July 3, 2013

We “Tri”ed!


I can honestly say that after having just completed a Sprint Triathlon, people that compete in full Ironman competitions (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) are absolutely crazy.  I mean insane.

I know a few people who have not only entered, but actually finished one (or two) and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them.  I, however, have no desire to ever attempt that feat – I can’t even imagine the training regimen!




As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I decided to get Mike an “event gift” for his birthday instead of an actual tangible present.  He’s not one for a lot of material things, so I thought an activity that we could do together was more fun – and he agreed.

I wanted to sign up for something we hadn’t done before and my friend Lynn has been talking up triathlons a lot lately, so when she said she wanted to do one with us I started looking.  Luckily, there are a lot around our area in the summer (when most other races hold off until the fall because of the hot temps).  We even have the National Training Center for the USAT located about 20 miles from Orlando in Clermont, FL – so needless to say there are tons of tris around to choose from!



Due to some date conflicts, we decided on a brand new Sprint Tri series in Sanford, FL at Lake Sylvan Park.  This race was actually the first sanctioned USAT event in Seminole county in which the director of the race was so excited.

There were only about 125 competitors, which at first I thought was super small (which it was) but as we quickly found out – was much better for our first go at it. 




Almost go time!


We were definitely rookies; and thank goodness Lynn did it with us since we had NO IDEA what we were doing or what to expect.  We were a bit clueless, used mountain bikes (“fat tires”) since that’s all we had, but also learned a lot and had a lot of fun!



Gorgeous morning for a tri!


If you are thinking about signing up for one in your area, here are some things to consider:

  • Triathlons start in waves (groups), or at least ours did.  Mike, Lynn and I had signed up for the “My First Tri” option which had a shortened swim, so therefore went in the last wave together.  If we hadn’t done this we would have been starting in waves based on age and gender and would have all been separated.
  • You keep all of your things, bike included, in what is called the “transition area”.  Thanks to Lynn’s suggestion we were more prepared than we would have been.  Here’s what we brought with us:

-Swim cap, goggles, and bike helmet were necessities that we couldn’t live without!

-Towels to drape over our bike seats so we knew which bikes were ours. Your might think you remember where your stuff is, but after the swim everything looks the same as you run into the transition area!  You also need a towel or two to dry off a bit after the swim and dry your feet before putting them into your shoes!

-Water to wash your feet off after your run up from the swim.  We brought little water bottles for this reason and then had water bottles in our bike holders for the bike ride.  Water stations were only located during the run, so taking some with you on the bike is a must.

-Spray Sunscreen to apply after the swim.  It was bright and hot on the bike and run potions!

-Socks and shoes to put on after the swim.

-Running shirt to change into after the swim.  I left my spandex shorts on for the duration, but a dry shirt for biking and running was key.

-Change of clothes in the car for after the race.  We headed to lunch and it felt so good to be dry!  Extra towels in the car to dry off with are a must as well – the ones from the transition area were super wet and gross after the race.


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First guy out of the water!


The signs that tell you which way to run out of the transition area.


The swim (750 m regular sprint distance, 500 m for us) was in a lake.  We started in the water and instead of doing the triangle swim, the My First Tri participants did an out and back route.  The water temp was perfect, although I wasn’t digging the mucky bottom and thick weeds!!!


Our 12.5 mile bike was actually an open course which meant we were sharing the road with cars.  We had to follow the green signs and watch for the symbols on the road which told us where to turn; luckily the organizers also had volunteers located at each turn so we knew we were on the right track.


The 3.1 mile run was actually part trail run (through the park) and part road run.  It was mostly shaded thank goodness and a nice route.  My legs were a little jello-y after the bike, but I knew the end was near!



Biking on the open road!


The only not-so-great thing that happened was a little mishap regarding our gear.  We got sticker numbers in our registration packet to go on all of our parts and pieces – bike, helmet, swim cap, and shirt to help keep everything straight since it can get a bit confusing in the transition area.

Well, upon finishing, Mike noticed that he had the wrong bike helmet.  Apparently when the girl next to us transitioned, she grabbed Mike’s helmet instead of hers.  Since she was faster than us (almost everybody was) by the time we saw the mistake she was already gone.  Since Mike had borrowed his helmet from a buddy (and it was a nice one) this was a pretty big oops.  We are still trying to get in touch with the person to arrange a switch, but so far we aren’t getting very far.

I guess it all comes with the territory, and hopefully we will get the right helmet soon!



At the end of the day we had a blast.  We didn’t record our best times by far, but having not trained and having had a baby 4 months ago, I was just proud we (I) finished!




Next activity on the agenda:

The Savage Race in October!



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