My identical twin sister Julie and I live 500 km apart, however, we are training for our first triathlon sprint together in Iron Girl Grimsby this August. We are writing weekly updates of our tri-training on Wednesdays(ish) in an 8 week series called Trials & Tribulations of Triathlon Twins.
There is just over 2 weeks left for Iron Girl and Julie and I are getting super excited! I can’t wait to compete along side my twin sister. After coming back from vacation, I didn’t feel ready and properly trained for the Iron Girl, so I signed myself up for a Tri-A-Try that happened last Sunday. Today I’m sharing with your 11 things I learned from my first triathlon. Sorry Julie, I’m taking over this week’s post!
11 Things I Learned From My First Triathlon
1. Open water swimming is not the same as in a pool
I wasn’t much of a swimmer before last September. I could basically get around the deep end of the pool but I didn’t know any proper strokes. I signed myself up for an endurance swim class and took off from there. Almost 1 year later, I’ve kept up with my swimming in a pool environment. I went out a few times to practice open water swimming but doing the real thing, in a race is completely different. It was tough! Luckily this course had shallow water and I could touch the ground at any time. I felt like I was touching the ground every 6 stroke. Current, waves, cold water, flailing arms and kicking legs from every angle makes swimming that much harder. I feel like I struggled through the swim part at best. I definitely need to practice open water swimming some more before Iron Girl.
2. I worried about the transitions for nothing
Oh my gosh, I worried and fretted for nothing about transitions. Sure, you can practice transitions and make sure you set up your stuff in a way that will work right for you, but I will not be loosing sleep over this any more. Considering the race, both transitions were my least memorable. It happened so fast and efficiently.
I did however, do my homework before hand. I walked the course to see where the bike start and the run start were. I racked my bike so that it was facing the bike course, just in case I got disoriented. I made mental notes along the way, and looked for easy to spot landmarks so I would find my bike quickly in the sea of velocipedes.
3. Don’t cross the line!
The yellow median line in the road that is. That’s an automatic disqualification (DQ), at least in the Subaru Niagara Triathlon Series. They don’t close roads for the races. Cars can still travel along side cyclist, so for the safety of everyone, DO NOT CROSS THE YELLOW LINE. I saw at least 2 DQ’s on race day for this reason. They take this rule seriously.
4. Triathletes pee in their wet suits
I learned during my first Tri Clinic that it’s acceptable to pee in your wet suit. Everyone does it pre-race. It’s also apparently acceptable to pee while on your bike. Serious triathletes in longer races don’t stop to go, they just keep racing. I’m still getting over this fact. You can however, get disqualified for peeing on someone’s lawn!
5. Read all the instructions
I say this because on race day I got so nervous and excited, they handed me my package and I put it in a bag and put it aside. I never read what was inside until my tri clinic friend I met up with asked me where my stickers were. Oops! So, the point of this is: relax and focus!
6. Buy a race belt
I was glad I bought a race belt. It’s a little belt designed to hold your bib number. During the bike portion of the race, you need to have your bib on the back of your shirt. For running, you need your bib at the front. With a race belt, its easy, you just quickly rotate it around.
7. It’s an expensive sport
Triathlon is really 3 sports; each with its unique equipment requirements. If you are starting from scratch, like me, it’s likely to cost you some money. The biggest cost is the bike, but other costly equipment could include a wet suit, helmet, race fees and a tri suits. Now that I have the equipment though, I might as keep tri-ing, right!
8. You legs will feel heavy
Going from biking to running will leave your with legs feeling like you are wearing cement shoes. It wasn’t a surprise on race day since I’ve trained for the triathlon I’ve been doing Brick workouts. Bricks are workouts where you bike followed by running. It gets your leg muscles used that heavy feeling. Still, on race day it was really hard since I pushed hard during my bike portion. That 2.5 km run felt really long.
9. Smile and give photographers a thumbs up
I have the tendency to look very serious when I’m concentrating on something. Looking back at the even photos from last weeks try (you see them here) I do look serious. I didn’t always know where the photographers were. When I did spot them, I gave them a smile and a thumbs up sign. Those photos look a lot better.
10. Celebrate your finish
It’s a huge accomplishment. It’s OK to celebrate your finish and be proud. A glass of wine, chocolate, a photo with your finisher’s medal, or all the above are all great ways to celebrate in my opinion!
11. It was super fun!
Competing in the Try-A-Tri wasn’t easy. In fact, it was very hard. However, I loved the process, even that darn cold, wavy 350 m sink/swim. And, I totally can’t wait to do Iron Girl because I’ll be doing with my best friend, twin sister Julie.
Ok, that concludes this week’s edition of Trials & Tribulations of Triathlon Twins. Maybe next week, I’ll let Julie have her turn! 🙂