Twenty-seven days remain before IMAZ, so I thought I should explain some things for the vast legions of you out there who are reading this blog 😉
First of all, I know there are actually only a few of you, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me and reading along! Secondly, my Mom recently started reading, and it made me realize that I have been throwing around a lot of jargon without explaining it. Here are some terms that might have tripped up the non-Tri-ers among you:
IMAZ – This stands for Ironman Arizona. I’ve always been pleased that I picked a race with a truly pronounceable acronym, unlike Lake Placid (IMLP) or Florida (IMFL) or Mont Tremblant (IMMT)… Not that those aren’t all excellent races. But hey, IMAZ is fun to say 🙂
Bonking – This is when an athlete runs out of steam and hits the proverbial wall, making an imaginary, but deafening, “bonk” sound. We don’t want this to happen … Ever.
Big chainring/ small chainring – These are the circular cog-like things on a bike that the chain latches onto in order to make the bike go when you pedal. The big one is in the front, and the small one is in the back. We got mine sorted out, by the way. Craig (my husband) figured out that the place where I change gears was not acting right, and he fixed it. Yay!
Nutrition – You’d think that we use this term to just talk about what we eat all the time, like most people. But actually, inTri-speak, this refers to just what we eat while we are training or racing. You see, the body wasn’t really made to eat on the run (or on the ride). When you’re exercising, your body wants to focus on the exercise, not on digesting stuff. But in order to keep racing through the breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner times of the day, you have to eat while you’re on the go. So, there are various sports foods out there, designed to make this easier. Even so, they don’t work equally well for everyone. So, that’s why you’ll hear triathletes talk about “dialing in” their nutrition. It’s one of the hardest things to do in long-distance triathlon. By the way, I tried out the liquid Perpetuem on our long brick this past weekend, and it worked better than the solid tablets for me.
Brick – I just used this term in the sentence above and failed to explain it… A brick is typically a bike-run workout, but it can be any of the three triathlon disciplines strung together. You can do a swim-bike brick, for example. The idea is to get used to doing these things one after the other with no real break in between.
Racking the bike – When you do a race, you have what they call a Transition Area, where all the athletes’ bikes are set up for them to grab and jump on after the swim. The bikes are hooked onto racks, so they stay upright. The athletes typically rack their own bikes (i.e., set up the bikes) themselves before the race, and they place all their accessories on the bike – ready to go. A lot of thought goes into this process, because you want to make sure you have everything you need and that it’s easy to get to quickly. Spending a lot of time in the Transition Area between the legs of a race is frowned upon, since that time counts toward your overall time in the race.
T1, T2 – the T stands for Transition, and the first one (T1) stands for the transition from swim to bike. So this is when you come out of the water, take off your wetsuit, if you’re wearing one, and put on your helmet, shoes, etc. for the bike. T2 is when you transition from bike to run… Remove helmet, bike shoes, put on run cap and run shoes, etc. You will hear triathletes talk about how things went in T1 or T2… This is what they are talking about. We also get split times for while we are in transition. These are the times for how long we spent there. We don’t like these to be long, as I said above.
Chips & Split Times – With modern technology, the race organizers are able to track everyone’s time via a chip that you wear around your ankle. “Timing mats” are placed throughout the race, by each transition, and at the finish line, to record your time. Wherever there is a mat, the chip registers a “split time” for you, indicating how long it took you to get to that mat after you crossed the previous mat. This is how it is possible to know how long each leg of the race took and how long your T times were.
Okay, that’s all the terminology I can handle right now. But if I think of more (I’m sure there’s more.) I will include it in a future blog. I also wanted to correct my last blog and say that IMAZ has changed the run from a three-loop course to a two-loop course. It bothers me a little, because I had my mind set on a three-loop course, where we would see our “cheer squad” at least two times before the finish. But I am getting used to the two-loop idea, and I know it might be easier to handle psychologically. Maybe. We’ll see.
Until next time.