A Newbie Triathlete Experience from Start to Finish


“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

by Friedrich Nietzsche


Have you ever challenged yourself to try something new, something so mentally and physically challenging that you kept on questioning why am I doing this to myself? Maybe it’s a new ski run down a big mountain or sky diving out of a perfectly good airplane???

Do you get excited? Or does it make you completely bonkers?

Some of you know what I am talking about, right?

Well, I am NOT one of those people who gets excited!! LOL

Last summer, I went to watch my friend compete in her first triathlon. It was SO cool and looked like a LOT of fun! I thought to myself, “Okay, I can do this. It will be a lot of fun and such a great physical challenge.”

Somehow I never thought about the mental part of it. Stupid Silly me!

All spring I have been training in the pool and the lake, on the bike and of course, running. As it is with most newbie triathletes, the swim is usually the most feared. I mean hey, you really can’t just stop swimming like you can on the bike and the run.

But then I was concerned about popping a tire. Oh man!

As race day approached, I was getting more and more nervous. My stomach was in knots!

And then I read a post by Meredith at SwimBikemom.com about a Triathlete named Jackie. She was the inspiration I needed.

12 hours ’til race time

My bag is packed with all my gear…

I try to get ready for and into bed early but my mind does not stop going and going and going… making sure I have everything, my tires are inflated, my water bottles are filled, etc…. The list goes on and on.

10 pm- 9 hours ’til race time

I am STILL awake!!

Not only that, but there is a twitter party going on with Leah Segedie @bookieboo about GMO’s and #yeson37 that I am really interested in!

So, I join the party to distract myself.

It helps a little but then my phone dies midway through and now I am left to looking at the ceiling and my thoughts. It is going to be a LONG night!

I finally fall asleep sometime around midnight!

4 am – 3 hours ’til race time

I wake up a little early (I had my alarm set to 4:15 so I could leave by 5) and even though I didn’t sleep very well (I had a dream that I was doing a triathlon in a mucky pond… Yuck!) I feel pretty good and excited!

6 am – 1 hour ’til race time

I get to the transition area and start setting up my gear. Since it is my first time, I take a look around at everyone else’s to make sure I am doing it correctly. By 6:15 I am all set up.

I eat a banana with peanut butter while I take my bag back to my car and search for the restrooms. I also find my friend (the same one that I watched do this same race the year before) and she gives me the words of encouragement that I will do fine. It is SO nice having someone to “coach” you through.

Race time

As I make my way down to the beach, I see my family arriving. My kids are SO excited and come running to give me a (much needed) hug.

I have to wait on the beach for about what feels like eternity 20 minutes before I am at the start line. They start 3 people every 10 seconds.


I run as fast as I can into the water. At least it is warm 😉 It starts to get really mushy, yucky and I have to swim.

The weeds are tall and if you get off of the fresh cut path, you get tangled in them. About halfway through the swim there is a man near me about 6 feet to my side that is having difficulty. Swimmers call out to the help team on kayaks. My family is concerned it is me because they know it is in my general vicinity. They have faith that I am okay but have to wait to see me exit the water before they are sure.

I finally get to a point where I can touch the bottom again and I am able to start running out of the water. I step on a GIANT rock, right on my left foot instep, and it hurts, but… I don’t have time to think about it.

I hear my kids and family yelling, “Go mommy, Go!” The words fuel my soul.

The first transition goes smoothly. I make my way out with my bike to a 15k ride along the river. It is WINDY!! So, Murphy’s law held true and there is a headwind each way. Ouch!

Each athlete has their age marked on the back of their calf. For me, it is very motivating when someone older passes by on the bike and run.

I am almost finished with the ride and realize that I made it without getting a flat tire. Thank God!

I finally get back to transition and get my running shoes, hat, etc.. on. My legs are jelly!

I keep saying to myself, “common, you are a runner, now RUN!” but my legs keep saying, “noooo way”

The run is tough. It feels a LOT longer than 1.5 miles. I keep thinking about how I am almost done. I have goosebumps because I can now see the finish line.

I sprint the last 200 meters.

I cross the finish line and feel an amazing sense of relief, satisfaction, and happiness.

I hear my kids yelling “way to go, Mommy! Yay!!!”

I get my results and I finished in 1 hr 16 minutes. It is 1 minute over my goal time of 1hr 15min but… I am happy that I finished 🙂

As the days have passed by since the race I realize that my nervousness was for nothing and as long as you have faith in yourself, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. You just have to go and DO IT!!

Watch the video I made and see if you can tell how nervous I am per-race and how excited I am post-race 😉

Have you ever competed in a triathlon?

How did you feel going into a new competition?