First Tri Race Report! (Long)

First Tri Race Report! (Long)

Post by Brad Speierma » Tue, 23 Sep 1997 04:00:00

I did it!  I finished my first tri!  What a great feeling.  Many thanks
to everyone on RST who helped me prepare!  Without all the training
tips, questions answered, and general pick me ups I received from RST
during the low points in my training (RE: My first ocean swim is a
flop!, etc.) I never could have done it!  I'm hooked now!  I'm already
planning my training to make sure I'm in even better shape for next

Here's my first race report.

Race Report
14th Annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Sea Colony Triathlon
Bethany Beach, Delaware
1.5k Swim - 36k Bike - 10k Run
Saturday, 20 September, 1997


I set my alarm for 5:15am.  I was in the first wave at 8, so I wanted to
make sure I had plenty of time for my breakfast to settle.  What a
shock, I woke up before my alarm!  5:10 and I'm off to the kitchen.
Before I even finish making my bagels my father pops out from his
bedroom.  I think he was as nervous as I was.  About the time I finish
breakfast my two year old daughter comes into the kitchen.  Oh man, this
isn't good.  She's up way to early and will be a little monster for my
wife while I'm off racing if I can't get her back to bed.  Out comes my
wife, man this days not shaping up the way I had it planned!  After a
few minutes I manage to convince my daughter it's not time to get up,
even if dad is running around grandma & grandpa's beach house eating
breakfast in his swim suit and get her back to bed.  My wife heads back
to bed too, and I cross my fingers hoping our three kids all sleep in
and are well behaved for my wife during the race.

Body marking starts at 6:00 so my dad and I head off to the Sea Colony.
We get there around 6:15.  I get checked in and marked no problem.  I
find a place to hang my bike and start to get set up.  I start chatting
with the guy next to me.  It's his first race too.  We spend the next
several hours running into each other and trying to stay calm and
relaxed.  I decide to head down to the beach and see the swim course.
I'm surprised to find no buoys out yet and it's just an hour before the
race.  Turns out the currents had changed direction and they were
getting ready to reposition the course so we could swim with the
current.  They announce the race will be delayed until 8:30.  Great,
just what I needed!  Thirty more minutes to get nervous!  About 8:00 we
all start the stroll down the beach to the starting area.  Once I get
checked in I head down to the water to get warmed up.  As soon as I hit
the water my heart really started going!  I paddle out past the breakers
and just float around for a few minutes and try and relax.  Then it's
back up to the beach to wait for the start.  They tell us a couple of
minutes to go and everyone starts to line up.  Although everyone has
told me I should start in the back left corner of the pack since I
breath right.  I decided I'm going to start back right so the south to
north current doesn't end up pushing me to the left of the first buoy.
I also decided to aim at the boat to the right of the buoy just to make
sure I end up on the right side.  As we all wait I find myself becoming
a lot calmer then before.  I hear the director start the countdown

The Swim

I push the button on my watch and slowly wade into the water being
careful not to get caught up in the fracas going on in front of me.  The
adrenaline is really pumping now and I keep trying to concentrate on my
swimming.  1..2..3..4..breath..2..3..4..sight.  I'm starting to have
self doubt already.  How the hell am I going to do this!  On one of my
sights I see I'm keeping up with everyone and I'm encouraged some.  On
another I see several people doing the *** stroke.  I swallow some
water and decide I better do the  *** stroke for a little ways.  Damn
I didn't want to do that!!!!  Oh well, it's better then a DNF.  I do it
for about 20 seconds and feel amazingly better.  I put my head back down
and I'm back into freestyle.  I repeat pretty much the same cycle of
self doubt a couple of more times on the way out to the first buoy but
manage to keep it in check with a few seconds of *** stroke each
time.  I think the fact that when I did the *** stroke I could see
there were other people going the same speed, having the same problem
swimming anything like a straight line, and switching to other strokes
periodically (I even saw a few people roll over and do the back stroke)
made realize I could really do this.  Once I made the turn at the first
buoy I felt strong the rest of the way.  I even missed counting 3 of the
buoys and didn't realize I was past the last one until I heard a
volunteer yelling at another swimmer who had gone even further to turn.
Once I made the turn I stopped for a minute and cleared my goggles.  I
hadn't realized it, but they were so fogged I couldn't see the shore!  I
had to work a lot harder then I expected coming back in.  I was swimming
a little into the current to keep from getting swept down the beach to
far.  I put down my feet when I thought I was in far enough but
apparently I wasn't in far enough.  Doh!  I swam a little farther and
found the ground.  I came running out of the water, pulled off my
goggles, and started to try and get my swim cap off.  It was about then
I realized I was really wiped out!  Then I realized there were a ton of
people watching and cheering as I ran up the beach.  What a rush!
Better keep running and try not to look tired! ;-)  I head up the beach,
up the stairs, then started down the ramp, and as soon as I get out of
site of most of the spectators I start to walk (if I hadn't I probably
would have stumbled).  I walked through the make shift showers to get
the salt water off me and start to jog to the transition area.  As I
pass the water table a young girl yells "WATER" to which I respond "I'll
take any water as long as it isn't salt water.  I've had enough of that
for today!".  I grab my water and head to my bike.  I speak breifly with
my neigbor as he's heading out and wish him luck.  I decided before the
race I would take my time during the transitions and I do just that.  I
probably had the longest T1 time in the race (a little over 7 minutes)
but I needed it to calm down and make sure I didn't have a bike
accident.  I chat briefly with my dad who's on the other side of the
fence while I'm putting on my bike cloths.  He tells me I'm doing great
and that he got a good picture of my coming out of the water.  I grab my
bike and yell see ya later as I trot out with my bike.

The Bike

I head out on my bike and feel pretty good.  I've been having knee
problems for the past several months and my bike really seems to iritate
them.  I decide to spin a small gear until I get out of town to make
sure I'm good and warmed up.  It's clear right from the start I"m going
to be seeing a lot of folks blowing by.  I only average 15-16 mph so I'm
definatly one of the slower people on the course.  I decide to push a
little harder then normal and go one ring bigger then I had when I
practiced the course labor day weekend  (I ended up averaging 18 mph).
I'm still getting passed but I'm definatly moving a little faster.  I
keep cranking along and just try and enjoy the ride.  I figure if I'm
going to be passed by everyone I might as well enjoy looking at all the
great bikes I'll never be able to afford zip by.  I also tried to make a
point out of thanking all of the volunteers and police officers along
the way helping out.  The first half of the bike was pretty uneventful.
I got a big kick out of seeing the leader going by the other way.  I let
out a big cheer for him but I'm sure he couldn't hear.  I made the turn
around and felt real good.  I decided I better drop to a lower gear if I
was going to make it back with the horrible head wind.  The return trip
was rather uneventful  too.  I pushed harder coming back even if I was
in a smaller gear.  I worried a little I might regret this, but I
figured what the hell.  With my best event still ahead I might as well
go for it.  By the time I got back to the Sea Colony I was really beat!
I was starting to wonder if I hadn't pushed to *** the bike.  I
wasn't getting that third wind (used up the second one before I got on
my bike ;-)) I had expected to get when I got within sight of the
transition area.  Then I caught site of my wife holding our baby and my
oldest daughter jumping up and down next to her yelling "There's
Daddy!".  Out of nowhere came a big third wind.  I made a quick mental
note to give my daughter Stephanie a big hug and kiss for that when I
was all done.  I headed on towards the bike dismount area and jumped off
my bike.  Holly smoke did I have jelly for legs!  I fought off a big
stumble and kept on going.  I started wondering how the run was going to
feel.  I've been doing a lot of bricks this summer and I've never had
any problems transitioning from bike to run.  In fact, I run much faster
and usually I'm very comfortably running after a ride.  I started to
wonder if that wasn't just because I rode so slow and I was about to
find out what everyone had been talking!  I hang my bike back on the
rack.  I take note that my neigbor has already come and gone.  I briefly
wonder if I can catch him on the run.  I quickly pull off my bike
shorts, shoes, and socks.  Pull on running shorts, fresh socks, shoes,
tank top, and race belt.  Well, lets go see if I can't go catch some
swimmers and bikers!

The Run

I headed out of the transition area and my legs felt great.  The ***
feeling had subsided very quickly.  As I grabbed some water to dump over
my head I spotted my mother and father holding my middle daughter (I
realized then how tired I was when I saw my wife with the other two.  I
hadn't even noticed one was missing! ;-))  They cheered for me as I went
by and I was off on the run.  I'm not a great runner, but it's definatly
my best of the three.  If I were to define myself I'm a BOP on Swim &
Bike and MOP for running.  Right from the start I'm

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First Tri Race Report! (Long)

Post by Doc Fla » Wed, 24 Sep 1997 04:00:00


Congratulations on your first triathlon. What a great story! It's really
nice when family and friends turn out to see you race. You sound like
you're hooked, and I wish you the best in the future. Keep training hard
and keep in mind that many of the limits we have are self-imposed. "I'm not
a good swimmer", "I can't do hills", "I could never go that fast. Those
kind of people just naturally have a better aerobic capacity." How many
times have you said this to yourself already?

I had the pleasure -  no, honor - of hearing Mark Allen and Julie Moss
speak at a triathlon club meeting recently. Mark showed some video of his
six victories at Hawaii which were spectacular. He then mentioned that he
had done Hawaii something like six times before winning. He said that
during his first six times, negative thoughts flooded his mind and it
crippled him. Yeah, neither of us is Mark Allen or Julie Moss, but why not
reach our potential and have fun at the same time? For me, I found kind of
a mantra to say over and over to drown out the negative feedback (sounds
dumb, but it worked).

Anyway, I'm glad you had such a good time. When's the next one?

Jeff Roberts
PS - don't be too disappointed when, after your ump***th triathlon,  your
family is still sleeping soundly when you cross the finish line.