Do you Tri?

By Courtney DiFiore

If you asked me to run, I’d be happy to lace up. Tell me to get on a bike and I’ll take a scenic ride through Southern Vermont. I’m not the best swimmer, but if asked to take a few laps, I’d oblige. Now, if someone asked me to do all three, I’d say you’re crazy.

Triathletes are some of the most impressive athletes there are. An Olympic Triathlon is comprised of a .9 mile swim, 24.8 mile cycling and 6.2 mile run. This September, Stratton is holding their inaugural Grizzly Triathlon. It’s a sprint style triathlon making it perfect for those wanting to break into the tri circuit (like me!). A sprint tri is shorter in distance with a swim of 400 to 500 yards, 12 to 15 mile cycling and a 3.1 mile run. Now that we have all the facts, the next step would be to start training.

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I got the chance to meet Tom Montemagni and Nancy Aboff, two seasoned triathletes, at Stratton’s first Triathlon Training workshop. Montemagni competed at the International Triathlon Union’s 2011 World Championships in Beijing, China. Competing in grand masters division, Montemagni finished seventh in world competition in the Olympic distance race. He also took third, sixth and eighth place at the United States Triathlon Nationals and will be competing at the Nationals this year in Milwaukee and at the International Triathlon Union World Championships in London this September. After hearing all that, I was confident that I was in good hands.

Aboff works as a part-time attorney and full-time mom, but trust me when I say you wouldn’t know it unless she told you. She has so much energy! Aboff is an elite Long Island runner and World Champion 70.3 Ironman triathlete. She’s been ranked USAT all American Triathlete, teaches TRX classes, does personal training and has competed in multiple Ironman World Championships. Can you say Super Mom?!

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Once I was filled in on the background of these two coaches, I realized I could never use the excuse ‘I just don’t have the time’ anymore. If they can make time to train and compete, I can too! The morning began with swim training at the Sports Center, which ironically I could not attend even though it’s the area I need the most help in.

Bob Speck, a fellow participant of the workshop told me (when I finally did arrive), that the biggest take away from swimming for him was to “be a fish not a Labrador.”

Sounds funny, I know, but after he explained it to me, it made much more sense. Montemagni and Aboff talked about the importance of not pushing the water out of the way but gliding through it like a fish, rolling as you do, giving you the opportunity to use your whole body. Of course there’s more to swimming than that, but it’s a start which is all I was looking for.

Biking and running came next, two topics I’m more familiar with. We discussed equipment, training, nutrition and Montemagni and Aboff were able to talk us through transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. There’s so much preparation and planning that goes into a triathlon.ny, I know, but after he explained it to me, it made much more sense. Montemagni and Aboff talked about the importance of not pushing the water out of the way but gliding through it like a fish, rolling as you do, giving you the opportunity to use your whole body. Of course there’s more to swimming than that, but it’s a start which is all I was looking for.

By the end of the workshop, I had made a personal decision to enter into the Grizzly Triathlon on September, 1. Do I think I’ll complete it? Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll even make it out of the water. But I’m confident that by listening to the advice from experienced triathletes Montemagni and Aboff and attending the next triathlon training, July 12-14, I’ll be successful. Now, all I have to do is get a bike.

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