I'm sitting here on this Friday night, drinking a beer, wondering how drinking a beer will affect my training. One beverage with dinner plays an insignificant part in the diet, I conclude. On the otherhand, weekend over-indulgence is obviously to be avoided. And what about those post-race libations?
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Triathlon is a lifestyle, it is definitely what you make of it. To sum up the sequence of this lifestyle, you:

A. Make goals to train, and sign up for races
B. Train
C. Race
D. Gain accomplishment

Let us first take a close look at Part C, to eventually tie in the beer. Pre-race is mostly preparation, whether it be the carbs you ate the night before, the strategically planned potty break, to the gush of adrenaline the moment before your wave hits the water. The duration of the race is a showcase of your daily, weekly, and monthly training. Post-race activities include anything to recover. In my experience, it is dedicated to three things, usually in the following order:

1. Trying to find those people you thought were going to meet you at the finish line
2. Signing up for a massage before having to wait for an hour
3. EATING! I swear I pay $90 only to stuff my face in the breakfast line, and think next time there is no breakfast line if I finish first, right?

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First triathlon at Parris Island in 2009 was almost a blur. I recall nervously scoping out my spot in the transition area, "warming up" by biking half of the course, and then somehow finishing (forget trying to remember the start). The thoughts going through my head were:
"W....T....F.... am I doing?"
"What if I get lost on the course?"
"Crap, I passed that guy a quarter of the way through the swim, and now he's zooming past me with his fancy bicycle and gear?"
"Go faster. Keep going."
"Hah, I am running past cycle guy."
"Those volunteers sure are cute."
"Where's the finish line?"

It was a blur. I was more prepared at my second tri in Texas, though my spectating sister was not. I eventually found her 20 minutes after I crossed the finish line and asked if she got any pictures of me racing, to which she replied "Oh yea, I have some really good ones!" As I sat down to stuff my face, I just about choked on a bagel when she asked, "So when do you have to do your run?" Mental note taken to let future spectators understand the elements of a triathlon. I did manage to look around at the post-race scene, being more comfortable with the expectations of a triathlon, and noticed a Beer and Wine Tent. Coming up on my fourth season, I still wonder who on earth wants to further dehydrate themselves after such physical exertion??

Reexamine Parts A-C, and you will find facets of each to continuously improve. (Hence, why the multi-sport is addictive.) Again, triathlon is what YOU make of it. Training and racing are so different for everybody-- how do you incoporate training into your life? How do you prepare? How do you race? I swim when possible, I bike to work, I try to run every day. I race for fun, to finish, and have a silly goal to smile at all the race photographers. Bib number 735 is intent on avoiding a billion swimmers in the lake, while number 803 just wants to decrease T2 time, and number 548 I can tell you is not even close to smiling. When the race is over, all of our accomplishments will therefore be different, but we have all gained something. Part D is where we come together as triathletes. We were dedicated to our training, we committed to our race, and we finished. I believe that everyone is their own triathlete, and everyone can be a triathlete.

Do tell me if I am being over-analytical about the brew. Will this be the year I finally venture over to the beer tent and discover the effects of a post-race celebratory drink? Someone once told me simply that it would replenish carbs.

-Lynsa




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