Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm Gonna Tri

Swim. Bike. Run. All the cool kids are doing it.

My first triathlon is tomorrow, September 10!

Don't be fooled by the name of this race — I'll only be tri-ing once. The first triathlon in this series took place in June, and participants had the option of registering for both races to see if they could beat their June time in September. Cool, huh?

Super Sprint refers to the distance of the race, and it also directly translates to "Super Cool." Here's the breakdown:

  • 0.25-mi swim
  • 9-mi bike
  • 1.6-mi run

In other words, this is one of the shortest triathlons I could possibly do! Other triathlon distances include:


  • 0.5-mi swim
  • 12.4-mi bike
  • 3.1-mi run


  • 0.93-mi swim
  • 24.8-mi bike
  • 6.2-mi run

Half Iron (70.3 miles total)

  • 1.2-mi swim
  • 56-mi bike
  • 13.1-mi run

Full Iron (140.6 miles total)

  • 2.4-mi swim
  • 112-mi bike
  • 26.2-mi run

So now you know that when you see a bumper sticker that says 70.3 or 140.6, it means that person is a badass. (If someone could custom-make me a 10.85 sticker for this tri, that'd be fab...)

I'm not taking this tri too seriously since it's my first, but I'm very competitive (with myself) and want to do the best I can do. Here are my little goals for each leg of the race:

  • Don't panic
  • Don't get kicked in the face
  • Remember to breathe
  • Stay near the back and to the outside so I don't get run over by faster swimmers

I am such a newbie swimmer that my only real goal is to survive this leg. I've done six swims to prepare for this tri, including one swim in this lake in the same area where we'll be swimming, so I know what to expect. While I'm not quite swimming like a fish yet, at least I won't sink like a stone. 

I think I'll have the most trouble with endurance. Last night, I completed two laps in the pool (100 yards) for the first time without stopping to rest for a significant amount of time in between. If I've done my math right (highly questionable), I'll have to swim the equivalent of 8.8 laps. So, yeah. What's up, backstroke?

  • Don't fall getting on or off the bike
  • Don't fall, period
  • Don't get hit by a car
  • Don't hit or get hit by anyone else

I'm pretty confident on my bike, but I know there's a big difference between going for a leisurely ride on my local trail and competing in a frenzied, multi-sport race. I saw plenty of people fall at the Seafair Triathlon as they mounted and dismounted their bikes! I'll try to transition slowly and steadily, ignoring the chaos around me and just doing my own thing.

The route runs along some major streets, but hopefully it'll be adequately blocked off from cars. I don't think the mean streets of Woodinville will be very busy at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, anyway.

Lastly, I'm a super-defensive driver, so I'll adopt that strategy on the bike and try to stay the heck away from other riders.

  • Kick the crap out of it and finish strong!

Yup. I hope to run the last leg at a sub-8:30 pace and finish the race in one piece.

I know I'll have an absolute blast no matter what happens during this race, and I'll probably sign up for some crazy triathlon immediately afterward. 

I'm already thrilled with how far I've come just in the past few months. I went from not even owning a road bike or knowing how to swim properly at all — and being afraid to attempt these new-to-me sports — to being confident that I can complete a whole Super Cool triathlon without drowning or crashing.

And because I have evidence that I once claimed, "I can never do a triathlon," I'm even more proud. Remember what Ben Davis wrote about how we perceive our own abilities?

"I think that a lot of times we confuse 'can't' with 'don't care enough to try.'"

Tomorrow, I'm gonna try tri.


Watch for my race recap on Monday, and until then, you can check my Tumblr or follow me on The Twitter for updates on how I did!


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  1. Just use your adrenaline to power through the swim and the rest is in the bag.

    You got this!


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