My First Triathlon

My first triathlon was the most amazing & scariest time in my life.

The day before I had a great talk with my coach. I was scared of the swim portion and he was able to calm me down about that and gave me some good tips. Then my mom picked me up and we went to Stratford. For the last few days I have been very careful with what I eat. No cheese (or limited) and less bad carbs. I wanted to keep at that for the day before except red wine. I was going to have my red wine.

We were able to check into the hotel around 3:30pm and got settled in. Then we went off for dinner at Down the Street. I wasn't thrilled with what they had on the menu (nothing against them, I'm just an extremely picky eater and the items they chose were not my favourites). I was able to get a vegetable salad, which was amazing & of course I had my red wine with about 3 glasses of water. We met up with an old friend of my mom's and had a great time. After that we went to Bentley's. I knew I loved their food, but with the eating better I still had to watch what I ate. I went for the mediterrean pasta salad (I know, I don't think I was suppose to have this) with chicken breast. My mom had some nachos & salsa, which she wanted me to nibble on & of course some more red wine & lots of water. I thought I'd be good.

Left early and got to the hotel to try to sleep. I didn't have the greatest sleep, but I wasn't really at all worried or scared about the race, I didn't really think much about it. I'm not sure why, maybe my brain was just trying not to think about the swim part.

Woke up race day morning, thirsty. So I drank some more water & had 1/2 a banana. I couldn't get the rest of it down as I wasn't too hungry and I don't like eating before a race, especially one that wasn't going to take tonnes of time. We went to Tim Hortons and I got myself an extra small coffee (1 cream, 1/2 sugar) and a cinnamon raisin bagel, which I only ate 1/2 of. Was able to relieve myself there and thankfully it happened, because my body is usually on a schedule it that time is usually 10:30 in the morning which would have put me in the start of the bike ride, so I'm thankful that didn't happen.

We showed up very early to the race, but boy I'm glad we did. It allowed me to relax a little. I got my bike racked up and everything else was set up on the ground. Walked around the site to keep me warmed up as it was a little cold in the shade, but nice and warm in the sun. Got into the bathroom line ups around 9:10am and was out of that line up at 9:30ish and had to get straight over to the transition area to get my wetsuit on. Once I had that on I headed over to the water. Coach said to put my head into the water do some breathing out into the water and just get relaxed. I did that and saw others actually swimming out a bit. Stood there until the race started. There were 4 waves. First wave was elites and men under 29 (? I'm not quite sure of this age, but there were regular men in here), then the next wave was men 30-64. The next wave was women under 39 (that's me) and the next wave was women over 40 & men 65+. This made me feel comfortable because, hey, I wasn't going to be the last one out of the water.

Finally we were up and I felt fine then we started running in the water and I dived in and OMG! WATER! COULDN'T BREATH OUT!!! I was swimming but kept my head above water. I just couldn't put my head in the water & breath out. It was most likely what a water panic was. I tried to calm down and remembered what the coach said about getting on your back and doing the backstroke. Did that for a bit and noticed that I was having problems breathing in general. There was a tightness in my chest. Seriously, holy crap. I was starting to feel crushed. But got back into the front stroke and kept on going with my head out of the water. Every once and while I'd get on my back and kept moving. That's what I figured my best option was. I didn't want to just stand still and tread water. Keep moving. I could tell my heart rate was way too high and at one point I almost thought I was going to puke. Thankfully getting on my back eliviated that. There were 2 turns which I thought I did well. Going into the home stretch I was still having the breathing problems, but I noticed there were still lots of pink caps behind me (pink caps were the women 39 & under) so I knew I was good that way. I did start to see some yellow caps which were the "older" folks, but I figured they were the strong swimmers and there were on 2 or 3 of them. I even passed a red cap (elite & men 29 & under). I thought that was weird.

I got out of the water and thankful that was over. Started getting the wetsuit off and looked down at my time & 16 min?? what? That's way faster then I normally am. I'm usually over 20 min in the pool, where I'm constantly stopping. I need more practice in the open water with the wetsuit, I could totally kill that time with practice.

Got into transition and almost felt when trying to get the wetsuit off. Got a grip on something and it easily came off. Dried off shoes and noticed that other women parked around me were right with me and already off with the bike. Damn, I'm slow in the transition area. Oh well. It's tying my shoes that takes me so long.

Got out on the bike and took it easy for a bit. Lots of people were passing me on the bike at 1st. I knew of the hills coming up and I am thankful I did. About 5 k into the bike I was passing some of the riders that didn't have the nice bikes. The turn around was tight and about 30 seconds before I got there somebody fell, which made me uneasy, but thankfully I got around them with no problems. then I started pushing it more. Lots of hills. Then I checked my heart rate. I think it was around 170. Now my heart rate is never that high on the bike when I do my training rides. My guess was that it was the adrenaline because it never came back down. The last 5 k has 3 brutal hills and I was able to attack those quite well. Passing a few people in the process. That always feels good. In the last km of the bike ride my cycling buddy went by me. "Charles?", I said. He waved. lol

Got into transition for the run and found the running shoes easier to get on. I also started up the GPS because I couldn't get it started when I was on the bike. It was on my right arm and was facing out and I couldn't tell if it was on or not and when I was pressing it, I don't think I was pressing it long enough to start up. Stupid. Ugh. Anyways, I got it going when I was running and had no problems with that. Checked my heart rate again and it was in the high 160s. That means it was never coming down. I didn't feel like walking because I felt comfortable and I didn't feel sick at all so I just kept at my pace. I got to the 1km mark and I looked down it was just over 5 minutes. Holy crap, I was going a fairly good speed and I didn't feel out of breath. The 1st 1/2 is mostly going downhill but my HR remained high. There was water & HEED out on the race so I made sure to have that everytime I could since I didn't bring my fuel belt out with me. I started passing a few people in the last 1/2 because of the hills. I was able to attack them without pain and had a really strong finish.

Here are my times:

Swim: 17:04
Bike: 46:59
Run: 28:24

My overall time: 1:36:44.

It was a great experience, but I learned a few things. Don't drink red wine the night before & get more experience in open water swimming with the wetsuit.

Update Sun Sept 15 6:52pm: Here are some pictures:

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Great results for your first triathlon! Races *usually* always make you go faster. I'm especially impressed with your swimming. Well, everything really. Oh, btw, I forgot to bring my red wine, so you're ahead of me.

Nice report Carol. All that hard work is really pay off!!


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