Hey ya’ll (Can I say that?) I did it! Checked triathlon off my list and feeling good! Because I am now a “triathlete” (jk, jk) I wanted to give you my “expert” advice on what to do and not to do. Some things were learned morning of… some things were told to me weeks prior… and some I wish I had known (You’re supposed to practice the transition from bike to run? Ohhh.).
Having never done a triathlon before, I can honestly say I was completely terrified as the day approached, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how much FUN it actually was. I know that sounds crazy and some think races of this sort are essentially self inflicted pain, but in reality it was probably the least painful out of the races I have done! Now I’m not saying it was easy, but I do think if you’re in reasonably good shape, you can run 3 miles and you know how to swim, you can make it work…and maybe even crack a smile while doing so. So here are my two cents…
1. Practice your transitions
Here’s one I heard time and time again yet failed to listen to. The transition from bike to run feels a little like running with 50 lb weights attached to each leg. Fun stuff.
2. Buy a road bike
I NEVER thought I would see the day of owning a road bike. Not only was I intimidated by the handles (among other things), but I also figured I would have no idea how to use it, and I’d rather die than be that person throwing out hand signals in the middle of Main Street (Holla South of Main!). But look at me now, a proud owner of this beauty above and couldn’t be happier. If you want to buy a bike to exercise on and maybe participate in triathlons down the road, buy this bike. I’m telling you! Bry and I both walked into the bike store with all intentions of buying a “hybrid” (basically a multi functional bike that’s good for commuting, leisurely exercise, etc.), and after one little cruise on the road bike, right before we were just about swiping our credit cards on the hybrids, we changed our minds completely. With a road bike you use just as much effort (or less) and go twice as fast as you would on a hybrid or mountain bike. And when I was cruising by those poor amateurs on their hybrids struggling up the hills, I couldn’t help but thank goodness I was not them. (Sorry to say.)
3. Rent a wetsuit
Who looks more ready for it? Yes, he participated too…sans wetsuit and nerves.
or buy one (cheaper versions start around $200)… whatever floats your boat.
4. Bring a plastic bag
This is one I learned morning of as a nice friend offered me hers. It’s the key to getting your wetsuit over your feet with ease. Just step your foot into the plastic bag and then step that plastic-bagged foot into the wetsuit and pull the bag off your foot once inserted fully. Genius!
Another morning of lesson. Before putting on your wetsuit, Body Glide that bod to slip your wetsuit off with ease after the swim. Focus on ankles, neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists – anywhere your skin might “stick”.
Even if it hurts… it will make you feel better. And something learned day after…they take LOTS of pictures of you on the course. One word: WOOF.
7. Don’t look back
I made this mistake mid-swim when I looked back into the open water and saw about a hundred swimmers coming at me full speed. Hello panic attack! Look ahead and keep moving! It will go by faster that way!
8. [Last but not least] Don’t eat scallops and drink red wine for your pre-race dinner
Yeah, it happened. Not sure what I was thinking there. I mean I ended up feeling fine, but just don’t follow my lead with this one.
Ok that’s all for now! If you want to check out some upcoming Tris in your area – click here! More on my summer activities to come!