I took a risk and tried something new, and it was worth it! I think I can call my first triathlon a success.
I’ll admit I was nervous to do my first triathlon – the Welland Sprint Triathlon. I was like a fish out of water–”where do I go, what do I need…?”– but everyone at the race was incredibly helpful and friendly. I was expecting to be intimidated by the other triathletes, who not only run (like myself) but swim and cycle, but I enjoyed talking to everyone I met. Everyone shared stories and tips and we all lined up for the swim in the best of spirits.
SWIM: The 750 m swim was a time trial start. Rather than all of us heading off at once in a mass start in the water, each athlete was released one at a time, every 5 sec., in bib number order. I was number 204. We all lined up along the shore in numerical order. I had my little fan club with me: my family and a friend from work. My boys kept me positive and distracted from my nerves and my fears. The water was warmer than the air, so it was actually a relief to finally get going! I felt like I swam well – pushed it a bit and swam steady. There was no thrashing about and colliding with other athletes, because we were all spread out. I passed a few swimmers and a few passed me…
…then I was running up on the shore. I ran 400m barefoot to the bike (in the transition area), pulling off my goggles, swim cap, and getting my arms out of the wet suit. Transitions were the most challenging part for me of the whole event! At the bike I got the rest of my wet suit off, got my helmet on, my cold feet into my cycling shoes, and made a wise decision to wear my wind jacket, as the air was still cool and there was a strong wind. Then I was off running with the bike through the transition area to the start of the bike route….
BIKE: The 30 km bike felt great. I had borrowed my friend Nate’s tri-bike, and after the first few tight turns I was able to settle into the aero-bars for the flat course. There was wind; I was glad for the jacket and I pushed hard. I was able to pass quite a few cyclists at the start. There were also strong, fast guys passing me, with their serious racing helmets and muscle power. I was able to pick it up on the second half. The wind at the back helped!
…then it was back to the transition area. Now time to hang up my bike again, get my helmet off, unzip my jacket and get my running number attached. I had a challenge getting into my running shoes – my feet were very cold, and both my feet and my fingers were not responsive. I had to sit down, pry open my shoes and cram my stiff feet into my runners. Once I completed that challenge, I was off and running (literally) out of the transition area…
RUN: 7.5km of what I know! This is my thing and what I do best! I felt great, and in this stage of the race I was doing all the passing. The run had a couple of out and back sections, so it was fun to see where people were, and to recognize friends and training buddies along the route as we passed at various stages. I felt great and finished strong. I ran into the finish and was greeted by family and friends. (Did I already mention that I felt great?!)
I ended up being the 3rd female overall and the 1st female in my age group: 40-44. I loved the whole experience. The Welland race was an excellent first triathlon. It was incredibly well organized. Everything was thoroughly explained, which is necessary for a newbie like myself. Results of all the races (Triathlon, Duathlon and Give-it-A-Tri) are posted on the Multisport Canada Website and Sportstats. Thanks to the organizers in Multisport Canada and all the volunteers for a great event.
I think this is the beginning of something wonderful…
Check out upcoming MultiSport Canada Races to plan your first triathlon!