My First Tri

Five weeks ago, I signed up for the Los Alamitos Race on the Base. I had not even purchased my bicycle yet. A sprint triathlon sounded like so much fun, that I knew it was something I wanted to “tri.”

BikeI purchased an awesome mountain bike, from a good friend (Thanks, Lauren!!), shortly after signing up, and immediately took it out for a spin. I did not get a mile down the road, before I over shifted and realized all of the chains were now dragging on the ground. I called my husband, waited for the “laugh” on the other end,  and walked my bike back home. He fixed my bike, gave me a shifting tutorial, and then I was off again, on my first “real” ride in years.

Training had officially begun. I was focused and determined to get ready in the short five weeks I had to train. I trained Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings, when the girls were in preschool, and on the weekends, when my husband watched the girls. I ran, biked, and swam laps at Waterworks Aquatics, 3-5 days a week. I did have a minor setback of about 10 days during my training, due to illness, but I was not going to let that hold me back.

Today, was the BIG race. Surprisingly, I was not nervous, but excited! I felt very prepared after attending 2 of the 3 triathlon clinics that were offered at the base. I felt like I knew the course, what to expect, and was mentally prepared, and I think that was 90% off the challenge.

Race on the Base 2014
There were two waves for triathlons, and the second one included the “newbies,” so my race started at about 10:15 a.m. My goal was to finish in less then 1 hour, 30 minutes. When I arrived at the base, I set up my bike, on the end of my rack, in the transition area. I was psyched.
Arrival5K Run
This sprint triathlon was in reverse, so the order went, run, bike swim. The Los Alamitos Race on the Base is the largest reverse sprint triathlon in the country… so it’s kind of a big deal! You start with a 5K (3.1 miles) run, 13.1 mile bike, and end with a 200 yard swim.

I made my way to the front of the pack to start the race, and when the blow horn went off, I was feeling good, up until about ¼ mile when I was hit with dry, cotton mouth. I was over the moon to see a water station at the ½ mile mark! Thank you ROTB… you’re a lifesaver!

I was kind of nervous about this run, because it was my first run without my GPS or music. No inspiration in my ear and no way of knowing how much further I had to run. I tried to make up for that by wearing a watch with a stopwatch. That way, I’d at least know how long I had run. It worked out pretty well, because I actually ended up running next to a guy who was wearing his phone on his sleeve, and since headphones were not allowed,  I was able to listen to his GPS tell him his pace every now and then, which was reassuring!

I have always wanted to run a 5K with a pace under 8 minutes, and surprisingly, with no music or GPS, I hit my personal record on this run, with a time of 24:40 and pace of 7:57. Does this mean I will run with no music or GPS in the future… NO.

I made it to my transition area, and jumped on my mountain bike. We rode 3 laps around the airfield, which was such a fun ride! I was pedaling as fast as my legs could go, but no matter what I did, road bikes were just breezing by me. I started to say in my mind, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” but no matter what I did, my bike was not as fast as those thousand dollar bikes zooming by me. I decided to just do take it all in and enjoy my ride. I finished the 13.1 miles in 48:17.

Transition 1

I was feeling pretty good…up until this point. When it was time to dismount my bike, I jumped off, and suddenly, both my feet cramped up. My legs almost buckled underneath me because I was not expecting that to happen. It felt like my feet just folded in half. I started to run to my transition spot, but realized a hobble was more realistic.

Transition 2
I think my body was dehydrated at this point and I’ve always had a history of severe cramps in my feet (ask my husband about me waking him up out of a dead sleep, because I just leaped 4 feet off the bed in excruciating pain).

I hobble-jogged to the pool, thinking, “Oh my gosh, I am going to drown now.” By the time I got to the pool, my left foot felt okay, but my right foot was in a lot of pain. Moving it sent crazy sharp pains, so I knew swim was going to be a struggle.

Run to Pool

If you saw my swim, you may compare it to a cat in the bathtub, a little scary. You would probably be very concerned to learn that I used to lifeguard and was responsible for the safety of your children. I promise, I really can swim. In my practice laps, I was swimming a 200 in just over 4 minutes, but in the race today, I finished in 5:41. I’m not even sure what stroke I used to get to the end, but thankfully, I finished the race, did not drown, and finished within my target time.



Triathlon MedalSo.. here are the overall results:

-5K Run – 24:40 / 7:57 pace* (*Personal Record)
-Transition 1 – 1:35
-13.1 mi Bike – 48:17
-Transition 2 – 2:46
-200 m Swim – 5:41

Total Time: 1:23:00

Overall Place  – 79/474
Overall by Sex – 13/250
Division F 30-34 – 4/26

I am definitely happy with my overall time, because I completed the triathlon within my goal, but still a little bummed about the swim portion, thanks to the unexpected shooting pain.

I had a lot of fun with my first triathlon and will definitely be signing up for this race again next year!

Big shout-out and congratulations to my friend Jenny, who placed 1st place in our division (F 30-34), and 6th female overall, with a time of 1:19:11! You were awesome!! So glad we were able to do this race together! Twin mamas ROCK!

And another BIG shout-out to my wonderful husband! Thank you for being so supportive in all of my training. I am so thankful to have such an amazing man by my side. Also, thank you for being my official photographer today! You ROCK!

My next race is just a week away at Knott’s Berry Farm, the Coaster Run 10K!

Fear will pass…regret is forever.


Posted on February 22, 2014, in Life of Holls, Run Mama and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Congratulations! This is the 2nd time I have heard of a reverse Tri.

    I have yet to sign up for a Sprint yet … I keep thinking I will … but I want to get a little better at swimming first. (I used to say that about the running too … and while I run slow, I now know I can do the distance.)

    Biking – are you now looking into a road bike? In my opinion, ANY bikes a good bike 🙂 … but depending on what kind of ride you’re doing, some types certainly have an advantage over other types.

    • Thank you! The Reverse Sprint Triathlon was such a fun experience….foot cramps and all… and I am looking forward to the next one. I think I want to pursue triathlons, I definitely need to find a good, used road bike. My competitive side needs something a little faster, but for every day use, I LOVE the mountain bike and riding through the canyon!

      You should definitely sign up for a Sprint. I promise your swim will look a lot better then mine did yesterday! Just remember, Fear will pass…but regret is forever. No regrets. If we waited until we were 100% ready, we would never do anything! You can do it! And it doesn’t matter if you run a 7 minute mile or a 13 minute mile…it’s still a mile! You got this!

      • My head (and many others) keep telling me to just sign up … my fear of drowning is holding me back. Ahhh … I should just do it. No no no … I should just Tri it 🙂

        As for a road bike … used is good. Keeps the cost down. Just make sure you find one that is sized right for you. I would go in to one of the local bike stores and talk to them about it. Even if you are not buying from them, if they are any good they will WANT to help you. Good bike stores want to promote biking … and they know if they help you then you will also come to them to get stuffs when you need things.

        Later, if you find you are really getting into the biking part and can afford it, do a professional bike fit. It’s different from just getting a correct sized bike. A professional fit will not just adjust your seat .. but will do a real analysis, recommend swapping out handle bars and stems and seat and such if you need. They measure EVERYTHING – heights, lengths of stuffs, angle of your knees, and watch you pedal … EVERYTHING. They also ask you a bazillion questions about your health and your riding needs. It normally takes about an hour … and most times cost somewhere between $75 – $150. But it is worth every penny if you can afford it. When I had mine done, it was like MAGIC … no more palm discomfort or back pains.

        Anyway … I am rambling wayyyyy too long on this comment.

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