Posts

Don Nolting – My First Triathlon

Don Nolting, an Austin Triathlon Club Ambassador, recalls his first triathlon

The 2016 Rookie Triathlon (300m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 2-mile run), was my attempt to help a friend, and myself, lose weight. I was 41 and 255 pounds at 6’1.5”. He thought a sprint triathlon would be a fun way to do it since he liked to swim. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem if, 1) we would have decided more than a month before the triathlon was to take place to sign up, 2) I hadn’t just undergone bilateral knee surgeries #4 and #5 six months prior, and 3) if I owned a bike.

Don Nolting, Austin Triathlon Club, Ambassador, after 2016 Rookie Triathlon.

Don Nolting, Austin Triathlon Club, Ambassador, after 2016 Rookie Triathlon.

I was still rehabbing from knee surgery, and given the short time to train, I focused on swimming and riding. While all my doctors discourage running with my knee issues, swimming and biking are highly suggested. The biggest thing for me was to not over train the month before the tri and be so sore and fatigued that I wouldn’t be able to race.

Training

Since I knew how to swim, I focused on that. The good news: the swim distance was only 300 meters. I started in the pool and then made sure to swim in a few different open water spots around Austin. Barton Springs became my really cold friend. I was having trouble freestyle swimming, so I focused on the breaststroke and worked on perfecting my form while training.

The biking was a whole different beast. I didn’t own a bike when I signed up for the tri. So I took advantage of all of the spring bike sales in Austin. I chose a hybrid bike as a starter bike and got in plenty of rides during the month. I even rode the bike course a few times and struggled some.

Since I planned to speed-walk the run, I only worked on increasing my overall fitness for that. In the end, I was pretty happy with where I was feeling after the bike rides, but I wasn’t confident about my swimming.

Race day

Race day showed up really fast! From a tip I had read on lots of tri websites, I laid out my transition and equipment the night before. I was sure I had everything, but 5:00 a.m. comes early. I was nervous, but the pre-race stretches helped calm my nerves. Waiting in line to get into the water was where the nerves sprung up again. Many of the guys in my age group were nervously chatting about how they hadn’t practiced swimming in open water. 

I was towards the back of the line going into the water, and I observed people grabbing the lifeguard canoes and the buoys. (* this is legal by USAT rules as long as you do not use the kayak to make forward progress).  Practicing breaststroke proved to be beneficial. I don’t think I could have freestyled in that water. I felt good after my swim and was proud I had completed it without taking any breaks or needing any assistance. The path to transition was an uphill path, so I took my time so I didn’t injure my knees at all.

Transition went pretty smoothly and I felt good getting onto my bike. The first 1.5 miles went well. However, once I turned into the headwind, it was like I put a sail on my back. I felt like I was going head-first into a wall and barely moving. I was happy to get back to transition, but wasn’t looking forward to the “run.” My legs were gassed, and I hadn’t really practiced going from cycling to a run or walk. Big mistake!

That two miles seemed like 20. In addition, it had recently rained, so the course was muddy and changed to include some hills that were rough on my knees. I wasn’t taking any chances with my knees so soon after surgery, so I walked the hills, but (against my doctor’s orders and my better judgment) slow-jogged the flatter sections. Finally coming around the last bend helped me pick up the pace and finish strong.

The Finish & Beyond

My goal was to finish my first Rookie Tri in 90 minutes, and I missed it by only three minutes. I was tired and sore, but proud that I had finished.

Unfortunately, because of knee rehab, it took me about a year to feel right again in order to train for another race. I got back into riding my bike and started swimming again in late 2017. I joined the Austin Tri Club in the spring of 2018 and have really started to push myself and my training thanks to the group. They support and motivate me as I safely train for aquabike challenges (*Aquabike participates complete the swim & bike portion of the triathlon, with their official timing stopping after entering transition after the bike.) and I enjoy cheering on my club-mates as they compete too.

8 Post-Race Ways to Stay Motivated to TRI

Our Favorite Ways to stay motivated after a triathlon:

austin triathlon club

Get a coach or training buddy:

Coaches and training friends help you stay accountable. They’ll ask where you were if you don’t show up. You don’t want to let them down or disappoint them with lame excuses. So find some friends to swim, bike or run with! You could also join a club like Austin Duathletes or Austin Tri Club.

Set goals with rewards for achieving them:

One example – get up every day of the week and go on a morning run. Reward yourself with a new pair of sunglasses at the end of the week when you meet the goal. New gear is motivating in itself.

Look at your old race photos:15th Annual Rookie Tri Introduces Hundreds to Triathlon

Reliving the moment can get you back into that place of being high on life. You’ll see how good you looked and remember how good it felt to cross the line. See 2018 Rookie Photos

Dig up your old race shirts and medals:

Pull out your favorite race shirts and finisher medals. While you’re at it, go ahead and put the medal around your neck and do the victory arm raise in the mirror. Relive the moment, then lace up and go for a run! (probably leave the medal behind.)

Go watch or volunteer at a tri:

Nothing is more motivating than being on the sidelines. Seeing the physical capabilities and watching athlete muscles work is inspiring. So next time you feel less than motivated, go watch others and cheer or volunteer. Check out volunteer positions at Jack’s Generic Tri on Aug 26, 2018

beautiful course kerrville ad 2017Enter another race:

Entering a race and putting money into it will help get your foot out the door when you don’t feel like it. You don’t want to waste that money! Plus, if you let everyone know you signed up, then you MUST keep your training going. The Rookie Tri is part of the Texas Tri Series. There are 2 more awesome race in 2018, check them out.

Music:

If you don’t have time to catch up on new music or listen to your old faves, then remember a great time to do so is on a run or ride. Great music is a fun way to get yourself out the door.

Apple watch:

Why is it that closing rings and getting virtual awards is so addicting? It’s silly, but it works! If you have 27 days of your exercise goals, do you want to continue to 28 or let it die? Of course, you want to go for 28! So if you have an Apple Watch, be sure to utilize this feature.

While you’re out there – keep in mind that not everyone is physically able to do what you’re doing. Whether it be from a terminal illness, injury or physical handicap, many of these people would give anything to be in your shoes. So, stay motivated and do it for them!

4 Ways to Expand Your Triathlon Training

Training for a triathlon might feel a bit overwhelming, but you’re not alone and we’re here to help! Below you’ll find 4 ways to expand your training and make some friends along the way.

Austin Tri Club- Beginner Triathlon Training Group

Austin Tri Club bike ride.

1. Join the Austin Tri Club!

Austin Triathlon Club is an all-volunteer, member-run community of triathletes across the Austin area. Club dues are only $40/year. Yes, you read that right! Member benefits are plentiful and include new triathlete mentoring, club workouts, monthly happy hours, and a welcoming group that’ll help you achieve your goals!

2. Run and Bike with Austin Duathletes

Austin Duathletes is a fun and FREE group with runs and bike rides throughout the year. They have a standing Monday Morning Run at 5:45 with 3 and 5-mile routes, as well as other special events. You can join them on March 24th for a bike ride on Walnut Creek Trail with 20 and 30-mile options. Wheels down from Tamale House on E. 6th Street at 8 a.m. Follow their Facebook page, just show up, or email the Duathlete leader, Panther, to get more involved.

Austin Duathletes Run and Bike Training Group

3. Join The Rookie Tri Facebook Group!

This group is a place for Rookie Participants, Veterans, and those who are just interested in triathlon, to share support, advice, training adventures, and friendship. Join the group to share your stories, pictures, and wisdom! There is even more useful information on triathlon training at mastersoftri.com if you’re interested.

4. Join Bicycle World on March 24-25th with their beginner triathlon training weekend.

The weekend will include bike and run workouts as well as workshops. Workshops include How to prepare and what to expect on race day for your First Triathlon, General Tips for each swim, bike and run, and basic maintenance of gear. There will also be an in-store guide to gear selection where you can see what you might be missing in your triathlon gear as well as an open Q&A session.

While triathlon is seen as an individual sport you do not have to train alone. There are groups to join that are both online and in town. Happy Training!