Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your 2012 Athlete Guide is waiting...

Who said doing triathlons meant to JUST get out there and do it? I wrote about the training process a few weeks ago and what really Ironman training means to me. I talked about the feelings and thoughts and, overall, the physical and mental game.

Today I'd like to talk about the race itself... but not the physical or mental side of it, but literally the actual event. I received an email earlier today titled: "The 2012 Athlete Guide is Now Available". What IS the athlete guide? Aren't I supposed to just sign up, show up, get in the water, swim, take off my wetsuit, put on my biking shoes, bike, put on my running shoes, run, cross the finish line and get a medal???? Well, there's much more than that.

I didn't realize the ins and outs of triathlon until I raced my first Ironman-branded event: Ironman 70.3 Boulder. A couple weeks before my race I received an Athlete Guide. Apparently, there's many rules. I can get disqualified, get penalties, get "sweeped" off the course... hmm.

Important facts to know before racing triathlons:
- Athlete Check-In: All athletes MUST check-in. Bring a photo ID and USAT membership card. You will get a wristband that will give you access to transition area before and after the race and they will give you your swim cap and bib number.
- Gear bags: You will get a green, red and blue bag. Each for different items: one for morning clothes, other for bike gear, other for run gear. Your gear MUST go in these bags. SO MUCH PLANNING.
- Cut offs: All three events have cut off times. For a half Ironman, usually, 1h10m for the swim, 5h30m after the start of the last swim wave for the bike and 8h30m after the start of the last swim wave for the run. You don't finish in this time and they will "remove" you from the course.

Important RULES to know before you jump in the lake:
- Wetsuits are allowed if the water is 76.1 degrees or lower. Between 76.2 and 83.8 you can wear them, but won't be eligible for awards... anything above that, they are prohibited.
- Wetsuits CANNOT be thicker than 5mm.
- Full wetsuits are permitted

Important RULES to know before you head out on your bike leg:
- Absolutely NO DRAFTING
- You can pass, but to avoid a drafting call you have to: pass on the right for up to 20 seconds, but must move back to the right side of the road. Failure to do this will result in a drafting violation.
- If you are overtaken, you must fall back 7 meters before attempting to regain the lead. Failure to do this will result in a drafting violation.
- Athletes must ride single file
- No tandem bikes
- You must obey traffic laws
- A helmet is required
- Absolutely no littering.

Important RULES to know before you go running:
- No form of locomotion other than running, walking or crawling is allowed (yep, you can crawl)
- You must wear your Ironman 70.3 bib number at all times
- No individual support vehicles
- A shirt or racing top must be worn at all times

So all in all, sign up, check in, prep gear bags, show up, follow the rules, get in the water, swim, take off my wetsuit, put on my biking shoes, follow the rules, bike, follow the rules, put on my running shoes, follow the rules, run, follow the rules, cross the finish line, follow the rules finally if you did it all right you do get a medal and a finisher's photo.

(Following picture taken during Ironman Coeur D'Alene in 2011. My BFF Jolene and I found each other on the bike course and ended up riding together for 50+ miles. We never got caught and we did not get a penalty)

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