Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rookie Mistakes: First Triathlon

Saturday was the big day: John's and my first sprint triathlon! Back in June, I wrote about maximizing your summer and trying something new, hence signing up for a sprint triathlon. What I didn't anticipate was that July would be a month of not feeling well and that moving to a new house really prevents sticking to a training schedule.

For all those reasons, the triathlon was adventurous to say the least. 

First of all, we woke up at 4am on Saturday to get ready, eat breakfast, and figure out how to stuff the bikes in the back of my Xterra. The race was 45 minutes away, and we needed to arrive early since we hadn't picked up our race packets yet - and had no idea how long we would need to set up our transition stations (i.e. where you go to get your bike, helmut, running shoes etc. in between swimming, biking, and running). 

All of this went smoothly, and we met up with other Chick-fil-A staff members and spouses who were racing as well.

Then, the race! Overall it went well and was a lot of fun because John and I stayed together the whole time (except for the swim), so we could cheer each other on... mainly this was John encouraging me! We weren't going for time, since we hadn't really trained, and instead used it as a way to do something fun, new, and active together. 

It was early in the morning when we met up with other the triathlon-ers! 

Game faces!

Lessons learned:
Swimming: 0.47 mile swim
  1. Practice swimming in open water before race day: I actually did train for the swimming part about 6 or 7 times before the race. However, I did not practice swimming in open water before race day. Swimming in an open lake with the waves of hundreds of other swimmers was certainly a different experience. 
  2. Test your googles: I should have tested out my googles before getting in the water because they kept filling up with water. This wouldn't have been as big of a deal in the pool, but trying to navigate swimming to the left of buoys and making turns in open water was challenging!  
  3. Don't be bothered when people kick you or swim over you - as happened in my case! - during the swim. It's all a part of the experience I'm told.
Biking: 12 mile bike
  1. If you don't have a road bike, borrow one! John and I only had our mountain/hybrid bikes which didn't help our speed. It's a little discouraging working as hard as you can to climb hills as other bikers are whizzing by you. But since we weren't going for a good time, we didn't let it get to us. Also, it's difficult to properly rack a mountain bike in the transition station. Case in point, John got called out over the intercom prior to the race because his biked wasn't racked properly. Thankfully, we weren't disqualified!
  2. Pump up your tires before the race - which we actually did! And thankfully we did, because we passed a biker (the only one we passed!) who had a flat tire but refused to stop. The terrible noise of the tire alone would have made me quit!
Running: 3.1 mile run
  1. Do a brick workout (or two or three) before race day. (A brick workout is when you train on two disciplines one after the other during the same workout, i.e. bike/run workout). Though I run a lot, I was not prepared for how heavy my legs felt after biking 12 miles. I could hardly get my feet to move forward until a half mile in. 
So there you have it, all my rookie mistakes from my first triathlon! However, through it all, we never stopped or took a break so I call it a success; plus we got a medal! 

John jokingly thinks I mainly run races for the cool t-shirts, socks, and gear I get at the event!

Will I do another sprint triathlon? I think so, but I'd definitely train for the next one! Any tips for next time?

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