Today was my first triathlon event.  It is part of the YMCA training series, so the distances were very short, and it was indoors because it is winter here.  The distances were  1/4 mile swim, 9 miles on a spin bike, and 2 miles running on a treadmill.  I was excited about the event, but really nervous about my leg.  I was still feeling pretty sore from the severe cramp I got on Friday.  Even though I spent all day Saturday taking it easy and keeping the leg warm, it was still feeling pretty bad this morning.  Once I got in the pool, however, it didn’t bother me at all.  It had no impact whatsoever on my performance.  I sucked all on my own.


Swim:17:53 (450 Yards)

T1: 1:59

Bike: 20:35 (9 miles)

T2: 0:10

Run: 21:58 (2 Miles)

Total: 1:02:08

Place:  33/37


My first race went relatively well.  Relative being the operative term.  I had nearly the worst swim time (I think only one person was slower) but I was pretty strong on the other events.  Considering how much I put off all my other training, I am pretty happy with the results.  At this point finishing was victory enough.  My wife did much better than I did, she placed 29th (Yay Miriam!).  Although my swim time was slow compared to everyone else, it was my personal best.  I did it about 4 minutes faster than I had in training.  I felt it though, I was sucking wind pretty bad by the end and I know I need to get my form perfected if I hope to even be in the game come a real race.


My wife and I volunteered to help out.  We were in charge of timing the bike leg of the race for the first 3 waves.  It was a bit intimidating trying to keep track of everyone running in and out of the spinning room.  It really didn’t help our nerves any.  When we got relieved we ran over to the pool area and waited anxiously for our wave to start.  I was pretty nervous, but it was nice to be there with my wife because it helped keep me at least a little more calm than I would have been otherwise.  I swam a little back and forth to warm up then just waited for the start.


My wife tells me that I took off like a rocket when they called start.  I don’t really remember.  I do know that I was winded after just the first lap.  By the second lap my wife had caught up to me.  She added to her lead each lap.  By the time she was finishing her last length I still had 2 whole laps to go.  Just goes to show, slow and steady does win the race.

A couple of notes on the swim.  My form was a disaster.  I struggled mightily to get through the swim.  I could feel the wake from the other swimmers pulling at me.  I thought several times, holy crap what will it be like in open water?  I was the last one out of the pool in my wave.  In fact, I still had a lap left when the last swimmer got out.  I was getting cheers as I went in for lap 8, and had to let everyone know I still had one to go.  That last length felt great though since I could see the light at the end of the tunnel (well maybe that was me nearing death)!

As I got out of the pool I was gasping for air, my heart was pounding, and my legs were shot.  I obviously was using way too much legs in my swim.  I have to work on that.  I decided to just throw my running shoes on, with no socks, and head for the spin bike.  That was a decision I would later come to regret.


There really wasn’t a lot to talk about on the bike.  I got on after a quick transition, and plugged away at it.  I didn’t feel winded or tired.  I was a bit nervous getting out of the pool with such wobbly legs.  I thought that I would struggle through the rest of the events.  I had no issues though.  Once I got off the bike I booked to the treadmills for the run.


I had a couple of issues on the treadmills.  At first I couldn’t figure out where the distance was located.  I ran for a few minutes before realizing that the last person’s distance hadn’t been reset.  I stopped the treadmill, reset the time, and started over.  I felt beat right away, I didn’t know how I was going to do 2 miles.  At the 1/4 mile mark I started feeling like a rock was in my left running shoe.  They were brand new so I knew that wasn’t the case.  I thought maybe the tongue had gotten messed up or something.  I thought about stopping to adjust it, but then decided to just press on.  At the half mile mark I started getting the exact same feeling on my right foot.  By this time, the rock feeling in my left foot started feeling more like small nails scratching at me.  I closed my eyes for a second and thought, ok Nelson, when you run a marathon it is going to hurt, so just push through it.  I focused on my run and ignored the pain.  At the mile mark I thought, oh man, I can’t do this, it is too far.  Then I thought, wait, why do I think I can’t do this?  I ran through a mental check list.  My legs feel fine, I’m not winded, my heart rate seems ok, I can do this, in fact this is easy.  Immediately after running through that checklist I felt like I could run forever.  I was running at a pace of about an 11 minute mile, and I wasn’t even breathing hard.  I knew I would be fine.  I told myself that once I get to within a quarter mile of the finish I am going to sprint, heck, maybe I’ll get to a 9 minute mile!  As I approached the 1/4 mile mark one of the people that had organized the event came up to me and said, ok now you need to crank it and finish strong.  I bumped the machine up to an 8 minute mile and ran like Forest Gump.  I made it to the end just before I was about to run out of gas.  I jumped off the treadmill and ran to the finish.

It felt amazing to get through my first tri.  And, even though I was near the bottom of the group, I still felt like a winner.  I know if I can get my running up to snuff, and shave about 50% off my swim time, I can be in the thick of it.  All in all, it was a lot of fun.  I’m very glad I did this, and I look forward to doing another one next month.  But ugh, it is going to be longer :(.

Lessons Learned

  • Wear socks when I run, ouchie.  After I got out of the shower, I put on my socks and felt immediate pain.  My feet must have been rubbing against the netting in the shoe which caused the rock and nails feeling as I ran.  As a result the skin on the inner arch of both soles of my feet had been rubbed raw.  It burned when I put my socks on, and felt worse when I put my shoes on.  When I got home I put antibacterial cream and bandages on my feet and I felt much better.  Clearly the combination of wet feet and new shoes was not good.
  • Get better at swimming, my goal is to half my swim time by the time we get to the 1/2 mile swim.  That means I need to do the full half mile in the same time I did this 1/4 mile, or faster.
  • Don’t ignore the running.  I think I can actually do well in the running, I found that I had a ton of endurance today, if I can get faster and maintain the endurance, I think I can do really well.