A triathlon is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now, I guess its been a box to check off on my bucket list. I dislike running, not that it’s a boring sport but I just feel that the impact on my knees takes a toll on my body. As for swimming I think it’s a fantastic sport and great full body work out but to be good it takes a lot of training and technique. My long time friend Andy recently started cycling and had been pushing me to do a Sprint Triathlon with him. I had been looking into a few beginner triathlon and suggested we do the Pasadena Triathlon. It’s a short 5k run 15k ride and 150 meter swim reverse triathlon perfect for a beginner. This is a great event for a new comer like me to experience the transition and know how what is required to scale up.
We both registered for the event and got started with our training. The cycling was not an issue as our core discipline is cycling. Both Andy and I dislike running and the last time I went swimming was probably in high school. I run occasionally when I go to crossfit but its only like a 800 meter run for warm up before the WOD. So it was time to buy some running shoes and getting in some miles. I picked up some Asics GT2000 version 1 from Sports Authority and started showing up to the Crossfit Gym a bit earlier to get in a good run before the class started. I would be sure to get in at least 1.5 miles before the WOD and a 5K about once a week. For the swimming that was a bit harder, I have a pool in my apartment complex but my training was during winter and I wasn’t to sure how often they cleaned it so I stayed away from it. I did get some swimming in one night at my friends Jake and Julio’s apartment complex, they’re pool is heated so it worked for my schedule to swim at night. But other than that one time I never really trained on my swimming.
The day of the Triathlon arrived and as much as I tried to remain calm I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited. Andy met me at my house and his family followed my family to the Rose Bowl. The transition area was open at 6am so we can set up our spots. It was cold and dark but I was happy to be amongst all the other athletes participating in the event. After racking our bikes our families headed over to the start line to see us off. They were releasing runners in waves, I had registered for a two-hour finish and that morning felt that I could do it in 1.5 hours. So when they announced the 1.5 hour wave Andy and I took off.
The run was a good pace felt really good and the GU I took 30 minutes before the start was kicking in just nice. The run was one lap around the Rose Bowl and this being my first time doing the event I had no idea when the 5K would end, but I felt great and I felt that my training paid off real well. The run didn’t even seem like it took long at all and I felt ready to take on the cycling right after. The ride was something I wasn’t to worried about as cycling is my core strength. The first transition wasn’t to bad all I had to do was switch my shoes and put on my helmet so I got through that really quick. I ran my bike over to the mount point hopped on clicked onto my pedals and was off. I had to do 3 laps around the Rose Bowl this time to complete the 15K ride. The first lap was probably the slowest but still at a good pace, by the third lap I was blazing through the course. I remember looking down and seeing my top speed at 32 mph and keeping pace with all the cyclists in their tri bikes. Getting back to the transition area the second time was kind of pain to look for the vacant spot where my bike once was.
The second transition took a bit longer; I had to mount my bike, take off my shoes and socks, and run to the pool area. I decided not to run to the pool wearing flip-flops, I took off my shoes grabbed my goggles and towel and dashed. The first sprint in through the grass field then through a cement tunnel. In the tunnel there are plenty of small pebbles on the floor to annoy your bare feet. On the way there My wife was standing in line to get a burger and she saw me running towards the pool. I think she was happily surprised to se that I was close to completing the event, we both had no idea I would be finished that fast. I jumped into the pool and began my 150 meter swim. The first lap was not to bad, I got through it fairly quickly and wasn’t to out of breath. The second was when my arms started to feel much heavier and I could feel my legs kicking below the water. Before beginning the third lap I saw a guy struggling to breath. He was clenched to the side of the pool trying to catch his breath and immediately told him “you got this, just one more lap to go and you’re done. let’s do it together.” Then I sprung off the pool wall and started swimming my last lap, I got about half way into the lap when I looked back and saw him still holding onto the wall. I guess I was just motivating myself when I told him that. I went out of the pool ramp and was happy to be finished, there is someone who removes your ankle time chip once your out of the pool and another who puts a medal around your neck. Trying to catch my breath I stood there like a lost kid looking for my wife so I could give her a big hug.
The event was fantastic, well-organized and a great introduction to triathlon’s for any beginner. It’s a good place to first test out what a transition area is and how to prepare for such an event. I bought a triathlon suit that was great for all the legs of the event and now I know that I’ll be putting it to more use. I finished the triathlon in 1 hour and 4 minutes much faster then I anticipated. The hard work and training paid off and I couldn’t be more excited for the next one.