9 Things I Learned About Myself From Doing a Triathlon

I completed my very first sprint triathlon yesterday. It was a really interesting experience and I can say that I am really proud of my performance. I really had absolutely no idea of what I was getting myself into when doing a triathlon, but decided, of course, to go for it anyway.

For my training plan, I literally googled “beginner 13-week training plan” and printed out the first one that I found. Lots of cardio every week on the calendar, of course, but the time really went by really fast. I had to reschedule a few workouts and took a week break half way through when I went to visit my family (I mostly only ran), but I really followed it pretty closely.

What was my goal?

My goal was to finish in under 2 hours. And, I made that happen. I really had/have no clue about the times or what is considered “good” or fast. That really wasn’t important to me and I just set the goal because I am an obsessive compulsive goal setter :p I think it’s important to have a goal in place in order to stay focused.

Now, as I am writing this on Sunday, after a nice foam rolling and sunbathing session, here’s a little bit of an insight into my reflection process.

9 random things I learned about myself from training for a triathlon

running first sprint triathlon

Photo credit: @Phillinz

Photo credit: @Phillinz

  1. Time flies whether you have a goal or you don’t, I love having goals: This was a really long and committed journey and really forced me to be present, focus and push myself throughout that time period. I really feel proud of this accomplishment and time well spent – in my opinion. With that being said, it’s not always about having a goal that’s a physical accomplishment. My next goal is going to be completing a course to be an essential oils coach – I think it will be fun.
  2. I am not very competitive: I really didn’t care what my time was or where I was in the ranking. And I am pretty sure I don’t have any desire to try it again and beat my time. I passed some people up and a lot of people passed me up – but the experience was worth more than all of that.
  3. Swimming in open water is wayyyyy different (even if you are in a small lake): Confession: The first time I swam in open water was the day that we jumped in when the cannon went off to start the triathlon. I DO NOT advise this, yet I still felt fit enough to complete it. It was hard because there were a ton of people, mini waves going in different directions and you constantly had to look up to know where you were. It was cool to have the stand up paddle boarding guys there to “kind of” keep you on track.
  4. When I get nervous, I act like a 12 year old girl: I think I was like screaming and squirming like a little child before getting ready to jump in the water. I was really “jumping into” something I had no idea about. I was really wondering, “what did I get myself into?”
  5. I suck at riding my bike down hill: I think I held onto the breaks a bit too much on the downhill parts of the ride. I have this weird feeling when riding down super fast and I have to admit, I get a little bit chicken.
  6. I really missed my strength training: I missed my intense-as-f@^# workouts with the Runtastic Results app and my heavy-lifting gym workouts. I can’t wait to start lifting heavy tomorrow morning (today I rested and ate ice cream!) and focusing on something other than cardio.
  7. Intuitive eating didn’t work for me during my training: For the months leading up to the triathlon training, I really was eating based on intuition and following my body’s hunger signals. But, when I began increasing the workout volume for the triathlon, I realised I was feeling tired, lazy and weak – which I quickly realised by doing a rough calorie and macro count – due to not eating enough. I had to count my calories more closely and often found myself eating a giant dinner and evening snack to make up for the calories. Still, I somehow ended up with better abs than I started with.
  8. Together is better: It was really cool to have a group of colleagues from Runtastic there doing the triathlon with me – and also cheering. We all kind of worked together and inspired and informed one another and had a really great time!
  9. Swim easy, bike easy, run fast – not sure: That was the advice I got from my boss. So that’s what I had tried to do. But for some reason I really wasn’t able to control the speed of my swim, I just had to go at the pace I was going in order to make it through. I don’t think I really could have gone slower or faster – my time was a little over 16 minutes for 750 meters. I have no idea if that’s good or not – you can tweet me (@lifelikelunden) and let me know if I am a snail or a dolphin – or somewhere in between. 🙂 I would say this is the portion of the race that I felt most “out of control” and really just did as best asI could – not the easiest.

I am not 100% sure if I will ever do one again, but it was a really fun experience. I had a good time with my colleagues and pushing myself a little bit. I really have no idea how people train for longer distances, it is really quite a discipline if you want to perform well at a high level – I have the utmost respect for the sport.