It was the morning of my first triathlon and I was understandably nervous. So many fears: My first open-water swim, the unknown of running off the bike, and walking around in public wearing head-to-toe spandex.
It was actually lycra, but the self-awareness was frightening. I stood on fast-warming concrete and waited with about 600 others to enter the water. Truth be told, I still didn’t really know how to swim and I was about to jump into the fast moving Cumberland River in downtown Nashville.
We filed down the pier and soon my number was called. With an exhilarating (and fearful) scream, I plunged into the murky water for a 300 yard swim. Six minutes later I fought the current with all my might just to get to the ladder with a VERY high step. I couldn’t get my foot on there and did more of a pull-up-to-body-flop onto dry land.
Everything about that day was a trip. The feeling of running to my bike was wild. Gasping for air as I tried not to lose my balance. Trying to remember what to take off, leave on . . . and put on. I didn’t know anything about transition and started running out without my helmet, of course.
We hear all this stuff about nutrition, aero bars, race wheels, and on and on, but so much of it is overkill in the beginning. If I had to do it over again, I would probably do everything in my power to think of my first time as a practice race.
Again, this was a sprint, so the run was 3.1 miles, but it was . . . um . . . weird. I wasn’t yet used to the feeling of running off the bike. This feeling stayed with me for a few races, but now I almost look forward to running after loosening up the legs.
I finished the race that day and it was genuinely one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. I thought I’d just scaled a mountain but it was just the beginning. I was hooked.
I’ve gone on to do many Olympics, several 1/2 Ironman, 4 fulls, and yes, more Sprints. I love them all.
I think the key is to keep moving forward is to have patience with our development. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it eventually happens. You will fall in love with the sport and hopefully with how it makes you feel.
In today’s podcast we talk about the most important things to consider before doing your first triathlon and how you can stay in the game for a long time. We also share ways to make starting triathlon a LOT less expensive.
Here’s an outline of our podcast:
- Things to consider before signing up for your first race
– race management
– time of year
- What made you want to do a “triathlon” in the first place – Finding your “why”
- Gear: Items you HAVE to have, would be nice to have , and items that are just because you WANT to have them
- How to set up a plan for success
- How to know if you are ready to go to the next distance