I completed my first triathlon yesterday, and let me tell you, it was an AMAZING experience! I had been training for about 3-4 weeks doing laps in the pool, 2 ocean swims, and several bike / run sessions, but nothing could’ve prepared me for all the different feelings yesterday.
The distances I did were a 300m ocean swim, a 7km bike ride, and a 3km run. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was the perfect distance for me in hindsight – enough of a challenge to get my heart pumping, but small enough to not make me swear off doing another one ever again.
It started with a 4:30am wake up as the venue was about an hour’s drive from our house. Mr A was amazing and woke up with me as he said he wanted to be at the finish line to support me – he’s not a morning person so that was a big ask for him haha! We arrived at about 5:30am, and I waited for a couple of my friends to get there so we could all put our bikes into transition together.
Other women had started to arrive by this stage also, and I realised that my bike was not at all suitable – I had a mountain bike with fat, spiky tyres, and others had slim, lightweight bikes with very thin tyres, but it was too late and I figured what the hell!
A group of ladies from our boot camp all participated, some doing the mini and some doing the long version – it was so lovely to have a group of girlfriends doing this with me!
This is us before we started – we’d all transitioned our bikes and were awaiting our briefing for each of our races.
4 of my girlfriends did the same distance as me, and because we registered as a group we all started in the same wave. Luckily the ocean was relatively flat in the morning and before we knew it the horn sounded and we were off on the swim.
I knew the swim was going to be the hardest leg for me going in, and by goly it certainly was. There was about 70 people in our wave start so feet and hands were going everywhere. No one intentionally hit anyone else, but it was impossible not to make contact with others. The swim was in a rectangle, so 125m swim out to a right hand turn at the buoy, then 50m across with a right hand turn at the buoy, and then 125m swim into the shore. The last 125m felt like it too SO long, and I was so thankful to have the shore under my feet by the end. I definitely expelled a lot of energy during the swim trying to find my own space to effectively get into my stroke.
I then moved into the bike transition and had one of my girlfriends just behind me. We were able to find our bikes together, and both had trouble with our shoelaces! I’m not sure if I was just overwhelmed or what, but it took me 3 goes on each foot to try and tie my shoelaces; definitely a bit of time wasted with a 3 and a half minute transition, but that’s what a first time is about I think! I had to pop shorts, sunglasses and my helmet on which was all fine, but I could not for the life of my get my bike off the rack! I had to hang it by the seat and it has a very heavy frame – it took a couple of goes but I finally got there.
I hopped onto my bike after the mount line and straight away could feel it in my quads and hamstrings. There was a slight hill during the course, and on this leg of the triathlon I definitely felt the fact I had completely the wrong bike for the conditions. Everyone whizzed straight past me on their road bikes, whilst I was struggling with all the traction generated from my tyres. If I ever do another triathlon, I will definitely be changing bikes. I used HEAPS of energy during this leg thanks to the type of bike I used. I lost quite a few spots on this section and I really put that down to my bike type.
Once the bike leg was finished I moved into the run transition which was really easy – just put my bike on the rack, took my helmet off and then whizzed through to the run entry. This transition only took about a minute so it was relatively easy.
The run was going to be my second hardest leg I thought, but it actually ended up being the easiest. I think the run portion is all mental stamina – you just tell yourself not to stop and to keep running, and if you zone out you can get into a good pace. There were a lot of people walking at this stage – whether they’d gone flat out in the first 2 legs and were tired, or were just taking short breaks I’m not sure, but I picked up quite a few spots on this leg as I just kept a good pace and would go around people when necessary. Keeping a constant pace is far easier than going fast for a few seconds and then walking a few seconds; I mean that’s basically interval training!
The run felt a lot longer than 3km as it was a very hot day yesterday. Mr A was waiting for me at the finish shoot and gave me a big cheer, along with 2 of my other girls who did the shorter distance and had finished – it was so so awesome and such a big boost mentally to have people at the end cheering you on.
I ran through the final arch, received a medal, and met with my girlfriend who finished about a minute before me. We waited right at the end for our other 2 girlfriends to finish; we weren’t far apart between finishing at all!
Going in, I had no expectation of time or place or anything, I was honestly just focused on actually finishing for my first one! I was thinking it would take me between 1 hour to 1.25 hours to finish, so I was pleasantly surprised when I turned around and saw 53 mins on the clock!
Once we all finished we grabbed lots of water and some fruit to refuel. One of our girlfriends did the long course, so we all stayed and supported her during her bike and run transition, and cheered her on at the finishing shoot.
It was an amazing day and I’m SO glad I did it – it’s something to tick off my list, and who knows, once I get the correct bike I think I’d like to complete some more!
Here’s some snaps from yesterday.
A group shot (minus one!) after our finish
My final times including transition times
Straight after we finished our first triathlon!
Group shot on stage – all of us together :)