Sunday, October 5, 2014

My 1st Sprint Triathlon: The Mental Race

I participated kicked ass in my first sprint triathlon yesterday. I shaved 15+ min off my practice time and I felt great at the end of it! I wanted to share my "during" experiences with y'all because it wasn't amazing 100% of the time.

1 HOUR AND 44 MINUTES! I shaved 16 min off my practice time!!!! #Fitness #fitfam #personaltrainer #healthcoach #healthy #fitspo #motivate #eattogrow #iifym #motivation #fitfluential #fitin2014 #fitgalgrind #sprinttri #trigirltri

For those who aren't familiar with the structure of a triathlon, there are three events: swimming, biking, and running. From what I can tell, the events are in the order of decreasing risk.

I consider myself to be a strong swimmer...but I was woefully unprepared for the sheer amount of people trying to cram themselves into the same "track" around the buoys in Lake Berryessa. Remembering my goggles might have helped, but that's water under the bridge. :)

flashing Dr Fiance a quick thumbs up on my way up to the transition area

The bicycle leg was totally awesome! The course was full of hills which was a surprise to me. I've been training on some hills, just to be on the safe side, and it totally paid off. I had asked one of my friends who did a sprint-tri last year for some advice and she told me to not ride like I was looking for pedestrians. I took her advice seriously and hauled major butt while headed downhill. Riding on a closed course instead of on the streets was awesome and I'll miss it every time I head out on my bike in the future.

ignore the sign, pedal fast :)

The run leg was the one I was most worried about but it ended up being pretty enjoyable. It was along the same course as the bike, so there were hills. I don't often run on hills, so I was starting to get antsy on my way back to the transition area from the bike.

I started off the run with a lot of walking. The course went uphill almost immediately out of the transition area and it was HOT outside. In addition to forgetting my goggles, I also forgot to bring a water bottle. Oops. :) Thankfully there were two water and gatorade stations on the running course.

headed out for the run

I tend to get through races one of two ways, stick with whichever friend signed up with me or pick a random person to race. I must have picked some awesome people to race because I ended up running at a pace 1 min less per mile than my usual!

My overall stats:
I finished 88 out of 181 participants
500yd swim:    12:27
11mi cycle:  49:17   speed:  4:34mph
3mi run: 35:51   speed: 11:12
Total time: 1:42:47

Overall, I felt totally prepared for the physical aspect of the triathlon. I did not expect the mental/emotional aerobics I went though while on the course. I experienced one small moment of wanting to quit while I was in the lake, but felt much more inspired to finish as soon as I was out of the water and walking up to the transition area.

The bike leg was where I first started to experience the "holy crap, I'm actually doing this" euphoria. I was struck by the absolute kindness and sense of community among all the women participating in this triathlon. Bikers were calling out to one another on the course, sharing words of encouragement like "last hill" and "looking good ladies!" I started to see the ladies who were already on the running leg as I completing the second half of the cycling leg, their pace was extremely impressive. Instead of feeling jealous that these women were at an athletic level so much higher than my own, I felt nothing but joy and elation for these women who were literally racing through the same course I was on.

The logistics of traveling for this race were quite a hassle. While I'm not sure that I'd travel for another triathlon, I would certainly participate in a local one. Especially if it were put on by the same organization. I'm so glad that I chose an event specifically for women as my first triathlon. Cheesy as it may be, there really was a sense of sisterhood and female empowerment on the course and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Even for goggles and a water bottle.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story. I want to do a tri now! I'm burnt out on running alone!

  2. Oh my gosh, Heather, I so recommend it! Are you just running? Once I added two additional cardio forms into my mix, running became totally new to me again.


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