Saturday, July 23, 2011

My First Triathlon

So now this is where my running journey has taken me. After finishing four marathons I needed something new. Running 5 days a week according to a strict schedule just wasn't cutting it anymore. Enter the triathlon.

As I stated in a previous posting I am signed up for the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines on September 4th. I stumbled across the Crossroads Triathlon in the mean time and thought it would be a perfect way to break the ice and see what it's all about. Crossroads is a great beginners tri, it is a 200 meter swim, 8 mile bike, and 2.1 mile run. I knew the bike and run would go well, it's the swim that I was worried about...and rightly so.

The triathlon is located about an hour away and started at 7am. We were up and going at 4am, on the road by 5, and we arrived at the park by 6. I picked up my race packet, took my bike to the transition area and got everything set up.
My transition set up. Feel free to critique.

Ok, I made my first mistake when I registered for the race. They asked for an approximate time on the swim and I must have put in a pretty fast time because they had me starting SECOND! It is a pool swim where the fastest swimmers go first, they started us all off one at a time every 10 seconds. It is a 50 meter pool so we swam down and back twice. Sounds pretty easy right? Well let me tell you...when it's your first triathlon and you are the SECOND person in the water, not knowing what the hell you are's not so easy.
The calm before the storm...GULP!

 Nerves and anxiety got the better of me and I was struggling before I ever got to the end of the first 50 meters. People were passing me like crazy, I even stopped at the wall to let a couple of swimmers go by me. My anxiety elevated with every lap, I just wanted to be done! I finally finished the last lap mostly with a breast stroke so that I could breathe. I was 2nd to start and from what I could tell, I was 14th out of the water. That 200 meters was about the toughest swim of my life and I was never so excited to hop out of the pool and make for the transition area!

Blazing through the first transition.

The transition went smoothly, I wasn't rushed and everything came together just fine, I was on the bike and into my element fairly quickly. Once on the bike I was able to calm down and take control of things. I focused on keeping a high cadence and keeping things moving at a decent pace. The second mistake I made with this triathlon is that I forgot my water bottles. What?! Yes, I had everything set out except for the water bottle I was taking. I was trying to be smart and had it in the freezer. Lucky for me, it was a short bike and I had a bottle of Gatorade that fit into my bottle cage. I passed 3-4 people on the bike but had 2 pass me, not a big deal because I knew I would be strong on the run. Surprisingly the bike portion was over pretty quickly (maybe because it was only 8 miles). 
Finishing up the bike portion.

I transitioned to the run without any problems. The nice part of the transitions is that I found that I don't have to wear socks with the Newtons, this kept me from having to fight with putting socks on my wet feet. Once I started the run my legs were a little wonky but not bad. I think I was just running with my pedaling cadence (which is not a bad thing). During the run I tried to keep a smooth even effort. I was able to pick off 3-4 more people over the 2.1 miles. 
Start of the run.

Cruising downhill.

Finishing strong.

This was the first year that they had chip timing at this event and something went wrong. We waited for quite some time to see results and when they started reading them off they realized that it wasn't right. So the only time I can go by for now is the time I saw on the clock minus my 10 second start delay, which would give me about a 47:10 finish.

I finished 1st in my age group and 16th overall. I am pretty psyched about this I just need some improvements in my swimming. You can check out the results here.

I definitely felt strong on the bike and the run but the swim about killed me. To give you an even better idea of how the swim went, my wife was embarrassed for me! That's ok, I really can laugh about it. This just means that I need some more swim training before September. 

My triathlon hobby is certainly not over. I am thankful that I was able to get in a good practice tri before my the big show in September. In spite of the swim, it was a great day!

The End


  1. Great job on your first tri!! Pretty impressive overall and Age group finishes.

  2. whoa, serious congrats for an AG win on your first!

  3. WOW!! Congrats on the AG win!!!

    Also, cool about the socks & newtons :)

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog a few times and commenting. Sorry, I'm a little delayed getting to yours - I haven't been doing much blog reading lately.

    Congrats on your first tri! That's awesome. I think I would have died if I found out I was first in the water....but you did great!

    Are you doing Hyvee in Des Moines in Sept? I am doing that race and it will be my first Olympic race.