How to Win Your First Triathlon

Step 1. Pick a very small race because you figure this will mean fewer people to see you flailing about during the swim.

Step 2. Affectionately refer to said race by saying things like “it’s going to be a shit show” when people wish you luck.

Step 3. Make your only expectation for the day to not drown. Shoot for the stars, people.

Step 4. Be a really slow swimmer.

Step 5. Be faster on the bike.

Step 6. Be faster on the run.

Step 7. Say “But I’ve never even won a coloring contest!” when your friend tells you that results are in and you won.

So yeah, my first triathlon was yesterday, and, uh, I won. The only people who beat me were boys–pretty cool, huh?

The race was very small (how do you think I won?), and a great way to get used to the idea of this swim-bike-run business. This was all indoor, with standardized times in each event and rankings based on how far you made it. Megan and I did this one together–it was her first too!

First: the swim, 10 minutes. I started waaaaay too fast, let my breathing get out of control, ended up in oxygen debt (or something) and couldn’t get it together. I ended up doing most of the swim with my head above water (which I’ve never had to do in training) because I just couldn’t get my breathing down. I went into damage control mode and just tried to keep moving. I made it 381 yards. (Megan did too!)

we didn't drown!

T1: Transitions were standardized too so we stopped to take some pictures and discuss how horribly awfully LONG 10 minutes in a pool really is.

The bike: Spin bike, with ridiculously low resistance, 30 minutes. I made it 15.2 miles, and seldom got my heart rate out of zone 2. My legs were moving fast, but it felt nice and easy. (I’m well aware I won’t be this fast on the road.)

T2: Walking down to the first floor where the treadmills were at. And then we were off again!

The run: Coach said he thought I should be able to run 8 minute pace here (I haven’t been doing any bricks, so it was anyone’s guess) so I started the treadmill at 7.4 to see where it put my heart rate. After a minute everything felt fine so I went to 7.6 and stayed there until 15 minutes. From there, I just kept jacking the pace up until I was running at 10.0 for the last 45 seconds or so. 2.6 miles, 20 minutes. I felt really, really strong on the run–I know it was short, but still. My LT test just over a month ago was 20 minutes just a little slower than this and it hurt like hell. This felt amazing.

And then we were done!

Afterward, we carried on our post-race tradition of Mexican food and (duh) talking about more races! While we were sitting at the restaurant, Megan got the email with the results.

“Um, I think you won.”

“What?”

“Yeah, it says you won.”

“I’ve never even won a coloring contest!”

And then I squealed like a little kid, because, REALLY, I don’t win things, especially not races.

Even with my abysmal swim, this was really fun. I’m so SO glad Megan was there with me–I’m sure I would have been nervous otherwise.

My next race is the half marathon where I’m shooting for that 1:47–it’s already less than a month away! I had a couple crap runs this past week, but everyone has crap days, right? I read somewhere once that one thing that separates people who accomplish their goals from people who don’t is being able to put something to bed if it didn’t go well. I can’t change what’s already happened, so I’m over it.

Happy running.

2 Responses to “How to Win Your First Triathlon”


  1. 1 Ryan March 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Congrats on the win! Now you won something even if it wasn’t a coloring contest, and you know what to do next time you race to make you even better!!

  2. 2 Bret Stevens March 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Awesome job ladies! Great race report! Good luck in your half marathon.


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