Last post about Iron Girl… I promise!
This is just a list of my lessons learned from my first triathlon.
1. Triathlons are fucking hard.
2. Just because you are a “runner” and can run 10 miles does NOT mean that you can handle the endurance of a triathlon.
3. You should actually train for a triathlon outside of just running.
4. Your training should consist of more than a handful of swims and bike rides.
5. Attend a dress rehearsal if the event offers one. I missed the dress rehearsal because I was on vacation but I think it would have been helpful to anticipate how awful I’d feel in the swim surrounded by people.
6. Find a training buddy! While I managed to convince a girlfriend to register, she did not end up competing. I spoke with a woman at work that trained with a team and she loved it. I think it is probably helpful to have people to keep you motivated. I probably wouldn’t have quit swimming if I had people I was training with.
7. Triathlons are really fucking hard.
8. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I saw women of all shapes and sizes at the Iron Girl. Just because a girl doesn’t look “fit” doesn’t mean she won’t kick your ass in the triathlon. I got creamed by many girls I would have assumed I could beat.
9. Offer encouragement along your race. I was blown away by the overwhelming support and encouragement from other competitors during the course of the race. It was infectious. I found myself offering encouragement to everyone too. It fills you with a warm, tingly sensation of being a good person. I don’t get that feeling often.
10. Thank your friends and family for their support if they come. Seriously – shower them with hugs and kisses because their cheers will boost your energy like you wouldn’t believe… that and you don’t want to look like a complete ass in front of them.
11. I was going to try to keep this to 10 but I remembered an 11th lesson. If you’re a woman interested in competing in a triathlon, I highly recommend an all-women’s triathlon for your first one. To reiterate #9, the support amongst the women was amazing. I’ve never seen that sort of encouragement in co-ed running races.
A woman in my department participated in Iron Girl and she shared a great story with me. She trained with a team and during her swim wave (she was a 50+ age group), her friend started to panic and had difficulty carrying on. This woman swam with her friend the entire leg of the race… completely unconcerned of her time. She wanted to make sure that her friend made it through. She stayed on her friend’s breathing side so that everytime she looked up, she’d see her. She shooed away other swimmers when the other waves were released so that they wouldn’t swim into her friend.
I thought that her story was an incredible example of selfless love and support.
I on the other hand would have ditched my friend because hello? I’m competing!
I’m also an asshole.