What I learned from my first tri!

Having a type A personality has it’s pros and cons. As I’m constantly analyzing every situation and playing out the possible outcomes in my head, when it comes to breaking down a race I’ll say it’s a pro! (I’m basically Griffin from MIB3 minus the crazy glowing head thing)

Pre-race photo!
Pre-race photo!

Here are a few things I learned from my first triathlon:

1. Transition is still a race. I obviously knew this was part of the overall race time but I only practiced changing from cycle to run a couple times. Coming in from the swim dripping wet after running through sand and then dirt, I wanted my feet and legs completely dry and sand free before the cycle. It’s not going to happen! For the next race, I’ll spray some water on my feet, step on a towel to get as much of as possible in 10 seconds and ride without socks. I can worry about socks when my feet are drier in T2 before the run.

Running up from the beach into transition
Running up from the beach into transition

2. If you drop your bottle stop immediately to grab it. This could be a debatable point but if I would have stopped when it fell and used 30 seconds at the start rather than stressing for 15k I think my overall time would have been faster. Hopefully I don’t have to test this theory!

running past the team tent - reaching out for a high five!
running past the team tent – reaching out for a high five!

3. A proper warm-up swim is the best thing to settle nerves. Our coach said the best triathletes have a warm up swim before racing, so about 15 minutes before the start of the race we headed down to the water’s edge.  The gloomy morning and knotted stomach was keeping me from plunging in but I pushed myself in and swam out 50 meters.  We spent a few minutes treading water as coach chatted to us about the start of the race before swimming a few more 50 meter lengths.  Once we finished the initial warm up, the water no longer had the initial icy chill, I was moving with the current rather than fighting it and the ball of nerves had turned into excitement and adrenaline.

Post race photo

Post race photo

4. Having a support group or team cheering for you at the finish is ideal!  I ran the Canberra Half Marathon in 2012 by myself. J had just started a new job and was on a project about 12 hours away.  My boss at the time was running the race and let me tag along to their dinner the night before but for the most part I was alone the entire preparation, race and post-race. That was a very internal race with only the thoughts of saying “I ran a half marathon” waiting for me at the finish line. This was the first race where I had a team at the finish and where J was able to see me multiple times throughout the race and cheer me on.  It makes a huge difference to the mental side of racing….which is a much bigger challenge than the physical aspect!

What are some things you learnt from your first race?

*all photos in this post were from BondiFit

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