Hi y’all! As you know, I’m on the West Coast working around the clock so today, I’m introducing y’all to Leigh Anne. Have fun!
Hi Everyone! Leigh Anne here from Live Fit and Run. I am a 30 year old lawyer/fitness instructor/runner living in New Orleans. In 2006, I moved to New Orleans to attend law school and I never left. In law school, I started running and since then I have run 7 half marathons and tons of smaller races. I am excited to share my love of fitness and healthy living with you!
While Courtney continues with her whirlwind April, I’m here to talk to you about something that scares the daylights out of me – triathlons! Not only do I seem to not know how to spell it (it should REALLY be spelled triathalon…), I don’t really know how to prepare for it. Other things that scare me about it – open water swims (yikes, Jaws anyone?!), biking, running after biking AND swimming… the list goes on.
What better way to conquer all of those fears than to, well, participate in a triathlon. A crazy friend of mine is competing in her first Half Ironman this April. She has been such an inspiration to me and, with a little convincing, she has convinced me to try my hand at one with the lure of free swim lessons and relaxing on the beach after the race.
It all started innocently enough. She sent an email that said something like “beach…August…fun…” and I said “sign me up!” Two years ago I got a similar email from her – “Sunday Funday… Lake Pontchatrain… great weather…” I ended up doing a paddle board race. This was my THIRD time on a paddleboard, ever. I should really learn to read emails from her more carefully.
So it looks like I will be participating in the Sandestin Triathlon in Destin, Florida in August, roughly five months away. That should give me plenty of time to back out train and conquer my fears! The Sandestin Triathlon consists of a ½ mile swim, 20 mile bike ride, and 4 mile run. Sounds easy enough, right? I have been told that my hybrid comfort bike will be good enough to get me through a 20 mile ride, so I don’t have the excuse of no bike to get out of this one.
First fear – an open water swim. Now I can swim. I grew up on the Tennessee River in North Alabama and spent every summer swimming, boating, water skiing, tubing. I am not afraid of water, or open water for that matter. However, I am fully aware that floating on a raft in the river is completely different than an open water swim in a triathlon!
Luckily my crazy triathlon friend is a former competitive swimmer and swim coach. She has assured me she will take the fear out of my swimming. She has also promised some group long bike rides together. The run I obviously have covered. But I am concerned that after biking AND swimming my legs will suddenly forget how to run…
Now all I need is a training plan. Bring on the Google searches! I have read that back-to-back bike-run training workouts (a.k.a. “bricks”) are essential—they teach you to run on legs that feel like jelly after hopping off the bike. I have about a month to figure out my training plan, but I can guarantee that it will include lots of bricks.
Finally, why a triathlon? Aside from my fears, I am ready to conquer a new challenge. I have run eight half marathons, but I am not quite ready for the full thing. Plus, I like the idea of incorporating some cycling and swimming into my routine. The added health and fitness benefits are simply icing on the cake. “Conditioning your body to plug away at three back-to-back disciplines builds muscle endurance,” says Lesley Mettler, a triathlon coach in Seattle via Women’s Health Magazine (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/triathlon-women). “When you focus exclusively on one sport, you often end up strong in some areas and soft in others. Triathletes get body benefits from all three sports and are lean and fit from head to toe, says exercise physiologist Shannon Grady, owner of Go! Athletics.”
Another added bonus? “A recent study in Radiology found that triathletes have larger, healthier hearts and a 17 percent lower heart rate (fewer beats means your ticker is so strong it doesn’t have to work as hard) than other athletes.” (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/triathlon-women).
Follow along with my training and progress over at livefitandrun.blogspot.com. I am counting on you to hold me accountable and keep me from backing out of this race! Because now that I have said that I want to do the race out loud… err, I mean on the internet, there is no backing out! Hope to see you all at the finish line!