MY FIRST TRIATHLON….if only I knew then, what I know now.
I agreed to race in the London Triathlon to support an amazing charity, check them out here 👉 SnowCamp :‘Empowering Inner-City Young People with Snowsports, Life-Skills, Qualifications and Vocational Opportunities since 2003’ – Snow Camp Charity
A good friend, Kelly, who also volunteers / works for the organization encouraged me to enter and train with her in Eastbourne. Now, my training plan was very detailed and exceptionally written as it was drawn up by an elite triathlete. However, inconsistent training (due to travel and 2 weeks of illness) almost stopped me from participating in the event.
The plan consisted of 2 swims / 2 cycles / 2 runs per week. With various drills incorporated to work on certain skills. I will not dive into my training plan as it isn’t the focus of this post. But, what I will share is my personal experience of competing in the LONDON Triathlon in hopes of helping other ‘newbies’ and easing some fears I felt on the day of the event.
(TO SUPPORT SNOWCAMP PURCHASE A SHIRT HERE)< span style=”text-decoration: underline”>Pre-event: MAKE A CHECKLIST – sooooo many things to carry, tie, fasten, lock in, wear
- wetsuit & towel (I actually barely used my towel…so much rain)
- tri suit (highly recommend) but you don’t need it if you can’t afford it
- Bike & helmet
- running shoes
- COCA COLA…I will explain in the swim section.
- EXTRAS: belt, energy gels, cycling shoes, support crew (thanks Geoff, Jo, and the entire Smith Family), safety pins, water bottle, change of clothes
- EAT – 5/6 hours before…I had eggs, toast, and oatmeal at approximately 8 AM (my heat started at 12:30)
- HYDRATE – drink water, little sips all morning
Event Set Up WAVE: Kelly and I raced with the ‘charity’ wave (I recommend this wave as it was 20 people compared to 100)
- TRANSITION AREA:
- We set up near the run out lane but in hindsight I would set up near the bike out lane or bike in lane if possible. Running with wet socks off your bike through thousands of people is not ideal .
- SET UP NEAR BIKE IN OR OUT
- PLACE BIKE ON THE RAIL
- PUT OUT SHOES AND TOWEL (I used a big DEUS towel to find my area)
- WATER BOTTLE ON BIKE (Crucial as you need to hydrate after the swim)
- START: They will give you a swim cap. Just arrive at least 20 min before your wave time at the start area
- Holy moly I was terrified to embark on an open water swim in the docklands. In hindsight, it was not a terrible experience. However, I wish I would have done more lake/open water swims. The water is GROSS. I refuse to lie and say it was pleasant. The color of the water reminded me of Shrek and the odor similar to a petrol station.
- 750 M – TIME: 20:37 (pouring / pissing down rain and I did some breast stroke….don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of HOW you swim or HOW fast) Remember why you are participating. My thoughts…just get to each piggy. The buoys were pigs and the second one felt miles away but in the end it is a manageable distance.
- TIP: DRINK COCA COLA in transition. The water is full of gross things that I will not mention but I hear Coke kills all germs, sounds very healthy. So I downed a few gulps before getting on my bike to counteract the radioactive water with radioactive soda.
- TRANSITION: 6:07
- EXIT: I was incredibly dizzy, take your time and find a person with a bag. They make you take off your wetsuit before entering the building (different than other races where you can run with your legs in the suit). Find a human and stand by the rail while you take off your suit. You may fall over.
- RUN: throw your cap, goggles and suit in the bag and RUN! You will have to climb a few slippery stairs and run a good minute to find your bike.
- TIP: let in a bunch of water in the neck of your suit right before you exit the water…it will help get the legs out.
- 20.2 KM – 49:37
- I decided to wear my road cycling shoes. This wasn’t an issue other than you had to walk / run your bike over to the bike enter area. Either click your shoes into your bike (if you’ve practiced) or wear trainers. This transition took me almost 7 min to get going again as I had issues with my race belt breaking and couldn’t get moving.
- WET! 2 LAPS for the SPRINT. The course is rather flat with two minor hills on the first portion of the lap. I took it easy as I saw a few flats and a few crashes in the wet conditions.
- TIP: Heels down, head down. SUPER FUN.
- TRANSITION: 4:18
- LISTEN UP!!!! If you’re wearing cycling shoes don’t click out. Just step out of them and leave them circling on the bike. Run in your socks or bare feet. I lost serious time fumbling around trying to take off my shoes and then run with them.
- RUN – 26:28
- By this time your legs will feel like jelly. Smile, the race is almost over and remember to just kick out. 2 LAPS for SPRINT. The band will be playing and spectators cheering you on.
- TIP: Pick people off. Try and pass as many people as possible. Pick a number and try to beat it. If someone passes you -1.
Smile. Appreciate the moment. Stretch. Have a beer.
I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Questions? Leave them in the comments.
I am not a professional triathlete. I am a woman who loves accomplishing new feats and having fun.