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Old 07-22-2010
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Default Share stories of your first triathlon!

We're celebrating first triathlons! Share the story of your first experience here. We want to know what you learned, or hear about your funny or touching experience

Last edited by AngelaDorris : 07-22-2010 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 07-22-2010
energeticspace energeticspace is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 10
Default First Triathlon

Originally Posted by AngelaDorris View Post
We're celebrating first triathlons! Share the story of your first experience here. We want to know what you learned, or hear about your funny or touching experience
My first triathlon was in May this year. Here's my blog post about it: The results weren't stellar but it was enough to motivate me to sign up for another one.
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Old 07-22-2010
shiatsudave shiatsudave is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
Default practice practice practice

I had to be rescued. The moral of the story is to spend more time practicing in the open water and don't assume it's just like the pool minus the walls...

Currents etc can make a huge difference... as I discovered after the jet-ski dropped me back in shallower waters.

But for a first time I was not downhearted, my ego was not irreparably damaged, I still managed to raise a lot of money for Shelterbox, and will be back to do another.
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Old 07-22-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
Posts: 564

My First Triathlon, well this will be short as it was so long ago the memories have faded along with the body deteriorating. Sometime around the early 1980's, yes that is 80, time of the leisure suits and disco, (Tris not called such then) started to become popular. It is my vague recollection that it all stemmed for some fool hardy military guys who must have been sitting in a bar one night, not drunk though and the challenge was on. Well some the thoughts and jumped from the Islands to the Mainland and here in Madison, WI the local Y picked up on the idea and sponsored the first ones in the area.

I participated in that first one, can not even remember the year. Someone out there help if you can. There were no such things as sprints, and or other official distances. If my memory is correct, (doubt it though) the swim was a 1/4 or 1/2 not sure which, bike was somewhere around 26 and the run was a 10 k ( I think)

The swim was conducted in Lake Mendota, a large body of water,wind was out of the west with two and three foot whitecaps pounding the shore. Oh BTW my idea of TI at the time, if in existence, would have been getting held under until no life existed. Which looking at the lake way what I though could happen. Wetsuits what wetsuits, timing chips, how about a good old Timex and stop watch, splits and transition times, hell I was just hoping not to drown. Well I made the swim although a canoe had to come and get me as my sighting , what is that, was a little off. Did I mention that some of the pilot canoes needed help before it was all said and done.

Whew that is over to the transition. No tents, participants stripped out of suits and put on bike shorts if they had them or many just switch into running shorts and tennis shoes for the bike. I was really hip in that I had a pair of bike shorts and had outfitted my Schwinn, steel frame 40 lb bike with a pair of toe craddles that my tennies fit into. Off on the bike I go. There were a few places where we had to stop and wait to cross roads. Wind was brutal and for the most part all went well. Not remembering the exact distance, I do remember finishing the bike split in somewhere around 1:30, could not have been 26 miles, as I was lucky to average 14mph with the tank I was pushing.

Off the bike to the run, no need to transition as I had my running shoes on. At the time this was by far my strong suit. A 10K was usually sub 40. I remember be in this mental state of great accomplishment. There were no cheering crowds or for that matter not even a, lot of family mostly just those craziest enough to do this.

No recollection of time completed in or how many participated. Time passed and the sport grew. Wetsuits became the norm and carbon fiber light weight bikes came into being. Aerobars HA when did they come into vogue. In that first Tri there were several riding without even drops. It took a couple of years before they put up changing tents for the swim to bike transition. Actually word traveled through the community, Madison being the liberal bastion it is, that on race day to get a good show go to the Tri. People started to complain, always someone who has to ruin it for the couch potato.

My participation in Tris lasted a few more years always of the short version. Crashed on the bike in second year, half way through the course. My brand new Trek only had it a couple of weeks. This one only weighed about 25 or so. I did have cleat pedals and shoes high tech and could not handle progress, or maybe it was trying to sneak a peak a the dolly I just blew by descending the steepest hill on the course. Front wheel wobble over the bars, wrecked bike, broken collar bone and one little sweetie stopping to ask if I was okay. PRICELESS. Got back on rode in with bars going one way and bike straight. No run although I tried and decided it was not a good idea with my clavicle trying to poke through, besides it hurt like hell.

Time has passed and Triathlons have evolved into a whole new dimension I think????

The is written with fond memories of the days I was able to run like the wind and ride somewhat well, swimming was through sheer brute strength and pound the laps. My disclaimer to the above, is any who are familiar with these first days of the sport in Madison and disagree with what has been written, enlighten me. (I did say it would be short didn't I)



Last edited by westyswoods : 07-22-2010 at 09:47 PM. Reason: Correction
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Old 07-23-2010
dickfelton dickfelton is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Default FIRST successful Olympic Distance Tri

OK - so I have done 4 sprint Tri's 0.5 miles or 750 meters swims, etc etc but until last Saturday I have never been able to complete a 1.5KM swim. The first attempt was in rough waters of Lake Ontario - swam back into shore after a 200 meter attempt and last year at Gravenhurst Ontario, I jumped off a steam ship (yes that is how you get to the start of the swim) 10 feet to the water of Muskoka Lake and lost my goggles - rode into shore on an inflatable. Last Saturday, I was on that same boat ready to either conquer my fears or make it my last attempt.

Let me digress for a moment. I cycle 1400 Km in one go (usually 6000 to 8000 KM per year) and have run 12 marathons - 2X at Boston and will run and bike at the drop of a hat, however I started to swim at 60 years of age after a lifetime of fear in the water. I have to force myself to go to the pool and no matter how much I practice I still have a hard time with relaxation and breathing. (I remember TI course in Chicago when coach told me to come back when I learned how to swim!! - almost drowned in the O) OK so maybe if I swam as much as I run and bike the swim would be easier however that has not been the case.

I jumped off the boat again (this time holding my goggles tightly and ended up upside down in the water - surfacing choking and sputtering. Had to take the goggles off and adjust them and then swim 100 meters to the start where the old men and ladies were last to start. WELL - I start and it is just like I have never been in the water before in my life - timing is all off - all the practice is out the window and I am just trying to survive in the water. Brain tells me - "this is too hard - just quit" - Hmmm IF I do that - my tri's are finished and I will consider myself a failure - SO keep going. I am still hyperventilating and now swimming into a wind and current (none of that in the pool?) and the first turn which is 500 meters takes an eternity. I finally make the turn and the boat that is constantly at my side sort of tells me that I am last or very close to last - so there is another thing I have to deal with - being last - well I figure - even last is OK - just let me finish. I struggle - I try to get into a rhythm - I try to remember to relax - nothing works - but I keep going. Now I have an inflatable one side, an open boat the other side and 2 young ladies on surf boards right beside me - got to be dead last I tell myself (of coarse my wife tells me later that the reason I am last is that I want the private escort of young girls to bring me to the swim finish!!) Finally I reach the dock steps finish where two guys help pull me out - dizzy as all get out - can't even stand up - people cheering = YES I AM LAST = 1 hour exactly - my swimming sucks - but I did finish - maybe even conquered some fears (next race will tell that)

The rest of the story:

Bike was good once I got on the course - passed about 20 people - sweep vehicle actually commented after about how I was picking off riders one by one and the run was OK - had not run 6 weeks before the Triathlon because I had done a 1245 Km ride in Cascade Mountains in Washington at the first of July - still felt a little of that in my legs - when I started to run - I thought Why does this seem strange?? - but I did the 10 KM respectable and finished in half decent form - thanks to Chi Running background


the topper to this whole story is that there is an advantage to being old(er) - Only 2 people in my age group hence when I was packing up - heard my name called - got second place (LOL)

Moral of this story - finishing is always worth it - I will be back for more and will continue to practice my swimming and maybe even advance myself to the point I want to be at - to finish an IM one day????
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Old 08-08-2010
john_susan918 john_susan918 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Thumbs up My first triathlon was yesterday and I loved it!

I've never been much of an athlete but I decided this past spring to train for and participate in our local sprint triathlon. A local certified triathlon trainer held open meetings for new participants and he told us about Total Immersion. Thanks Ben!!! I ordered the freestyle dvd and triathlon swimming book package. I went from swimming 300-400 yards in May to easily swimming a mile by mid-July.

My first triathlon was yesterday, Aug. 7, 2010. I swam the half mile in 21 minutes and was 189th in the swim out of nearly 400 participants. I ended up finishing the triathlon as 260th overall and was 14th in my age group. I definitely need to look at getting a new bike. I dropped from being 189th in the swim to 269th in the bike portion. I made up some time in the run, actually ran one of my best times all summer. I am very pleased with my overall time and experiences. I will definitely be doing more triathlons in the future and working on shaving minutes off of my times.
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Old 08-11-2010
gluestick gluestick is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5
Default My first time

Below is the excerpt from my race log entry for the swim portion of my first TRI, a local sprint. Since this race I have completed another sprint with remarkably better swim results and am planning one last race this season, with a half mile ocean swim to start it off, in mid September. Needless to say, it quickly becomes clear why I am on this website...

So I trained pretty hard with my biking and running. Figured I could just "fake" my way through this simple swim that wasn't even really a quarter mile. Without any pools available and the local beaches opening several weeks late this year (budgetary I assume) I have honestly entirely neglected this part of my training.

I was looking forward to swimming in a pack of kicking and splashing bodies, though it might be fun. I consider myself a big enough guy to hold my own, and I have never considered myself claustrophobic. The first 50 yards were OK. Then I turned my head to breathe and caught a mouthful of water. Coughing I tried to recover the best I could just in time to get my goggles kicked. Had to stop to readjust goggles. Got back into my stroke and realized the pack was now gone. My form was the next to depart me, and by about 80 yards in I was digging deep into my swimming bag of tricks. You name the stroke, I probably did it. I was flustered, tired, and starting the race in the back of the pack. Trying to stay positive, I prided myself on the fact I was still moving forward and I was breathing enough air to keep going.

I took comfort in the company of the back of my wave, about a half dozen other guys who were having just as bad, if not worse of a time of it. I actually passed a guy doing a freestyle stroke, albeit a really slow one. Then I passed a guy who was doing a full backstroke, arms pinwheeling gracefully in the sky. So we struggled and splashed and flailed and tried not to drown and actually started closing in on the final buoy. Just then someone in a yellow cap (the second wave group leader) came upon our sad water logged group and passed us like we were swimming backwards (we may have been, I'm not entirely sure).

I found inspiration in his swimming competence and regrouped myself mentally and did my best freestyle I could to the finish. Oh my god that was the longest 6 1/2 minutes of my life. I though for sure we were in the water at least 45 minutes. Exiting the water I was winded, embarrassed, but extremely well hydrated.
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Old 08-11-2010
borksara borksara is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Default last year and last weekend

Last year was my first triathlon- I just started learning TI swimming a few weeks before the race.

I was so excited for my 400M swim that I put my goggles on upside down -- and they kept leaking so badly that I gave up on swimming at all and just breast stroked the whole way. I was scared I would lose my contacts.

I never figured out they were upside down till I got out of the water.

This year I tackled a race with an 800M swim. I floated through the swim, didn't exert myself too much at all, and came in with a solidly average time and plenty of gas for the bike and run. success!
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Old 09-21-2010
rembonjaski rembonjaski is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5

I finished my first sprint tri last weekend (0.5 mi/11 mi/3 mi).

My 1/2 mile swim split (including a 100+ yard run to T1 from the water) was 15:49. I realize that I'm not winning any medals with that time, but considering that three months ago I could barely swim 25 yards in the pool, I'm happy. I stuck to my game plan of staying relaxed and mindful of my stroke - I thought I would have to fight the urge to try to compete with the people around me, but when I started passing people in the group ahead of me I was reminded that staying relaxed and streamlined is more helpful than trying harder. More importantly, when I got out of the water I had plenty of energy for the rest of the race!

The bike was slow, over 40 minutes for 11 miles, but I didn't train much at all for that leg, so I'm not too disappointed.

The run was better than I expected. I'm a slow runner - typically 10 to 10:30/mi pace, but I did the 3 miles in about 29 minutes.

Transition times were less than 3 minutes each. Preserving energy during the swim meant I didn't have to sit in T1 trying to catch my breath.

I set a goal of 1:45 and ended up coming in at 1:32 - so I would call it a success overall.

I owe a great deal of thanks to Terry and all the coaches and forum contributors who basically taught me how to swim in a very short amount of time. I look forward to improving my stroke even more and getting ready for the next race!

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Old 09-30-2010
Physics202 Physics202 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 9

I did my first sprint tri about a month ago. I started learning TI and actually swimming with some sort of form about 2-3 months before the event. I tried 1 open water swim just to get a feel of things, and also practiced looking up while in the pool. When I stepped into the water for the first leg of the tri, I dove in for a little warm up, and started to freak out a little bit.... It was poring with rain, the sun was still not up, and I felt like I couldn't see anything.... I took a breather, and forced myself to keep trying and finally got a little comfortable.

Once the race began, I just did whatever I could to stay on track towards the buoy and to try and stay away from the cluster (which was practically impossible). I think my neck was very tense and my head was often raised out of the water as I was feeling a little claustrophobic about not being able to see anything. I finished the swim not feeling exhausted, and moved on to what I thought was my better events.

In the end, I finished with a better time swimming(111 of 350) than I did biking(128 of 350). I was shocked, hopefully this will give me the confidence to relax on my next one this weekend.

TI has done wonders with my swimming, but I still have plenty to improve on...
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