The Longmont Triathlon is the longest running triathlon in the state of Colorado. One of the reasons it’s been around for so long is it’s appeal to beginners. It’s a small event, it has a pool swim, is a sprint distance – now with a Try-a-Tri shorter distance, and has just about the best volunteers gratitude can buy.
Several years ago, three local event sponsors teamed together and created the Story Bowl. It offers participants the opportunity to ‘tell their story’ because everyone has one.
Today we share stories from First Time triathlon participants. Read on and get inspired.
Ron L, First Time Triathlete
I started competing in triathlon in 2011. I’ve always loved healthy competition and triathlon were the next new challenge as I passed 50. Competing makes me feel more healthy and I love the opportunity to experience all the different aspects of competitions. But this one was different.
Earlier this year my younger sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, MS. This hit my family hard and me especially. So, when I registered for the Longmont Triathlon, it was with renewed purpose: I wanted to compete for her. When I swim/bike today, I’m competing for my sister: when my team stands with me, they stand with her. This experience is something that I want to do because she can’t. I hope through the experience I can show support in my way for her fight.
Stephen D, First Time Triathlete
I started a spin/swim class here at Centennial Pool with the goal of improving my riding and learning proper swim strokes. I had no intention of doing a triathlon but I got hooked on the training, in Jim’s class, and met lots of encouraging class mates. At age 66, my first tri wont be the fastest but it will be my first, and a PR.
Colleen B, First Time Triathlete
My name is Colleen and today I did my first ever triathlon!
I was inspired to do this by my friend Erin. She was supposed to be here today but had to have emergency surgery last week to take her appendix out. So, I dedicate this to Erin A! I was so worried about the swim but I survived! My husband is a UFC fighter and is in phenomenal shape and he kept telling me ‘you have to challenge yourself to change yourself’. I feel like I did that today! What an awesome feeling it is!! Right when I was done I Facetimed my husband and 3 kids and they’re SO proud of me!!
If you missed last week’s post on the Longmont Triathlon Story Bowl and it’s history, check it out HERE
Back in 2014 I engaged Sara Taylor (Currently the City’s Recreation Program Supervisor, but who was also race director at the time), about Boulder Salt partnering/sponsorship in some way with the Longmont Tri. I knew that I wanted it to be in a unique way, rather than the typical age group awards. Sara was very open to suggestions. When it came down to it, I wanted to be a part of an award that didn’t revolve around how fast a person is. I knew from experience that everyone out there has their own story behind getting into triathlon and some people are fighting a fight that you couldn’t imagine. They might be coming in 83rd in their division or even the last to cross the finish line, but there’s something remarkable about their spirit, inspiration, or journey that most people will never know.
So to take the thinking back a few years: before I ever did my first triathlon (which happened to be at the Longmont Tri), I would sign up to volunteer along with other members of Blue Sky Velo, a cycling and tri club I am a member of. I would get to talking to the athletes and was blown away by the stories I heard about what brought them to the event in the first place or why they kept coming back (it’s the longest running tri in Colorado, and maybe even the 48 contiguous states). Read Save the Longmont Triathlon Here
I would get into conversations with other people, including event staff, and tell them the stories. I realized pretty quickly that what I was doing, by reaching out and asking/sharing stories was somewhat unusual and gave people a very different insight into the athletes on course. As I thought about the award and wanting it to be unique, I came up with the idea to ask people to write down their stories, and then choose a few to recognize during the awards ceremony. With Sara’s help I contacted other sponsors, which tended to be independent, local business, told them of the idea and invited them to join me. Two other (long time) Longmont Tri sponsors (*Bob Cranny/Altitude Physical Therapy and Dr. Donna Mitchell/BodyPoint Medicine) were very enthusiastic about this type of award and we joined together to give three participants a very nice prize package based on their “story”.
The stories were broken into 3 categories: My first Longmont Tri, My most unique/funny Longmont Tri experience and My most memorable/inspiring Longmont Triathlon experience. Traditionally I talk to athletes during packet pick up and on race morning and invite them to write down their stories. The other sponsors and myself read the stories and select three (not necessarily one from each category, but we do try for a mixture when possible). Then those stories are read by the announcer immediately preceding the age group awards. Those athletes are awarded their prize package and get their pictures taken. It’s becoming a favorite 5-10 minute time period at the triathlon and a very nice way to honor the community of athletes that are drawn to this long-running hometown event – now in it’s 38th year!
*I would also like to point out the Bob and Donna, in addition to being longtime sponsors, both have a pretty long history of competing in the Longmont Tri! I have participated 2 or 3 times.
Missy C., Triathlon Veteran, Most Memorable Longmont Triathlon
I am currently a veteran of over 25 triathlons and Longmont is one of my favorites. It’s well organized, has great volunteers and always great post race food and other goodies. Most importantly though, I love the atmosphere: low-key, welcoming all abilities and especially encouraging first-timers. My all-time favorite triathlon memory was a few years ago here. . . a female participant was sitting by her bike after the swim leisurely enjoying a piece of chocolate cake! She said she had earned it, and obviously had no desire to rush through the experience. Triathlons do not have to be just a competition or a race. The journey to get there is the real reward, as much as the event itself.
Kirk D., Most Unique Longmont Tirathlon
In 2009, my wife convinced me to do the Longmont Tri with her. I only did it to support her and thught it would only be a 1-time thing. In 2010, I did my first Half Ironman!
Since 2009, I’ve done the Longmont Tri all but one year, Have done dozens of Sprints & Olympics and 3 Halfiron distance races.
The Longmont Triathlon is the longest running triathlon in the State of Colorado. Now in it’s 38th year!
No event can ever be successful with out a full compliment of volunteers. Race Director Sara Taylor is looking for folks to help make this great weekend a huge success. Read on to see how you can help by volunteering for this great event.
Recreation and Golf services is planning for the 38th Longmont Triathlon Weekend on June 2nd and June 3rd. We need volunteers to keep the athletes safe and motivated on the course. This is a wonderful opportunity for families, students, athletic teams, churches, and business organizations to give back to the community, team build, and gather volunteer hours. Youth 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Please consider joining us to cheer, direct participants, hand-out water, or help with registration and/or hospitality. We need help on Saturday, June 2nd from 7am to 11am and on Sunday, June 3rd from approximately 6:15am to 11am. If you can help, please email Sara Taylor (email@example.com) with your job preference, day/days you can help and your contact information. You are welcome to volunteer for one day or both!
Thank you in advance for your time and energy. This event wouldn’t be the same without smiling faces and encouraging cheers.
Gain some inspiration from these great stories shared by first time participants over the past several years. Watch for more of these fun and inspiring Story Bowl Stories over the next several weeks.
Longmont Tri Participant, Greg Thompson, First Timer Athlete
2006. My daughter was 9 and I was 38. She was on a synchronized swim team and I was swimming a handful of times per month, but had not ridden a bike in over a decade and was slow jogging only 2 miles, when I saw the advertisement for kid and adult tri. I asked my daughter, quite out-of-the-blue, if she would do the kid event and I would do the adult tri. She rapidly replied ‘yes’. Suddenly I was in shock and it was only 5 weeks away! I felt like dying as I gasped for air across the finish line that first time, This was the start of a terrific journey and 6 years later, I competed in my first iron distance tri in North Carolina and was 2nd in my age group. Now after two knee surgeries, I’m back for my 9th Longmont Tri.
Longmont Tri Participant, Kevin Pallaoro, First Timer Athlete
About 8 month ago, I took my 3 yr old daughter to her first swim lesson and she asked why I couldn’t teach her to swim. My response sparked something in me. The reality is that I didn’t know how to swim. Three days later I signed up for masters swim and started my journey towards my first tri.
I chose Longmont since it was a pool swim and my wife works for the city I a very excited for my first ever tri and a new found love for swimming.
As multi-sport athletes, we’ve pretty much all heard about the importance of salt – sodium – electrolytes – during endurance activities, especially in hot weather.
But how much? And what kind? And how often?
The go-to “test” most athletes are familiar with is a sweat rate test – weigh yourself before exercise, go hard for an hour, weigh yourself again, and do the math on how much fluid you lose (details below). Then load up with any of the many sports drinks out on the market, and try to consume close to the amount you normally sweat out.
BUT. So many different products. And they all affect our guts in different ways.
Saltsandmineralsthatcanconductelectricalimpulses in thebody.Commonhumanelectrolytesaresodiumchloride,potassium,calcium,andsodiumbicarbonate.Electrolytescontrolthefluidbalance of thebodyandareimportant in musclecontraction,energygeneration,andalmosteverymajorbiochemicalreaction in thebody. –From Medical Dictionary
And, perhaps more importantly, the concentration of sodium in your sweat is as important to understand and utilize as your sweat rate.
My coach has recommended I use the current off season to tackle any testing and nutrition questions, so I have plenty of time over the winter and spring to integrate any changes and trial-and-error any new products. I’ve had year-over-year trouble with gut issues and muscle cramping, so salt intake is at the top of my list.
I checked in with resident expert Ryan Ignatz at Colorado Multisport, who agreed, saying, “Now is a good time to consider Sodium Composition Testing since people have more time and can start implementing their new knowledge with their bigger indoor workouts. Often we see people just drink water when they ride inside through the winter, which can actually create a bit of issue in their sodium balance after a few workouts.”
I booked an appointment at CMS for the sweat test and was surprised to learn no workout was involved. This test can be done any time, with no exercise-induced sweat necessary.
I sat comfortably in a chair, and Ryan applied a small disk to my forearm, secured with a strap.
The disk is equipped with a type of electrode that promotes a sweat reaction on the skin just below the disk.
The sweat is collected in a tiny coil of tubing inside another disk called a macroduct; once enough sweat has been collected, Ryan withdraws the fluid using a syringe and analyzes it with the Precision Hydration machine.
And just like that it’s confirmed – I am a salty sweater!
I’m in the “high” category, bordering on “very high.”
I need 1331mg of sodium for every liter of sweat that I lose.
Levels of sodium loss fall anywhere between 200mg or 2200 mg – but the proportion each individual loses stays the same (except for hyponutremia, a condition caused by overhydrating with plain water – without sodium – and water diluting the blood stream). Thus, each athlete’s sodium concentration level is individual, similar to a blood type or VO2 max… it’s yours for life, and it does not change.
When I do a traditional sweat test (see below), I lose two pounds over an hour – so I basically need at least a full liter of fluid and 1200-1300mg of sodium for every hour of racing. Plus 200-300 calories an hour.
The immediacy, and accuracy of this data is quite reassuring, especially given my history.
During my last full Ironman, I suffered kidney trouble. I was using a well-respected endurance formula (“exclusive blend… all the electrolytes an endurance athlete needs… no need to supplement with salt tablets...”). I consumed 24 oz an hour, 240 calories, 334mg of sodium – not nearly enough sodium for me.
Unknowingly, hour after hour, I was about 1000mg shy of meeting my sodium needs, compounding every 60 minutes. Plus I supplemented with some extra water – which only further diluted my blood sodium level. No wonder mid-way through the day my kidneys weren’t working well, and after the event I experienced mild rhabdomyolysis .
The key is the sodium concentration in your sweat, and your sports drink.
Ryan reassures me, underlining the importance of ratios over quantity: “Its more about the concentration of sodium in the fluid you drink – it’s not only about how many milligrams per hour, because that varies depending upon different conditions, such as intensity, temperature, etc.; both your sodium concentration, and sweat rate are important. You need to drink to thirst, and make sure your drink contains the correct sodium concentration – that is what is important.”
Determining those formulas ahead of time is the key to solid hydration: Ryan says to look at packages, and really read the labels. “If Gatorade Endurance is on course, look at those sodium levels ahead of time and consider how much you’ll need.” Another thing to consider is everyday nutrition, and sodium intake during training sessions. “Athletes who train regularly and eat ‘clean’ tend to not add salt, and may not get enough in their everyday diet,” Ryan adds – another reason to dial in sodium levels to ensure training fluids are the proper concentration.
The next part of the sweat test included reviewing the leading products on the market, factoring the sodium levels, and taking into account past gut-checks, calories, delivery method (salt capsules, stick-licks, powders, etc.).
When you study the variety of offerings, you might be surprised. For example, Endurolytes by Hammer – whose name indicates a product appropriate for endurance events (“Electrolyte replenishment done right“) – has only 40mg of sodium per capsule.
Do the math… for me, needing 1300mg of sodium per hour, I would need 32.5 capsulesevery hour. Thirty-two+ pills. Every hour.
There are different types of salt… Sodium Citrate is not as strong tasting… and Sodium chloride is table salt.
Ryan suggests drinking to thirst, and then separating your carbohydrates/calories from your fueling. He recommends dialing in your hydration: “Make sure everything that you drink has a certain concentration of electrolyte – that way, no matter what amount you drink, you always have the best ratio of sodium to fluid for your personal body chemistry. ”
Base salt… Boulder salt… Salt Stick… what’s the difference? “Mostly method of delivery,” Ryan says. “From a salt shaker kind of delivery, where you lick the dispenser, to capsules, under the tongue delivery (bypassing the stomach), to a canister with a scoop for mixing with fluid.” Other things to consider are packaging (key when you’re trying to ingest while in the aerobars or carrying on the run), and cost. Some offer better ability to measure intake-specific doses.
What if you find yourself on a course, you’re unsure of your sodium needs, and salt is being offered? Ryan says, if in doubt, take it. “Most of the time it’s probably a benefit because most people aren’t doing enough.”
“When we exercise, the number one job the body has is to cool itself – through sweat,” Ryan points out. “It will do that above just about anything else. Sodium concentration is key to this process.”
One final point from Ryan: “Drinking to schedule can work against you – drinking to thirst, with proper ratio of electrolyte to fluid, is the best practice.” And, “Always, always, check the math!”
Contact Colorado Multisport to book your Sodium Composition Test. The cost us normally $129 – mention this article and 303Triathlon for a 10% discount plus 10% back through December 31, 2017!
A certificate for the test can make a great gift for the triathlete in your life.