Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I think we instilled the fear of God into their eyes!

I did the beginner's triathlon panel discussion tonight. We had an Ironman, a few of us have done Half's and Olympics, and Shelly, who organized the event, talked about sprint distances.

The first questions from the audience were all about the swim. Oooooooohhhh, the memories of leading up to my first sprint triathlon almost exactly 2 years ago. I too, had the fear of God instilled into my eyes and throat thinking about that swim. I think I had that nervous lump in my throat for 3 weeks! I had NIGHTMARES about that swim for weeks leading up to that first race.

So questions consisted of, "Are there boats out there?" to "What if I can't make it!" Then the Ironman guy jumped in and explained the mass start of an Ironman. "Waaaaaaaiiiiit, a second", I interjected. Most of your first swims will be like 40 people per wave, if that many. You should have seen the looks on these folks faces! They were wild eyed as if they were about to jump into the water in the middle of that restaurant!!!

I think we calmed their fears (a bit) by explaining that you NEED to do an open water swim IN your wetsuit BEFORE the race to get, as Shelly put it, those "Water Demons" to rest.

I still remember the feeling of my arms when I turned the swim bouy during that first swim at the halfway mark (1/4 mile) and my arms were just TOAST. I saw how far left I had to swim and didn't think I was going to make it. I wasn't panicking, I was just TIRED. And then when I emerged from the water at a whopping 20 mins I knew the hard part of the day was over. I had a great ride and good run. A painful run, but a rewarding one because I KNEW that I had this first triathlon in the bag.

I am NOT kidding about the following. We did the panel discussion at a Chinese restaurant, and so they gave us fortune cookies for dessert. No joke, my fortune said this:

"Do not give up, it is just the beginning."

I thought it was VERY fitting for the theme of the evening :)


  1. We did spend a long time talking about the swim, but overall I think it went very well, and we were able to help everyone at all levels of tri experience. I know they are all going to keep their numbers nice and tidy with electric tape!
    p.s. I had exactly the same feeling when I got out of the water after that race 2 years ago-- the hardest part is over, I can do this. Then I realized my bike was the only one left on the rack. Sigh.

  2. Jon-
    Great Fortune!
    Love the swim talk I need it...NEED to do some open water swims this summer BEFORE I race.

  3. What you describe in your first swim is exactly what I experienced in my first tri last June! I think I am only going back there to see how far I have come. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fortune! Very fitting!

  4. yup the ironman would have had me bursting out the back door

  5. I am glad your stop the Ironman swim start story, thats enough to lose 75% of your audience. Sad thing is, I think the majority people who talk about their first tri talk about the swim. Even strong swimmmers arnt really ready for what they are about to get into.

  6. I am still not completely settled in my mind about OWS. I get very nervous, but it isn't so much about the OW, as it is the mass start of bodies. I am not a strong enough swimmer to fight my way through it. I am content to let people by me until I find a space I can swim in. The swim is still a work in progress for me. thank goodness I have an OWS event at the end of the month to get the bugs out.

  7. You should have showed them that Clif Bar commercial about the Tri swim start. The guy has a bunch of people beating him while he swims ... that would put their minds at ease ..lol.

    Cool of you guys to do that ... wish I had gone to a seminar like that before my first.

  8. It's funny, I had that same feeling too after my first tri...thank god the swim is over! I still get freaked out a little bit about the swim, but it has definitely gotten better.

    I'm sure everyone that attended your meeting was thankful for the advice that you all shared! I know I was after my first meeting!

    Oh, and awesome fortune cookie! You should keep it for sure!

  9. Well, any talk about a open swim would scare the crap out of me!! Haha!!

    Your fortune was meant for you....seriously:) It is telling you that better things are coming! Take care Jon!

  10. ahhh the great wisdom of the fortune cookie which is only eclipesed by the magic eight ball


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