Bobby took over my blog for the day, I hope you enjoy his point of view!
Each year our neighborhood hosts a triathlon. Two years ago we spectated, and last year we volunteered. I’ve been saying for more than the past two years that I wanted to do a triathlon, but I somehow still managed to surprise Heather when I told her that I was actually going to do it.
Granted the shock was probably due to…well this is how the conversation went:
Me: “I’m going to do the Tradition triathlon this year.”
Heather: “What?! It’s less than two months away and you haven’t trained, don’t have a wetsuit, or even a bike!”
I was tired of putting it off and this was the perfect opportunity. Besides, I have been lifting weights and running for years and this was only a sprint tri, how hard could it be? Okay, so I’m not completely oblivious. I know that anytime you participate in an athletic event that your body is not used to, it’s tough.
For those who don’t know, a sprint tri is short. Mine was one lap around the lake = 600 yards, a 17ish mile bike ride, and a 5k (3.1 mile) run. I knew that I could handle the run and I bike at the gym often, so it was really just adding in a swim. I began training as much as I could. I ordered a wetsuit and had Jen’s husband, Jeff, help me pick out a bike. By the time I had everything, the triathlon was a month out.
Swimming… is a bit different over long distances than doing laps in there pool where I pause between each one and catch my breath. I found this out by participating in a training day with the local running club. Rather than describe that painful experience, let’s just say I ended up watching YouTube videos on proper swim technique and doing how-to-breath exercises in the pool. I joined the club again for a bike/run brick workout (brick workouts are doing two of the events in one training session for those who, like me until recently, didn’t know that) and felt confident I could at least complete the tri.
Heather did a write up on the day of the event that you can read here: http://throughheatherslookingglass.com/bobbys-first-triathlon/
I’ll simply add a few comments. I finished and was okay with my time. Something I didn’t do well was transitions. Apparently this is NOT the time when you sit down, rest, take a few drinks, dry off five times, and enjoy the scenery. I refuse to admit to the actual time it took me in my transitions, especially after seeing the posted times of everyone else, but let’s just say there is PLENTY of room for improvement.
The swim was the hardest part for me. The wetsuit made it easier, but I still need to work on breathing. I had a hard time keeping oxygenated and had to flip over and back stroke a few times. Even with that, my time was good because I can swim relatively fast for a 200+ pounder between the breaks. The bike was the easiest part, and the course was pleasant. The run was doable, though it was a crazy experience getting to run on legs that felt one part Jello and one part cement, at least for the first mile. Oh the sound of feet flopping around.
It was an overall good time and I plan to do more in the future. I like the distance of the sprint tri because it doesn’t make me feel like death, but is still challenging. I simply don’t have the time, or the desire for that matter, to put in the training it would take to do something like an Ironman, so I’ll stick with the short ones. If you are like I was and want to do one, just sign up and go for it.
I’ll leave you with this video I took during my training:
QOTD: What do you wish you knew about running or a tri before your first race that you learned the hard way?