First Triathlon Story - 10 Days to Train
Hi! I did my first triathlon last Summer near where I live in Åhus, Sweden. I had been toying with the idea of triathlon for a few years since running a several half marathons and a full marathon.
My next door neighbors told me they had gotten a wild idea a couple of weeks earlier and signed up for a Sprint tri in another nearby city and had so much fun even though they hadn’t really trained (but are very fit people). There was a Sprint tri coming up in 10 days locally and they told me to go for it.
I hadn’t been in the pool since Winter and bicycling was limited to scenic rides on my cruiser, occasionally, or to the local market. I bought a used aluminum mountain bike for $100 on the Internet and decided to go for it. I had just run a marathon and PRed at a local 5k so I knew the run would be no problem. I went on a couple of 11 mile rides on the bike so I knew I could do that leg. I went to the pool and swam 400 meters just to see how the distance would go. I had to take a few breaks but I finished so I was good there.
RACE DAY: I have to say I enjoyed the excitement of setting up my bike and putting my clothing out and seeing the other people setting up their stuff. There aren’t thousands of people usually at small town triathlons so it’s nice to not feel like number 12089.
SWIM: There were only about 38 women for non racing class and we all started together (swim was in a 50 meter pool). The first 100 meters was fine I was keeping up with the crowd swimming freestyle but then I hit the wall, I couldn’t catch my breath and had to flip over on my back. After that I did breaststroke, backstroke, dog paddle (lol) whatever stroke to keep moving and finally finished second to last. I was so glad to not be last I ran to my bike where I made my first
mistake: I brought running tights to change into! I struggled to get them on and finally was finishing up when I see the last girl in the pool leaving the area with her bike! I was now last and I felt her nervous energy as she walked past me with her bike–she was so happy to not be last. I hurried up and got my bike and struggled with my timing chip to beep into the biking.
BIKE: People from the later start groups started passing me and I never passed anyone so when I finished, I knew I was dead last. Also halfway through the biking I realized I forgot to take off my bathing suit it was bunched up around my waist, I was so nervous I forgot. I dropped off my bike and helmet and headed for the run.
Run: Starting out my legs felt like concrete pillars and I thought to myself, “triathlons are hard,” lol! I started to warm up about 3 minutes in and found my rhythm. About half a mile into the run, I passed that girl that was last in the pool, I felt bad and I again felt her energy–she was bummed to be last. After that I passed 5 more people and finished 32 out of 38 with a time of 1:36:28. I was so excited and felt awesome the whole day!
I am doing my first Olympic distance triathlon in 5 days and am much better trained this time (especially in the swim). I also bought a nice road bike so I am excited to see how my time will improve on the bike (hopefully). I learned a lot from this experience and I hope to do many more triathlons in the coming years.
– Candy Johnson
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