My First Triathlon & Tips I Learned

by Kim Frei

My first triathlon would never have happened if my father didn’t decide to get into the sport. My dad doesn’t have a history of athletic abilities or a miracle pill that suddenly makes exercising not hurt so much, but in the last year he has shown a huge amount of determination.

I have been athletic all my life and picked up running as a hobby after I graduated high school and it just stuck with me. But all my growing up years my father has been over-weight and stuck in a desk job (not making exercise easier on the job). But after coming to see the excitement and thrill of race day for one of my half marathons something changed.

He decided to complete a triathlon.

Fast forward a month or two and lots of equipment purchases later he was still doing it, swimming, biking, running. It was all part of the routine in a normal day for my dad and I got a phone call that went something like this:

“Hey Kim, do you want to do a triathlon.”

Then I said “Sure” (Quickly reassessing what I had agreed to and coming up with all kinds of excuses after we hung up…)

That day swimming and biking became a part of my exercise routine. At first swimming was terrifying but after trying over and over again swimming actually became as fun as running. Biking was not a huge focus of mine but created a welcomed break in my running routine.

Some things that I learned from my first triathlon were:

  1. The wetsuit really does help you stay afloat more than you would ever have thought. Definitely something to be thankful for when swimming in a really deep lake. Where Nessie just might be hanging out below you.
  2. You really do get kicked/elbowed in the face. I thought that it was dramatically overstated before my first triathlon, but let me tell you I got hit a few times. Learn how to own your space and keep people from swimming over you in order to avoid a panic attack in the water.
  3. Never get on the bike (or off the bike) without a helmet on! I learned this right before the race started and was REALLY nervous that I might forget when it the time came. I would recommend practicing or hounding in that rule long before race day.
  4. Bring flip flops/sandals/sockless shoes. For my Triathlon there was a very steep climb up a boat dock on uneven and rough pavement. Thank goodness I just happened to have my Birkenstocks with me at the race or else I would have been suffering some painful steps to the transition area.
  5. Calm down and enjoy the experience. Don’t be so nervous that you are going to drown in the water, crash on your bike or twist an ankle. It is just like any other race but with a transition area you will survive. Consider it a good variety.

There are a lot of other rules and tips for triathlons out there but these are a few that I didn’t take into much consideration while I was training and thought it might help someone who is trying it for the first time.

It was a blast and I plan on doing many more in the future.

Check out the photo of my dad and I at the triathlon!

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