By: Daniel Hamilton, 2019 First-Time Triathlete
I am a triathlete! I never thought those words would come out of my mouth. A triathlete is exactly what I became when I crossed the finish line at the 2019 Bigfoot Triathlon! I would like to share some insights and possibly assuage some fears for those who are staring down their first triathlon.
If you feel a little unsure about your abilities, fear not! I’m a runner, although I’ve seen slugs faster than me. I could only backstroke for the swim, and I knew how to use a whole 3 out of 18 gears on my bike at the start of the race. Moving on, what did I learn?
First, if you have friends that are triathletes, talk to them! I was lucky enough to have a couple of really good ones to lean on. I must have asked them a thousand times, “How am I gonna get through this?!.” The answer was always simple, you’ll do it and no matter what your time is, it will be a PR! Another lesson learned, don’t overthink. For me, overthinking is an understatement and there is enough on your plate without piling more on. For instance, I thought I would certainly drown if I couldn’t swim like Michael Phelps! Speaking of swimming, you don’t have to swim well, you just have to move forward through the water. I backstroked the swim at Bigfoot and I felt an incredible sense of achievement running to first transition.
Once the swim was over, I found my bike in transition 1 and then, complete mental breakdown! I had everything laid out just right and, I froze! I looked at my shoes six times before I yelled at myself, “Just put them on already!” Once the shoes were on, everything else started falling into place.
Now I’m on the bike and I start feeling great, until the first hill! That great feeling quickly turned to desperation when I realized I only knew how to get through 3 of my gears! I figured out 15 other gears over the course of the bike proving desperation is the true mother of invention! Of course, as soon as I got comfortable and really started having fun on my bike, I turned the corner and found myself back at transition.
Once I racked my bike and grabbed my bib, it was on to the run! Of course, it was a muddy, tangled, mess! After rolling both ankles and pondering the irony that the run might be my ultimate downfall, I got to the top of a root infested hill and there it was, the finish line!
The feeling of euphoria that washed over me made everything leading up to the race so worth it! So, if you’re feeling uneasy about your first triathlon, do yourself a favor and relax, you got this, and you will be a TRIATHLETE!