Brittany asked: I'm inspired by your triathlons! I'm a big runner, but haven't done any tri's. I mainly worry about the swim portion because I have never swum competitively and have no idea how I'd be at it (I can swim though). Maybe you could give some competitive swimming tips for newbies?
I feel like most runners are afraid of the swim. I was a swimmer in high school, so I'm more afraid of the run! The swim is the shortest part of a triathlon, so I don't try to view it competitively. Even if I can get ahead in the swim, I'm usually quickly passed in the bike or the run. For someone who knows how to swim and is thinking about doing a triathlon, I think the most important thing to do is to build up endurance versus speed. I say this because there are so many people swimming at the same time in a triathlon that it becomes difficult to go fast.
I actually recommend getting good at the breaststroke. I've found that if you do freestyle, it's hard to see and you need to keep your eye on the buoys so you stay on course. Breaststroke is easier and your head come out of the water after each stroke so you can adjust your course if you need it. No matter what stroke you use, you need to get comfortable with putting your head in the water. If you constantly try to hold your head up, you'll get tired fast.
If you have a friend who had good form, it wouldn't hurt to have them come to the pool and watch you swim and give you some pointers on your form. I'm sure there are some great videos on the web too, but I'm not familiar with any.
Theresa @ Active Eggplant asked: When training for triathlons, do you normally swim in a pool? Or are you able to get in open water swims?
I normally train in a pool, either at the Rec Center here in Maine or at the local YMCA when I'm in New Hampshire. I don't usually get in any open water swims. I think the bigger challenge with the swim in a triathlon has more to do with the number of people around you versus the fact that you're in open water. And unfortunately, there is no way to prepare yourself for swimming with that many people at once.
I should also say that the triathlons I've done have only been in rivers and lakes. If I were to do one with an ocean swim, I would definitely try to get an open water swim in. In the ocean you are battling the current and needing to get adjusted to wearing a wetsuit, so I would make that effort.
JenniferLeah asked: What do you like best about living in Maine?
Well, I guess I need to confess that I don't really care for living in Maine. I came here for school because I was impressed at how nice everyone was when I came to visit. But honestly, there isn't much here for my husband and I. The job market isn't great and I miss being close to my family. It's also hard become there are very few things to do up here and our restaurant choices are limited to chain restaurants. We are hoping to move back to New Hampshire after I graduate in May. I will say that Maine is really nice in the summer, but we're not usually in the state to enjoy that.
Julie @ Hotlegs Runner: What kind of bike do you use for your triathlons?
My trusty stead is my mom's Bridgestone road bike circa 1986 (or something like that!). Anyway, it's old, but it works. It's a road bike and it gets me from point A to point B. Would I like to upgrade? Heck yes! But when I started doing triathlons, I decided that I would do my first one with whatever equipment I had and if I loved doing triathlons, then I would consider upgrading my gear. Unfortunately upgrading my bike isn't in the card right now. If I'm going to upgrade, I want to do it right and get exactly what I want (i.e. paddle shifters, clip in pedals, and something that's going to last). However, this can get pricey. So in the meantime, I'll keep logging miles on my mom's bike because it really isn't so bad.
For more triathlon tips, see my post HERE or check out the links on my sidebar.