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First Triathlon Story - Happy I Finished My First Triathlon

My First Triathlon..and my second one too I registered for my first sprint Triathlon on Dec 31, a New Year resolution I was going to keep and quickly put it out of my mind. On June 1st, after my spring running season I realized I had better start training as I had nine weeks until my Tri and I was unprepared. I had been on the swim team as a teen and running for 2 years but cycling was new to me. I floundered for the first few weeks and found a 6 week training program in a Canadian women’s magazine and quickly adapted it to my needs. I was also training for my first half marathon (Sept 23) so I had to fit everything in.

6 weeks, 6 days a week, 9 workouts a week, I was ready. Aug 4th came and it was a hot, sunny Saturday, it was 40C with humidity. I spent the days before reading about hydration and warm weather racing and I was a nervous wreck. I was determined and focused and I was going to succeed, as I had in the past with my running events. I had a great swim and started on the cycle leg, it was 2x 10K loops along our canal and even though it was hot, I was right on target as I finished my first bike loop and felt great. On the second loop, disaster struck and I had a flat tire. Well, it’s a setback but I would get it fixed and finish anyway, maybe not in my expected time but I would finish. As I set out on the cycle loop again, the same tire blew again, oh no. I knew my Tri was done for that day and took my ride back to transition. I still did the 5K run for the experience but I did not take my finishers medal and asked for my results to be changed to a DNF. I told my husband, I would be back to try again.

The race organizer gave me free entry to their next event Sept 1. I opted to do the Try-a-Tri this time as my half marathon training was increasing and I did not have time to keep up the same level of tri training as well. In fact I did not swim in the 4 weeks in-between and has only 2 bike rides and one brick workout. Sept 1 was a sunny but slightly cooler day then before and I was a totally different participant that day. I was not nervous and I was not focusing on the finish but the day itself, I was going to have fun. The swim was a water start, not a beach start and it was not my best swim but it was still a good time. As I set off on the bike loop I was keeping thing cool, I was going to treat it like a training ride. I had to run 18K the next day so I did not ride as hard as I could but kept a comfortable pace. I was passing more riders then passed me, some were struggling so my cheerleader mode kicked in and as I passed them I would call out and tell them they were doing a great job and looked awesome. I was so happy when I finished the bike loop; just the run left and I knew I could do that. I started out on the run and I did not feel great, I felt I was going slowly and my legs felt heavy. I realized I was dehydrated and downed my water bottle in the 1st k. It was a 3k run and I kept up my cheerleading and encouraged others to keep my mind off me. As I entered the stadium for the last 100m, I really felt ill but nothing was going to stop me now. I was so happy I finished my first Triathlon, 4 weeks later then I had planned but it felt great.

I learned a lot through this process. I learned that I was stronger than I thought; I did not quit after my first failure and I said I will try again and did. I learned that I need to remember the fun, I can be focused and train hard but it is supposed to be fun, I had forgotten that the first time. The biggest thing I learned is it is the journey that is important not the destination. Getting a DNF did not define me; it made me a better tri-athlete.

Allyson Chisnall

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