlon.com/eng/main.htm:

    1. The ramp to the transition is extremely narrow.

    2. The building on the photo on the website you swim around is the Oceanarium (Worth a trip if you weren't swimming around it!). The left connecting part is an overfly to get in the Oceanarium and quite high. However, the lower connecting part is a bridge with lots of concrete stantions to crash into. Also, the lower bit that shows the running route is a raised wooden plank walkway open to the sea (The swim area did get quite choppy with an onshore wind). But, you know, the sea water temperature down here is nothing like what you'll be used to in the UK.

    3. The narrow bit around the back of the Oceanarium (Left side), is exactly that, very narrow. Expect a good place for kicks in face, pulling off of goggles as everyone funnels in.

    (But I like it because I have lots of things to bounce off to prevent my directionally challenged swimming take me out to sea.

    4. Most of the cycle route is effectivelly motorway and the surface looks fast. Haven't been on it because its.. well... effectivelly a motorway. Yes, there is a 500m hill at the turnaround point but I'll have to give you an update later on about that as it wasn't too bad in a car (I'll have another look).

    5. There is usually a wind along the coast around here so be prepared for head wind one way and a "helping wind" on the return That said, unless where very unlucky its not too heavy and cross wind is not usually a problem.

    6. Main thing is the 25 April is a big public holiday in Portugal - expect lots of spectators.

    Taking family nearly worked, even discussed swim. Only problem was daughter is excited about watching Daddy win - guess some illusions are shattered early in life.

    Final thing, are you aware of the safety brief (compulsory) on the 24th? 1700 in Portuguese / Spanish. 1730 in English.


  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    too much to read!!

    At this stage all I can say is give it a go!

    If you won - go forward!

    If not re-assess yourself and go for the new target

  • jthetjthet Posts: 45

    If your 39 then its the 70.3 / IM next year for you! Don't let the 40 year olds down. Remember "Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional" (Accredited to Chili Davies).


    The cost of moving a bike box on most airlines these days would have just easily have stopped you! Unfortunately, I know some flying types who, though they fly them, should really be in a straight jacket.


    Never looked at it from the nudity angle before. Best I'll wear a Trisuite then as wouldn't want to upset the natives.

  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    In answer to your questions:

    1. Whats the best tips on swimming straight - Try and find a tall tree/ building/ mountain/ whatever in the distance to use as your line. Once you get used to sighting, it's dead easy and you won't need to break your rhythm with a 'single breaststroke'.

    2. How do you avoid the pack - Best to start at the back and just pick people off one by one if you need to. If you go wide, there is always the chance you will go wider and end up swimming further - trust me I've done it - more than once.

    3. Is it worth having the tri suite under the wetsuit or simply towelling yourself down and putting on a dry Trisuit - No!! To test this theory try it! Get out of the bath/ shower quickly towel off and try and get your suit on. I did it once in a race and spent about 3 minutes wrestling with it and getting all tied in Knots. To be perfectly honest, you don't notice the wet as you'll already be sweating fromt he swim and once the wind gets up on the bike, the bits that are likely to dry out, will dry out very quickly.

    4. How much water on the bike - I have two bottles for an Olympic. ! energy drink and 1 water. I'd be looking to double this on a Half Ironman.
  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    11 Days to go

    Slightly shorter post today in deference to Treefrog - Happy Easter by the way.

    Training Update. Yesterday was a family day so actually did a long walk to relax after the long bike ride of the previous day. Spent today with a nice relaxing 1 hour run (easy pace), 1200 metres of (relaxed) pool swimming and a few very short sea swims to practice breathing, sighting and taking off the wetsuit and transitioning to a bike (Felt a real idiot with all the tourists watching but really paid dividends - wyno70 - your spot on reference your advice on Trisuite - Apart from public nudity issues, I found putting a Tri Suite on a wet body an exercise in amateur bondage).

    Motivation. Motivation is good as I genuinly feel good having eased off the training to taper and I have had a few good promises of donations (Help for Heroes - What they do talks for itself http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/).

    Relearned Lesson 397. However (new extremely obvious lesson to add to my list), I think I am also feeling better, not because I'm doing less, but because I have upped my water intake after exercise - who'd have thought I've probably been the wrong side of the dehydration curve so many times over the past few months and not realised it? Feel a prat on this one as seems really obvious doesn't it??? But I guess the bleeding obvious (Headaches, yellow p***, thirsty etc) things are not always bleeding obvious ??? I have realised I am very disciplined with hydration when doing the activity or lived in more arid parts of the world. But when I finish training the rest of life diverts attention.

    Anyway, some may think why I am posting all this? Dunno really, I guess I hoped my lessons in stupidity I've learnt as I've got close to my first Tri may prevent others from making the same mistakes. But what is becoming obvious (and I could be wrong) is that all Triathletes, except the very lucky ones, have to go through this initiation of pain and gross stupidity. And I guess it doesn't stop there???




    Nice one; getting used to the sighting now but thanks for tips from you and the others experienced guys.
  • jthet wrote:

    The cost of moving a bike box on most airlines these days would have just easily have stopped you! Unfortunately, I know some flying types who, though they fly them, should really be in a straight jacket.

    It didn't cost me an extra penny, half way around the world and back within the luggage allowance both times. I love Air New Zealand.

    As long as you fly via the USA this still applies so if anyone is thinking of racing in NZ, OZ or the States then Air New Zealand could be the one for you.

  • willtriwilltri Posts: 436
    No advice - i'm a newbie.

    Just good luck!!!

    There's hope for all of us with distant 70.3 dreams.....
  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    9 days to go to my first Triathlon

    Today was not the best preparation day. Having missed a planned early morning swim (Or should I say I didn't want to get out of bed) my training mate suggested we have a lunchtime swim in the sea. Now this part of the world has had a few storms of late and our normally quite flat and sheltered part of the coast had a beautiful surf break which, had I had my Minimal Surf monster or Boogie Board and flippers would have been quite nice (The neighbouring Carcavelos beach the other side of the Fort, is always full of surfers). We decided to give it a go anyway as we'd made the effort to get down to the Beach. Not the brightest idea. The swim through the break (not normally there) was enlightening. We then swam parrallel to the coast beyond the surf break and was feeling quite well. However, during a couple of sighting strokes (Cheers Guys - I really get the "looking around thing" now), I promptly realised we were heading back towards the break point and stopped and saw a large set of waves inbound. I shouted to my oblivious partner, swimming slightly further in, too late unfortunately as he promptly disappeared in a thunderous breaking wave to emerge coughing and spluttering in the shallows. Needless to say, he'd been trashed and we promptly called it a day. This really knocked the wind out my sails and I just, to be honest, abandoned my run. Tonight feeling sorry for myself and suffering from ear ache (I don't always wear earplugs - add to lesson list).

    I think a brutal realisation of what I have signed up for hit me today and this, compounded with lost sleep due to a teething daughter, was probably the real reason I missed my training activities and did the sea swim knowing we were doomed for failure. All this was not helped by a really good motivational chat from a Portuguese colleague who said he'd done it last year and hated it in the water after getting his face kicked in during the first part of the swim. I am now realising that as the Lisbon event is on a public holiday and held in one of the tourist hot spots, Therefore, my school boy antics, fight for last place and potential failure are likely to be seen, not just by other Triathletes but a large proportion of the Lisbon population. I guess this event is not on the Tri-a-Tri list afterall?

    The good news is I know I can breath every two strokes (I normally breath every three but the sea spray prevented any chance on the right). Also, that should there be 3+ feet waves during the event I will have an advantage over you real Triathletes......





  • gingertrigingertri Posts: 277
    No hints really - i think you've got them all now! Hope the Half-Ironman goes well - you can then enjoy the rest afterwards and spend the time with your kids instead!

    Good luck
  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280
    jthet wrote:

    Anyway, some may think why I am posting all this? Dunno really, I guess I hoped my lessons in stupidity I've learnt as I've got close to my first Tri may prevent others from making the same mistakes. But what is becoming obvious (and I could be wrong) is that all Triathletes, except the very lucky ones, have to go through this initiation of pain and gross stupidity. And I guess it doesn't stop there???

    Justin this is a brilliant thread and I think it very inspirational specially for peeps thinking of upping their distance.

    A first Triathlon is very scary and I can guarantee leading up to the event you will have self doubt and come race day you will be bricking it,

    I still get very nervous on race day and the first stop for me arriving at an event is the toilet (sorry) and I've been competing for 20+ years.

    But after you finish the race you will be elated and will wonder what all the fuss and panic was about.

    I've clocked your name from one of your threads so will make a point of finding you on race day to say hi and wish you luck.

  • SwizzlenapSwizzlenap Posts: 160
    Best of luck jthet.

    Keep posting too, the thread's great and very enlightening for a newbie.
  • Good luck Julian

    At this stage as a few have said you may be bricking it but you don't need to be.

    All I can add is lelax, you have put in the miles, you have the hours in the bank so you have nothing to worry about. Come race day addrenalin will kick in, the crowd will be cheering you on and you will have a great day.

    Just stick to your race plan and pace no matter how good you feel early on.

    Enjoy it as I did.
  • jthetjthet Posts: 45

    I have sent you an email. See you there, having had another quick peep through Coneheads book, I'll be the one carrying 8 rolls of toilet paper - and yes, I am completely bricking it....

  • Cheryl6162Cheryl6162 Posts: 356
    Good luck to both of you-scary stuff, but full of admiration for you!

    Looking forward to the after race posts too!
  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    The event website says 8 Days, 10 hours 8 mins, 35, 34, 33, 32........

    Today was better. Mainly because I got a stash of kit through the post from Tri UK. Gels, water bottles, gel holders, more gels, race number holder, elastic laces, did I say gels, and lots of other things that I didn't know existed a few months ago. Also, stopped at a sports store on the way home from swimming and got isodrink carb type stuff, more random bags, waterbottles, additional bottle cage, new underseat bag etc etc. Infact I am proud to anounce that a new underseat bag and bottle cage (Specialized no less!) are my first upgrades from my original starter kit. Does this mean I am on the rocky slope to Traithlon Gear Monster and why do the Zipp 808 wheel sets suddenly look a bargain at lottery win prices. Now I'm starting to think that if I sell the family car (walkings good for the family isn't it?), they'd more than understand when they saw some £5000 hard core carbon with £5000 of upgrades. Infact, better sell both cars.

    As for training, 9 km run (mellow pace - more like a jog) and a 2000m pool swim today, again not pushing it and just to keep getting a feel for distance. When I say 2000m pool swim it could be anywhere between 1200 and 2500. Has anyone else got a complete inability to count lengths??? I sort of go "1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (or is it?), 5 (but that can't be right?), 6 (but is it? - should'nt it be odd if I'm going this way), 6 (eh?) - am I kicking okay, lets think about breathing, 6 (again? - that can't be right? - actually I'll call it 8) - lets try bibreathing right side - 9 (But that can't be right?) - there goes the old lady flying past - now what length is it? - I know the time will give me an idea - What time is it? - sh*t, didn't look at the clock when I started - eh?......"

    Question - Any tips from the grown ups to stop foot cramp? Seem to be getting it of late around mid distance. Haven't got it in open water as yet but a few times in the pool?

    Question 2 - What do I buy the wife that isn't expensive but looks really expensive if I do the event, get the Tri addiction and want to upgrade kit? Obviously, if I decide I hate Tri she will be sooooo pleased at having recieved a gift of a (slight used) Giant Defy 4, Wetsuite (my size) and a number of gels, bags and other random items from Tri UK that have been used only once.






  • Not long to go now...best of luck...then write that book!!
  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    No book from this 40 year old. There's only one book and its author, a Cone something bloke, is in my debt. Mainly because my wife read it then released the funds from my childrens food budget to pay for the kit filling the spare room to do this first Tri. Though Conehead needs to hurry up on that second book; hopefully, she'll read it and realise that Black Carbon is everything, thus releasing the college fund (Lets face it, university is a long way off for a 4 year old).

  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    5 days 9 hrs, 47 min and seconds 38,37,36.... to go.... to my first Triathlon ever.

    Today I planned to do a cycle route today of a certain distance. The reality is I went much further and did race distance This is not the norm for one who has a habit of cutting training short - Why? Because I was feeling strong (rare), the sun was shining, and I just wanted to go further (very rare); I think I was at a peak in the motivational rollercoaster ride that this journey has taken me. I had put all the extras on my bike that I'll have for the race and took the cure all gels (They will won't they?) - I think I had a natural curiosity to just get the feeling of the day (Have never done a Tri, the feeling thing is therefore relative) and just remind myself of the distance. I shy'd away from the pelatons racing by and just banged out a steady pace. Not convinced it was the right thing as I feel the calves tighten.

    The reason I mention this is because I want to bring up the issue of training plans and pressure. You see, and the pros will have spotted this above, I don't follow one and cetainly am under the other. I got a free online training plan from www.trinewbies.com but the reality is I have not really followed or understand them. I have a quick look at it for distances and stuff I should be doing - but?; well, life sorte of gets in the way. The late night with a teething child means you don't always get up for the early swim; an unusually busy job at work means that the lunchtime run didn't happen and sometimes the body just says no, especially with the recovery rate of...well.. a 40 year old.

    You will also note I don't mention distances in what I did today. The reason is that this only adds to the pressure at the moment. Someone training for a similar distance telling me they did 500 miles through Mont Blanc followed by swimming the channel (Okay, I'm overstating but you get the point) just makes me think I should be doing the same.

    And why is this an issue? Well its because I'm getting butterflys just thinking about the day. And I realise the biggest problem I've got is falling for self induced pressure. Just finishing has become don't finish last, then don't fall over in the transition which is realistic. However, its moving onto aim for the 3 hour bike ride or you will be disappointed (I will therefore be dissapointed), swim below 47 minutes (I have the stroke efficiency of an anchor), do better than your mates in the run because thats your strong skill (Not after trying to go sub 3 hrs on the bike I won't) - And already I'm thinking if I'd had swim lessons I could have even aimed for 35 mins, if I'd done longer rides and paid £3000 more I could aim for a further 20 minutes off the bike ride. If I'd had a coach, I would have solved world peace. I guess the training bug has taken me. I wait to see if the competion bug will take me? Perhaps I can add that to my worry list

    But its my first triathlon. And if I actually (1) Don't drown (2) Don't fall off the bike in transition and possibly (3) Finish - then I can always worry about everything in the next one............. right?

    I finish by mentioning Team Hoyt, featured on another thread. Because it puts many things, including the inane ramblings above, in perspective. The real winners and heros in life don't usually end up on a podium, they end up in our hearts.




  • Cheryl6162Cheryl6162 Posts: 356
    The real winners and heros in life don't usually end up on a podium, they end up in our hearts.

    The ultimate acheivement in life....

    Well said Jthet and good luck in four days time, can't wait to find out how it all went!
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Thanks for keeping this thread, and being so honest about it. It's really reassuring and inspiring to know that everyone else is out there battling themselves and having great days and tough ones, not just churning out masterpiece after masterpiece while training.

    Best of luck and I can't wait to read your race report!

  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    4 Days, 10 hours, 1 minute and 34 seconds to go to my first Triathlon

    I only have one thing to say today - its spreading around the Forum.................


    [&o] [&o] [&o] [&o]





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