Monday, October 18, 2010

Practicing Putting on Shoes, Then Changing Them (Then I Talk About Shoes)

T1 & T2 Day

Today I worked on both T1 and T2. So I grabbed my gear and went outside. I set the bike up and arranged my helmet and glasses on the handlebars, with both pairs of shoes opened as wide as they will go near a small towel laid out on the ground.
Then all I had to do was go. I jogged up to my makeshift transition area, pretended to wipe sand off my feet, slipped said pretend-sandless feet into cycling shoes, popped on my glasses then my helmet, and grabbed the bike and jogged off. Once I was a few feet away I climbed on and clipped my left foot in.I didn't clip in right away because, as I learned after doing a little research on transitions, there is a special transition area at triathlons and those are a No Ride zone. Keeps everything safer and more organized.
Then I turned around, unclipped, and jogged the bike back to my transition area for T2. This, I think, is going to be a more important transition for me. The key is not to rush it, but to use it as recovery time. I've already said that I plan to dial it back some the last half mile of the ride to get my heart rate down, and keeping the transition slowish and unpanicked will also help with that. I put the bike up, took my helmet off and hung it back on the bars, and slipped out of my cycling shoes and into my Vibrams. The toes aren't going to be too much of an issue I don't think. It seems more that I'm trapping the heel of the shoe under my own foot and I have to dig it out, so I need to be aware of that. Like I said though, I'm not going to panic or stress during this transition. I practiced breathing deep and slow and calming myself down so that I'll be ready to take off on the run.
I'm thinking after this race I might experiment with full-on barefoot running. I've been doing a lot of reading on it and the running world is very divided on the issue, as you can imagine. But it seems like a small step to go from FiveFingers to nothing at all. I read a running blog where the guy loves his VFFs but is not a fan of going completely without and I've been on some forums where the people swear by going unshod. The general consensus is, "Just try it. Go on a short run and just see." So I think I might. I have no idea how I'll like it, if at all, and I don't expect it to be a regular thing. But maybe barefoot every few runs will be something I really enjoy. Assuming I keep up with the triathloning (pretty sure I just created a verb there), going without shoes on the run will severely cut down my T2 time. Not like I'll be qualifying for pro races by doing that, but a PR (Personal Record) is a PR. At the very least it'll make other racers look funny at me, and we all know how much I enjoy that. Or I won't like it and stick with the VFFs, which I still love and want another pair or two of. The foot is still a little sore after runs, but it's not nearly as bad as it was and I don't feel it while I'm running. I think I'm a full on convert to the minimalist trend.
We are inside a week now. *starts humming Eye of the Tiger*

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