Take Two: Block Island Triathlon

Over the weekend I took part in one of my favorite events of the summer: The Block Island Triathlon. I competed last year and loved every second of it. This year was different, I had a race team.

IMG_1387I must have made it sound easy or something as my mother, Karen, and friend, Evan, decided to sign up as well. My mother is a fit lady who loves to be active in many ways (especially Jazzy ones), and Evan is a runner who has never competed in a triathlon.
Mom was pretty confident. Saying ,“Michael Phelps isn’t even a stellar athlete” as we watch him carry the US flag at the Rio opening ceremony the night before. I guess she thought she could take him on the swim portion if she had to.


As race day approach we were all nervous about the weather with storms predicted. I said my prayers and wished for the best. Luckily, Saturday arrived with sun and smiles. We prepped our transition stations with “recyclable” footbaths.

At 9 am the race went off. I was in the first heat. Ekk.

The race consisted of a ¼ mile swim at Fred Benson Town Beach. It was tough as I was running into the water and headed towards the same buoy as the rest of the pack. There was a lot of arm flaying and no apologies.

When I ran out of the water and went to throw my sneakers on I swear everyone else was dilly-dallying. I had places to be. The bike ride consisted of a few close calls with cars and other bikers and only once did I yell “MOM!” at the wrong lady.

13901547_1233309526699427_8045180890117176352_nBy the time I got to the beach, I was pumped yelling, “These are my roads” to everyone I passed. The run was tough as the high tide meant wading through calf-deep water at some points. I was cheered on my beach goers loving my St. Lawrence T-shirt (and Cole Hann shades).

I finished in just over 1 hour and 30 minutes, third overall female and first in my age group. For anyone else that did the race, I had to search far and wide for the results (here they are) I am now the proud owner of the coolest T-Shirt on Block Island. So yes ,this blog post is somewhat a humble brag, but I know you care.

Besides me, my mom did phenomenal. She finished 12th out of 20 people in her age group. Take those Tri Veterans! Her biggest feedback was that the race was the perfect choice for her. The mixed training was better than simply training for a half-marathon that she had been interested in.
IMG_0963Evan crushed the game as well placing 2nd in his age group. I had to say no when he mentioned a “cool down” run after the race.

Block Island is a great place to race. There is one more chance this summer to “Run Around the Block” on September 10th. I won’t be able to be here for it so you might have a chance.

Have you ever raced on Block Island? Is Michael Phelps a stellar athlete? How many scoops of ice cream did I eat after the race? (Wait, don’t answer that)

She definitely earned her cone.

Pre-Island Preparations: Unsolicited Advice Part I

You didn’t ask for it, but here you go. A little advice never hurts, so to make your trip to Block Island #asgoodasitgets, follow these tips for a hole lot of awesome. As many find themselves finally headed to the island for their summer getaway, I have put together a short list of a few insider tips for your island time. With my first (over-night) visitors coming out next week, I felt inspired to share my “expert” advice.

Give it read, if you are already an island connoisseur, what would add? If it is your first trip, take notes, a little bit of preparation and foresight can make a world of difference to your much-deserved vacation. They’ll be coming at you in two parts, so keep an eye out for part two later this week.

  1. You Heave you LeaveIMG_3584

Well the classic Hot-dog eating competition slogan, can be applied to Block as well. The point here is that medical care on the island is limited. The access to medicine and doctors is available, but the island is not the place to treat real issues. So if you are truly sick, hurt or need special care, be prepared to leave the island. In addition, pack extra medications, painkillers, sunscreen, and etc. What is available on the island is very often more expensive than on the mainland. Or if you are not feeling 100% before your trip consider postponing your trip.Sometimes the High Speed is the Culprit for tummy troubles, plan meals accordingly.

  1. Can I Speak with Someone in Charge?

Yes, yes you can. As you go about the island, you will notice there are no chain retailers or hotels (the one exception is Ben & Jerry’s, but we’ll give them a pass). This means that all businesses are small and the owner is often in the building when it is open, if not taking your order at the counter. Knowing this, seek out the owners in the places you like best, the owners will likely love to hear your praise and make you their new drink of the day. This goes the other way too, if you are unhappy with the service, there will likely be someone ready to respond.

  1. Can I take your order?

In addition to the owners of many businesses being extremely present, the employees of the island seek to please. One thing to know is that many employees are living off the tips you are leaving, and many work multiple jobs to do that. With this, be patient with foreign employees, they will bend over backwards to help you and want to speak as much English as possible. Talk to worker, though they are seasonal they know the island, and can give the best advice, directions and know-how (they have even have a blog about the island).

  1. Pack Yo’ Bags

Considering the journey you will be taking, pack accordingly. I am referring to how you pack. The ferry trip and walk to your hotel may be a few extra steps that you are used to taking with luggage. Break out that mega rollie bag you brought to Europe and stuff it up, lightening the extra multiple bags juggle.

Another something to remember as you pack up is a backpack. Biking around the island is the best way to commute, but you will want to bring your things along (think towel, snacks, wallet). A backpack is a definite must have for island adventures. Plus they make a for an easy time on the ferry.

IMG_3649 (1)

Backpacks make for a better life.

  1. Two Wheels are better than None (or make that 4)IMG_3392

Don’t bring your car. Seriously, the island is small. You are able to get anywhere where you want to be in a matter of two miles or less, further if you are adventurous, but a bike or moped does the trick. Bring your own bike if you can and save yourself the rental fees, but even if you have to rent enjoy the island as some time away from the four-wheeled SUV that you have come to loathe. Remember to lock your bikes whenever you leave them, it is a very safe island, but bikes do disappear whether it be a greedy soul or a confused renter who mistakes yours for theirs. If a car is a must, make sure to make a reservation for the ferry!

IMG_3628There’s the first half of my list of good to knows. What have I missed? Experts what would you add? Newbies, what questions do you have left? Comment below, and I’ll answer anything I missed in Part II.