Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Orillia Try-A-Tri - Check!

My first triathlon is in the books!

350m swim + 10K bike + 2.5K run = 1:09:57

Let me just preface this by saying...I am a poor swimmer, I'm afraid of taking hills and corners too quickly on my bike, and I'm a slow runner. So why the heck would I sign up to try a tri?

I really don't have an answer for that, aside from...it called to me.

It called to me so loudly that I actually signed up for two this summer. So that if this one was dreadful, I'd have a second shot at tri in August, rather than having to wait until next season to redeem myself.

Now, if you've been following along, you may have noticed that I didn't exactly train for this. I've been biking, I've taken up running, and I swim when I can. But I wouldn't call that focused training.

Each leg in the tri sounded very reasonable to me - but I really underestimated what a game changer it is to put 'em together in one event. Particularly when you add in 31C weather with blazing sun.

So you won't be surprised that this event was a challenge! 

My goals for this race were modest, though: Learn the logistics of doing a tri. Finish. Not dead last if possible.

Done and done :-)

Here's the details -


We stayed at my parent's the night before. The race had an 11am start time, so I had plenty of time to wake up, have breakfast and get ready. Said 'see you at the finish' to my family and rode my bike to the starting line - about 6 minutes away. Sweet.

My red bike is racked. Yes, it's a mountain bike.
 I'll invest in a road bike by next season, I promise.
Checked in about 45 minutes before the start, picked up my ankle chip, got marked, racked my bike, organized my gear, checked out the entry & exit points for each leg, then headed to the beach.

Was a bit of a long walk from transition to the swim start, but on soft grass and clean sand. Nice and easy on the bare feet.

Hit the water for a quick swim. Lovely and warm. And all of a sudden, it was time to get started.

First two waves went out...2 mintues to go before mine...tap on the shoulder...my mom and sister had come to the start to surprise me! Which helped take my mind off how nervous I was.

Hamming it up for the camera with a gun show. Less than a minute to go.
Yes, I'm wearing a swim suit. Will invest in tri suit and possibly wet suit for next season 

 350m swim - 13:32 (includes time to exit the water, cross the beach and enter transition)

Honestly, there were more than a dozen of us in this wave - everyone is really spread out to the sides
Ran in as far as I could, started swimming, and immediately ran into trouble.

Between a mad rush of adreneline making me forget absolutely everything I knew about breathing and technique...and the water being much choppier than I had trained in...I got hit in the face with a wave, swallowed most of it and couldn't breath. Like I'd had the wind knocked out of me.

Forced myself not to panic and to tread water until I recovered. What really helped keep the panic away? The idea of having to give up 20 seconds into a race that I'd signed up for 8 months ago...well, that made me furious.

Recovered, started swimming and almost ran into trouble again with another wave. Decided to flip onto my back for most of the swim rather than keep fighting the waves. Had to swim a heck of a lot harder than I had planned to in order to made up for lost time.

Left the water breathing hard and headed to transition.

T1 - 3:06

Pleased with how I laid out my gear; everything went smoothly. Took a few moments but I was still having a hard time generally calming down. Headed out on the bike still breathing hard.

Leaving T1. Wondering exactly when I'll be able to catch my breath, and how on earth I'm going to be able to run later.

Bike - 34:53

Bike started at the bottom of a steep hill. Said a few nasty words to myself about it and headed up. Reached the top without stopping to walk (woohoo!), and started up a long slope. Followed by another hill. Things levelled out around the 4K mark and I was finally able to get my breathing under control.

Got to the turnaround and - hey - isn't that my mom over there? Fabulous surprise. So great to see a familiar face on the course.

Me in black beside the guy in red.
Mom didn't get a pic of me approaching. Guess I was going too fast, haha.

Aside from being somewhat cautious on down slopes and corners, I love biking. I was really able to relax and enjoy this ride.

Which was over far too quickly!

T2 - 1:48

Got off the bike and was shocked at how tight my legs were. You know, I had *meant* to do some brick training this spring...better get on that before my next tri in a month...

Run - 21:34

The late morning start to this race meant that it was getting close to noon - and very hot and sunny - when I headed out on the run. I knew going into the race that this would be a problem so decided just to have fun with it. Short runs, lots of walk breaks. Took my time at the water stations getting a drink and sprayed down. And guess who showed up at the turnaround? Mom!

I wasn't kidding when I said I'd decided to have fun on this run.

The best thing about a 2.5K run? It's over really fast.

About 50 feet to go and just spotted my husband, kids and dog. Lots of cheering for mom.
And the dog dragged my son off his feet trying to get to me! 

FINISHED!!!!! And with a smile.

After the race - kids played at the park, I walked the dog around a bit, picked up a goodie bag of snacks, picked up my gear and rode bck to my mom's. Lunch, then a 3-generation girl's trip to another beach (Orillia is full of beaches) to celebrate!

The verdict? I learned a lot, including how undertrained I was for this. Have a plan for how I'm going to prepare for the next one in 4 weeks. And a goal to do this again next year :-)

A HUGE thank you to my family for all of their support and encouragement. My younger sister for picking up my race kit and coming to the start, my mom for driving all around town to catch me on each leg, my kids for cheering me on at the finish, to my dog for coming on every training run with me!

...and most of all my husband, for always helping out and NEVER complaining about being on sherpa and driving detail for all of the races I do. 

xoxoxoxox Jen


  1. Awesome job!!!!! It's crazy fun isn't it? Congrats on becoming a triathlete!!

  2. Nice job Triathlete!!!

    My first one was a pool swim, and then I still freaked out in my second one, which was the first with open water. Pretty much everyone has a freakout in their first open water race. The important part is that you recovered and got through it!

    Can't wait to see you in a couple weeks!