NEWBIE Thoughts: London Triathlon (SPRINT)

MY FIRST TRIATHLON….if only I knew then, what I know now.

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I agreed to race in the London Triathlon to support an amazing charity, check them out here¬†ūüĎȬ†SnowCamp :

‘Empowering Inner-City Young People with Snowsports, Life-Skills, Qualifications and Vocational Opportunities since 2003’ – Snow Camp Charity

A good friend, Kelly, who also volunteers / works for the organization encouraged me to enter and train with her in Eastbourne. Now, my training plan was very detailed and exceptionally written as it was drawn up by an elite triathlete. However, inconsistent training (due to travel and 2 weeks of illness) almost stopped me from participating in the event.

The plan consisted of 2 swims / 2 cycles / 2 runs per week. With various drills incorporated to work on certain skills. I will not dive into my training plan as it isn’t the focus of this post. But, what I will share is¬†my personal experience of competing in the LONDON Triathlon in hopes of helping other ‘newbies’ and easing some fears I felt on the day of the event.

(TO SUPPORT SNOWCAMP PURCHASE A SHIRT HERE)

Pre-event:

  • MAKE A CHECKLIST – sooooo many things to carry, tie, fasten, lock in, wear
    • wetsuit & towel (I actually barely used my towel…so much rain)
    • tri suit (highly recommend) but you don’t need it if you can’t afford it
    • Bike & helmet
    • running shoes
    • COCA COLA…I will explain in the swim section.
      • EXTRAS: belt, energy gels, cycling shoes, support crew (thanks Geoff, Jo, and the entire Smith Family), safety pins, water bottle, change of clothes
  • EAT – 5/6 hours before…I had eggs, toast, and oatmeal at approximately 8 AM (my heat started at 12:30)
  • HYDRATE – drink water, little sips all morning

Event Set Up 

  • WAVE: Kelly and I raced with the ‘charity’ wave (I recommend this wave as it was 20 people compared to 100)
  • TRANSITION AREA:
    • We set up near the run out lane but in hindsight I would set up near the bike out lane or bike in lane if possible. Running with wet socks off your bike through thousands of people is not ideal .
      • SET UP NEAR BIKE IN OR OUT
      • PLACE BIKE ON THE RAIL
      • PUT OUT SHOES AND TOWEL (I used a big DEUS towel to find my area)
      • WATER BOTTLE ON BIKE (Crucial as you need to hydrate after the swim)
  • START: They will give you a swim cap. Just arrive at least 20 min before your wave time at the start area

EVENT:

  • SWIM
    • Holy moly I was terrified to embark on an open water swim in the docklands. In hindsight, it was not a terrible experience. However, I wish I would have done more lake/open water swims. The water is GROSS. ¬†I refuse to lie and say it was pleasant. The color of the water reminded me of Shrek and the odor similar to a petrol station.
      • 750 M – TIME: 20:37 (pouring / pissing down rain and I did some breast stroke….don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of HOW you swim or HOW fast) Remember why you are participating. My thoughts…just get to each piggy. The buoys were pigs and the second one felt miles away but in the end it is a manageable distance.
      • TIP: DRINK COCA COLA in transition. The water is full of gross things that I will not mention but I hear Coke kills all germs, sounds very healthy. So I downed a few gulps before getting on my bike to counteract the radioactive water with radioactive soda.
  • TRANSITION: 6:07
    • EXIT: I was incredibly dizzy, take your time and find a person with a bag. They make you take off your wetsuit before entering the building (different than other races where you can run with your legs in the suit). Find a human and stand by the rail while you take off your suit. You may fall over.
      • RUN: throw your cap, goggles and suit in the bag and RUN! You will have to climb a few slippery stairs and run a good minute to find your bike.
      • TIP: let in a bunch of water in the neck of your suit right before you exit the water…it will help get the legs out.¬†IMG_7909
  • BIKE
    • 20.2 KM – 49:37
      • I decided to wear my road cycling shoes. This wasn’t an issue other than you had to walk / run your bike over to the bike enter area. Either click your shoes into your bike (if you’ve practiced) or wear trainers. This transition took me almost 7 min to get going again as I had issues with my race belt breaking and couldn’t get moving.
    • WET! 2 LAPS for the SPRINT. The course is rather flat with two minor hills on the first portion of the lap. I took it easy as I saw a few flats and a few crashes in the wet conditions.
      • TIP: Heels down, head down. SUPER FUN.¬†
  • TRANSITION: 4:18
    • LISTEN UP!!!! If you’re wearing cycling shoes don’t click out. Just step out of them and leave them circling on the bike. Run in your socks or bare feet. I lost serious time fumbling around trying to take off my shoes and then run with them.
  • RUN – 26:28
    • By this time your legs will feel like jelly. Smile, the race is almost over and remember to just kick out. 2 LAPS for SPRINT. The band will be playing and spectators cheering you on.
      • TIP: Pick people off. Try and pass as many people as possible. Pick a number and try to beat it. If someone passes you -1.

FINISH: 1:47:05

Smile. Appreciate the moment. Stretch. Have a beer.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Questions? Leave them in the comments.

I am not a professional triathlete. I am a woman who loves accomplishing new feats and having fun.

love,

T

 

The Haute Room | Pilates

I love pilates. I forgot. It’s really so great for your well being and your booty. I’m a month into classes @ 3x a week and seeing big changes. The waist is getting smaller and curves are kickin. Or close.

Why I like pilates:

  1. The machines are fun. 
  2. It shapes your booty (shelf not shovel). I like having a booty. Running long distance makes my booty disappear. 
  3. Hello core. Abs. Small waist.
  4. Short sets and a somewhat fast pace.
  5. My arms get lean and almost back to college sport playing days.

The Haute Room on Jamboree is fantastic. The owner, Lacy, is my favorite teacher simply because I like her style. She kicks your butt and motivates you at the same time making you work harder in hopes not to disappoint her. Bring your toe socks, water, and wear long sleeves if you sweat like a you know what in church for 50 min of torture.

Why I don’t like pilates:

  1. It doesn’t involve stretching or meditation.¬†
  2. Some instructors don’t pay attention to form. The lack of one-on-one attention poses greater risk for injury.
  3. It’s normally held indoors. I’d rather be outside.¬†

Ladies and gents, go try a class and see how you like it.
x, T

 

 

 

 

A Classic Racing Family

La Castellet, France – Earlier this year I was introduced to¬†Neate Racing, a father and sons’ racing team.¬†John, pictured on the bike is the father of Steven and Sam (the two in leathers right by his side). ¬†He is the owner, manager, mechanic, and rider with over 35 years of experience in all types of racing. Both Steven and Sam have raced in British, European, and World Championships. All three of them make up my new favorite race team: NEATE RACING.¬†13029577_10154096867189395_3618726744275720304_oThey build, work on and¬†race bikes. They recently started competing in the¬†FIM European Classic Series. The first race of the year was held on April 16th at Paul Ricard Circuit¬†in the south of France. ¬†A total of four hours in length, each rider can be on the track for no longer than 45 minutes at a time, minimum of two riders.

My job: hold a sign, try not to get hit and get the rider’s attention. ¬†To be completely honest, it was hectic, a”hurry up and wait” type of environment. ¬†This was my first time being a part of any pit crew and my first endurance race.¬†¬†I kept calm by keeping their lap times and calculating their next pit stop (just for my own fun). ¬†John’s wife Amanda,¬†was actually in charge of bringing them in and way more qualified than my cracked iPhone stopwatch skills. 13047661_10154096866394395_7265270679901034225_o¬†The experience was so different than anything I’ve witnessed in the states. The atmosphere was intense and one of pure racing. The garage can be intense but also full of laughter and joy. I was part of team again. ¬†Something I have missed since graduating from UCLA and leaving the competitive softball world over 10 years ago.

It also reminded me of my own family, of home and the countless tailgates we have put on for football games. ¬†Amanda is like my mother. ¬†She is the heartbeat. ¬†She makes sure everyone is fed and kept warm with a nice cup of tea. ¬†She sits in the box with Susanna, Steven’s wife, and keeps the boys on the track. ¬†Likewise, my mother kept score of every single game I ever played and kept me on the field. ¬†There are still scorebooks stacked in my parent’s garage, particularly of the Batbuster years.

At the end of the day I have come to the realization that every experience is tied to one simple thing: family. ¬†The medium of sport brings people of all walks of life together. Whether it is softball or motorcycle racing. ¬†It’s all the same. ¬†Show up for your family. ¬†Whether it is your blood or race family. ¬†Show up and enjoy the ride.

x, TT

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Results: Neate Racing placed 2nd overall and 1st in the Legend’s Class. Their highest finish to date!!!

12983916_10154096864099395_6724696321221789638_oBike Specs:

1979 Harris Magnum MK1 Honda RSC 1000
* European Classic Endurance race bike
* 1127cc RSC motor
* Dry clutch
* Stainless steel race exhaust system
* Genuine period 18″ Dymag wheels, etc.

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Le Mans-style start

All photos from the very talented Morgan Mathurin.

Italy vs. America – Coffee

In an effort to let go of my reverse culture shock,  I have decided to start a series entitled: Italy vs. America. The first post is in regards to coffee. Italy wins. Hands down.

Italy: 1

America: 0

Quality, quantity, sustainability, and customer service.

 

My Italian family gave me one of their espresso makers (you get something similar at Target) and a homemade contraption to properly pack the grinds. Every morning I fill the lower pod with fresh water to the bolt, pack the espresso in the middle portion and throw it on the stove. The smell of freshly brewed cafe paired with the sound of boiling water almost brings me back to the foothills of the Italian Alps.

You would think as Fireball lovin’ Americans the idea of a quick shot would get the heart racing. But, bigger is better. Starbucks makes me want to vomit (other than the turkey bacon breakfast sandwich) with the excessive of choices and special “two pumps only” patrons.

Customer service is better when it’s honest. The experience of handing your ticket to a lovely dressed barista, amongst 20 other chattering Italians, is one of its own. They tear your ticket, sprint to the machine and return only to slide your hot cup across the bar. It always lands right in¬†front of you.¬†

A grande latte now feels like a meal. When will they add a plastic knife and fork to the side of the cup?  And then, and then and then and then and then you have the hip coffee bars with weak coffee and baristas with even weaker people skills. Stop trying to make fetch happen. 

I intend to limit my coffee take away cups to 4 a month. I’d say zero but that’s unrealistic.¬†Check out¬†Get the Facts¬†on Carry Your Cup in regards to America’s consumption:¬†The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.¬†

And remember, beautiful cups make room for beautiful coffee.

 

Daily ritual: this cup makes me smile and was a gift from the teachers I worked with in Italy.

Nonna’s china

 

Lara’s china

One night in a Castle

Emiglia-Romagna,¬†Italy – One morning I woke up in a Medicean Castle. It is probably still one of my most favorite memories of spending 3 months in Italy. The castle is in Terre del Sole just outside Forli. I’m slightly obsessed with castles, queens, and everything in between.

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Luggage lift + touring car

The beds are draped with what I believe are passed down royal linens from Catherine d’Medici. The water closet is literally a water closet. The pool table which takes up most of the living room is rumored to have seen action from Mussolini himself.

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This tale can be heard in most cities in Italy. The history is addicting. I imagined being a Queen for a day (yes, I just binged watched Reign on Netflix) and I loved every second.¬†Wait…it was the castle of the Captain of the Artillery. Ehhh….a girl can dream. Or maybe I led an army at some point.¬†Highly likely.

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The wooden ceiling below was just uncovered in the now privately owned Castello Del Capitano della Artiglierie (Noble Residence of the Capitan). If you look closely you can see 1587 and the Medici family emblem (five red balls and one blue). The same year Francesco d’Medici was poisoned along with his wife…coincidence. We may never know.

img_0468The castle is beautiful and a hidden gem. The surrounding roads are perfect for a motorcycle trip or a beautiful drive in an owned/rented Ferrari (sounds like the Italian experience to me!). The owner offers a beautiful traditional Italian breakfast (cafe, breads, jam).

Check out their website and stay there if ever in Terre del Sole. It is worth every penny.

 

Excerpt from: Altra RomagnaScreen Shot 2016-05-16 at 16.48.38

THE NOBLE RESIDENCE OF THE CAPITANO. The castle is an integral part of the fortified town of Terra del Sole and is located at one of the entrances of the town. It has an original star and angled shape and is topped by a protruding walkway which used to be used by the guards during the rounds; the walkway is supported by stone layers and cotto arches. The Quarters of the Capitano are on the last floor. Next to the Castle there is the English style Park with herb garden and orchard with trees of times gone by. The Castle, of private property, represents a refine location for events.

 

For more information head to their website.

Contact Info

That one night in Levico Terme РTrento, Italia 

As I sit at the top of the steps overlooking the center of the city, it hits me. Hits me like the strong Italian coffee I have 6 times a day. Time, is of the utmost importance but it should never be rushed. There will always be things to worry about, people to please, deadlines to be meet and lessons to learn. But, the most important is THE NOW.

 

Low quality photo, high quality moment

I’m perched next to chiesa di santa something overlooking 91 Italian students. They have their whole lives in front of them. They are full of life and energy. As I scan the scene I realize they are all characters in an important play: my life.

One group is in love. The next is running sprints up the steps. ¬†I look to the left and spot the kid with the old soul talking to the teachers. ¬†In front of me is my shadow who won’t leave my side and is nervous to talk to me. ¬†Just to the left of the old soul are the kids who look like they are up to no good. Somewhere between the teachers and lovebirds you’ve got the highly intelligent group. And then there is me.

I will never have this time or space again. I may return to Italy, to teaching, to life but it will not be the same. This experience is unique. I have been welcomed here with open arms. I have learned so much about Italian culture, life and art. My heart is warm and my brain is full. And I’m changing. Everyday. Evolution of the mind, body and soul. Viva la bella vita.

x,

T

 

MART

 

Fortunato Depero

 

Outside MART