My First Triathlon

Two days from my first Ironman, it seems fitting to dedicate a post to my very first triathlon. Pablo and I were a few weeks away from our 300-mile Climate Ride cycling adventure from NYC to DC, so we decided to challenge ourselves to something new: a 250 Yard Swim, 9 Mile Bike and 5K Run at the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon in Chapel Hill, NC.


I don’t remember the details of the race, but I remember being both excited to become a triathlete and scared about tackling a swim, followed by a bike and then run. Not much has changed related to my emotions between now and then, but the distances sure have changed!

How Far You've Come

sprint_swimThe Swim: I definitely went to the pool at least once a week to practice , but remember Pablo barely swam given his swimming background. I have no idea what my technique was back then, but my most formal training was the basic swimming certificate every 6 years old goes for in Curacao. The day of I was a bit worried about 250 yards (oh how far I’ve come) but I knew I’d be okay. Pablo underestimated his time significantly and passed a bunch of people in the swim coming out of the water in 3:38 and even I passed a few coming out of the water in 5:18, which put my time at 2:19/100m which is exactly the pace I am aiming to hit for the 2.4 mile distance.

6600_720146154198_2711916_42913509_2244038_nThe Bike: I was in and out of T1 in 2:32 and headed out for the 9 mile bike. I don’t remember the course except that it was rolling hills and I rode in my bathing suit and bike shorts (I had no idea what a tri kit was!) I finished the bike in 36:03 which was an average of 15mph, which again is the exact same pace I’m hoping to maintain for 112 miles on Sunday!

IMG_1757T2 was fun because you actually had to walk quit a bit some of it on grass and I remember deciding to just pick up the bike and run. There’s a little video of me in T2 and I looked pretty efficient: rack bike, gloves off, shoes on, helmet off, run.

Run: The run was in the same neighborhood as the bike and also had some hills. I remember feeling tired, but I finished the 5K in 32:08 for a total time of  1:17:23 and an average run pace of 10:20. This is the one pace I won’t be able to keep at Louisville. While my 5K pace has dropped quite a bit, my 42K pace is much slower and I am totally okay with that!


Despite having lots of fun at the sprint, Pablo and I didn’t get back into triathlons until 2013 when we moved to the DC area. I had no idea back in 2009 that 5 years later triathlon would become a predominant part of my life and that I would be on my way to tackling an Ironman…I don’t even think I knew what and Ironman was!

IMG_1765What was your first triathlon like? And if you haven’t done a tri yet, why not?


    • I wasn’t a great swimmer either. For that first Tri I just went to the pool and practiced. When I joined the DC Tri club I did some swim clinics and video taping. Having people watch me and give me tips was awesome and I have since been able to improve my form tremendously. Then we just slowly improved the distances. I also went from pool to small lake to rivers giving myself time to get used to open water. Small steps, big results!

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