You know if you are doing a tri whose tagline is “If you’re not cheating, you’re not racing PeasantMan properly,” you’re in a for a good weekend and a fun race. PeasantMan is a non-USAT tri that is meant to help new triathletes shake out some of their nerves and give them a safe race environment to test the water (and road!). You don’t have to swim. You can run the sprint distance even if you are doing olympic. You can basically do whatever you want…except for taking 2 cupcakes at the end of the race…thats a big no no.
It is also a way to raise money for the High Cloud Foundation– you can read more about the organization here.
I learned SO much this weekend, especially about the open water swim clinic held by Wave One Swimming, so here is what I gathered…
Swimming in a wetsuit is totally different than just swimming in your human body.
As if open water swimming isn’t terrifying enough (water you can’t see in, getting kicked, clawed, punched and accidentally dunked), the world of triathlon had to add a wetsuit. On Saturday, we had a OWS clinic that gave us a chance to try our wetsuits out (and thank the good lord for that). As a fairly confident swimmer, I was excited to be a little more buoyant and have a badass looking suit to wear around. Little did I know how different it is to swim in a sausage casing. Here are a few things I learned at the clinic that really helped me out:
- If you can zip your suit up, its not too tight. Partway through the swim, I started to panic, feeling like my suit was suffocating me and squeezing me too tight. I mean…it is tighhhtttt (but I guess that is the point!) It was my first time ever panicking in water…which only made me panic more…but then I remembered what our coach had told us. The wetsuit is not too tight. I exhaled a long and steady breath and kept swimming.
- Fill your suit up with water before you start swimming. The way a wetsuit works is that it keeps a layer of water, between your body and the suit, nice and toasty, and in turn, keeps you warm. Filling your suit with water helps you get used to the cold and also gets that critical layer of water in between you and the suit to begin warming you up.
- Peeing in your wetsuit is A OK and…encouraged. See point above! A little extra warmth never hurt anyone 🙂
- Pee in the suit once your IN the water, not before. I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this one.
- Use Body Glide to ensure you don’t chafe! Body glide is a little deodorant looking stick that you can use where ever your wetsuit might rub and irritate your body. For me, that was around my neck, shoulders and ankles. It also really helped get my suit on and off quickly.
- Use a plastic bag on your feet to get your suit on quickly. Getting the suit on should be an event in itself. Like the other tri disciplines, it takes practice, persistence and time to master. Putting a plastic bag on your foot before you you attempt to get in, makes it glide right on and takes part of the hassle away. Now, to just figure out how to get it over my hips easier…
- Get your face wet. There are a lot of nerve endings in your face so some of the shock you will experience from cold water will likely come from there. Splash some water on your face to avoid a potential freak out.
Here is an awesome drone video of the open water swim and transition (credit: A Michael Coffman Production)
Your transition area is your own little (little, little, little) space to keep all of your crap. Allison, one of our NTP leaders said it perfectly: dumb it down so you don’t have to think. As someone who forgets everything, normally, I am a hot mess during any type of race. Here are some ways to keep your transition area somewhat orderly so you don’t forget anything!
- KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. Like I mentioned above, Allison told us to keep everything simple, basic and obvious. Placing something away thinking you’ll remember it later will definitely not happen. Have everything in sight and fool-proof!
- Layer your area ensure you won’t forget anything or use too much room. Since you don’t have a lot of square footage (about the width of your bike’s handlebars) I found what I call the “pile method” to really work well. I put what I will need last on bottom and what I need first on top in a few piles. I had a running pile (from bottom to top) running shoes, a hat and race bib…a cycling pile (from bottom to top) cycling shoes, glasses, helmet, and then a towel on top of everything This can stop any debris or sprinkling water from getting things damp. I found this way, when I got back to transition, I didn’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
- Don’t forget a snack! Depending on the distance you are racing, you may or may not need a little pick me up. I definitely do (no matter what distance, even if its only a bite of something). I love pouches and so I’ll open the top and reseal it before the race so I don’t have to worry about fumbling to open it when I get back and leave it smack in the middle of my area. Normally for any workout, I like those baby food pouches with any combination of apples, carrots, mangoes and sweet potatoes. I just tried these Noka pouches and am obsessed…more on that in another post!
- Lay a white plastic trash bag underneath. For me, this helped with seeing everything more clearly (instead of shuffling through dirt/grass) AND gave me something to dump all of my wet stuff in after.
- Don’t touch other people’s stuff. This is something I didn’t even think of, but touching others people’s stuff is a big no no! If someone is infringing on your area, get a race director.
Overall, the race was awesome. I swam 4 minutes faster than my last race and ran 3 minutes faster (and this course was hillier). My cycling game is definitely my weakest discipline so I’ll focus on improving that a bit more as well in the next coming weeks!
This race was organized by the High Cloud Foundation and DC Tri members (the War Council as they more commonly known by). They put a ton of hard work and effort into the race and it certainly showed. If you are interested in learning more about triathlons or are looking for a community of triathletes (and are in the DC area) I highly suggest joining the New Triathletes Program and DC Tri Club! The community is incredibly supportive and it really has been an amazing experience.
Thank you so much for all who put on this amazing event– I’ll be sure to be back next year!
Next Race: Rock Hall Olympic Tri on June 4! What races are you doing next!?