Category Archives: Why Tri?

Aside

Yesterday I completed the inaugural Carolina Half (70.3), it was my fourth half Ironman distance race. I usually give a regular ole race report about the course and things I experienced during the race, but this past week was definitely … Continue reading

Lake Lure Triathlon

Its been a minute since I’ve blogged, but this weekend reminded me of the reason that made me want to blog in the first place, triathlons. The last time I did a tri was August 2011…two wholllllllle years ago. MAN! Especially when considering it’s the inspiration behind my passion: RYPE!

So this past weekend my soror Cretia and I traveled to Lake Lure, NC, which is less than two hours from Charlotte. However…a world away. The mountains, the greenery, the lake….so beautiful and quaint. The movie Dirty Dancing was filmed there (love that movie). And this is the backdrop for the Lake Lure Olympiad Sports Festival, a weekend full of all kinds activities for grown folks and kids alike. Totally cool. The highlight of the festival is the 3 races in 3 days. It starts with a 10K run on Friday, sprint distance tri on Saturday morning, and either a 25 mile bike ride or 5K run up to the top of Chimney Rock.

The faint at heart need not apply.

We chose to just do the sprint distance triathlon on Saturday morning. Now, since we are training for the Carolina Half ironman distance coming up on September 29th, the distances didn’t concern us at all. However, when driving in, and there were nothing but significant hills ALL around us…some steep, some long, some winding so you had no idea what was coming…only to find more climbing…we knew this was NOT gonna be easy.

What?.

So Saturday morning arrives, and it is drop dead gorgeous outside. Few clouds here and there, around 70 degrees…its was so super perfect, I cant even explain.

We park and then proceed to make our way down to the transition area, when we are directed down this kinda long, very steep hill. At the bottom I see the signs for both bike and run OUT. Which means, just to get started on both we have to climb back up this mug. Grrrrr. And I could hear everyone around us mumbling and grumbling about the same thing. HA!

After setting up the area and getting body marked, we head down to the swim start…scanning the crowd for other “A” markings on the back of their thigh. Oh yeah…raced in the Athena category in this race. I know those buck-O-five weighing women have an advantage over me, so I jumped at the chance!! HA! For those who don’t know, Athenas are those women who weigh over…well, lets just say we don’t weigh a buck-O-five…or anywhere close. The male counterpart is the Clydesdales category. ‘Athena’ and ‘Clydesdales’ are both synonymous with the word ‘sexy’, just in case you weren’t clear.

Chat with a few ladies.
Notice we are the only two brown faces in the place. Still amazes me…RYPE TO THE RESCUE!
Say a prayer.
And off we go.

The swim was difficult, it took me longer than usual to find my rhythm. Then when I did and was headed towards the exit, it was actually poorly marked, so sighting was challenging. But eyyy….I finally made it, hopped on the bike and up the hill…then down a short hill to the exit of the property…then up a long winding hill…then down a short one…then a turn up a long one.

Yeah, you get the gist. Hilly. Really, really hilly.

But oh so pretty. We rode past nice open fields, along side flowing creeks, next to mountains, its was so nice. At one point I wanted to hop off the bike and take a break. But I had to keep it moving…especially when I rolled up on this lady who had “A” on her calf.

Say what?? I had not seen one yet! Could she be the leader? My little competitive drive kicked into full gear. I blew past her.

Up hill.

Yeah baby…I was moving. Get back to transition and….yeah, I gotta work on that. My transition times suck. 0:03:37?? What in the world was I doing???

So I head back out on the run….and literally, the 5k is 1.5 miles up and then 1.5 miles down.

That first 1.5 killed me. And as I was approaching the top, I see that other “A” lady on the way back down. Dang! I tried to kick it in top gear, but top gear wasn’t catching, and never caught her.

So…third place it was…uh, YAY! I got my first podium experience! Totally exciting!!

All in all it was a great day! Met cool folks, beautiful scenery, had a first time experience, hung out with my buddies, and got back to doing what I love doing….it was a great day indeed!!

Image

Get Your Stretch On!!

Hey there RYPEness!

We are getting hot and heavy into our training. Runs are getting longer, rides are getting longer, swim workouts are getting longer!! Although we are looking and feeling great, our muscles are definitely taking a pounding. More often than not, we feel that the amount of exercise that we are doing is more than enough (two-a-days on a reg now!!), and therefore our body needs to be subjected to no more.

…au contraire mon frere! Ya gotta stretch. Two main reasons:

  1. Elasticity! Our daily training requires that our muscles endure a LOT of repetitive motions, and stretching properly will help our muscles push through this. The more elastic our muscles, the more flexible we are. The more flexible we are, the less prone we are to having our muscles tighten up on us during a race! AND!…Flexibility = Increased Speed. Yeah baby.
  2. Injury Prevention! Besides getting all elastic n’ stuff, stretching prevents us from getting injured. As we training, we are building our endurance, which is allowing us to swim, bike and run farther distances. Stretching and having flexible muscles substantially minimizes the chances of pulls, tears and cramps. So you need to ensure you are doing the proper stretches before and after your training sessions.

 

So there ya have it….why you should stretch. Now, I guess you are wondering how you incorporate this. Well, your most intense stretching should always be done AFTER your workout. That’s when you muscles are warm and soft….so you get a better stretch. Your stretch before the workout should be more to loosen up. Also, make sure your stretches are static, meaning not bouncing. You want to stretch to a point of discomfort, but not pain…and hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Here is a list of some good stretches to do:

You can usually run through these stretches in about 15 minutes. So make sure to just pad incorporate that time into you total workout time…BECAUSE ITS KEY TO YOUR RYPENESS!!

See ya!

You can become a triathlete…TODAY!

Good morning RYPEness!

Still nervous about taking that leap into the world of triathlons, are ya? When you hear the word triathlete, you automatically assume it entails the arduous tasks of swimming, biking and running, don’t cha? And you just keep thinking that the amount of time you have to spend in the pool to get ready for this race is definitely not compatible with easy quaff maintenance, aren’t ya? Ummmm hmmmm.

So check this out…according to the book “Exercise and Sports Science” (William E. Garret and Donald T. Kirkendall), a triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines. 

Following me? In the basic definition, I do not see any reference made to the words “running”, “cycling” OR “swimming”.

Now, what I am about to tell you is not going to win me the Nobel Prize. Nor is does it negate the fact that I am the biggest fan of the most popular and widely recognized form of triathlon (swim, bike run), and I am completely convinced that you CAN do a this form of a triathlon, and totally believe from the bottom of my heart that you should do the most widely recognized form of this most awesome sport. IJS. 🙂 What I am about to tell you is something that can give you that power-move boost you need…today.

Ready?….

Create YOUR OWN TRIATHLON!!

Say what???

Yeah…go to the gym today and create your own! All of those wonderful machines in the gym that have been calling your name? Like the rowing machine? The recumbent bike? And the elliptical machine? TRIATHLON!…let’s go!

Set your timer on your phone (yep, there is an app for that) to fifteen minute intervals. Take a few sips of water…and GO! Head to the rowing machine and start burning calories (125 to be exact)! Did you know that rowing is an excellent exercise for overall fitness? Rowing helps to build and tone muscles, strengthen cardiovascular function and increase stamina.

OK…time’s up! Hop up off of the rowing machine, grab a swig of water, wipe your sweat and move quickly to the recumbent bike. Why the recumbent bike? Well, there are a few reasons…one being that the seat is more comfortable. HA! The recumbent bike has a wide seat, as opposed to the slimmer ones on other bikes. Plus, the position you are sitting in is upright, so its just an overall more comfortable experience. However, according to a 2010 study published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology,” pedaling a recumbent bike produces significantly faster muscle fatigue than pedaling at the same intensity on an upright bike. And since we are only on this for fifteen minutes, we want to get the most bang for our buck. So sit down, and start pedaling!

Once that buzzer sounds, grab another swig of water and do a fast walk over to the elliptical machine. Set it for 15 minutes and start ellipticalling. 🙂 If you want to be Billy Bad-Butt, then replace the elliptical with the stair climber, working those glutes to the maximus! Either one, now you are really burning those calories and almost done with your event! As those seconds tick down on the timer: :07…:06…:05, all of a sudden you start to hear music playing, and the crowd cheering…and then: “HEY [insert your name here], you ARE a Triathlete!”

Now, it may be a little awkward if you turn to the person on the machine next to you and high five them or give them a big bear hug. But if you tell them what you just did, I am sure they would understand your elation!

Go give it a try today and see how RYPE you feel afterwards!!
finish line
Have a RYPE day!

 

 

Why Tri?

Hey there RYPEness!!

It’s always fun for me to look back over my triathlon career and marvel at how far I have come, and how funny training was in the very beginning. Actually…I find myself in the midst of some pretty funny shiggity in my current training season. HA! So I went back through some of my notes, and found a very old blog (from spring 2008) when I was training for my very first 70.3 race. I found it hilarious…so I thought I would share:

Twas an Epic Weekend

Well…the end is almost near…White Lake Half Ironman Triathlon is only three weeks away. I can hardly believe it myself.

On Saturday a good portion of the Western Carolina Team In Training teams participated in Charlotte Racefest. Those training for shorter distance events did the 10k run, the rest of us did the half marathon. At this point, I have never run farther than 9 miles.

 “That’s OK…” my coach said. Umm-hmm.

Miles 1 -3, just getting the legs stretched…easing into the stride…chit-chatting with the pack around me…having a good ole time. Got to mile 4…still feeling awesome…my buddy and I did about a 60 second walk…then picked the pace back up. Feelin’ good. Mile 8…lawd, lawd….not feeling good anymore, but not feeling bad either. Mile 9ish…HILL!…thank you little two year old, whoever you are!…that cute little cheer got me up to the top. Seriously y’all…she was adorable! Mile 10…HILL! Are you kidding me? Mile 11…HILL! Please. Help.

All in all, it was great. I was extremely proud of myself. I have always dreaded running and have never run in a half marathon before. So crossing that finish line – not last – felt so incredibly good. I felt like I could lay back and bask in my accomplishment…

…NOT! Why? Cause we have another training event on Sunday! What you ask? We are going on a 60 mile bike ride…starting at Crowder Mountain…MOUNTAIN!

So I wake up Sunday morning. My legs feel like 100 pound weights. I step out of bed…almost fall because the 100 pound weights immediately turn to wet noodles. At this point I really think that the best option is to take a couple of Advils and return to the fetal position. But noooooo….I decide to brave the ride.

I arrive at the meeting location…legs tight as I don’t know what. I ask one of the coaches about the course…his response “oh….its hilly!”

Wow…thanks.

But he tries to console me with, “But!!!…if you can do this then the White Lake course is a piece of cake!”

Yeah. OK.

So we start the ride…immediately out the park there is an uphill. Get up it, no problem (fresh legs). So we are going through rolling terrain…moderately hilly (as the course was described)….no big issue. One of the ladies riding beside me says “my coach said the worst hills are in the first mile.”

GREAT! Lets ride…I am sure we have gone a mile already!!!

So I am riding along…meet a new friend, Suzanne. She has been here in Charlotte since the 80’s…originally from Buffalo…lives in the suburbs…you know, just great “gettin’ ta know ya” chit-chat on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny afternoon in the Carolina’s. For miles and miles, through the back roads of North and South Carolina, the terrain is mostly FLAT!

Man…this is great! We get close to the first rest stop…we are in a little over 20 miles. I get my first fall as a result of the clipless pedals. At the stop sign…over I go. No  biggie…it was bound to happen. And who cares…THE TERRAIN IS FLAT! So we get some needed water, grab a banana, clean my “knee vs. gravel” battle wound and off we go.

Then we make a turn. Something inside of me felt funny when we made that turn. Like danger lurked ahead. It was a dark, uncomfortable feeling…but I didn’t listen to that inner voice…I just road…like a woman on a mission…down this poorly paved road…shaded by rows and rows of magnificent trees.

Down hill…flat….down hill….flat.

This is just too good.

Down hill…curve….what?

Suzanne, “Shelly, you see this hill?”

Shelly, “Damn”

So we get some momentum…and before you know it, we are at the top! No biggie.

Then another curve…What?

Another hill. Bigger and more daunting then the first.

Then another! AND ANOTHER!

Are you freakin’ kidding me???

We climbed ALL THE WAY UP into Kings Mountain National Park.

I think then can just bury me here. Cuz I’m DUN!

But we made it. Actually…I cut my ride short about 3 miles. There was a little footnote on the route sheet:

In case of emergency, there is a short-cut…”

All I needed to hear. My thighs actually having a voice of their own to scream obscenities at me classifies as an emergency to me.

The alternate route cut the ride by about 3 miles and E-LI-MI-NA-TED a very challenging hill (you like that term huh?…I took it from our coaches…they think they can say that and trick us…like we don’t know that means KILLER BEAST OF A – YOUR QUADS WILL EXPLODE – CLIMB!). So I take the short-cut… that unfortunately was not short on hills!

I’m ready y’all. I am ready for whatever White Lake has to throw at me. I made it through Epic Weekend! And you know what? I am very proud of my accomplishment!

 

So…Why Tri? Because…it’s totally worth it to have stories like this to tell!!

Stay RYPE!

 

Why Tri?

Because there are some really cool races in some really cool places! I saw an article on Active.com and had to share it. Maybe its just me, but I love the idea of picking  a race in a vacation destination. It kind of gives purpose to the vacation, know what I mean? You show up, you get prepared, you race…..then you chill! Basking in the after-glow of your accomplishment.

P1030249

#winning!!!

So if you find yourself in a slump and needing that little extra kick to get you going, then Tri vacation! I have my eye on that Chicago Triathlon…there is nothing more fun than Chicago in the summer time! Get up, race, hit up some of the finest restaurants in the world…then go listen to some good ole Chicago House Music!I know, I know…sounds the bomb right?!

Tri Vacations are an easy way to stay motivated AND convince your BFF’s to Tri with you!

Happy training RYPEness!

Article: http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Vacation-Destination-Triathlons.htm?cmp=306&memberid=147438380&lyrisid=40513537&email=mlgrady1126@gmail.com

NO EXCUSES!

Hey there RYPEness!!

I have asked this question before, but I will ask it again….Why Tri? Because there is absolutely no reason for you not to! It’s amazing how sources of inspiration or reasons why I should have NO excuses show themselves just at the right time! As I ran this morning, with a buddy of mine who is much faster than me, I kept this story in the forefront of my mind. I know that I want to get faster…I also know that trying to get faster is PAINFUL for me! HA! However, if you want what you want, you have to do what you gotta do!

Check out this article: http://www.runnersworld.com/races/mike-fremont-91-finishes-knoxville-half-marathon-304

91year old

91 and still running half marathons? Seriously? Do you know what that says to me every time I want to just be a couch potato? Or when I want to stop running and walk? Or when I simply want to cry when climbing a hill on my bike? It says, “SHUT UP AND GET OVER IT! Mike Fremont gets it in…so can you!!”

So think about this man…this VERY inspirational man…when your mind throws doubt and laziness in the mix. Because barring some injury, there is no excuse for you not to just Tri.

Happy Hump Day RYPE-er!

Race! Race! Race!…

….it’s what motivates you to train!! In turn, training develops sexy bodies!! And who doesn’t want a sexy body???

Good morning RYPEness!

Today is the day to start developing that race schedule for the year. Whether its your first 5K race, your first triathlon or if you are a seasoned veteran, setting your race schedule is a major source of daily inspiration…sometimes the biggest source. Once you sign up for a race….thus paying your hard earned pennies to enter….the last thing you want to do is fail at your attempt by not completing it OR wasting your money by not participating in it. Know what I’m sayin’?

To help get you started…here is my race schedule thus far:

April 28th – Huntersville Sprint Triathlon

June 15th – Enka Spint Triathlon

August 3rd – Stumpy Creek International Triathlon (tentative still)

September 28th – Charlotte Half Ironman Triathlon

BAM! There it is….keeping about two months between races, and allowing it to be a build up to the ultimate goal of another Half Ironman. This should definitely keep me busy!!

So…there it is, my “motivation schedule”. I put it out there hoping that it will motivate you to create your own.

Have a wonderfully RYPE Monday!

DONE!

I Tri because crossing the finish line feels so good!

Happy Hump Day RYPEness!

Last night as I lay in bed, I was thinking about what to write today. And after going through some old emails to find a receipt, I came across this post of mine from May 7, 2008. It was my race report from my first Half Ironman…I did White Lake (also known as White Bake). I re-read it and felt that it was a perfect story to share again. All of the feelings that you go through…all to arrive at this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Its crazy good y’all. Hope you enjoy!

Oh yea-yah!!
Let me tell you… May 3, 2008 is a day that I will NEVER forget!!
I completed 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking and 13.1 miles of running in 8:02:57…
 
Can
U
believe IT???
 
Working up to the race, even in the midst of the “and why am I doing this?” questions, your mind is set on a goal that you have set out to do. Dag-gone it, I can do it!! Even when you question your readiness – after missing a few training rides…or not doing that Thursday run….or not attending a Tuesday night swim – you still come to the conclusion of “well, I’m ready as I’m gonna be….I can do it!…? “
 
So finally its race day. As a team we all rode from our old skool dormitory accommodations…all excited about the day ahead. We find our spot in the transition area…spread out our things….everyone starts to talk about their “game day jitters”…we get in line for the porta-potty.
 
As with most races, its a wave start. I happen to be in the 11th wave…SHEESH! All that time to stand…and wait…and have to pee…again. But then my gun goes off! AND I PANIC! I have never had that happen to me before, but for a good 700 or so meters, I could not seem to get it together! Finally I relaxed, and was able to enjoy the remainder of the swim. The water was beautiful.
 
I get back to the dock…wobbly water legs have to climb me out of the water and carry me to the transition area. I find my stuff, take off the wet suit, put on my helmet, and head off for the bike ride.
ITS FLAT YALL….FOR REAL!  
With a head wind that was FIERCE!
Gee…thanks!
 
So I am just riding along…passing people here and there.
 
“Go Team!”
“You’re doing great!”
“You rock!”
“Awesome job!”
 
That’s the gist of the numerous comments that were received or given at some point and time. It was the most encouraged I have ever felt. I am rolling along and a woman comes up next to me, “Great job!”…as she passes. I respond with “YOU TOO!” Then I notice the “70” on the back of her thigh. She was 70 years old… and blew by me like it was nothing. From then on out, ever time I would see her (and that wasnt until the run segment), she inspired me to do better.
 
It was a very pleasant day…so I was just a rollin…for what seemed to be a rather long time. And then I saw the mile markers start to show up on the ground. 20 MILES???
THATS ALL????????????? My gosh…my entire body hurts!!! So I keep riding…hydrating properly…eating when I could…adjusting on the seat whenever possible…entertaining thoughts of pulling off the road, getting off of the bike, and taking a seat in the shade in some unsuspecting person’s lawn. But I just keep riding. Then I see that the end is coming…I pass the 50 mile marker…only 6 more miles to go!
 
“GREAT JOB…LOOKING GOOD!!!”
“Thanks!”
 
So I see the transition area coming up. I see my parents and the overwhelming look of relief on my mother’s face! I could actually see “Thank God she’s back” written across her forehead!! Mommies…  I get back to my area, re-rack my bike…put on my Team In Training singlet…socks, shoes…throw some gu, Cliff bars and shot blocks in my pockets….off I go…
 
Dang…I have to go to the bathroom! So I go to the porto-gross me out-dont look down-potty! And then realize that I still had on my bike shorts! So I pull them off, run back to the transition area, grab my sun visor (what a mess that would have been had I forgotten that!) and off I went… just happy as heck to be off of that bike!
 
Until I realized about a block into the run that this was gonna be rather difficult…IT WAS HOT AS HADES!  
 
So I am running…running for what seemed to be FOR-E-VER! And I come up on this voice in the distance. Just loud! And encouraging EVERYONE!
 
“Number 567 you got it!”
“Looking beautiful 245!”
“You’re awesome!!!”
 
And when I rounded the corner it was my sister!!! Encourager Extraordinare!
 
I was so happy to see her! And it felt so awesome to have her as such a big part of my day! I run past her and hear:
“You Go Michelle Lynn Gra-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…!!!! LOUD!
As she points to the ground where people (including her) have taken chalk to write encouraging notes to the pack. It was awesome!
 
Then I cut the corner and I am feeling good…into my stride and then BAM! A mile marker: Two Miles.
 
WHAT? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? TWO MILES….THATS ALL??
 
And then I hear a male voice behind me say “damn…just two miles?”
Glad it wasnt just me thinking that!
The run was long. And it was hot.
 
I stopped to help another young lady who had over-heated. I stayed with her until assistance came. Then off I went…I really welcomed that break! And I was glad to see that she was going to be OK.
Walk. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk.
Then finally…two blocks to the finish line!!! You know the pace picked up…QUICK!!
I turn the corner…I see my mother and father, all of my TNT family…and I crossed the finish line.
 
What an accomplishment!! I find myself in a very small population of folk…I did a Half. 70.3 miles. Non-stop
 
I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!
 
oh
my
GOSH!!!!
 
8:02:57 after the 11th horn sounded, I CROSSED THE FINISH LINE!!!
PRAISE GOD! I finished_01
 
I just cant say thank you enough! To all of you who told me I could do it…all of the coaches that spent their time with me…my teammates who endured with me…the prayers prayed for me…the donations made. You mean the world to me cause you contributed to this awesomely RYPE experience!!!
 
So…THANK YOU!
 
Psalm 26:12:
“My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord”
 
Until the next race…. 

 

Have an awesome day….with yo’ RYPE self!

Why Tri?…

….cause its sexy, that’s why!

Hey there RYPEness!

So today I had a bit of a panic attack! April 28th is my first triathlon of the season, and its about 5 weeks away. To date, I have been on my trusty Felt once, and in the pool like….none.

YIKES!

I am not going to worry too much though. I am going to use the Huntersville Sprint Tri to gauge my fitness at this point and determine what I need to do to improve my time for the next race on the agenda. Actually, for me I find this a good way to start a season. I have kinda gotten started, but not focused. I signed up for Huntersville, so there is no backing out. I will very likely be embarrassed by my time which will kick my lazy butt into gear! What a plan, right? 🙂 HA!! The key to this fitness thing?….find what works for YOU!! For me, not wanting to embarrass myself twice is a good enough reason to remain focused!

Anyone want to join me? COME ON!…I am sure its going to be a fun race. SIGN UP HERE!

IMG_3203

We can struggle through this one together, then get ready to have some real fun….like heading to Asheville, NC to do the Enka Sprint at the Biltmore on June 15th!! Yeah…that got your attention, didnt it?

Have a RYPE week!