My First Triathlon
My First Triathlon
I needed a mission. I am an active person, but working out just for the sake of working out disenchanted me, especially after such an amazing snowboard season. I also really just needed the mission. My life is wonderful but I hate the feeling I standing still thus I uttered my famous last words…
“I want to do a triathlon”
Really I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon but was extremely intimidated by the training. The reality is deciding to do a triathlon is a real commitment even if you aren’t training it for time. But it is completely doable if you’re willing to put in the work. I’m pretty lucky that I workout for a living but even I have to make it all fit into my life.
I think keeping a log really kept me on track and motivated me to keep going. Honestly, I don’t really look at it cause I wasn’t really training the first time for time, but it sure felt awesome to see the squares filled in with info. Sometimes that’s just enough.
I decided about 7 weeks before the actual event to begin training. If you have never exercised before then it is absolutely not enough time to be ready! You’ll probably need 8 to 10 weeks to get yourself prepared. I have about 8 more weeks now to make my score better and 18 weeks before the last one for my triathlon season. Since I hadn’t really done training like this before I looked it up and found trinewbies.com. They have great articles and even training programs that are simple and thorough.
The training has been challenging to say the least and I have enjoyed it immensely. The sense of purpose, the health, wellness and body shape, and eating everything in sight have been really good for rejuvenating my passion for exercise. I definitely will train harder for my next race and I will just enjoy the journey of incorporating it all into my life.
I love gadgets and this sport is rife with them. That means this isn’t a cheap sport! Along with the gear of each discipline, there is finding a pool and paying for that, if you want to join a triathlon club that’s not cheap, signing up for the races and getting to the venues all add up. I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s all totally worth it.
The Swim– For me it’s been really important to have a swim cap, goggles and a decent swimsuit. It appears that races give you a swim cap for the event. I’m sure they do that so they can see you in the water and categorize you for the officials. For the race I rented a triathlon wetsuit that is designed not just for warmth but for functional movement. I practiced swimming in it before the race and I figured out how to rip it off quick for the transition to biking.
The Bike-I was lucky enough to have a client give me a bike. If you don’t own one, there are places to rent them but that will add up too. You’ll eventually want to buy one. Up until training for the triathlon I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 10 years. In fact, I was scared to. I now absolutely love bike riding. Mostly I ride around Central Park but I’m hoping to become more comfortable riding longer distances on beautiful roads. For that I definitely invested in a decent bike seat, the padded shorts, bike gloves and eventually I’ll probably get a specific triathlon bike. They range from 1500 to 15,000! So, I guess I’ll start saving now. One other piece of equipment that I didn’t realize was do important was sunglasses. Not even so much for the sun but for the rocks, sand, grit and bugs I had to pull out of my eyeballs after my first few bike rides. I train with a heart rate monitor. This can tell you so much about how your body is responding. Having some sort of bike computer is also great. I actually use my iPhone and an app called Strava. I use it for running and biking. If you use it, make sure you find me and friend me on it so we can motivate each other.
The Run– The most important purchase I had to make was shoes. I promise you will never regret buying a good pair of shoes. I even went to a running shore and had my foot analyzed so I wouldn’t mess up my knees or my hips. I like really light shoes that also give support but whatever your preference, make sure you have the correct support for your feet. Again I use a heart rate monitor and the Strava app to adjust my speed and my effort.
It was so so fun!! I enjoyed everything about it. The travel, the excitement, the camaraderie and the event itself which was a challenge filled with joy and accomplishment. I was overcome with emotion the days leading up to the event. I knew I would finish the race, but imagining the complete elation of crossing the finish line with nothing left in the tank was as fantastic in real life as I imagined it would be. There were tears of joy under the sweat and the sunglasses. I didn’t win but it didn’t matter. I beat my goal time which was 1 hour and 30 minutes. I finished the race in 1 hour and 14 minutes. The overall winner finished in a little under an hour so I felt complete satisfaction that I finished in the top half of all the racers, and it was my first!
I am still not interested in doing a marathon in the least and therefore will continue, at least for now, doing the short sprint distance. The sprint distance is about 1/4 mile swim, about a 10 mile bike ride and about a 3 mile run. An ironman triathlon is about a 2 mile swim, 100 mile bike ride and a full marathon of 26 miles. Right now, no thank you!! (For now :-))
If a triathlon is on your list of things to do before you leave this life, I encourage you to do it and enjoy every moment of it! The training, meeting people and training with them, the lifestyle which becomes the strongest, healthiest you you’ll ever be becomes extremely addictive. I have signed up for 3 more for the summer.
I’m looking forward to enjoying the experience and sharing the fun with you!