TGIF friends! Since I now consider myself an actual honest to goodness triathlete I was thinking about my days as a FNG (effin’ new guy) and all the stuff I have learned along the way. I know there are always so folks many entering this lovely world of pee-pee pants and horror film level chafing, that I figured I’d share some of the things I wish I knew before I started doing these events. They could have helped BEFORE I RACED. Thanks a lot guys. Sheesh.
1. Transition closes way before you race. At my very first triathlon I read my wave time and based when I got there on that. Big. Mistake. Transition closes well before the first waves even start so you have to get in there and get set up before that. It’s always noted on race websites. I was so rushed that day, I almost had a heart attack.
2. Get used to being barefoot. I personally hate being barefoot. I hate not having shoes on. I can’t stand to have dirty feet. I will keep my shoes on at wedding and just dance in pain. My point here is that after you leave transition, unless you have someone to hold your flip flops for the duration of your race, you are going to be barefoot until you come back for T1. Sad but true.
3. The swim is not that bad. Really. I have yet to be pulled underwater or purposely kicked in the face. Yes, I’ve been bumped and accidentally tapped but it’s really not as bad as people make it out to be. I’m sure some of you have been in more aggressive swims, but honestly, I have had nothing but nice people around me during the swim who just can’t see where they are going and run into me. And I’ve lived to write this blog post about it.
4. It’s ok to just pee for the duration of the race. Everyone knows that peeing in your wetsuit is expected. Peeing on the bike is encouraged. And sometimes peeing on the run just happens. I didn’t want to stop at my first St. Anthony’s Olympic Tri and I was already soaked from water hoses and sweat so I just peed. Granted I didn’t tell a soul because I was mortified only to find out later it was totally acceptable. Warning: make sure you are ready to get rid of those shoes or scrub them down like an exorcism!
5. You will be passed a lot on the bike. Unless you are actually winning the triathlon, you will be passed on the bike. A lot at first. Don’t worry, you’ll get better. But first, stay right and keep on truckin’.
6. Bike numbers are a pain in the ass. Every race I struggle to get my stupid bike number decal on straight. The S.O. cuts his and puts it on like an actual sticker while I usually fumble with getting it over the top tube. It’s never going to be straight. It’s totally fine. Just leave it alone or you’ll make yourself insane.
7. The run is hot. The run is always hot. Every time. Praise whatever God you believe in if you race on an overcast day. #hallelu
8. Wetsuits are awful and wonderful. The wetsuit is a giant pain to get in and out of (unless there are strippers). It’s tight and annoying. And yet, you swim real fast in them and they are a Godsend if you get tired and just want to float. I love and hate my wetsuit. Also, ain’t no chafing like a wetsuit chafing, cause a wetsuit chafing don’t stop.
9. Triathlon is expensive. I came into triathlon as a runner so I knew that shoes and race entries could get pricey but man oh man, slap the word triathlon on anything and it goes up 50% in price. I sometimes wonder what I spent my money on before triathlon.
10. You are going to love it. I don’t think anyone ever told me how much I would love triathlon. I still love running but I love the challenge I get with facing all three disciplines. Yes, it’s harder for me because of the bike, but that’s part of the reason I keep going at it. I want to get better and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love peeing in the wind?
Another newbie thing I see a lot is way too much modesty! 🙂 That goes out the window after you've done a couple. And don't even try putting clothes on after the swim just bike and run in the same suite you were wearing that's what they're made for and be happy trisuits were invented because before, the wedgies you'd get from riding your bike in a bathing suit were insane!
Great list! Sounds like you are quite the pro now!!!
These are great tips! I'm starting triathlons this year so this is really helpful. What kind of wet suit would you recommend getting? They have the full, short, sleeveless….it's too many options!
Nobody told me about all the laundry when training for triathlon. It's practically another sport.
As for wetsuit, go for fit. The local shop can help you pick out something appropriate. If it takes less than 10 minutes to get into, it's too big.
Yes, I learned many of these things this past weekend. I actually brought extra flip flops for the start. I am so thankful I did because I could not imagine walking into the port o potty without them!
OH THE HUMANITY!!! SO MUCH FREE FLOWING PEE!
I would do a tri if I could swim. Im just not an open water person (umm fish). I would do a duathlon though.
Love this! Yes to ALL of them! Confession: I peed on the run TWICE at Gator. I was so excited because it meant I was ACTUALLY hydrated, and that's a win in my book!
Re: #2 If I'm being a pansy, I buy $1 flip flops and ditch them at the start. Sure it's littering, but I'm sure someone will pick them up!
Another tip that I LOVE and was so thankful someone told me: baby powder in the socks. Slides on so much easier and dries up the icky wetness.
and because I'm a swimmer I knew this one, but I think a lot of newbies don't: the writing on the swim cap goes on the side of your head, NOT on the front. Oh, and put your ponytail UNDER the cap please. 🙂
Yes to every single one! Although I am still working up the courage to pee on the bike or run (I tried for the life of me during my half iron last summer and just couldn't do it)
love your Blog Bob… 🙂
try to ride every day if you can even just 30-45 minutes.
Thank u! I seriously need to. Stupid bike legs. Lol
Yes to each and every one of them! I have yet to pee on the run, but I am a pro at peeing on the bike already. I just have to wait to be a little farther away from the person behind me. Also, if you pee on the bike, do NOT keep a bottle on the seat tube. I had to throw mine away once I realized that I peed on it and that's a bummer when you need to stay hydrated.
Also – it is OK to wear Mountain Bike shoes, your transitions will be much faster in them. And no, you really don't need to do a flying mount or dismount, save your body and your pride.
Aw! I love the last one!! You're so right. It becomes such a fast addiction. I forgot how much I loved it last season until I did St. Anthony's last weekend. Now I want to register for all the races (much to Tim's dismay). These are good tips! That darn wetsuit chafe is ferocious.
All of these are great and so very true. I've peed in the water but since I've only done 2 sprint tris, I haven't had the need to pee on my bike or while running. I'm 90% sure I'm taking this year off to focus on getting my running legs back. I'm both glad to not have to face another OWS like my last tri but also a little sad cuz I feel like I'm wimping out.
I'm not going to lie. I was pretty sure tris scared the hell out of me before, and now I'm sure. a) I can bike like 3 miles. b) sometimes I feel nauseous after a casual swim. And then all the peeing? And the dirty feet. I'm not sure I'm cut out for all that!
Being someone who probably will never do a tri, you inspire me daily to push myself harder! xo
First, this is awesome. Second, I Liebster'd you! Check it out! http://rnay225.blogspot.com/2014/05/liebster-award.html
This is a great list. And of course, I'll second point number 4. There is never shame in peeing on yourself to go faster. If you guys knew how much I did this you would laugh … or reconsider me as a friend 🙂 xo