I did my first mini triathlon at Binbrook Conservation Area. It was a 400 m swim, 10K bike ride, and 2.5 K run.
On the day of, I was feeling nervous as I always do before races, and I had a moment in which I was wondering whose decision it was to do this anyway, and what had I been thinking, etc. I did a 25K race in May and the triathlon was in June, and I felt like I'd been in training for a long time. I like training - you could say I love it, actually - but there were things about the triathlon that were worrying me. I was afraid I would fall off my bike, because of the crush of people around me. I wasn't sure how the transitions would go. I was wondering how crowded it would be in the lake as well. Initially I wasn't sure what to wear, because many people wear wetsuits, but there are different kinds, and I didn't know whether to rent one or buy one. I only had a mountain bike so I had to borrow a road bike and then tune it up but it still wasn't very good, so that was another issue. I kept thinking longingly of how for running, I just needed shoes! Although of course that's not really true either, because you can have trail shoes and road shoes, and the right socks and shirts, and things for the winter....the list goes on. But when three sports are involved, the gear factor rises exponentially!
I did the tri with two friends. It was the first time for all of us.
The coolest part was how they drew my number on my upper arm. They also drew my age on my leg, but they put a happy face in the 0 of 40 so it was okay.
I went right at the back for my wave start. It was harder than I thought it would be to swim, because the water was choppy and every time I tried to do the front crawl I would touch someone's legs or feet in front of me so I had to stop and just do the breast stroke. (I heard that two people had to be pulled out into a boat. I don't know if they were panicking or tired or what.) Maybe I shouldn't have been at the very back. By the third leg of the swim the pack had cleared out and I could do the front crawl without running into anyone. I was surprised when I looked up and saw how close the beach was; I put down my foot and I could touch sand so I just ran out. But I was breathing very heavily, especially running up the beach to the transition area.
I had been worried about the rules, because you're supposed to have your helmet on before you unrack your bike, and you can't ride your bike in the transition area, you have to walk it out. And of course I hadn't known any of these rules beforehand, and not all are just common sense that you would figure out on your own.
I put on my shoe at first before my shorts, but otherwise the first transition went well. I hadn't worn a wetsuit and I was glad I didn't have to fiddle with it, and the water wasn't cold. It took me over 2 minutes though, because I put on socks and had to tie up my shoes, whereas some people only used seconds to transition. (My second transition time was only 44 seconds or something, because I just racked the bike and kept going.)
Even though my bike wasn't that great, I enjoyed the ride because there wasn't a big pack of people around me as I had feared. It was pretty smooth sailing and we biked through some nice countryside so it was good.
We all realized how important a good bike is for the race. My one friend got the prize for the worst bike. She had borrowed her mom's. Not that you could tell, or anything. It had a bell and a red flag on it and was really heavy. One guy was riding a mountain bike and lots of people were passing him. My bike was better than that, but it still wasn't that great. The gears were terrible and kept slipping out. Several people passed me on the bike. But when I saw someone pass me who was older than me, (because I could read the numbers on their legs) I cheered them on. Honestly, I thought it was so great that women who were 44 and 48 were passing me. I thought, "Go, over 40 women, go!"
Then for the run. That's my strength and I felt pretty good, although tired and thirsty. I was happy with my time as I did the 2.5 K in 12 minutes.
The funniest part was the guy who refused to wear his swim cap, rode his bike in the transition area, refused to wear his helmet, and then swore at an official. He was disqualified. Thanks for coming out, sportsmanlike person!
It was a well-organized race, and I would recommend it. We got a nice run shirt and a goodie bag, and free chocolate milk for recovery after the race, plus fruit and bagels.
And after all my worrying, it went well. Nothing bad happened. I came in 5th out of my age group! My goal had just been to enjoy myself, and I did. And now that I've done it once, it would be so much easier to do it again. People told me triathlons were addictive but I didn't think it would happen to me....except now I'm looking around for another one!