Triathlon, my first but definitely not my last!

What a great event. I wonder why I never tried it sooner.
400m swim, 15 miles bike, 4 miles run.

The morning started very early, like 5.45am! My swim was 8am so I needed to get up and have something to eat. Not easy at that time in the morning, forced feeding it felt like. The drive to get there was about an hour, not too bad.

Anyway the event! Got there, being my first I didn't have a clue what to do, but no need to worry everyone was just so friendly and helpful. I deposited my bike, layed out my things next to it in order of going on and went to get my number written on my limbs. So far so good, felt nervous but not as bad as I thought.

The swim was running late, but my turn came and I was in a lane with 3 other women, one of whom was too fast for us and lapped us all. I personally was very pleased as swimming isn't my strongest discipline, but I was able to keep my front crawl going apart from a couple of lengths in the middle. I think the swim took about 10mins. After heaving! myself out of the pool in an ungainly fashion I ran outside for the bike leg.

I think this transition went quite smoothly. At my bike just stood on a towel to dry my feet quickly, put on socks and running shoes, I don't have bike shoes, then vest, helmet, glasses, bike off the rack and ran to the bike mounting area. The first part of the bike route was very nice on country roads that had a good surface. I tried to pick up the speed here, knowing that the middle section was undulating with on steepish hill. Felt strong and pushed on. The middle bit as mentioned wasn't as easy, it went through a village and was twisty and undulating. Could feel it in my quads by now, but believed my running strength would see me clear of this section. After leaving the village and minor roads we came out on to a very busy (A)road, where I have to admit I did not like too much. Traffic seemed to just get a little too close for comfort. However, I actually felt quite strong at this stage and pushed myself quite hard, but felt I wanted to go faster. I think I need to work on using my gears to better this part of my cycling. Anyhow, the final 4 miles consisted of more busy road and 2 roundabouts before climbing another hill to finish back at the leisure centre where I dismounted my bike and jogged it to my area.

Boy what a strange feeling! My legs were so heavy I wasn't sure I could walk never mind run. They also felt like jelly. As I wasn't going to be in a position to win anything I wasn't too concerned with how long it took me to do the run section. The course was quite pleasant being all on coutry lanes, it wasn't too undulating until the final mile where we had to run the same hill that the bike finished on. I think it took me 3 miles to loosen up and have to say I didn't really enjoy the run part because I just couldn't seem to lengthen my stride. Obviously something else to work on. Mind there must have been other feeling worse as I passed quite a few at this stage.

Overall it was a great morning and I can't wait until next summer to do some more. I think I did just enougth training for this one but more bike miles might have seen me less spent after the cycling.



  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Nice one Hilly. A bit more cycling (followed by running) would help you lots for next year, but well done on your first tri. If only I could swim......
  • Great report, Hilly. Sounds like you had a great race too. Well done! You've almost inspired me to grit my teeth and climb aboard the bicycle that is filed in the garage under "waiting for Kevin to grow an inch or two taller".
  • Drew my swimming isn't the greatest but I've been having lessons and they've helped a lot. I enjoyed the swim today, when I was dreading it before I got in the water. I forgot to mention the pool water was very warm, nothing like the pool I swim at.

    You could always try duathlon Drew, seeing as you're good on the bike and running.

    V-rap, drag out that bike, you won't regret it. Maybe get Kevin one and do some cycling together.
  • Must do, Hilly - I used to cycle everywhere until obliged to get four wheels under me for work purposes. Might even see if I can find someone who can teach me front crawl.
  • I've been having front crawl lessons and it has been well worth it. Before the lessons I used to swim head above the water, as I was scared of choking/breathing the water up my nose. Now I've learnt to breathe properly and relax, which I think is the key. Go for it!

  • Excellent report and well done.My long term goals is to give Triathlon a try but i am having to much fun running at the moment.
    Cycling through the traffic sounds well dodgy,and so adds to your achievment.
  • hilly,
    sounds like a lot of fun, I think you've just about convinced me to get down the pool in time for next years season. CONGRATS
  • Mr Silly, when you do get round to doing one it will be worth it I'm sure. After a summer of poor running due to hay fever/asthma I just needed a different challenge and wanted to have fun! This was fun and I now think I'll focus on tri's through the summer when my running tends to suffer. Only fast twitch ones though, definitely not 1/2 or full Iron Man events!

    MM, you won't regret it.
  • Hilly,
    Sounds like you had a great time - well done.

    It's something that I've always thought "yes I'd like to have a go at that sometime" - but the swim would definitely be the major problem! I have the same problem with a complete aversion to opening eyes under water and fearing inhalation of same.
    You didn't indicate what your various times were - would be interesting to get a ball park idea of how long each effort takes and how much slower the run is compared to "ordinary" racing.
  • Hi Mike,
    I haven't got the official results yet, but Mr Hilly timed me and my swim was about 10mins, bike 59mins and the run about 32 mins. The run was much slower than I'm capable of on an ordinary race of 4 miles. I run 5 miles in straight run races in about 34mins. Mind I think the bike took it out of my legs a bit and I really couldn't get into a decent stride on the run. My legs just did not feel as if they belonged to me. I do wonder if doing more runs off the bike in training would help with this as I only did two and only after short bike rides. Obviously, lots to consider and improve for next year.
  • Hilly glad you enjoyed your first tri too. Definitely a good day out, I think, fun for hares and tortoises alike.

    Mike: I was really worried about water in eyes (solved by goggles I got on ok with) and water in my face when I wanted to breathe. Sorted that problem pretty well by breathing slightly more often than I actually need to - then if I get a face full of water and have to swallow it instead, it's not panic stations.
  • Well done hilly, nice report, where was the tri ? To all those who think that a triathlon is beyond them think again. If you can run a 10k you have the fitness to do a triathlon. The triathlon season is coming to an end now, but check out for lots of info and links.
    There are plenty of novice triathlons that a first timer can compete in ( 250 metre swim, 10k bike 3k run )
  • Hilly, well done, I'm so impressed you've done your first tri. Thanks for describing in detail what you did as I never actually understood how the transitions worked. Sounds like a really good experience; wonder if you would have felt better doing the running first? Are they always in the same order? A friend did her first adventure race the other weekend and did the cycling last (running, canoeing, cycling) and said the bike leg was murder.
    You're obviously set to do more, congratulations!
  • Well done Hilly, good to hear you had such a good time in your first tri. I've done a few, but really struggle in the pool. I might just follow your lead and get some lessons. I'm ok in my usual pool, but when I get to a race, the nerves take over and I'm useless!

    Laura - they are all swim-bike-run, unfortunately. I think if they were the other way round, my nerves would be more settled, and I would do better in the swim. Ho-hum.
  • Excellent report hilly - sounds like I suffer the same fear of water as all the other "men", your idea of lessons sounds like a good one.
  • Well done Hilly :o)
    Sounds like you had a great race. Plently of time to improve over the winter before next season now!

  • well done Hilly

    In common with others the swim leg just turns me right off, well I guess if it was 25m and I could forget about breathing then OK. So lots of respect to you for taking it on and mastering it.

    I guess its back to the mud for the winter ?
  • Hilly

    Well don on your TRI and a great report

    Triathlon is very addictive that is why it’s a growing sport and it’s good to see the bug has bitten you.

    When you get the results through thy should give you the splits and your relevant position in each discipline as well as overall – this will help you decide where to add a bit extra work before next season – with me it’s the bike

    Once again well done

  • i've thought about doing a tri but its the bike section that's really putting me off. i'm absolutely terrified going downhill on a bike and knackered cycling uphill. it's a shame because with my swimming and running doing so well these days i'd probably do ok
  • Well done Hilly.
    I'd love to give it a go,but I too can't swim - had lessons to quash my fear of water so I can now splash around and do about 4 strokes - but as I've posted elsewhere I'm giving duathlons a go next year if I can.
    I think you should be very proud of yourself, well done again!
  • Thanks all for words of praise.

    Triathlon boy, the tri was at Wimborne in Dorset.

    Laura L, I always wondered too how the transitions worked, but surprisingly they aren't that complicated and apart from turning to run out the wrong entrance I managed ok. Well done to your friend, I too fancy adventure races-will this need for sport ever end?

    Nessie, I really do recommend swim lessons. I couldn't even put my face in the water before taking them and I've only had about 10. I can now swim fine, bbut need to do more to get faster and build up my endurance in the water.

    Martin H, as above to Nessie, the answer must lie in swim lessons.

    Iron Man, I'm intending to swim every Saturday through the winter to try and improve my endurance in the water.

    Sft legs, back to the mud it is, but I don't mind I love!

    Wild Will, I'm addicted but only to fast twitch ones.

    Susannah Stewart, I too do not like steep down hills on the bike but the more I've been going out on my bike this summer, the less I seem to fear. I've fallen off and for a while this made me a little nervous and I don't like the traffic.

    Dustin, 4 strokes is good-have to start somewhere! Good luck with the duathlons.
  • Susannah,
    There are no hills to cycle up or down in the South where I do most of my triathlons. The only triathlon with a real hill I've was Stratford Upon Avon which is a great triathon and has a shorter distance for the swim and run for the novice.
    It is addictive, and there is always something expensive for the bike to make you go that little bit quicker.
  • Well done Hilly.

    I'm starting to feel a little bit inspired. As with many, I don't fancy the swimming much but if it's not too far then I guess I could give it a whirl.

    Strangely, I spent the weekend biking to save my kness a bit and started to think about the Tri possibility.

    Definitely more pool training required though..

    All the best,

  • To all those inspired - I is definitely worth the effort of getting into triathlon. It can be a little intimidating at first, as triathletes seem to be a serious bunch. I think the concept of Fun Triathlon (like Fun Run) need some development. Only down side is that triathlons tend to be on the more expensive side.
  • Well done Hilly and glad you enjoyed your first tri outing so much.

    RB - how's the knee? I did the pre-run ibuprofen on Sunday and didn't have any major twinges from my knee in the whole 1/2m. Think resting it in the week before hand really helped.
  • Hope the knees are feeling a bit better RB! I've heard that triathletes get less run related injuries due to the cross training required for their sport. Mind with 3 disciplines I suppose there is the risk of different kinds of injuries for each.

    Chris Hall I agree that triathlons are quite expensive, but I certainly didn't find any of the athletes intimidating. Maybe because in a pool swim we are put with swimmers of similar ability with the faster ones going later.
  • I’m hoping to do a tri next year but like most responses on this thread I need to concentrate on developing my swimming first. I'm looking for a suitable swim class at the moment.

    Are there any discussion forums for triathletes anywhere on the web?
  • Hilly
    You've inspired me.
    I HAVE to work on my swimming, but I'd love to tri this.
  • For all you triathlon needs check out , lots of links on how to swim better, training tips etc etc
  • Well done Hilly, excellent achievement.

    I share Drews sentiments, if only I could swim
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