First Tri: Don't Fall Off Your Bike

author : marla rosenthol
comments : 2

Swimmer becomes triathlete in pursuit of weight loss

I needed to reduce my BMI for health reasons and I spent all winter in spinning class and swimming back and forth in the pool, keeping up with my steps on FitBit until one day I asked my step-brother, a Triathlete, what are my goals?  How much riding in place, pool laps and steps are “good”? 

With that, he signed me up for a beginners pool swim sprint triathlon in Upper Dublin, PA.  During transition, I put on my running pants, put away my ear plugs and goggles in the neatly in the holders waiting for me and made sure my fit bit was on correctly.

After coming in dead last, with my daughters and best friend insisting that they keep the finish line blown up for me, I was determined to figure out what everyone else in the race knew that I did not! 

I bought a road bike, hired a Tri coach, (an Ironman champion), to teach me how to ride with cleats and I proceeded to spend the first entire hour getting nowhere and had the bloodiest knees I’ve had since childhood (I’m 53). She got into the pool with me and arranged for me to practice an open swim during another local race. I also started running with a running coach and did my first 5K, where, again, they kept the finish line blown up just for me. 

I worked on my form so I didn’t get shin splints, I practiced transitions, did my drills  and then entered my first open water sprint the ACTri. My instructions from my coach were simple: “Don’t come in last ,and don’t fall off your bike.” That was all I had to do.

During the race, I felt like the only one without a wetsuit, so I worried about the water being cold and asked if I could sit and dangle my legs in first, while every other racer ran past me and jumped in; I was so worried about falling off my bike I gingerly mounted it, then I paced my jog-run slowing down from 13.5 minute/mile so I wouldn’t get shin splints.

I did not come in last, as there were 2 gals in my category behind me, and 100+ over all!  I didn’t fall off my bike. When I crossed the finish line I recovered very quickly which led me to believe I really didn’t push myself as hard as I could. I turned to my coach and said, “Next year I’m doing the Olympic length!” That is what I have been training for all fall and winter.

When I started on my journey, I trained to lose weight faster. Now I lose weight to train faster.


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date: April 28, 2016

marla rosenthol

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