A lot of people are thinking of doing their first Tri this 14th of September at Alabang. Perhaps to assuage the fears of the first timers, I just thought of sharing my own experience when I did my first triathlon last 22 October 2006, also at Alabang which covered a distance of 950m swim, 27k bike and 6.5k run 🙂
The sport of triathlon has always intrigued me. It’s right there in the list of things-to-do before I die. So, I thought have to get this one out of the way while I’m still healthy and spry 🙂 While those that do triathlons usually have a strong background in at least one of the three disciplines, the closest background that I can speak of is that I do jog for 20 minutes 3x a week. Last time I biked? Well, I was about 10 years old and I remember I held myself up pretty well then….yup, without training wheels, dig that 🙂 Swimming? I guess I’m lucky enough to say that I do know the rudiments of swimming….leisurely swimming that is. So far, these are stuff going for me.
As far as the other equally important stuff are concerned….well, let’s just say it’s anything goes at this point. For example:
1. Tri-suit: What’s that? For the swim, I used my ever reliable skimpy swimming trunks for the race. For the bike leg, why? Cycling shorts, of course…..without the padding though. It was those cycling shorts that basketball players wear underneath their shorts 🙂
2. Mountain Bike/Road Bike: Ummm, what is the difference? My friend Junie was kind enough to lend me her road bike as well as her helmet the day before the race so I can give it a test ride. How did it go? It didn’t take me too long to find out she got longer legs than mine. After only minutes of biking around, my crotch (R-13) hurt like hell 😦
3. Gearing: Huh? Bikes have gears?!!! The hell with the gears…it’s all so confusing. Operation Pedal to the Max, here I come!!!!!
3. Where do I change? I remember asking this question to one of the marshalls and he gave me a strange look. Well, it turned out that the transition area = dressing room. Being the modest Filipino that I am, what I did after the swim was to put on the ‘cycling’ shorts on top of the swimming trunks I was wearing. Undressing at the transition area is only reserved for sexy guys like Dingdong Dantes.
4. What to do with the painful crotch? I had to have a lot of padding to ease the pain. Well, back in college, I used to collect bandanas. Let’s just say I finally got some use for them other than as a handkerchief or as a head accessory. Mind you, I needed A LOT of bandanas to ease the pain. I’m glad to say, it did work though…enough to endure an hour and a half of biking 🙂
How did the race go? Here are my official times courtesy of triathlon.org.ph:
Swim: 23:38………….Told you I knew how to swim ha! 🙂
Bike: 1:19:12……….. Just like it was when I was 10 years old, without training wheels….but killer hills 🙂
Run: 50:53………….. More like walk, crawl, stagger just to reach the finish line.
But yup, I did eventually finish with a total time of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 43 seconds. But you know what’s the best part? My family surprising me at the finish line with my one-month old daughter in tow 🙂 Didn’t bother to wake them up for the race because I didn’t know what time I will finish and truth be told, triathlon isn’t exactly a spectator sport for the uninitiated. So, this was a real pleasant surprise for me. Yup, I could probably die right about then with a smile on my face 🙂 Never knew so much suffering could bring so much joy at the same time.
Thing to remember is HAVE FUN, yes, even amidst all the blunders and embarassing questions. As you can see, I did and still am having fun 🙂 Don’t be too serious or self-conscious, those are reserved for the elites/halimaws. Eh, may ambisyon ka ba maging halimaw? Kung meron, tsaka na yan, first time muna di ba? Just have fun racing till the end and then muster a smile at the finish line 🙂 Who knows? There might also be a surprise waiting for you at the finish line 🙂
So that pretty much sums up my triathlon story. What about you? There’s a story to be made on September 14 🙂 Hope to see you there.