8 (Totally Imaginary) Must-Have Running and Triathlon Gear, Apps and Accessories

8 (Totally Imaginary) Must-Have Running and Triathlon Gear, Apps and Accessories
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In the February issue of Triathlete Magazine, Jesse Thomas wrote about the most awesome, totally imaginary tri products he wished were real. He crowdsourced ideas from his fans on social media, so the collective tri geekiness came up with some great stuff — like a business casual tri suit (for seamless transition from training to work); or a laser helmet attachment that tells you if you are in the draft zone (red) or out (green). And my favorite:

“An automatic spouse-appeaser option when you sign up for a race: You click the box and on race day she gets flowers and a babysitter.”


(Or for the husbands: a case of fancy local brew to drink with the bros. Cheers to that.)

As a runner and triathlete, I often find myself daydreaming of things that would be so cool to have – if only they were real. (Because no triathlete is ever in possession of enough gadgets, you know?) So if I may, here are a few of my humble additions to Jesse’s master list.

First, as a runner, I wish for:

1. The one magic shoe.

I wish there existed only one single brand and type of running shoe in the whole world. It would magically mold itself to our feet and become the optimal shoe for our weight and gait, thus enabling each runner to run efficiently and injury free, in perpetuity. The best part? You could get your shoes 100% personalized with your favorite colors, patterns and inspirational quotes.

2. The app or device that syncs with my belly.

I wish there was an app or Garmin-like device that connects to my stomach via bluetooth and tracks all calories I take in, along with macro and micro-nutrients. It would then sync with Strava, RunKeeper or any other fitness app, to match those against the calories I burn in training — and alert me whenever I’m off my ideal nutrient intake for optimal training and race performance. As a bonus, it would make dinners suggestions based on my daily data, complete with easy recipes and one-click ordering and delivery options for all ingredients (or meals).

3. A self-cleaning, odor-free porta potty.

Self explanatory.

4. Self-cleaning, odor-free running clothes?

Or any kind of clothes, for that matter… but who are we kidding. Running clothes are the only clothes we have these days.

Now, as a triathlete, I’d like to add a few more things to the list:

5. The one magic saddle.

That molds to every cyclist or triathlete’s butt, for maximum comfort without compromising aerodynamics. So we don’t ever have to worry about reapplying chamois butter, ever again.

6. A 1.2-mile long swimming pool.

To enable the perfect time trial for your 70.3 or 140.6.

8. A bike with self-pumping tires.

Because I always forget before a long ride!

8. A self-cleaning house.

The trick is this. It only cleans itself while I train and the area cleaned is commensurate with time and quality of training. The smarter you train, the cleaner your house when you get home. Bonus: extra-special self-cleaning service happens during races, but is independent of race performance – because no matter where you placed, you gave it your best!

–> What are some imaginary products on your wish list?
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How many hours does a triathlete train in a year?

How many hours does a triathlete train in a year?
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Have I told you that triathlon is amazing? (Yes, many times, but I’ll say it again.) It’s a lifestyle. It’s challenging, but empowering. It’s time-consuming, but so much fun! It’s competitive, but your competitors will become your friends quicker than you can set up your transition area, I promise.

It’s addictive. And so is all the data about your training that you’ll undoubtedly begin collecting as soon as you get into it. With Strava, of course, where all runners, bikers and triathletes go to have fun obsess over their segments and course records immediately after they get home from training.

So it is courtesy of Strava that I give you the sum-total of my training in 2014. The miles and training hours, and a few select racing highlights. If you ever wondered how many hours a triathlete spends in training, or how many miles they swim, bike or run, here’s a glimpse at mine:

To Chicago and Back

Together, my swim-bike-running miles for 2014 would have taken me from my doorstep to the tip of the Pier in Chicago and back, with 145 miles to spare for sightseeing… Or running the route of the Chicago Marathon approximately five and a half times. Wait… That’s not a bad idea, someone should try it. Dean?

Miles: 4,422.5

Of those, just under 1,300 were on the run. Let’s make it a trip to Denver, Colorado, with 50-ish miles to spare… I’ll use them to get to the airport and fly back home!

Highest mileage month: June, 555 miles. Remember, this is swim, bike and run together. Summer months mean more riding, plus these were peak training weeks for Ironman 70.3 Vineman. It makes sense.

Lowest mileage month: April, 166 miles. I hardly rode a mile in April, dedicating the month to a ramped-up training plan for the Big Sur International Marathon. Makes sense again. Don’t you just love numbers?

Notably, December mileage was 196, nearly all of it running in prep for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K. ‘Twas the season!

Working Girl

Let’s talk hours now. Care to guess how many hours a triathlete spends in training? Days?

I don’t know what the “normal” is, but these are my stats:

Hours training: 517

That’s 64 and a half 8-hour work days, FYI. No time for lunch runch.

Longest hours: June and July, with 55 each, or an average 13:45 a week.

Shortest hours: December, 30 hours or an average 7.5 a week.

Hey! Kind of like the calendar. Long days in the summer, short in the winter. Makes sense, right?

The (Twice-)Daily Grind

As for number of workouts (or activities), that’s 633 for me, or an average 1.75 per day. I do count things like riding a bike to the gym or work an activity (hours in the saddle are hours in the saddle, regardless!), but let’s face it: twice-a-days are a way of tri-life, and super fun once you get used to them. Also, twice-a-days are usually big appetite days, just so you know.

And, since the average American coffee drinker drinks 3 cups a day and triathletes love coffee and it’s a performance enhancer, an average of a cup and a half per workout per day is a perfectly normal thing to do in your life.

I totally just justified two-a-days, someone please make a meme out of this or I’ll just put one here that hardly has anything to do with anything:

Speaking of Marathons…

(And see? Marathon meme completely appropriate now.)

A few fun racing stats:

Total miles raced: 401

That’s 14 races, of which:
3 x 70.3-distance triathlons (half-Iron)
one 56-mile bike leg in a half-Iron distance race relay
one 50K (that was really a 51.5K due to a last-minute course change)
one marathon
2 x sprint-distance triathlons
two half marathons (I can’t believe I only raced two in 2014!)
two 10Ks
one 5-mile run
one 5K

P-to-the-R trivia

Clocked a few PRs last year, including:

5K: 23:11 min (on tired legs while building mileage for Big Sur; can do better in 2015!)
10K: 49:13 min (also tired legs, during peak week for Ironman 70.3 Vineman)
Half marathon: 1:49:19 at the Giant Race in SF.
70.3: 5:36:50 at my third try at that distance, a full hour of improvement over the first.

Let’s play favorites

No year-in-review is complete without mentioning a few of my favorite races, so here we are, in no particular order:

The Big Sur International Marathon. One for every runner’s bucket list! It was my slowest marathon yet and worth every minute on this incredible course!

Ironman 70.3 Vineman for the beautiful course.

Challenge Rancho Cordova for the pristine swim, a very smoothly organized inaugural event and great race experience overall.

Ironman 70.3 California (Oceanside) for my favorite medal and best birthday party ever!

It’s been a great year. Thanks for being a part of it! (Sorry, Facebook, couldn’t help it.)

If you’d like to follow my swim-bike-run shenanigans in 2015, head over to Strava, Instagram and Facebook, and let’s be friends! I’ll continue to post race recaps here, of course, or other big/ interesting announcements.

Here’s to a healthy, sweaty, injury-free and PR-full 2015!

Limited-Time Magic and SJR Tri Giveaway Winner!

Limited-Time Magic and SJR Tri Giveaway Winner!
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Oh well, like the Mouse said, magic lasts for a limited time only. Just like KidRuns’ patience and attention span!
He had a blast a Disneyland, by the way. Loved the Kids’ Run, loved my humongous pimped-out medal even more (we did have the “I get to wear it — No, I get to wear it” spat, for real), and really, really loved getting close and personal with his favorite characters.

Goes to show. If your kid bursts into tears when you tell them you’re going to Disneyland — because allegedly they don’t want to — just remind them Mom and Dad just know better, okay?

Anyway! Our magical trip has ended and we’re back home – and I will spill all about the Disneyland Half Marathon very, very soon, I promise! But in the meantime, I’m very excited to sprinkle some magical fairy dust one mother runner’s way: the winner of the See Jane Run triathlon giveaway!

We kicked off the giveaway last week and the winner was selected randomly (and automatically) by Rafflecopter today. So, drumroll please….

Congratulations, Roxanne Hopkins!

Drop me an email or a PM on Facebook, please, so I can send you your free registration code!

Everyone else, please feel free to grab a $10 discount with code tridu13 when you register online!