It's official. I'll be competing in my first triathlon next September! Registration opened this morning for a popular woman's triathlon that is held every year in New Jersey and I'm in!
The triathlon is a sprint event, so the distances for each part of the tri are short with a 1/2 mile swim [0.8 km], 12 mile bike [19.3 km] and 5 K run [3.1 mile].
I'm really excited about this, but also a little nervous. I'm doing the triathlon solely to challenge myself, do my best and feel great, but I still get a little nervous if I think about race day. A little fear of the unknown, a little fear of being disappointed in my performance, and I admit it, a little fear of all those other women trying to pass me! I guess that's all normal. I'll have to work on those mental issues so that I can be calm on race day.
Of the three components to the tri, the swimming is currently my biggest weakness. I'm definitely going to have to work on this component from the bottom up, starting with my stroke technique and building up to swimming a full 1/2 mile without stopping. A half mile is 16 laps or 32 lengths in an Olympic sized pool. Oh shit.
The biking is definitely going to be my strongest event since I already regularly ride 12-20 miles with hills at a decent pace and the race is only 12 miles on a flat course. I'll work on my speed and endurance so that I can maintain an average speed of 17-19 mph for 12 miles.
The running doesn't worry me too much either since I started running last fall. I now run at a 10 minute mile pace and my typical runs are between 2 and 4 miles, so running the 3.1 miles for the tri should be a comfortable distance for me. The fact that the running is the last event of the tri, however, means I'll need to work on maintaining a good pace when fatigued from the other events.
I already have a great support network set up for training and race day. My husband and daughters, as always, are great at listening to my near daily reports of my workouts, set backs and accomplishments constantly giving me encouragement. They're going to be so proud of me for doing this, I just know it. Then I have a small group of four friends from the gym with whom I already work out and who also signed up this morning for the triathlon. I'm sure we'll compare training strategies and even do some training workouts together as the race gets closer.
The triathlon is a long 11 months away, so for now my training will be to simply continue my regular cross training workouts, start doing laps in the pool one day a week and maybe bribe my friend Sharon to give me some free swim lessons so I can learn proper freestyle stroke technique.
Wish me luck!
Have you ever participated in a triathlon?
Do you have any tips or strategies to share?