On Saturday, July 6th I completed my first triathlon. It was a sprint triathlon in Pardeeville, Wisconsin, consisting of a 400 meter swim, 15 mile bike, and 5k run.
My times were:
Transition 1: 4:02
Transition 2: 1:18
My goal was to finish under 1:30, which I met.
Swim: I've been swimming a lot. I started from having no background in swimming. I could swim, but I'd never swam laps in a pool. Last October I started meeting one-on-one with a coach, meeting once a week for thirty minutes and also swimming on my own twice more each week. After the new year this shifted to an every other week swim group my coach does each winter. This went into April. In May my coach's open water swim group started, and we swim up to three times a week if weather allows. Most people wear wet suits. I love swimming in a wet suit, and the lake water and weeds have never freaked me out. Not everyone takes to it so easily.
Biking: I need to bike more. I've been riding for years, but in a triathlon it's bike racing. I have a road bike and not a tri-specific bike. For the sprint distance the first time, that was fine.
Running: I've been running for years by this point, but running after cycling is hard. A guy who sometimes comes to a group run told me "every ride ends in a run." I mostly did that, and I'm glad. Coming from a place of "a half marathon is a lovely way to start a day," it's a head trip to feel like a soggy mess a half mile into a three mile run.
The forecast said rain, and the radar showed rain. I packed my transition stuff in garbage bags. In retrospect, my pink garbage bags really stood out in transition and made it easy to find my stuff. About twenty minutes before the start it was pouring, and it let up to a steady rain by the time we started.
It starts in waves. Wave 1 was elites and relays. Wave 2 was me: male novice. I had a nice swim, and I think I came out toward the head of my wave. I passed some relay people, too, to my surprise. My swim training paid off. It was just no big deal.
The four minutes of transition flew by. It felt like 45 seconds. I sucked down a Gu here.
It was still raining on the bike. I was worried the road would be slick, but I had no issues. I'd ridden the course twice, and I'm glad I did. Nothing was a surprise, and that made my weakest event be less intimidating. My groin muscles were sore by the end. As I said, I need to bike more. My average speed was 18.6 mph, which I was very happy with (though the elites do it at 25 mph). The rain stopped somewhere during the ride.
I made a quick transition to the run and grabbed a cup of Gatorade near the start. The run was every bit as hard as the last three miles of a long run. The course was a short loop and then an out and back. I was happy to see the turn around and even happier to see the last turn toward the finish.
All in all, everything went well. I should get a triathlon shirt or suit. I should bike more: speed, distance, and stuff like taking in fluids while riding.
I'm probably going to do another, maybe one in 2.5 weeks. And maybe another longer one after that.
Is this a training rule, or a way to practice the transition? I keep thinking I should run to work now and then, but a bike ride is more fun and about as fast as the bus, while running is a lot less convenient even before considering a cool down period.
Looks like the next distance up is Olympic, about double the sprint. The transitions won't take any longer, so you should be able to beat three hours, right?