First Triathlon Story - Happy I Finished My First Triathlon
I’ve always been VERY active in dance, cheer, gymnasitcs, coaching for over 20 years. After my first child in the mid 90’s I developed back/hip problems,sciatic nerve and pain that at times was debilitating. my 29th year I quit teaching/coaching, walked with a cane at times and had considered having a back fusion surgery it had gotten so bad.
Luckily I found a great therapist that gave me insight to the problem and set me on the road to health. It turns out exercise was good for me and was the only thing that really helped keep me “ON”. 8 years later, another child, 30 lbs of extra wieght and more back problems I enlisted a personal trainer. He actually started me running which I faught with every ounce of my body. I couldnt run more than 30 seconds on the treadmill before I had to stop. That was 2008.
2010 after losing a good portion of weight I loved working out and was able to run/walk 2 miles. I got the itch to try a 5K and did it!!! During a vacation a triathalon went right by our house and I thought…HMMMM I bet I could do that! but I never pursued it. The following year I commited to run a 10K race as a challeng to my mother that had a terrible fall and 3 months before the race she couldnt even walk. That October 23rd She Walked the miracle mile and I did a 10K and my husbad and daughter did the 5K. It was truly inspiring as she crossed the finish line.
I still thought about a triathalon. I was in great shape..4 pounds from my goal, exrecising 5 days a week and life was great…then my thyroid got messed up…i had no energy to do anything, let alone exercise and in one month I had put on 5 pounds…by new years eve it was 10 pounds.
January 2012 I finally got my thyroid back on track and now at about 15 lbs over my wiehgt just 3 short months before I new I couldnt live like that. I wasnt heavy in comparison to many…but im only 4′-10.75″ and 130 pounds on my frame does not work. so I started slow with Hot Yoga to remove the weight again. I jogged a few times and started a 12 week Body for Life weight program but quickly grew bored. in week 3 , just 2 days before a 5k near my moms house I decided to join a race. And I finished!!! after the race My mother kept harping on me to do the upcoming triathalon in the town I graduated HS in but I was like no way… I cant do that.
Then…i started thnking..maybe I could? so I secretely started training. I got a bike in April this year and tried riding 8 miles…i did it easy. So I ran more and biked more…the race I was considering entering was no easy race. IT was 400m open water swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run. But the bike had 1,400 ft of climbing with an almost 500′ of climb at the last 2 miles and 200′ or so of climb in the run. I thought..”Am I fricking nuts to try this one as my first???” BUT…the race route had very personal meaning to me. The bike would go right past my mothers current house and the golf course my husband played at a lot. The swim would be in the lake I learned to water ski on and had great times back in the late 1980s. The run would go by where my husband (of 21 years next month) took me on our first date then minutes later only a few feet away from where we got married overlooking the lake, then it would transition just feet away from where our reception was held. I could think of no better reason than to relive those memories and use them to get me through this.
So with only 7 weeks until the race I dropped the BFL program and began training 6 days a week for the DamitMAn Sprint Triathalon. May 31st of this year was the first time I had jumped into a pool and swam in YEARS!!! I had a friend that trained with me many days since she wanted to do her first one this year too so I felt lucky.
I was able to quickly gain the little knowledge I had from a kid and a swim class I took in 1998 in college and could complete 550 yards in the pool easily. the biking was hard since we did lots of steep hills to train for two large climbs in the race. And the run was sand hills too to condition our legs. I got bike gear, clips, cute biking socks, helmet, all the stuff I needed for the race and in a very short 7 weeks on July 22nd, 2012 it was finally here!!! OMG was I ready?
My mom lives only 2 miles from the race site so that made things easy. I was still pretty spooked about the open water swim but there was an EXTERRA race the day before ours and I was able to watch them race and transittion and that helped calm my nerves about the water..or so I thought.
That morning..i wasnt really nervous..just excited. As we marched to the start, there was a 200′ high ramp we had to walk down to get to the docks. We would also have to run up this to get to T1. I started getting emotional and kinda spooked as I walked to the water. I thought to myself..wholly CRAP!!! you cant cry now! you cant swim and cry stop it! So right as I got my confidence back I jumped in to warmup and got water up my nose..AHHH!! I couldnt catch my breath!! I could hardly swim warmup!! About 10 minutes later I was calm and the race started. I opted to stay to the back and the right of the crowd so I wouldnt get kicked. Im actually a strong swimmer and could swim 600+ in the pool no stops, no problem, so I was ready to tackle it by now. BUT…i had no clue how much the swimmers in front of me and the small amount of waves they generated would make me feel dissoriented. I could not get my balance and couldnt do more than 2-3 strokes before I had to look up and pause. It was like trying to lay face down on a trampoline while someone else jumped on it. It took me the first 200m to get comfortable then I got into a groove. I could NOT wait to get out of that lake.
Id always said..if I get tired I can walk..chill out..but my training partner made me a sign the day before and it said RUN BIKE SWIM!! you can do it! So those words kept going thru my head…RUN BIKE SWIM!!! This is a triathalon!! that was my goal. I ran across the long docks to put my shoes and made my way up the steep ramp to T1..my heart was racing and I was out of breath, I almost stopeed to walk…but I didnt.
T1 went smooth and I was off on the bike…ALL BY MYSELF!! I knew thee were others behind me..but I only saw two of them pass and only the other racers that were already heading back into the run..So I just enjoyed the blue sky, cheering on the other riders and saying thank you to each volunteer on the road. People were actually cheering ME on saying “YOU GOT THIS!!” Those words stuck in my head.
I got to my moms and there was my youngest cheering me on…a minute later..one biker(the one person I wanted to beat beacuse she was in my age group) passes me and says “you gave me a run for awhile!” well..now I was pissed! it was mile 10.5 of the bike and I was starting the 400+’ climb at 23% grade.
There wasnt room for error so I stayed steady behind her and resisted the urge to push to hard and pass her because I had done that the week before with my husband training and my chain locked and I fell.
So rode patiently, but strongly and I finally made it to the top of the hill (10 minutes later and only 1.5 miles thats how steep it was)my husband and older daughter greeted me as I turned into T2 and then my mom too. I was speedy fast in the transition and look who I caught up with as we started to run…hmmmm I ran with her the first .5 miles then she stopped to walk and I was like noooo way!!! You swam…you biked..now RUN!!!!
This was the very first race or any kind of run where I didnt have my ipod to keep me company. It was pretty weird without music and I wasnt sure I could run the entire time, But I took pleasure in the beautiful sky, the scenic views of the lake which were really breath taking and in telling others on their way to finish…”Your almost there!! You got this!!!”
On my way back in I realized I had put considerable distance between us…then I realized I wasnt second to last..there were others that were just starting there run so I became their biggest fans!!! The final mile is all downhill so I let it take me..there I went again past the spot we said I DO…and now where he took me on our first date in 1985… YES…1985!! And here is the finish line!!! And there he is!! and my mom, and my oldest, and a whole crowd of people cheering for me!!! BAM!!! I finished!!!! I realized that I blew my time away too!!! YES!!
In May this year, before I had ever trained a day I wanted to finish in 2 hrs 18, by race day I thought I could do it 2:05. Then I actually did it in 1 hr 56 minutes. YEAH BUDDDDY!!! Two weeks later I ran for the first time and im going swimming this afternoon…there are a few other Tri’s I may consider entering and I need to accompany my training partner in HER first tri which will be this fall hopefully. This site was a an INVALUABLE resource to me and I thank you so much for all the info and to all the other NEWBIES…thank you for sharing your stories…i hope mine inspires someone else as much as theirs inspired me.
I just wanted everyone to know…after my first TRI on 7-22-12 I took 13 days off…then on a whim I entered another TRI Just 6 days later!!! I trained 5 days then. It was an open water swim…but 800m. Double what i had just done. I was disappointed at being unbalanced the first tri swim so I figured I could work out the bugs in this race. The venue was cool, my training partner went so she could watch. I did really good…my husband borrowed me a road bike two days before…I wasn’t gonna use it but i was so fast on it I gave in and raced on it. The run felt like i was crawling but i actually ran faster the previous race…the bike rocked except when my chain came off and the swim i did in just over 15 minutes! So then…..I entered another…September 16 th in Long Beach Island New Jersey, at my family reunion I will do the first triathalon I ever witnessed….it’s what got me on this kick so it’s fitting I will be there and will be able to race. Its another open water swim. Hopefully I will do one more in October to accompany my training partner in her first TRI.
This is getting fun!
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