It all started on a Sunday morning back in November of last year. I was home watching TV, and all of the sudden I found myself watching one of my favorite shows, MTV's "Made". There was this kid who, for some reason, wanted to be a triathlete. So he became one. Right at that moment I felt inspired. I don’t know why, but I wanted to do this badly. So I started searching for races around Miami, FL. I was surprised to find so many races available, so signed up for the season opener, the Tradewinds Park Triathlon. At first I thought, “Oh boy, what a mistake!” Let’s face it, I could barely run half a mile, I had not swum in forever, and my biking skills were not great, to say the least.Despite all the skepticism, I was determined to do it. So I typed “triathlon training for beginners” into Google, and I found myself here. This site has helped me a lot with training techniques and nutrition tips. The next day I went to my local running store and bought myself a sweet pair of running shoes. Immediately afterwards, I found myself in the middle of a baseball field running, and running, and running for about four minutes. Ugh! This wasn't good. I never gave up, and little by little my endurance and my speed were getting stronger. As far as the bicycle goes, I knew it wasn’t going to be so hard, I've always had a pretty strong lower body, and with some work, I was going to be alright. The swim, wow, I don’t know where to start! First let me say I grew up in the water, and love everything about it, but here's the catch: I had never swum at a competitive level, so you could say my technique was a little rough. I went online and looked for tips as I had done before, and I found a few good articles. With goggles in hand I went to swim at the aquatic center by my house. Needless to say, I was super intimidated by all the super-mega-fast swimmers there, but I tried to relax in the water, and failed miserably. After two laps I drowned...well, I least that’s what it felt like.For the next two months I trained my heart out. Sometimes it was difficult to balance being a full-time student, a part-time worker, and a triathlete in training, but I was determined to achieved this goal. I was so excited, I told everyone I knew (and a few others who just happened to be around) what I was doing. A lot of people seemed to be inspired, and that inspired me even more. The oh-so-common "You know that takes hard work, right?" just lit up a fire in me that just made me train so much harder. With a week until race day, I was feeling relaxed. I had bought everything I needed. My training had paid off. I knew I could do this, it was just a matter of putting my mind to it on race day.On race day, the day I had been waiting for so long, I woke up early to have a nice breakfast and start hydrating. My family was already up helping me load up my gear and trying to calm me down, which actually didn't work so well. I arrive at Tradewinds Park - pumped up just ready to kick butt, but I was a bit intimidated by the fancy bikes and the super fit pro-elites warming up. I set up my transition area and headed out to the swim start.At the swim start, I said to myself, "Wow, this is long." I was freaking out, the water was dark and kind of cold, and then the horn went off. I forgot to stay at the back of the pile as I had planned before the race, so I got swam over by everyone; ankles and elbows were flying everywhere. After such a nice start, I was able to settle down and concentrate. The swim was really hard—exhausting is an understatement. I got out and quickly put my shoes on and got my bike.As the first turn approached, one of those speed demons bit the dust hard! Rescue was there, and the fellow turned out to be ok. I was determined to not crash, so I kept a good pace throughout the first lap. The second lap was the worst part of the race. Needing to hydrate, I drank the whole bottle of Gatorade at once, along with one of those sticky energy gels. Two minutes later, my stomach was letting me know it wasn’t happy. I had to slow down. I felt so horrible; I didn't know whether to stop and throw up or just hammer the rest of the way. One of my fellow competitors asked me if I was all right as he passed me; I answered politely, "Yeah I'm fine." He responded by saying, “Keep it up, only two miles left.” Those two miles went by so slowly, but finally I got there, without vomiting. T2 was fairly quick, and thank god for the countless bricks I had done.The run was definitely going to be hard. My pace is not that fast when I’m not tired, so imagine me after swimming and biking. To my surprise, after a small drink of water and about a half a mile, the cramps in my stomach had vanished and that just boosted my energy. I ran hard but steady, always concentrating on my breathing, and I kept singing "Keep rolling, rolling" by Limp Bizkit...so yeah, I was pumped! The two-mile marker approached, and my legs were just numbed when this 54 year-old guy ran next to me and said, "Boy, I wish I was 19 again." I laughed. We ran side by side almost until the finish line, where he ditched me by saying, "Pick it up running, buddy." So I did, and I finished the race within my goal of 1:20—my official time was 1:10:34. As I crossed the finish line, adrenaline was just pouring out of my pores. I knew I was hooked. My next one is in 20 days—I cant wait!