Showing posts with label Triathlon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Triathlon. Show all posts

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekly Training Thoughts - The Long Swim Gets LOOONG

March 7th-13th... Another week of completely unimportant and mostly irrelevant training is in the books, and I have more thoughts to put to paper...or whatever you want to call this medium. I ran across a thought this week about training and racing and why I do all this work and spend all this time training when I'm just some schlub who's never going to be fast and never going to gain anything material out of it all.

My profession, my work feeds my stomach. But training and racing feeds my soul. After family, nothing is more rewarding and more fulfilling than hitting the trail or going for a swim. It drains me and it fills me at the same time. Heck, I don't even need the racing. The training is enough to fill the soul. The racing just offers some delicious icing, and motivation for training to be a bit more focused.

Training feeds my soul.

On to the week. There are two big observations on training this week, one running and one swimming, and one bit of exciting least for me.

Running...Six Days A Week

My new running plan has me running six days per week. This is more regularly than I've ever run before, which generally included running four (sometimes five) days per week. Six days means lower volume, but more frequently. And I seem to be responding well to this. My three recovery runs per week really seem to help keep things loose and not too sore allowing me to push harder on the two high intensity days and one long day per week. So far, I'm a fan even while contemplating skipping today's recovery run due to a sore knee.

Speaking of that knee, it's not 100% yet. The long run seems to be the issue. I had no problems with the knee during my two speed workouts. And the knee was fine on my recovery runs. But after my long run Saturday morning, the knee became uncomfortable again. A couple minutes of pigeon stretch, and it felt good as new. But still, not 100%.

My workouts went great. The best example of this is my long run Saturday. I'm still keeping this long run relatively short (1 hour 35 minutes this time), but decided to really try running with more pace than I have before. While not fast, the run was fast for me. I never felt like I was working too hard, but completed 11.3 miles at an average pace of 8:23 minutes per mile and targeted two extra bridge crossings along the way. I could have held that pace for quite a bit longer and was overall very pleased. And that was indicative of pretty much the entire week.


What's there to report here other than it was a total failure on the bike. I got on the trainer for 1 hour on Monday, then never touched the bike again. I thought about riding Thursday, but didn't feel like it. I considered riding Sunday, but didn't want to battle the daylight savings switch. I just didn't ride. Not good...not good.


I felt off all week on my swimming...slow, lethargic, sinky. Just not a good week in the pool. That said, I met all my goals for the week. Right around 20,000 yards (18,575 officially on Garmin Connect, but that doesn't include kick sets nor about 500 yards I lost while trying to figure out my new watch...more on that below!) And, most importantly, I finished my 7,000 yard pull endurance set on Sunday and found a pair of googles comfortable enough to wear for the length of a 10K swim! I was slow on the 7,000 yard swim, but really focused on staying long and efficient, and didn't worry about pace much.

The googles, Aqua Sphere Vista's, are so damn comfortable relative to other goggles. They feel silly large on the face. Fortunately, I have no problem with looking silly. They did, however, slowly leak a little water in. I think this only occurs when pushing off the wall and not during swimming, and is so slow I only had to clear the goggles every 1,500 yards or so. But still a minor annoyance in what would otherwise be a perfect long-distance swimming goggle for me. I think they'll do the trick for Swim Miami 10K, especially if the leak does only occur when pushing off. There'll be none of that in Miami!

Overall, I'm satisfied with the week of swimming. Finishing the 7,000 yards comfortably means I'm right on track for the race. I still think the low energy and lethargy have to do with higher swim volume plus the reintroduction of fairly intense running. I'll just keep pushing through.

Something Fun!

I'm extremely judicious about spending money on fitness equipment...a tough task in the triathlon world. Almost everything I own is used or heavily discounted. But I decided to splurge for my birthday and bought myself a new fitness GPS watch, a Garmin epix. It was, of course, heavily discounted at REI. And I've been having lots of problems with my Garmin 910XT lately including bad elevation readings, odd yardage on open water swims and battery charging difficulties. Nothing dramatic,  but annoyances. The 910XT will become my permanent bike computer, and the Garmin epix my full-time watch as a daily wear watch, an activity tracker and fitness device.

So far, I'm loving it. I haven't had occasion to head out to the Everglades and run using the built-in navigation. But soon. In addition to real navigation, the watch has excellent battery life...hopefully enough to get me through my next 100 mile ultramarathon. It feels more rugged than the 910XT, and has a variety of other upgrades. Of course, it's a total splurge and I could have been totally fine without it. But what the heck!

That's another week of training. Overall, things look to be on track both for Swim Miami and Daytona 100. Swim Miami is going to be a huge challenge for me. The distance still sounds daunting. The amount of time spent laying face first in the water is overwhelming. Even finding someone to toss me a water bottle every lap is going to be a challenge. But I think it will all come together.

Whatever you're training looks like, keep moving!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Charting a Path to Ultraman Florida 2018

A bit over nine months ago, I had a crazy thought. I wanted to participate in the Ultraman Florida race by the time I turn 40 years old. It was a pipe dream, a fantasy. I had just learned about Ultraman and it sounded like a bit of craziness that might be something to put out there as a totally unachievable stretch goal. Sure, I had completed a really easy half ironman race and had even completed a 50 mile ultra marathon, but those are child's play compared to Ultraman. It was a stretch to even consider.

Perhaps it's not such a stretch, after all. 

In the past nine month, the idea of participating in Ultraman has become much more realistic. In those nine months, 100 mile bike rides have become standard fare. I swam in a 5K ocean race. And, finally, I completed the Great Floridian 140.6 triathlon comfortably, if not quickly. Ultraman seems so much more achievable today than 9 months ago.

The training plan necessary to reach Ultraman by 2018 has also become very clear.


Next year will be the year of the ultramarathon for me. First, I'm going back to Skydive in January and taking my first shot at a 100 mile ultramarathon. I'm trying to squeeze training in really tight between the Great Floridian and Skydive, and know I'm taking considerable risk that I don't make it to 100 miles.

I plan to take another shot (whether I make it or not at Skydive) at 100 miles at the Daytona 100. I'll be volunteering at the inaugural Daytona 100 this year, then hope to participate in it next year. I also have thoughts of participating in the Keys 100 race, but three 100 mile races in one year is perhaps a bit much.

I also don't want to fall completely off the swimming and biking training. I'll need both for Ultraman. My swim training has been going well, so I plan to continue with the Masters group I've been swimming with. We swim Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. However, I'll allow myself to miss a session here or there, something I very rarely did while training for the Great Floridian. And I think I'll participate in an open water race like Swim Miami or the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse in 2016

Finally, to make sure I keep on track in all three sports, I plan to participate in a spring and a fall half iron triathlon. Just small, local races; but something to keep me focused on triathlon despite a heavy run focus.


A year later, I'll flip the script. The focus will be heavily on triathlon with two 140.6 mile races. Tentatively, I plan to participate in the HITS Naples Full triathlon in January 2017 and maybe Ironman Wisconsin in September 2017.

Frankly, (and as the name of this blog implies) I have a very hard time with the idea of paying for a branded Ironman race. $750 seems like an absolutely inordinate amount of money for a 13 hour activity of any type. Yes, I understand Ironman races have considerable hoopla and pomp and extremely high production value around them relative to other iron distances races. But $750!

However, if there's one Ironman race I do want to do, it's Wisconsin. As a UW-Madison alumni, completing an Ironman in Madison, finishing on Capital Square, running through sounds absolutely spectacular. This, above all other items, is a massive question mark. It's so expensive, and so expensive only a few months before the even more expensive Ultraman I would hope to participate in.

Toss one or two 50 mile ultramarathons and an open water swim into 2017, and the training plan is pretty well formed.


2018 would be the big year, the year for Ultraman Florida. And, almost as if delivered by providence, assuming the Ultraman race organizer follows previous scheduling, the race would take place during my 40th birthday!

Having written it out, it all seems pretty damn daunting. There's not much rest and down time in there, and 2017 would be a massive year with two full ironman training builds. Very honestly, I don't think I've ever tried planning something over two years out. And this is something to almost certainly have bumps along the way in the form of injuries and fatigue and other life priorities, races getting cancelled or dates moved, the entire endeavor becoming too expensive and soon and so forth.

Yet, despite all that, it seems far more likely and reasonable than it did 9 months ago. It seems almost doable instead of pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

Ultraman, plan for me to be there February 2018.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

From Zero To 70.3

(Note: this is a race report I wrote in November, but had no place to publish. So, a bit out of order here and a slightly different style than other writing on Cheaply Seeking Fitness. I thought I'd share it anyway.)

70.3’s not a distance I enjoy driving, much less fully powered by my legs and arms. Yet, there I was on Sunday November 9th, standing on the beach, looking at the cold and murky water and getting ready to run into it for a 70.3 half iron distance triathlon at the Miami Man Half Iron Triathlon. I was hit by mountains of anxiety as I waited. I hadn't really trained for the distance and had only been training for triathlons at all since June of this year. Swimming...yeah, I had lessons as a child, but playing around in the water is a very different thing than swimming freestyle in cold water with 1000 other people for 1.2 miles.

Fortunately, I had been training hard for some time, just not triathlon training specifically. I dipped my toe into CrossFit in June of 2013, and had been going to WODs since then 4-6 times per week. I had trained for a back-to-back Tough Mudder/Spartan Race weekend earlier this year, completing both with relative ease. I had been an off-and-on runner for several years. But I still stood on that beach staring at the first buoy about 100 meters away certain I was about to drown.

And then the start gun went off and we were in the water...

The CrossFit Benefits

My year and a half of CrossFit training provided several benefits that were very apparent on race day. Three primary benefits stand out to me as a reflect on race day: strength and overall fitness, mental resilience, and a desire to do something bad-ass.

The strength and overall fitness benefit is pretty obvious. Prior to beginning CrossFit, I had really only done endurance exercise...running. Over the years, I had completed a couple half marathons, mud races, and trained for one marathon (which I ultimately didn't run.) But CrossFit offered me an introduction to something new, strength training. After a year and a half, I’m still a rail skinny endurance guy, but my strength is far higher than it used to be. That strength brings with it confidence, confidence which was extremely helpful as I approached the triathlon. And my overall fitness level was high enough to be able to jump into triathlon specific training with fairly high volume. CrossFit offered a great fitness base to jump off from.

CrossFit metcons are often about mental resilience. As the body red-lines, heart rate goes through the roof and getting oxygen in the body becomes difficult, finishing a metcon is predominantly an exercise in mental willingness to continue. No WOD better captures this need for mental resilience than Kalsu, which I nearly quit twice before completing. That mental resilience helped me push through the hours of training needed to complete 70.3 (my highest week included 14 hours of movement) and helped me push through the final three miles of the race at an ever increasing pace.

Third, if it wasn't for CrossFit, I never would have registered for a triathlon at all. When I began CrossFit, I just wanted something different and something fun. As I continued to do more and more CrossFit, I began to build a desire to take on athletic challenges that really felt bad-ass. That why I decided to run a Tough Mudder on a Saturday, and a Spartan race the next Sunday. That’s why I registered for my first sprint triathlon at the end of August. And it’s why I decided to upgrade my registration at Miami Man from the International distance (0.6 mile swim, 22 mile bike, 6.6 mile run) to the Half Iron distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) only a month before the starting gun. It’s why I've already registered for the Great Floridian 140.6 Full Iron triathlon in 2015, one of the most grueling triathlons in the country.

Specificity Arrives

During my first few months of training for triathlons (first the sprint distance, then the international), I continued with CrossFit WODs. In June, July and August, my triathlon specific training was still short enough that the CrossFit didn't interfere and, in fact, seemed to be beneficial. So I kept at it as long as I felt able to. Besides, I love CrossFit...the community and the workouts. I was going to be there as much as possible.

However, at some point in September, it became clear that I couldn't continue with the regular WODs. The swimming, biking and running were taking more and more time and I was feeling increasingly worn down during WODs. The energy just wasn't there. Finally, I had a day where my wrist was so sore I couldn't manage a light strict press, and I had to make a decision. I knew I couldn't keep up with WODs and continue to increase triathlon-specific training volume, so I had to give Edwin Morales the news that I’d have to drop out for a few months.

After speaking about how things were going and my goals, we agreed on a plan that seems to have worked out wonderfully. No more WODs, no more high-intensity work at CrossFit CVI, but continue with a simple twice-per-week 5/3/1 strength program on Monday’s and Friday’s to try to maintain strength. Monday’s I worked on strict press and deadlift. Friday’s were bench press and squats. Those two days also happened to be my rest days from triathlon work. I was able to maintain (and even somewhat increase) strength over the next two months despite higher and higher endurance volume.

But the bulk of my work was outside of the box. My training was becoming very specific: two pool swims and one ocean swim (waves permitting) per week, bike on Tuesday and Thursday, run Wednesday and Saturday, then a long run or long bike or brick workout on Sunday.

The endurance increased, the swimming improved, and strength didn't seem to be going away. Training was a win all-around. In particular, in early October I was able to complete a 1 mile ocean swim without rest. This was the moment I wondered if my training had gone so well that I could try for the half iron distance instead of the international distance I was training for. After a really long bike ride to test the distance, I decided to make the change. Half Iron it would be!

Back to the Beach and Race Day

Before the start gun went off, I had jumped in the water for a warm up swim. I couldn't breath...not even for one stroke. The race anxiety and the colder than expected water was overwhelming. I was in trouble. I couldn't swim ten meters much less 2000! I was in a near panic, certain that my race was ruined before it even began. Ah...but that CrossFit produced resilience! I returned to the beach, took a few deep breaths and gathered myself.  Then I headed out for another try at warming up in the water. This time, while labored, I was able to swim about 100 meters. It wasn’t great swimming, but at least I could move and breath.

And then the start gun went off and we were back in the water. The swim sucked. It took me 300 meters to get any rhythm and I was extremely slow all the way around. I couldn't sight buoys at all, and zig zagged across the course. This was always going to be the case, but it was still demoralizing to be passed by people who’s wave started 10-15 minutes after mine. But I eventually finished after 50:42, placing 46 of 53 in my age group...not last!
My Cannondale looks out of place in transition

Next we were on the bike. My poor old 1982 Cannondale road bike which I had bought from another member at the box for $100 looked really out of place next to the carbon triathlon bikes all costing several thousand dollars in transition. But it had done well in training, and did well on this day as well. The weather forecast had included rain showers for later in the day, but they hit during the bike ride. And these were no showers, but torrential tropical downpour. It was a bit scary, riding around slick corners and riding half blind at times as the rain came down so fast and heavy. However, the bike went well, faster than anticipated and on-bike nutrition was a success. Tailwind is a wonderful endurance energy drink that seems to cause no stomach issues for me. I finished in 2:52:57, placing 35/53.

Finally, I was on to the run, my strongest discipline. The Miami Man run is made up of two 6.55 mile loops through Zoo Miami. I was excited to see the zoo, having never visited, but the animals were almost all inside due to the weather. A disappointment, but one I could understand particularly after the thunder and lightning began during the second lap.

My goal for the race had been simple: just finish. Then, if finishing seemed likely, to finish in under seven hours. It’s a slow time, but felt realistic considering my training, or lack thereof. However, as I came around the finish line after the first run loop, I noticed the race clock read 5:01. I realized that I might be able to finish in under 6 hours if I pushed the second lap. The first lap had taken just over an hour. I decided to maintain my pace, around 10 minutes per mile, until the 10 mile marker and then would push if all felt good. I got to the 10 mile marker, and the CrossFit resilience kicked in again. I began to kick up the pace, and met with so much pain! But I continued pushing. Mile 11 - 8:50, mile 12 - 8:20, mile 13 - 7:50. I came around the final corner and saw the race clock...5:58 and I was only meters away.

A final kick and I finished at 5:59:09! My timing chip time was actually 5:54:09 my wave having started five minutes after the race clock. This placed me 29 out of 53 in my age group. (This isn't a particularly good time, middle of the pack, but is a great time for me as far as I’m concerned.)

Run time was 2:01:26, placing 13 out of 53 in my age group.

CrossFit as a Base
I don’t believe I could have finished the race without the training specificity I eventually introduced. However, I do strongly believe that the overall fitness CrossFit had built in me was a large part of my success. I completed the race on considerably less training than many others, having heard people talking about 8-12 months of training instead of my 4 months. And without the mental resilience built in CrossFit WODs, I might never have gotten back in the water after my warm up disaster. And I certainly would not have had the fire to push the final three miles at quicker and quicker pace. Plus, without CrossFit, I never would have signed up in the first place.

Now, it’s off to train for a 50 mile ultramarathon in January, then back to CrossFit WODs for several months before diving into specific triathlon training for the 140.6 next October.

Gear List
  • Shoes: Merrell Road Glove (on the bike), Merrell Bare Access Ultra (on the run)
  • Socks: Icebreaker Hike+ Lite mini
  • Shorts: Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool Tri Shorts
  • Shirt: Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool Tri Singlet
  • Bike: 1982ish Cannondalte SR300
  • Hydration: Tailwind & water on the bike, lived off the course on the run
  • Nutrition: a nut and chocolate trail mix in a baggie taped to my handlebars on the bike, lived off the course on the run
  • Headwear: Buff - UV
  • Eyewear: Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 swim goggles (the best!), Optimum Nerve Omnium PM Sunglasses
  • Technology:  Nexus 5 with Strava app
  • Miscellaneous: TriGlide

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Well, That Wasn't Body Glide!

Just a silly quick-hit post today, a bit of triathlete daylight savings morning humor.

Got home from a group bike ride with some fellow Boca Raton Triathletes this morning and discovered that, in my sleep-deprived stupor, I had slathered up with deodorant instead of Body Glide on the way out the door.

Gotta say, the deodorant performed admirably.


On a separate note, I recently had the opportunity to speak with Scott Johnson from the UltraFinishers podcast. Whether you listen to my interview or not, make sure to check his podcasts out. Really cool, inspirational stuff talking to ultramarathon finishers from the middle and back of the pack, instead of elites.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Am I Having a Mid-Life Fitness Crisis?

I'm 37 years old today. I don't generally make a big deal about my birthday. My father's funeral was held on my birthday many years ago, and it's just a bittersweet date ever since then. However, 37 feels old. In fact, I told my wife I'm officially middle age now. And along with that feeling comes what I suppose is a bit of a mid-life crisis.

That crisis has manifested itself in the form of a pretty crazy fitness goal I'm setting for myself. This weekend I learned about the Ultraman Florida race, a sort of crazy combination of ultramarathoning and triathloning. This is a three day stage race consisting of a total of 6.2 miles of swimming, 261.4 miles of biking and 52.4 miles of running. Crazy, totally crazy. And I desperately want to do it! Or at least try to do it.

I'm 37 years old today. The race is held in mid February, so just before my birthday. That gives me three opportunities to take a shot at the race before my 40th birthday. And that's the goal, to complete the Ultraman Florida before (or on, if the dates worked out that way) my 40th birthday.

Now this is no normal race. You don't simply pay an entry fee and show up. You have to put together a resume of significant endurance accomplishments and then apply for entry into one of only 40 spots. So this goal offers no guarantees. There's no sure-fire way to make sure I achieve it. Just doing the training may not be enough. I might not even get the opportunity to try. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of reason I may not complete this goal. Yet, I'm making it a serious goal anyway.

I'm working on that resume. I have a 50 mile ultramarathon under my belt. I'll add an iron distance triathlon in October this year at the Great Floridian Triathlon. I'm also planning to run a 50k ultramarathon in April this year. And I'm planning on taking a shot at the 100 mile ultramarathon distance next year. Should all this go according to plan, perhaps I'll be able to apply for the 2017 race. And that leaves 2018 as a back-up year in case things don't go according to plan or I simply don't get accepted.

I also have to admit, this goal doesn't really fit with the "Cheaply Seeking Fitness" theme. Simply put, it ain't cheap. The entry fee is steep, hotels are needed for myself and race crew for several nights, time off of work comes with costs, and on and on. And the cost may ultimately be the factor that prevents me from completing this goal. But I'll cross that bridge once I'm ready to apply.

In the mean time, it's time to start training. It's time to get serious about endurance work. It's time to bike more. And it's time to really learn how to swim.

I'm 37 years old today. I'm getting old. It's time to get busy.

This is crazy.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Choosing a Fitness Regime - The Struggle Is Real!

So, one of my biggest struggles (other than trying to not spend too much money) in my pursuit of fitness is deciding between various different fitness regimes and sports. The problem isn't trying to find one that works well and I enjoy. No. The problem is I enjoy too many and am constantly struggling with determining which I would most like to pursue. And while cost is wildly different among the fitness pursuits I enjoy, cost is only one factor.

My current struggle is really a battle between three different regimes/sports: CrossFit, triathlon and ultramarathon running. Yeah, triathlon and running have a lot in common and I think I could do (and am doing) both at the same time. And yes, the strength and high intensity interval training of CrossFit almost certainly provides benefits to both other sports. In fact, I credit that strength training with my luck so far remaining injury free even while ramping up running distances at a much faster pace than the convention 10% rule suggests. But despite some of the overlap, time and money prevent me from pursuing all three at once.


The most expensive and most time consuming seems to be triathlon. The equipment list, especially now that I'm moving to long-course triathlon, feels almost endless: a bike that can cost many thousand dollars plus all the maintenance costs, wetsuit, goggles, trisuit, biking shoes, running shoes, swim coach, pool membership, running clothes, GPS watch and on and on and on. Plus race fees! Ironman branded races are absurdly expensive and why you're likely never to find me competing in one. Alright, you might find me at Ironman Wisconsin someday. Heading back to my alma mater in Madison to ride up Observatory Drive and run down State Street tweaks a heart string that may just call me there one day. And the time commitment is just as huge. Swimming endless laps in the pool, plus time to practice in open water. Running at least decent mileage. And biking and biking and biking. It's a massive commitment.


CrossFit comes in a close second on the cost scale. The monthly fee is nothing to sneeze at. And there's also a large equipment list here, although much less expensive than triathlon. But CrossFit offers two benefits that neither triathlon nor ultramarathon running can match. 1) It's pretty nice getting stronger and the aesthetics that go along with that. Growing up as the skinny kid, this is a huge draw to me. And 2) CrossFit has by far the smallest time commitment. Even if I attended daily, the time in the gym is dwarfed by triathlon training time and even ultramarathon training time.


Ultramarathoning is by far the cheapest of the three. Some shoes, a good pair of shorts and socks and a few other pieces of gear that last forever is really all that's needed. Yeah, the shoes need to be replaced often (I think I bought three pairs in a one month period during my highest training volume.) But good deals can always be found on shoes. The time commitment is still pretty huge. Long weekend runs can take hours. But the commitment is less than triathlon. The running, however, comes with one major drawback...injuries. I suspect with the running volume needed, injuries are almost a foregone conclusion at some point ranging from minor to very severe.

The problem for me is that I love all three. I'd love to be able to do all three at once. That's simply not a reality, though. The cost alone would drive me crazy, much less my wife. And I don't have the time. I do have a quite busy and stressful job...perhaps the reason exercise is so important to me. And spending time with my wife and children is of paramount importance in my life. That means the fitness pursuits must be compromised.

My plan

My plan is to use 2015 to try to decide what really captures me and where I want to focus. I have my first ultra under my belt for the year. And I think I'll run a 50K at the DTR Endurance Challenge in April to round out that experience. And for the next couple months, I'm going to be attending a CrossFit box regularly as long as possible. At some point, likely in April or May, that will come to an end when I turn my training to the Great Floridian Triathlon in October.

That should give me almost a full year of experiences to make some tough choices. And, perhaps, the real solution is just to keep doing what I'm doing and try to fit all three in. Or perhaps it's to focus on one until the interest in that one wanes and be happy I have to others to fall back on.

I think I'll also use this blog to explore these issues, and make it a series of blog posts. I'll explore cost difference in one post, culture difference in another and so on and so forth.

While the struggle is real, its a great problem to have.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Bike Day!

Well, new bike day was actually a few weeks ago, but I've finally gotten out for a decent ride on my new (to me) bike. In proper Cheaply Seeking Fitness fashion, this was not a new bike nor even particularly newish. However, it was a massive upgrade over what I had been riding previously and still cost far more money than I wanted to spend.

The new bike: a 2005 Litespeed Saber size 55 with full Durace group set and loaded with other little upgrades that I purchased from a fellow Boca Raton Triathletes member.

Frankly, the biggest hesitation to my decision to race a full iron distance triathlon was the need to upgrade my bike. While my old 1980s Cannondale had been sufficient to get me through the MiamiMan Half Iron Triathlon, there was no way I was going to be able to ride that old steed for the 112 mile hilly course at the Great Floridian Triathlon in Clermont. But in November, I decided to suck it up and register for the race while it was at a super-discounted $250 entry fee and start looking for a great deal on a bike.
The old Cannondale

I researched and learned quite a bit about bikes. One of the first things I decided was that I didn't want a full carbon frame. It seems that, while these frames are all the vogue and super aerodynamic, their lifetimes can be a bit short. I wanted a frame that could last me as long as I wanted to race triathlons. That left either aluminum or titanium, and I was going to be fine with either. I'm not competitive and don't need bleeding edge technology. I just needed a comfortable, well-priced, efficient and long-lasting bike.

And with this Litespeed I think I've found it. At $700, it was still a great deal of money. But it checked all the boxes and was on the low end of even the used triathlon bike market. I'm very happy with my purchase.

Riding the Litespeed is a dream. The carbon fork dampens road bumps so well. It seems to fit me extremely well even before a professional fitting. But I do have a little more money to drop on the bike. First, I'll need to purchase shoes and pedals. I'll be looking for used, of course. Likely a set of Speedplay pedals. I also do need to bring the bike in for a fitting (not a cheap thing) and a full tune up. And before race day, I'll have to get a new set of tires and am thinking I might splurge with a used behind-the-seat water bottle set-up.

But this should be my single biggest outlay for anything fitness related. It's done and paid for, and now I can focus on being cheap again. Now it's time to train.