Let me first say I am totally hooked! Training for this triathlon has been both fun and rewarding. My goal was to complete my first triathlon by age 35. So no better way to turn 35 then do a triathlon. A fabulous birthday weekend it was. I honestly couldn’t have done it with all the love and support of my husband and 5 kiddos. They all cheered me on every step of the way! Of course my mom too, no matter the miles she is always encouraging!!
When I first started out training for this triathlon I wasn’t a strong swimmer, but I can say I have grown stronger. I still have room for improvement and I am ok with that. I mapped out a 10 solid weeks of training. In my training program I schedule out 3 days of swimming a week. I typically swam at least 1200 yards per training session. Before starting this program, I never lapped swim. I only played and swam around in the pool with my kiddos. So thanks to my husband, Rob, for taking me under his wing and coaching me along in the pool.
The biking and run I knew I wouldn’t have a problem with individually, but transition from one right after the other came with practice. It started out as a weird feeling from getting off the bike to running, but by the end it felt great!
That brings me to race weekend! I picked up my packet and was thankful to run into the lady from TriSports as she walked me through setting up my transition area. I felt like I had a good understanding after watching and talking through it with Rob during his triathlons, but she provided me with a lot of insight. Watching her set up and go through the flow certainly helped me on race day!
That evening I laid out all my gear that I would need for race day. This way I didn’t have to worry about it in the morning. So here is what I packed. On the left: Altra Running shoes with my socks already in them. Headsweats visor. Performance Bike cycle jersey that I will put on after the swim. In the middle: cycle helmet, CamelBak water containers, goggles, swim cap, Girls Run Fast Tattoo ( I put on that night), race belt and bib. On the right: Lululemon Energy H2O sports bra and SLS3 triathlon shorts.
That morning woke up early and had some sausage and eggs for breakfast along with some water. Braided my hair so it would easily fit in my swim cap and allow me to put on my cycle helmet without having to make any adjustments. We got to the race site at 5:20am to be sure got a good transition area spot. Race didn’t start until 7am. We found prime location just beside the bike out portion. I would rather spend less time running with the bike then having to run with my bike. Coming out the water I had to run a little further to get to my bike, but then I was right at the bike out. Coming back in from the bike I only had to go a short distance with my bike back to my rack. I also did a little walk through my transition area of how things would go when I actually had to transition from swim to bike and bike to run. Also very important to know where your transition area is in regards to landmarks since the area will eventually be filled with several other bikes! Then I set up my transition area as you can see below. The cap and goggles will go with me to the pool. Then I set up exactly how I will need to grab my stuff and put it on in each transition. This way when you get to your transition you have a flow and can get going!
Then it was off to number markings, timing chip, using the bathroom one last time, and checking out the pool!
Leg 1: Swim 400m…The swim was in a 50m pool. I trained in a 25m pool, but didn’t think it would be a huge adjustment. Just told myself to stretch it out in the pool and pace myself so I wouldn’t get tired. Even though I swam with someone in my lane while training, it didn’t really prepare me for what it would be really like with all these people in the pool! I started out great for the first 200m, but then caught up to a group of fellows. They were fast then slow and it took a lot of my reserved energy just to try to get around them. For me that was a little frustrating on myself, but I managed. It was a great learning experience for sure and shows I still have plenty of room for improvement too. I loved seeing everyone out there and really giving it there all. I saw everything from freestyle, to backstroke, sidestroke, breaststroke, even chicken-airplane-soldier. Really whatever it takes to get through those 400 meters! It took me 10 minutes to finish 400m ( about 1 minute slower than my time trials) but I was happy with the outcome.
Transition 1 to Leg 2: Bike 12 miles…My favorite part is the bike. I transitioned well and gave it all on my bike. I was a little exhausted getting out the pool. More exhausted then I thought I would be. I biked a smooth 12 miles and even chatted up with some friendly competition on the steady inclines. Enjoyed hearing everyone cheering each other on. While on the bike I was sure to refuel and hydrate. Since this isn’t a long triathlon I didn’t need a lot. I used Tailwind Endurance Fuel in with my water while on the bike. Which was enough to hold me through until the end. I averaged 18.9 mph on the bike.
Transition 2 to the final Leg 3: Run a 5K…Off the bike I went. I put on my Headsweats visor and grabbed my race belt and off I went. The nice thing about the race belt is I can fasten it while I run. Since I don’t have cycle shoes my running shoes were already on making this transition a breeze. The run went as I expected. I was able to keep a steady pace and run the entire course. Coming of the bike my pace was quicker, but didn’t want to exhaust myself so backed off just a bit and averaged 9:45/mile for my run.
Overall I was very pleased with how my first triathlon went and certainly can’t wait to do another one! I was tired, but full of smiles when I was done. For now I will continue to work on my swim and sticking with Sprint triathlons until I feel ready to conquer more meters in the pool. I certainly loved every minute of this process. It was also great to join up with a family friend!!