Well, the good news is my first triathlon is in the books! I didn’t get eaten by a shark, I didn’t drown and I didn’t fall of my bike. The bad news is I did come a little closer to one of those three things than I would have liked – but more on that later!
Since I know there are a few of you who are thinking about doing a triathlon, I’m planning on giving a detailed recap of race day in 2 parts (before the race and the actual race) and I’ll also do a separate post along the lines of “lessons learned and tips”, so if you have any specific questions on doing your first tri please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!
For this race packet pickup was offered on Friday afternoon or you could get your stuff Saturday morning before the race. Pat and I opted to take a drive over on Friday afternoon to get an idea of how far it was and to sort of get a lay of the land. We were both a bit nervous so it was helpful to get to take a look at everything before race morning!
We ran from the car to the registration tent between downpours and were quickly able to grab our stuff and take a quick look around.
For a triathlon your packet includes not only a bib number, but a number for your bike and a swim cap. (*Newbie Note: The color of your swim cap correlates to your swim wave start (for most races). Pat and I both had green swim caps – from a quick look at the race information green was both “first timers” and “elites”…guess which we were.)
After scoping out the area we grabbed a bite to eat and headed home to gather and double check all our race stuff and get a good night’s sleep. (And by “good night’s sleep” I mean four and a half hours since the hockey game did not want to cooperate and went to a double overtime. Awesome.)
Race morning I rolled out of bed and I’m pretty sure the first words I said to Pat were, “Swim. Bike. Run. Nap.” Four hours of sleep was not a good first time triathlete plan.
We arrived at the race start at 6am. The first order of business was picking up our ankle timing chips. (*Newbie Note: unlike a running race there is no chip on the back of your bib or for your shoe – duh, you don’t wear shoes for the swim! But you will be given a timing chip with an ankle strap.)
We entered the transition area and scouted out a good, easy to locate place to set up all of our stuff.
Since it was raining on and off instead of actually unpacking my stuff and setting it up on a small towel like I had planned, I opted to just sort of organize it in an “easy to find way” in my bag so that it wouldn’t end up too wet.
For the swim I had my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and for the bike & run I had my helmet, sneakers, socks, sunglasses and my GPS watch.
After we were set up we headed over to get “marked”. (*Newbie Note: Your race # will be written on each arm and your age is written on the back of your calf. IN PERMANENT MARKER.)
After we were all marked we had some time to kill until the pre-race meeting.
We killed time with multiple trips to the bathrooms.
You know, coffee + water + nerves = 10 bathroom trips. (The nice thing was there were “real” bathrooms in the little beach clubhouse!)
As we got closer to the 7:15am meeting time we squirmed and shimmied into our wetsuits and made our way down to the beach.
At 7:15am the race director went over the swim course and water conditions, reviewed the race rules and wished everyone – especially the first timers – good luck! The National Anthem was played and they began sending off the waves of swimmers!
Pat and I were in the last wave (the first timers wave) so we had another half an hour wait and then it was finally our turn…
Up next – Swim, Bike & Run!
P.S. – Don’t forget to leave any first time triathlon questions!