cycling · running · swimming · training · triathalon

Let the Countdown to Niagara Falls “Barrelman” Triathlon Begin

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls. Image from the race website, course details:
Panoramic view of Niagara Falls. Image from the race website, course details:

The Niagara Falls “Barrelman” Triathlon (renamed from the previous copyright-infringing “Half Ironman”) is on  September 21st, 2014, just three days before my 50th birthday.  The course is a 2000m swim followed by a fast, flat, and beautiful 90K bike ride, and ending with a 21.1K (half marathon) run that takes you past the Falls twice.

I’ve been working on my swimming through the winter, hauling myself out of bed regularly for group training at the Y with an excellent and experienced coach.  The other thing I’ve stuck with is my running.  I joined the 10K clinic back in early January and feel proud to say that I stayed pretty faithful to the 3 times a week training outside despite one of the coldest, snowiest, polar vortex-iest winters on record.  Like: the Great Lakes were 95% or more frozen until last week.

I haven’t cycled at all since that fateful ride in November  but today Sam told me that the gains are fast and dramatic in cycling.  If I ride with her lunchtime group on Tuesdays and Thursdays as much as possible from April 22 onwards, I should be okay.

So that got me thinking. Why stop at the Olympic distance that I’ve been training for. Why not set my sights a bit higher, with the next distance up, equivalent to what is known as a “Half Ironman” or a “70.3” distance race?  The Niagara race came to mind immediately because of the stunning setting and the perfect timing.  Completing my “fittest by fifty” challenge just three days before my 50th birthday with an epic race like the Niagara Barrelman would be an unbelievable way to usher in the new decade.

I mean, what does it matter that the furthest I’ve run so far is 13K and I limped on a bad knee for the rest of the day? And who cares if I’ve only ever biked 55K and when I did I felt miserable, my thighs seized up a few times, and I literally fell over when a hill got the better of me?  No, I couldn’t have run a half marathon after that, but I’ve got the entire summer to train.

At least the swimming is in place. In the pool, anyway.  I’m going to train in the open water with the club this summer.

So here’s the plan:

1. Run for Retina 10K running race on April 13th

2. Cambridge Sprint Distance Triathlon on June 15th.

3. Kincardine Women’s Triathlon on July 12th

4. Bracebridge Olympic Distance Triathlon on August 9th

5. Niagara Barrelman on September 21st

6. Turn 50 on September 24th

How does that sound?  I sure do hope that I can sustain my training on our road trip to the Grand Canyon from August 18-24 and our week at Burning Man from August 25-September 1 doesn’t interfere too much with my prep for Niagara.

April Fool’s!

I’m as likely to be ready for the Barrelman this year (or any year–but I can dream) as I am to go over the Falls in a barrel!

The rest of the plan (including Burning Man and turning 50) is a go!