First Triathlon Done…Not Quite the Race I Was Hoping For

64529_451652888239475_247740923_nToday I completed my first triathlon, the Early Bird Sprint triathlon.  Today I completed a milestone goal.  While I finished my first triathlon I did not compete as well as I should have.  Yes, I finished, but I did not finish as well as I should have and I had some major issues pop up.  In some ways I am amazed I finished with some of the major issues I faced, but I knew I was strong and would finish this race at all cost.  So in the end I finished and I am very satisfied and happy with that.

Not sure where to start with the day or the day before.  My brother was supposed to race this race with me but he was sporting a 100 degree fever and I had to tell him to stay home and rest, we would race another day.  This change required my mother to stay with my wife and I in our hotel, a source of stress.  Besides that I kept waking up through out the night to check to see what time it was.  I got a descent nights sleep and in the morning I was ready to go.

Transition setup.

Transition setup.

One thing I was worried about was acquiring familiar food before the race. As soon as we checked into the hotel, the front desk lady rummaged me up some oatmeal, yogurt and muffins for breakfast as I would be leaving before they opened the breakfast service.  I felt this was a major win and I was ready to go.

Sunday morning I got up at 5 A.M. ate breakfast and headed to the race.  I got there, checked the tire pressure along with everyone else showing up in the parking garage and headed to the transition area.  I found my spot and began to set up. It was a little different with tons of other bikes and people milling around. I was eager and excited, and quickly found people around me that I chatted with for a bit.  Then off to get body marked for the first time and get my timing chip.  I was so excited and it felt so cool to be marked int the manner of a triathlon.

It was getting close to race time so I popped a gel and some water and headed to the pool.  The gel packet I found worked for my 5k races to provide the burst of energy I needed and to assist with the high energy expenditure I usually burned through.    The swim was done incrementally with each participant going ten seconds after each other.  Before I knew it I was in the pool and lined up to start my swim.  Before I knew it was starting my swim.  I realized right away I was going too fast and could not get myself to slow down enough.  Even worse, halfway through the swim disaster struck: suddenly my stomach felt like a hand had reached into it and grabbed and twisted it.  It was terrible and made the last half of the swim a real struggle. I was majorly hurting.

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I am marked for life, this stuff does not easily wash off.

I pushed through and finished the worst swim I had ever had, but my stomach was in knots.  At transition I took longer than I wanted but I was just trying to get my stomach to calm down.  I grabbed another gel and gulped down allot of water and off I went on the bike.  The first six miles were horrid.  Because I was feeling such deep seated hunger pains I had to fight and could not get my rhythm on the bike.  My cadence and RPS were much lower than I would have preferred, I knew I was getting further behind time wise.  The swim took me longer than it should have, probably over ten minutes and the bike was now going slower.  The second six miles of the bike things went better.  The gel kicked in and all of a sudden my pedaling became stronger.  I started attacking some hills and ended up finishing the bike on estimation at an hour.

Because I spent so much energy in the first half  of the bike, my legs were spent when it came to the run.  But I was not going to quite.  I worked through a series of walk/run pairs and ended up as the last participant on the course.  I was not sure how much time remained before cut-off, which was two hours and fifteen minutes but I was bound and determined to finish the race regardless of the issues.  As I came close to the finish line I was the last person on the course, so everyone was standing and cheering me into the finish shoot and to the finish line.  In the end I finished the race, from what I understand, with less than three minutes remaining before cut-off.

Me in my singlet, yes I still have a non-flattering mid section but its a work in progress.

Me in my singlet, yes I still have a non-flattering mid section but its a work in progress.

It felt amazing crossing the finish line and pushing to finish.  It was extremely disappointing to be the last person to come across the finish line but in the end I finished my first triathlon.  There were only two Clydesdale in this race, so even though I finished last in the race I was still the second place winner.  As soon as I was done and across the finish line I went and found my wife and shared a very emotional moment with her, I did it, I finished my first triathlon.

Now I have to figure some things out that were major issues in this race.  The amazingly painful hunger pains in the swim being the first and foremost one of them.  I ate a little more than I usually do before doing a brick or 5k run and I took a gel right before the race, usually a formula for success.  My bike and run would have been better if I had not had this issue as this destroyed my swim and the first half of my bike.  I also need to really work more on transitions.  The official numbers have not come out yet, but I figure my time was close to two hours and thirteen minutes in the end.  So many things to work on, that is next weeks goal.  Tonight though the goal is to enjoy finishing my first triathlon and my default second place. I will draft my to be worked on items list from this event as I recover this week. For now I have finished my major objective, complete a sprint triathlon and do it with my head held high.  Today I completed a major milestone. Til next time.

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31 comments

  1. Congratulations! You DID it Chatt! Sounds like you overcame your challenges and finished strong. Sorry to hear about your brother and hope he’s feeling better.

    1. Thanks, he actually was going to try and race while having a fever as he wanted to be there so bad. Glad I was able to talk him out of it in the end.

  2. Congratulations!! I’m sorry to hear you had such unexpected troubles early on but you pushed through and finished!!! What a major achievement. Kudos and try to enjoy the success!

    1. Thanks, I am really enjoying it, but my mind has already started to think through to the Tour De Cure bike event next month and the next triathlon. Going to enjoy the recovery week a bit, but its time to get busy again!

  3. kruzmeister · · Reply

    Congrats on your outstanding achievement Chatter! I hope you do not feel too disappointed in your performance, you should be very proud of yourself. It is one thing to train hard for all three disciplines but when they are put together and combined with the elements of race day nerves, excitement and fear, it really changes the ball game. I think you did an incredible job to overcome the difficulties you had along the way. The main thing is you finished and you learned just how hard you can push yourself. This is your benchmark. Now you know what to expect and what to work on to make the next experience even better! Once again congrats mate, you did awesome! – Simone

    1. Thank you. I am enjoying the success of the finish and soon I will enjoy the transition to preparation to the next triathlon and cycling event. I had a great time and I finished and of course I have a milestone to shoot for now. Time to start looking over the data.

  4. Great job man. You did it!

    Gatorade Prime – Gels or Juice before the race. Don’t sweat the struggles. They’re never ending. 😉

    1. Yeah I did a gel before the race, but it might have been too early. Also I think I might have to graze a bit more on the morning of and possibly drink a sports drink. Will be fun to figure this out as its a race specific issue. Thanks for the support my friend.

  5. Well done what an achievement, keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks, I definitely will!!! Got more to go and new data to work through.

  6. Congratulations Chatter! So happy for you, a TRIATHLETE!
    You did great, pushing through problems to finish.

    1. Yes, I am a legitimate triathlete!!! I think watching all those iron man kona championship videos helped to push me through the tough times on this race.!!

  7. Great job man. Glad to hear you got out there and did it. I couldn’t slow down on my swim either in my first triathlon. All of my problems seem to happen in the swim as well. Anyways, again, congrats, and I cant wait to hear about your next race.

    Keep on pushing!

    1. Thanks,I hope you are still hanging in there. I got another race in the end of June with a longer bike so it should be fun.

  8. […] First Triathlon Done…Not Quite the Race I Was Hoping For (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  9. Major accomplishment. You finished, many never start. Now that you have one under your belt you can start to work on what to do better, more of, less of etc, next time. This is where it all begins!
    Great job.

  10. Way to go!! It is a learning process and you are not giving up. That is fabulous! I started back in triathlon and running races in 2009 after several years off. In Ocober 2009 I ran a small 5K – only 37 people. I was dead last. Even an 82 year old man passed me the last quarter mile. I get it. I know the feeling. And I also know there are many, many more people fearful to even start. You have much to be proud of.

    1. Thank you, that means allot. Turns out I was only the last one to come in as the swim was a time start, so I got second to last.

  11. […] First Triathlon Done…Not Quite the Race I Was Hoping For (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  12. OneLovelyRun · · Reply

    Whoops! Didn’t realize you did a recap so soon! I’m catching up! Again, congrats!!

    *reading*

    1. LOL, yeah I have a tendency to post in clumps. I am happy to finish and to know with some tuning and more weight loss I will be able to do even better on the next one!!! Thank you for the encouragement and kind words.

  13. OneLovelyRun · · Reply

    This is what races are for – they’re performances, yes, but they’re where you learn what the athlete in you needs to do better. Don’t be hung up on being second to last or walking during the run…..this is just the beginning for you. Nutrition stuff is a bugger, and takes experimenting. Congratulations, triathlete!!!!!!!!!

  14. […] love to sit on my behind and admire the accomplishment I achieved this weekend (read about it here and here), I know I am nothing without goals and there is more work to be done.  I got to this […]

  15. Way to go! Even despite those challenges you made it! I’m sure once you get your groove down, you’ll have some awesome tips and advice for others doing their first triathlon! Even though you didn’t have the race you hoped for, you had the courage and dedication to finish and now you can call yourself a TRIATHLETE!!!

    1. I will have plenty of tips!!! I think the best tip I received and followed was to have fun and enjoy it all on race day, you only get your first once and you don’t want to bog it down with details. If you read some later posts you will see my results were a bit better than I expected, so it was not so bad. Yes I can call myself a triathlete!!! Even more so in my opinion with overcoming race day challenges .

  16. Congratulations on finishing your first triathlon! Awesome accomplishment. 🙂

  17. Congrats is definitely still in order! The important thing is that you finished it, not that it wasn’t as good as you had hoped. You have to think … would you have ever dreamed you’d be here a year or two ago? GREAT JOB – I’m sure your second will be great 🙂

  18. […] First Triathlon Done…Not Quite the Race I Was Hoping For (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  19. […] First Triathlon Done…Not Quite the Race I Was Hoping For (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  20. […] approach I suddenly was no longer concerned about finishing, I just knew that I would finish. (Read about it here) The second triathlon, the one I just completed last week provided the perfect second triathlon […]

  21. […] has progressed as the season pushed on.  In that first race I had no idea what to do or to expect(details here).  Months later as I finished my fourth sprint distance race I felt calm and collected at the […]

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