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May 21, 2023 Max Performance New England Season Opener Sprint Triathlon

hecking into transition. Max Performance New England Season Opener.

It was a beautiful day, overcast, about 65 degrees to start up to 73 degrees. Since it was May, most athletes were wearing wetsuits for the swim. I had bought neoprene boots, head gear and gloves to deal with the cold swim.

Bike transition at New England Season Opener Triathlon

This was a team event. Therefore, my Dream Far triathlon team was there. It's great to have a supportive group in attendance.

I felt like I was ready. I set up my transition area. I had my team to talk to and my running coach that leads the team. After my coach reminded me that I should, I was able to get into the water quickly but should have left more time for a warm up swim.

Approaching the start of the race, I lined up with my age group. There were some great and experienced athletes in line. Most looked very fit. It reminds me that there are some great swimmers at triathlons.

I was not nervous about the swim. However, I had not trained enough to know how the experience was going to feel, especially in late May.

We entered the water at the boat house. Two entered the water a few seconds after the previous two. There was a ramp into the water which was good. I started swimming with my gloves and my booties, and my swim cap. It did not feel comfortable or familiar. I swam about 100 yards and began to panic about the distance. This was similar to the first triathlon last year.

*This swim is only a 1/4 mile. The distance on the watch is not correct. (some watches do not calculate open water swims correctly.

Open water is so much different than a pool. The distance looks alot farther and the mind knows that the body is over it's head. Also, using a wetsuit feels constricting when you are not used to it.

During the swim, the booties I was wearing for the cold water seemed to be more like parachutes slowing me down on my feet. I did not realize that I should have tucked them under the leg of the wetsuit so they did not create drag.

Noticing that I was struggling, a lifeguard in a kayak asked if I was ok. I responded that I was. However, when I turned onto my back to get my breathing under control, I still felt panicky. The lifeguard asked again if I was ok. This time I responded with "I don't think so." Then, I swam to the kayak. The young woman said that I could not touch the kayak for assistance. Doing so would put her at risk. So, instead, she put a floatation in the water for me to hold onto. Then she yelled to the other lifeguard that I may need some assistance getting out of the water.

I calmed down enough, while holding the floatation device to see others swimming by. I realized that I wanted to finish the race and had to get through the swim. Then, I became determinded! So, I said to her that I would be ok and restarted the swim. This was in the first 10 minutes. I should have been almost done with the swim in this time. Instead, it took me 16 minutes.

On my way out of the water, I was so stressed that I dropped my swim cap twice between the beach and the transition. I dropped my goggles once! This cause me to go back and forth and lose some time. Fortunately, my friend Chris was there to tell me that I dropped my things. He came to cheer me on with his son and have his son check out a triathlon. It was great to see Chris, one of my running partner

After I reached the transistion, two athletes came into my transition area saying that they also panicked. They were both very frustrated and upset. I let them know that I panicked as well. And, a teammate said that she did also. Panicking in the water is very common.

I took a long time in transition 1, as I talked and struggled getting my wetsuit off and dry clothes on. Practicing transitions is import so that a lot of time is not lost.

Finally, I was on the bike. Chris and his son had moved to the bike mounting location to cheer from there.

It felt great to be on the bike and on solid ground. At one of the first uphill sections, a woman had her bike chain fall off. She seemed to be struggling to get it back on. She did not know how.

Considering if I should stop and help or keep going conscious of my own time. I decided to ask if she would like help. She did.

So, I moved her rear derailer towards the front of the bike and put her chain back on. Later, on another long uphill, I dropped my chain too by shifting at the wrong time. I put it back on fast but it did not help my time.

Something felt like it was biting my left side. So,I lifted the yellow shirt to check. The shirt stayed up, leading to some bad photos. I made it through the rest of the ride fine.

I transitioned from the bike to run much better. Then started the run. Chris and his son were there again to support. I took small steps starting the run and then opened up a little. I finished the run in good shape - thankful that the run is much simpler than the swim or the bike. I had a very good run time.

Overall, the bike and the run helped me keep my performance respectable after a terrible swim that I thought about quitting.

I was in the bottom third of my age group. The swim I was bottom 15%. Therefore, I needed to do a lot of work to improve my swim and stop the panick response. The good thing was that it was May with a full summer left to train before an Half Distance Triathlon in September.

It was great to be able to celebrate with my team at the end of the race. My schedule and location does not allow for to train with them as much as I like. The event was a good start to triathlons for the year and highlighted things to work on, as well strengths.

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