I want to go to there

I would like, at some point in my life, to do a triathlon.  So I got pretty excited this morning when I was paging through unread blog posts in my google reader and came across a post about this because it seems doable, and I like the fact that it is all women, and it seems like I always hear good things about this particular triathlon.  And there’s one in Philadelphia which seems like a city that I gravitate to when I race.

So for a moment I was like, “Woo!!  A triathlon!!  I’m signing up RIGHT NOW!”  Then I remembered why I haven’t done a triathlon yet:

1) I am terrified of open water swims (even though I spent years swimming competitively.  It has nothing to do with the swimming and/or fear of drowning, it’s the open water and not being able to tell what’s below/around me).

2) I have no idea how to train for something like this (easily remedied, obvs.  And I could always ask this expert).

3) I don’t actually have a bike in the city with me right now (also easily remedied).

4) The gear aspect sort of frightens me.  For example, if I am just doing this for the sake of doing it, do I need to invest in stuff like a wetsuit? a fancy bike?  At what point do you get really serious about those things?

5) How do you deal with transition areas?

6) I don’t have access to a pool (I guess somewhat easily remedied, though not as easily as #3).

What this boils down to is that I want to do this, but I don’t really understand how to.  This is so much more complicated than running a marathon!

What do you all think?  Have you done a triathlon?  Do you want to?  Do you worry about these things, too, or am I (once again) just neurotic?

On an unrelated note, thanks to everyone for their thoughtful and supportive feedback about my anxiety-laden post from a few days back.  It helped to hear about others’ experiences and I managed to go for two runs between Friday and Sunday!  Outside!!  Progress 🙂



  1. that’s cool – I have always kind of thought of you as a potential triathlete! You should definitely give it a try, training-wise at least before you make any financial investments of a significant nature. It’s a good direction for you.

  2. I don’t see myself ever doing a triathalon an account of my fear of water and fast bikes, but this one almost makes me want to get over it! It looks like so much fun. Maybe you could register for one of those mentors they have, and she could help you figure out the how part.

  3. First of all, Welcome back to running-land!!! I’m happy to hear that you got back on the horse!

    I think you definitely should try a tri (love how that sounds :P) . You have a strong swimming and running background and the bike should come fairly easy for you, and that tri in philadelphia looks perfect for a first tri. 800m swimming shouldn’t be too hard for a former competitive-swimmer, 25k on the bike is easy and a 5k run… it will all feel like a warmup session for you. About your worries:
    #1. Open water is something really safe to do and during a tri you won’t be alone in the water. I think that’s just a fear that you will have to beat by going out and swimming. Just try to relax when you go for it, count your strokes and follow someone’s feet, let them guide you and draft a bit.
    #2 Training for a tri is not that complicated (unless you go for an Iron Man), it’s actually really fun because each day is different. For a sprint tri (like the one in phily) just make sure that you can complete the distance on each sport (which I’m sure that you already can) and then try do some combined workouts to get the body used to them. Specially some Bricks (bike-run), like a 10 mile ride followed by a 3 mile run.
    #3 All you need is a road bike, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just make sure it has wheels
    #4 About the gear… there are tons of things you can get, and that you might end up getting if you decide you like tri’s and want to do them constantly, but to get started you don’t need a lot of things. You just need a bike and a helmet (preferably a road bike, but you can get started with a mountain bike), swimming goggles and a swimsuit and you already have the running gear… Wetsuits are optional and it depends on weather, if it’s going to be a cold swim, then wetsuits are recommended. That’s all you need to get started, and then you can get more serious about gear if you decide to keep doing tri’s…
    #5 Transition areas… They are not that complicated and there’s a lot of info about how to go through them, One big recommendation is that when you do your bricks you also practice your transition, have all your gear ready and practice the transitions… I’ve even heard of people that put on their wetsuits, get in the shower, then run out, change and go for a bike ride to practice T1, though I’ve never done that… yet. Trainingfor tri’s is fun!!

    I think you should go for it, specially if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do for some time now, I’m sure you’ll have fun. Like when doing a marathon, sign up and start training for it.

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