Run More Awesome / Triathlon

My First Tri: The Complete Race Report

2:03:26. The official I-completed-a-triathlon-and-didn’t-die time. I thought I was going to die—several times. I have several post-triathlon posts up my sleeve, but today’s will cover my experience at the Republic Tiger Tri (and how much it sucked). OK. I’m being melodramatic. I’ve been finished with the race for about 34 hours, and in retrospect, I am very proud of myself. I’m a triathlete now! Yikes! Thirty-four hours ago, though, it was a different story. Here’s how everything went down:

5:00 AM My alarm goes off, and I proceed to start moving and getting ready.

5:35 AM Chris, my mom, and I leave the house. I know I need to eat something, but I’m nervous, and I never eat this early in the morning, so I don’t. It takes us about 25 minutes to get to Republic, and I try really hard to not critique Chris’s driving of my car. I’m not allowed to drive on race mornings, and we had to take my car because it holds the bike.

6:00 AM We arrive at Miller Park in Republic, and I can already tell everything is well organized. I drag my bike out of the Blazer and get in line to get numbered. I’m number six, and everyone is like, “Wow! You must’ve signed up early–like in January–to get such a low number!” And I’m like, “Dude, I’m an A. That’s why.” I set up my bike in the transition area and lay out all my supplies. I’m still nervous and don’t feel like eating, but I managed to get down a Snicker’s Marathon bar. I meet Chris and Mom to pick up my timing chip, and Chris’s phone rings. IT’S LINDEN! She called from Germany to wish me good luck! It was so good to hear from her, and I started crying because I was nervous and I just wanted her there. After our call, I got down to business, and set my mind to the race. Visited the bathroom again, stripped down to my oh-so-flattering bathing suit, and got ready for the race. Here goes nothing.

7:00 AM Swimming starts. Because we’re swimming in a 25 yard pool, we’re doing what’s called a “snake swim” where we go up and down all the lanes to get in our 300 yards. Since I’m a slow swimmer, I position myself near the back of the pack, and I don’t get in the water until nearly 8:00. My first few laps went well, but then things got hairy. First of all, there were a bunch of swimmers in the water, so we were all getting passed or trying to pass someone else. Second, at the end of the lanes, we had to duck under the lane lines, which was weird and a little unnerving. (Next time, I’m going to learn how to turn and swim under them.) I had to start breast stroking because the people in front of my were going too slow. At some point, I put my goggles on my forehead (I don’t remember why), and that’s when the trouble started. Water splashed in my eyes, and my contacts went blurry. I couldn’t figure out if they had fallen out or were just foggy, so I started freaking out a little, but I knew I couldn’t do anything until I got to the end of the lane. At the same time, every time I tried to breathe, water splashed in my mouth, so I wasn’t getting enough air, and I started hyperventilating. I’ve never done this before (and I wouldn’t recommend doing it in a pool at any time), but I knew enough to know that I MUST calm down and regulate my breathing or things are going to go south fast. I only had a few pool lengths left, so I took it easy and finished the swim as best I could. It took me 9:33.

8:10 AM (ish) Transition 1, 3:11. As I ran from the pool to the transition area, I did a mental checklist of what I needed to do: dry off, put on shirt, put on shorts, put on shoes, put on socks, put on water belt, put on helmet, ride bike. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to put on a shirt with a shelf bra for this race (my bathing suit isn’t super supportive in the boob department, and I needed something extra). Because I was all wet, the shirt curled up on itself, and I was sorta stuck for a bit until I figured out how to untangle it. It was frustrating then (but funny now): I didn’t get the shelf bra pulled under my boobs until I was on the bike. It took a few tries.

8:15 AM (ish) Bike, 1:11:13. The bike portion of the race sucked from the gitgo. I had driven it the day before and thought, “OK, it’s a bit hilly, but I don’t think it will be too bad.” Oh, how wrong I was. First of all, I didn’t account for how tired I would be after the swimming, and remember, I had hyperventilated, so my breathing wasn’t quite back to where it would normally be. Second of all, my S10 Blazer handles hills a lot better than me and my mountain bike. I had completed underestimated just how hilly the route was. I had to walk up a monster hill twice (it was a double-loop route), and at a few points I asked my legs, “Why aren’t you working?” But I made it, and I only cursed once.

9:25 AM (ish) Transition 2, 1:03. This transition naturally went a bit smoother than the first because I only had to drop off my biking crap and pick up my visor. Getting the visor on was another story. Apparently, after working that hard on a bike ride, my brain just ceased to work.

9:26 AM (ish) Running, 38:06. So much for a good 5K time, but I was so happy to get to the running. I knew that if I could make it through the biking, I could finish the race (that’s the great thing about being a runner). I tried to put my visor on; it took a few tries. Normally, I take my hair out its ponytail, slide the visor over my head, put my hair back in a ponytail, and slide the visor up in to place. I didn’t account for sunglasses, and well, I had to stop and walk to get it on. I had to walk quite a bit on my “run,” but I don’t really mind. My legs had virtually nothing left after that bike ride, and I hadn’t taken in any food on the ride, so I was pretty much spent. I took my time on the run, ran when I could, and walked when I needed to. And as always, I gave it everything I had left the last few hundred yards.

10:10 AM (ish) Finished. Chris asked me, “Can I get you anything?” My first thought, “A shotgun.” Yeah, I was hurting, and I was vowing to never again attempt a triathlon. By far, that was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do that challenged me that much physically and mentally. But even just a day after the race, I know how I would better prepare for another triathlon. Granted, I won’t be doing another on next week, but I won’t say I’m down for the count.

That’s my account of my race. I’ll have pictures up soon, and I have a few other posts up my sleeve, too!


3 thoughts on “My First Tri: The Complete Race Report

  1. Great race report – I’ve been considering doing a tri, so it’s really good to get a report from a first-timer. The swim is the part that really intimidates me, but from what you’ve said, I think I’ve underestimated how difficult the transitions are.

  2. My thoughts:

    You are a triathlete now! Isn’t that awesome! Despite how much it sucked, you did it!

    It must have been crazy to watch other swimmers for an hour before you got to start! How was that?

    I’m thinking you need to find a tri that isn’t in a pool. Like a lake or something. Are they better? Or do they have other complications?

    I think I’d have big problems in the boob department. I don’t know how’d I’d run without my Enell, and I wouldn’t want to swim in it!

    I wonder if I’ll have the same end-of-race reaction after the marathon. I haven’t done anything yet that has made me feel that way. Yet.

    I think I said I wasn’t going to say this any more, but I wish I could have been there!!!1! (Okay, I promise. Last time. 🙂 )

    I’m sorry I made you cry, but I hope it helped! And I don’t think I’ve told you this before, but I tried your phone first and almost didn’t call Chris because I thought it might be weird that I called him. Glad I did!

    Wait. I left a message on your phone. So you do know already. 🙂

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