Today I finished my first triathlon! The local YMCA held a mini-triathlon that was open to people of all ages. They have been advertising it in the gym over the past month, so I have been thinking about doing it for awhile. I have also had the opportunity to see my mom complete two sprint triathlons and she inspired me to do one myself. I finally committed and payed my small registration fee to sign up. There were three options for participating in the race: individual, relay, and family. I chose to do it all by myself. It was a mini-tri in that the distances were much smaller than a regular or even sprint triathlon. The race consisted of 150 yard swim in the pool, a 3 mile bike ride, and 1 mile run. The race started at 8 AM and the Y is just a few minutes away from our house, so I biked over to set up around 7:25. The temperature is finally starting to go down so it was in the low 70s this morning, which is perfect race weather.
|Set up of Transition Area|
There were only about 65 participants as it was a community race. People of all ages were competing - kids under 10, lots of teenagers from the swim team, families, and some older people as well. When I got there I went to sign-in and got my participant t-shirt (which I am wearing now as I write), bib number, and timing chip. I was excited that the race was going to be timed so I could see how I did in each section and what my transitions were like. Then I got marked on my arms and legs with my race number and age. My mom and step-dad arrived to cheer me on for the race as I moved my bike into the transition area and set up my shoes, clothes, towel, and hat.
|Waiting to get in the water|
Then I walked over to the pool, where the swim was going to be. I put on my swim cap and goggles as the organizers gave us some instructions about how the race was going to go. The route was to swim up one lane, cross under the ropes, and go down the next - like a serpentine pattern across six lanes. The divisions for the race (males 15+, females 15+, males 10-14, females 10-14, males 10-, females 10-, relay teams, and families) was the order we took off into the pool, with about 15 seconds between each person. (I thought the division groups were quite large, considering I was in a group with 15 year olds and 40 year olds, but it was a small race.)
The race began and before I knew it, it was my turn to jump in the pool! I pushed off the wall and swam freestyle for the first lap and half. It was a little crazy with all of the splashing water and kicking and passing, so I switched to breast stroke for a bit before going back to freestyle. The swim was definitely challenging. I can swim, but hadn’t really been training for this race (I think I went to the pool maybe three times this summer). Swimming is tiring, but I got through in 4:38 mins.
|Arriving in transition area|
|Getting my shoes on|
I hopped out of the pool took off my goggles and grabbed my glasses to run to the transition area. I was kind of shaking as I tried to dry my feet off and get my shoes on. My mom told me to sit down if I needed to, to put them on and I did which helped me calm down a bit. I threw my shorts, shirt, knee braces, and helmet on as ran my bike out. I almost forgot to take off my swim cap, but my step-dad reminded me and I threw it off. This transition took about two minutes because I had so much stuff to do.
I jumped on and was off for the three mile bike. I borrowed my mom’s fancy road bike and I was glad I did. My sneakers were a bit wet from the grass, so my feet slipped a few times on the pedals, but luckily no accidents. It was a pretty smooth ride through the neighborhood. I had a few sips of water and I actually ended up passing three people! As I approached the dismount area and was getting off my bike I almost fell, but luckily I caught myself as I ran back to the transition area. The ride took 15:46 mins.
|Coming back from ride|
|Leaving for the run|
|Sprinting to the finish!|
I racked my bike, took off my helmet, grabbed my iPod, put on my hat and headed out to run. My legs were feeling weird and running seemed very strange. I started off pretty slow because of the bike legs. I ran almost the whole way. I walked for the gatorade and a bit in the beginning, but kept a slow pace throughout. The route was a loop so as I was coming back I saw the finish line and started to sprint. Everyone was cheering and clapping as I ran to the finish line and under the balloons! I finished the mile in 13:28 which made my total time for the mini-triathlon 40:24.
|Post-race eating a yummy orange slice|
I grabbed some fresh oranges and met up with my mom and step-dad. The race had lots of fresh fruit, gatorade, subs, and chips and dip for everyone to enjoy. I had some water and few tastes of the food. The oranges were like the best oranges I have ever had, so I had quite a few slices. We cheered along the rest of the participants that were finishing and stayed for the awards ceremony. I felt like I could run a bit more, so I jogged the way back home.
Overall the race was really good and I had a great time! It was the perfect distance for me to have my first triathlon experience. The thought of doing a triathlon never even crossed my mind before. I always thought of triathlons as something super athletes did, but as I have lost weight and exercised more, these kind of events seemed possible. When you watch or compete in races you get to see everyday people participate. They push themselves to change, to become stronger, to meet their potential, and actually do things they never thought possible. I think that is pretty amazing and right now I feel excited by all of the possibilities!
Soon after crossing the finish line I thought, "I would definitely do that again!"
Have you ever done a triathlon or have you considered doing one? What tips or stories do you have to share?
Hope you are having a great weekend! :)