I signed up for my first triathlon when I was 41. I trained with two friends of mine, both of whom were personal trainers, but who had no experience with triathlons – in fact, weren’t really runners, bikers or swimmers. As a result, I felt pretty confident going into the race. That feeling did not last long.
Here is the recap I sent to friends and family after the race:
All – everyone is asking me how my first triathlon went today, so I thought I would share with you the story in pictures and text.
1. After about 2 hours of sleep last night, we got out of bed at 5:00 and arrived at the site by 6: 15. There were many people already there and some even running or biking around the site, or swimming in the pond. I, instead, walked around with a glazed look in my eyes and made sure I knew where the bathrooms were.
2. I dutifully set up my transition site. For those of you who don’t know, the transition site is where you go to transition from swim to bike, and from bike to run. You store your bike, running shoes, sunglasses, etc. there and the key is to be QUICK (this is important for the story later) when you are in the transition area.
3. I read on a website that it is good to have a bucket of water at your transition site, to wash the sand from your feet before putting your socks on to bike. Sounded like a good idea to me, but we didn’t have a pail. Instead, we took an empty kitty litter container. This may have been my first mistake – I might as well have placed a neon site on my transition site that said either “NERD” or “NOVICE” (or both).
4. Swimming is first, and it was in a pond where numerous geese live, among other things. There was high marsh grass along with a mixture on the bottom of mud, goose poop and who knows what else. My expression upon stepping in says it all.
5. Ever tried swimming in a pond with 300 other people racing to get by you? You can’t see where you are going and are constantly being hit with arms and legs. It is not fun. I couldn’t catch my breath. They have people in kayaks for emergencies – several people went over and grabbed on to the kayak for a break. I would have done the same except that it would have prolonged my exposure in the snake and alligator filled pond.
6. I made it out of the water and walked (not ran, which you are supposed to do – I wanted to crawl) to the transition area to get ready for my bike ride. Here is a hint for those of you who have not done this before – do not put your bike helmet on backwards. It doesn’t fasten when you put it on that way. I would still be there now if some kind stranger had not yelled out “your helmet is backwards!” By the way, notice that it was not my husband that yelled out to me – rumor has it that he was laying on the ground with tears coming out of his eyes, after taking the below picture.
7. I finally got the helmet on the correct way (see below) and made it out of the transition area (with kitty litter between my toes). I was able to make up some time on the bike course – I must admit that there is some satisfaction in passing 20 and 25 year olds (did I mention that they write your age in large numerals on your leg?).
8. I made it through the next transition without problem (luckily I have enough experience wearing baseball caps) and went on to the run, and it felt like I was running in slow motion and on rubber legs. I finally finished and I vowed to never do it again.
I changed my mind later and have enjoyed several more.