FPF Series: I'm Saving. Now What?

FPF Series: I'm Saving. Now What?

Read to learn about the worst & best thing to do with your money!!

Hopefully you’ve finished reading the last blog post on how to save your money! And you might be wondering… so now what? What do I do once I start saving money?

Triathlons: Getting Started for Beginners

Triathlons: Getting Started for Beginners

So you want to get into triathlons, eh?

I say, HELL YES.

Lots of you have asked:

  • How do I get started?

  • How did you learn about all of this?

  • What gear do I need?

  • How do I start training?

WELL, let’s get started then, shall we??


Step 1: Understand that triathlons can have some upfront costs.

There is a fair amount of gear that you’ll have to have, and it’s not always cheap. Sucks, I know. When I was doing my first tri, I worked at a nonprofit and I was FLOORED by how quickly everything adds up. Know that (a) this stuff lasts for a really long time, (b) you can always upgrade later, so don’t feel pressure to get all the best stuff early on, and (c) you don’t have to get it all at once. In fact, you can borrow things from friends if you want! I’ve accumulated my stuff over three years. Later in this post, I’ll outline what you NEED to have vs NICE to have.


Step 2: Sign up for a triathlon.

What!! But wait. I just asked about how to get started. I’m not tryna actually sign up for one yet?!

But I promise, once you put money down on the line and have a set date… things get real. And it gets the ball rolling!

So visit TriFind.com and find one near you!

Here are the types of triathlons:

  1. Sprint Triathlon: Swim 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers), Bike 15 miles (24 kilometers) and Run 3.1 miles (5 kilometers).

  2. Olympic Triathlon: Swim 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers), Bike 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) and Run 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).

  3. Half Ironman (70.3): Swim 1.2 miles (1.93 kilometers), Bike 56 miles (90 kilometers) and Run 13.1 miles (21 kilometers).

  4. Ironman (140.6): Swim 2.4 miles (3.9-kilometer), Bike 112 miles (180-kilometer) and Run 26.2 miles (42.2-kilometer).

I’ll admit, I was a crazy person and my first triathlon was a full ironman (140.6). I… do not recommend this route unless you’re equally as masochistic as I am haha. Most people start with a sprint or olympic distance triathlon!

Regardless of the distance, make sure you sign up for one where you’ll have plenty of time to train. Depending on the distance, aim for between 8-10 weeks for shorter races, 12-16 for mid-distance races, and 16-20 weeks for super endurance races (i.e. the Ironman). Also, each course is different, so be sure to scope things out beforehand. If you’re not a strong swimmer, maybe don’t choose a race with an ocean open water. If you’re a runner, don’t choose a race with a brutally hard bike course. Etc, etc.

Step 3: Start to get your gear (and keep getting it).

Here’s the magic rule: Work with what you have. Upgrade when you want to.

NEED To Haves:

  • Cap & Goggles

  • Swimsuit (my fave is Jolyn, but you can find good deals on Swim Outlet!)

  • Workout clothes
    If you don’t want to splurge on tri tank, shorts, or a trisuit, honestly don’t. Just wear your normal workout clothes!

  • Bike
    Don’t worry, I signed up for my first tri (also a full Ironman lol) without owning a bike. Don’t feel like you need to buy a brand new fancy bike. Any hybrid or mountain bike in your garage will be perfect, or you can borrow a friend! Local shops can also rent bikes to you for the day/weekend.

    Now that I’m a couple years into the sport, I’ve made a bigger investment in my bike. My current bike is a Specialized Amira Expert. I got it at a local bike shop in San Francisco, Velocipede Cycles.

    My very first bike I owned was a Trek Lexa. I got it from a local Trek store. Going into bike shops and talking to employees was a great way for me to learn more about bikes, what kind of bike would fit my needs, and to try them out. I’d go home and think about it, and then buy it if it felt right.

  • Water bottle + water bottle cages on the bike

    Especially as you get into longer distances, you gotta make sure you hydrate while riding! You can find both pretty easily at any bike shop for $15—30.

  • Patch kit & bike seat pack
    This is important for you to have, in case you get a flat tire! During a race, you’re expected to be able to fix your own flat tires. For more complicated mechanical failures, some races will also have mechanics available. Store your patch kit in a bike seat pack!

  • Helmet

    MUST HAVE, NON NEGOTIABLE. Most companies will have an inexpensive option between $30-40.

  • Running shoes

Nice To Haves:

  • Triathlon shorts + tank/shirt OR Trisuit
    Triathlon clothes are designed to work well for all three sports. It dries quickly out of the water, the butt pad is comfy for the bike ride but thin enough to run in, and there’s some compression. My fave tri shorts are from Zoot and 2XU, fave tank is 2XU. I haven’t tried wearing a trisuit yet, but maybe next year!

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat

  • Wetsuit
    Wetsuits can cost an insane amount ($1000, CRAZY). Don’t bother with those. I have an Xterra one that I got during a sale for $80. Feel free to also borrow OR you can also RENT a wetsuit for the weekend.

  • Race belt
    Not NECESSARY but it is SOOO convenient for when you go from bike > run. Instead of using safety pins to pin your bib onto your shirt or trisuit, you can just use this belt to keep your bib. It just snaps around your waist! Also it’s only $10ish, win win!

  • New road bike
    If you don’t want to borrow a bike or use your mountain bike, get a road bike. Road bikes are great for your first couple of years in triathlons as you get used to body positioning, handling, and riding. Plus they are versatile enough to use as commuting bikes! Expect to spend around $500-800 for a starter road bike, new. If you’re looking to get something you can grow into… budget for more than $1000.

  • Aero bars

    These are bars you can add to your road bike to help get your body positioning into a more aerodynamic position… without having to buy a Time Trial bike. These can vary in price as well, but they do allow you to get lower and avoid wind drag.

  • Cycling shoes
    Cycling shoes directly clip into your pedals and allow you to both push down AND pull up on the pedal stroke. This makes you faster and more efficient with each pedal.

  • GPS watch
    Having a watch to help you monitor your speed and heart rate on the swim, bike, and run will help you better practice racing. I have a Garmin 645 — I’ll do a write up review of this guy soon!

  • Snack pack
    Sometimes, I’ll store extra snacks in a snack pack (if I can’t fit everything into my jersey pockets), or on race day, so that it’s more easily accessible.


When you’re ready to SPLURGE:

NOTE: I haven’t gotten to anything on this list yet :P Maybe some day…

  • Triathlon /Time Trial bike
    YOU READY TO GO FOR IT?? A triathlon-specific or time trial (TT) bike has specific handlebars that places your body into the most aerodynamic position possible. This bike is not cheap, and it’s not versatile. Expect to spend over $2,000, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you know you’ll be in the sport for a long time.

  • Race wheels
    If you want more speed, get better wheels. I can’t stress enough how big an impact wheels can make on a bike. You can also rent faster wheels for race day! I’ve rented wheels for a race once and it’s a way cheaper option than buying those puppies yourself.

  • Aero helmet
    Again, anything to make yourself as aerodynamic as possible on the bike leg. This will make a bigger distance once you start increasing the race distance.

  • GPS bike computer
    If you’re looking to really monitor how you’re doing on those bike legs, invest in a bike computer. It’ll capture your pace, heart rate, power, elevation, efforts, training status, segments, etc and you can analyze it afterwards.


Step 4: Make a plan and set your goals

I usually grab a free plan from Beginner Triathlete and modify it to fit my schedule and interests. For example, I swam competitively for 12 years, so I don’t always need to swim that much during training. I find that 1x a week is sufficient enough. So I swap out other swim sessions with circuits, weights, or yoga.

Other ways you can make a plan:

  • Find a triathlon coach (although to be real, this will cost $$)

  • Join a triathlon group (some are free, some are $$)

  • Join a masters swim club, running club, or cycling group


Other places you can find resources:

  • Friends who have done triathlons before

  • Local cycling, running, or triathlon shops

  • Go volunteer at a local triathlon! Watch how they set up transition zones.

  • Read stuff online or get a book!


Step 5: Get to training!

Get on Strava (it’s like a Facebook for athletes). You can find local routes, other athletes, and other people training for your race! It’s also a great tool to use to track how you’re progressing over time when you start to repeat routes.

Part of training is hitting all the workouts, but don’t forget the other equally important parts: Recovery and Nutrition.

Recovery:

Don’t be afraid to take rest days or skip sessions if you feel like your body needs it. I aim for 1-2 rest days every week. On these days, I try to also sleep in, I minimize walking or doing a ton of errands, and I really try to stretch/rehab. Additionally, every 4 weeks I make sure to reduce the load of training. This gives me time to rest from large weeks physically, and refresh myself mentally!


Nutrition:

It’s important to understand that fueling your body properly during training is very different than what you might be used to. Your body needs a lot more carbs for fuel and a lot more protein to rebuild. Make sure that you’re not trying to cut calories or lose weight — that will come at a direct cost of your ability to build strength, endurance, and speed!

Newer athletes just need to eat a healthy diet, consistently. Nothing fancy!

And during your workouts, here are some general tips:

  • Try to eat a little something before workouts. This can be a full breakfast or a bite of a banana — whatever your stomach can handle. But it’s important to make sure you’re not starting on an empty tank.

  • You only need to fuel during workouts that are ~75 minutes or longer.

    • You’ll need to practice how to fuel your body, including: what you’re fueling with, how often, and how to eat while still moving!

  • Make sure you’re replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, while also providing fuel (in the form of carbs). For shorter races, you could probably stick to just sports drinks (I like Nuun) or energy gels. For longer races, you’ll need to supplement with bars, chews, etc. For example, when I’m riding my bike on a long ride, I usually eat Perfect Bars every 45 min and an energy waffle every hour.

  • Post workout: be sure to eat carbs (replenish energy stores) with protein (to repair your muscles). For folks newer to training — your metabolism is going to be a bit crazy while you’re adjusting. So eating something within 30-60 min of your workout will help prevent some cravings and overeating later on in the day!


Personally, I’m constantly trying to do better on both of these fronts. So I can’t say I have the answer yet! But practicing your race day nutrition while your training is important, as well as making sure you’re refueling and fueling your body with all the proper nutrients!

Step 6: Race day!!

REI has a great resource for all the things you’ll need to do the day before and day of your race. For half and full ironmans, they’ll also have Athlete briefing sessions where they’ll go over important information before the race!

Here are my top tips for race day:

  1. Make sure you get a GOOD breakfast — and leave plenty of time for you to go to the bathroom once you get to the race. There will probably be porta-potties, but EVERYONE will be in line. So plan for that time.

  2. Transition times count too! This is the time as you transition from swim > bike, bike > run. Usually, you’ll place your bike on a rack where your bib number is. Bring a towel and lay it on the ground, under your bike. On the towel, you’ll lay out all the stuff you’ll need for the other legs once you’re done with the swim: bike gear, run gear, snacks, etc. You’ll also use the towel to dry your feet before you put on socks/shoes for the bike!

  3. Expect something to go wrong. Whether it’s missing gear or getting a cramp or whatever it is — something will probably go wrong. Take a deep breath and roll with the punches!

  4. Plan to do the first half of the race slower. You don’t want to gas everything on the swim/bike, and crumble on the run. Also, when you first start the run, it’ll be tempting to go fast. Your legs are warmed up and you’re on the last leg! Make sure you don’t go all out (unless it’s a sprint and you know you got a lot of gas in the tank). Start steady, settle into a pace, build that pace, and finish strong!

  5. HAVE FUN. Honestly, you’ve made it this far and now it’s just time to have fun and race!

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Anyhoo, I think that covers most of the basics. Let me know if you have any questions!

Your Hike Essentials & Check List!

Your Hike Essentials & Check List!

Let’s get hiking, y’all.

Sponsored by Backcountry x Shopstyle

If y’all have been following, you KNOW I spend most of my weekends outdoors. Hiking, trail running, cycling, climbing, camping, backpacking… if it’s outside, I’m there.

SO many of y’all have asked about what to pack when it comes to hiking! I’m so excited to team up with Backcountry and Shopstyle to give you a guide on what to bring and where to find the best deals on all this gear.

Homebuying 101: Let's talk Realtors

Homebuying 101: Let's talk Realtors

Crazy to think it’s been one whole year since I bought my first home in Denver, solo.

Since then, I’ve learned a LOT about what it means to buy a home, be a homeowner, and manage a property. But as I’m reflecting on this whole last year, I remember how freaking OVERWHELMING it was to even think about getting started in the whole home-buying process.

And so, why not share some of the steps I took/things I learned? Maybe one of y’all will buy a home and invite me over for a lil vacay ;)

Maui Adventures!

Maui Adventures!

GAH.

Hawaii. What a magical, MAGICAL place. Gorgeous islands where you can lay out on the beach OR go hike a volcano, eat fresh cut pineapple or freshly caught seafood. Seriously, it is magic.

I just went to Maui for 6 days and here are my recommendations!

FPF Series: How to Save Your Money

FPF Series: How to Save Your Money

Let’s talk about how to save your money, on the daily, monthly, and long term scale!

Although I'm not a client, I recently chatted with a @JohnHancockUSA financial planner. One of my 2019 goals is to make sure my budgets are in check (especially since I just moved to an uuuuuber expensive city).

Here are some general finance tips I have learned, as well as what has personally worked for me!

Tokyo Adventures!

Tokyo Adventures!

GAH where to even begin! Tokyo was insane and delicious and sensory overload and kind and tradition and modernity, all steeped together and served in a steaming melting (hot)pot.

I was there mostly for work so I spent the majority of my time at the Google office there :) But, I did manage to get about 3.5 days of sightseeing in, so here’s what I covered! I would DEFINITELY go back to see the rest of Japan. Kyoto… Osaka… Hokkaido… GAH I want everything.

Anyhoo, here’s the list!

FPF Series: Early Retirement

FPF Series: Early Retirement

Early retirement?

Wait, Chi… did you like.. skip the whole section of retirement?

Yeah, yeah I hear you. It might seem crazy to talk about “early retirement” before even talking in depth about retirement generally, but I just wanted to talk about the third principle (check out Principles #1 and 2 in the previous post) that also rocked my world and dramatically changed how I approached my own personal finances. I promise, we’ll get to Retirement 101 in later posts. ;)

FPF Series: Personal Finance 101

FPF Series: Personal Finance 101

OKAY! So the very requested, long overdue series on Finance is here. Every Friday for the next month, check in to the blog for a new post about finances and how to be a BOSS at handling your budgets!

Winter Gear RoundUp!

Winter Gear RoundUp!

I grew up in San Diego, CA.

Which means that I am a total baby when it comes to dealing with the cold.

Which also means I take my winter gear VEEEERY seriously! Lots of folks have asked me what my favorite winter gear is, especially when it comes to being outdoors! And with my recent cross-country roadtrip with my Dad through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California, I DEFINITELY got to test out my gear. So here is a roundup of my favorite items:

Let's talk about digestion

Let's talk about digestion

Bowel movements. Pooping. Constipation. Digestive health. Not the most sexy of all wellness topics, am I right??

And there’s SUCH a taboo about it! It can be really embarrassing to admit that you have problems in the bathroom.

But hey, I’ll admit it.

If I’m not careful, it can be easy for me to be constipated or bloated — especially when I am traveling. Things can feel out-of-whack, and when those signs hit me, I know it’s time to pay more attention. Anyone else feeling me on this?

So I thought it would be a good time to dive into some basics of digestive health and how probiotics can play a good part in keeping things moving!

How to Choose Running Shoes!

How to Choose Running Shoes!

How to Find Your Sole-Mate

One of the biggest questions I get asked on Instagram is: What is your recommendation for running shoes?

My answer: It depends… on what feels the most comfy on your foot!

To which… lots of you probably roll your eyes and say, OKAY well what does that even mean??

Don’t fear! Here are 3 simple steps to finding your sole-mate:

Switzerland Adventures

Switzerland Adventures

7 Days in Switzerland!

Switzerland is easily one of the most breathtaking, beautiful place I have ever been. And I live in Colorado with the Rocky Mountains. Something about those Alps seriously just knocked me off my feet!

Anyways, here are all the places I ended up going during my time. Some of my all-time favorite areas were Interlaken/Grindelwald and Bern!


Read More….

How I Found (& Fell in Love With) UX Design

How I Found (& Fell in Love With) UX Design

Hi, I’m Chi.

And I never thought I would have a job as a “designer”.

Seriously. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer. Then a figure skater. Then a doctor. Then I got to college and had NO CLUE what I wanted to do. I felt all this pressure to figure out what I was going to do when I graduated and… I had no clue. It was terrifying.

To end up here, where I am today, blows my mind. Here’s my story:

Read more….

The Ultimate Female Travel Packing List

The Ultimate Female Travel Packing List

Specifically, here is what I packed for travel in Switzerland, Italy, and Turkey!

Things to know: I knew I would have to pack for multiple climates and activities. Trail running in Swiss mountains is a very different wardrobe than sight seeing in Istanbul and going out for drinks in Italy! Also, my trip dates were September 28-November 3, so I knew I would have some late summer/early fall weather. But above all, everything I packed I had to make sure that I could wear them in at least 2 of the following 3 contexts: hiking/exercising, sight-seeing, fancy things.

However, there are definitely things I learned from this last trip. Hopefully, you can use my packing list (and things I learned) as a good starting base for YOUR awesome trip! As always, depending on where you will be and what you will be doing, some of these items aren’t necessary. If you’re going to Milan in December, it’s going to be very chilly and winter coat season. If you’re in Rome in the summertime, prepare for some sweltering heat! For general tips and even more ideas on what you might need, check out Pack Hacker!

Read more….

The FITPHAM Guide to Denver

The FITPHAM Guide to Denver

Headed to Denver and wondering what you should do?

Look no further! Here is my top picks for sights to see, foods to eat, and things to do! 

Read more…