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zen habits: First triathlon? Check.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

First triathlon? Check.

OK, so it was probably the easiest triathlon possible, but I completed the Stick-n-Back Triathlon on January 13. It's a super sprint, with distances of 200m for the swim, 10K (or 6.2 miles) for the bike, and 2 miles for the run.

I started the race pretty nervous, as I was afraid I wouldn't complete even that short race. I have been swimming a couple times a week for about a month now, but I still have no endurance. The swim portion is only 200 meters, but when I tried to do 200 meters without stopping in practice, I was wiped out. In addition, while I knew the 2-mile run wouldn't be a problem, I had ridden my bike exactly once before the race, so that was a big worry.

But when the race started, the swim was actually not as hard as I thought. The main problem was swimming in the middle of a bunch of other people -- you are surrounded by thrashing arms and legs, and it's very common to get kicked in the head (I did, twice) and it's very difficult to get your stroke going when you have no room to maneuver.

The bike leg was harder. I didn't know what gear to use, so I kept changing it to try to find one that was comfortable and yet fast. I never found it. I was pedaling way too hard, and people were shooting by me, looking like they were just out for a nice stroll. I ended up racing a little girl (who did excellent in the race) for most of the bike leg, as we kept shooting past each other. When I finally pulled ahead of her for good, I counted it as a moral victory.

I tried to make up for the time lost in the bike portion with a good run, but the run portion was way too short and my legs were dead in the first mile or so. I finished strong in the last mile, and crossed the finish line to the cheers of the very supportive triathlon community.

Overall, I had a great time. Congrats to all the other finishers, and first-timers, and thanks to the triathlon community for the excellent first race. I'm hooked now.

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