First Triathlon - James Keefe

author : Team BT
comments : 4

I Remember My First Triathlon Like it Was Yesterday. Actually, It Was Two Days Ago.


It has been a bucket list item for me for years. Every time I started a new workout routine (or tried to), it has been geared towards completing a sprint tri. Three years ago, I even registered for a local race, but chickened out the night before.

Thanks to a recent career move, around the start of the New Year, I started training in hopes of doing a late summer triathlon. The setbacks I’ve encountered in the last eight months include, but not limited to: pulling a hamstring in softball, being without transportation because of a car accident, and rolling my ankle…. dancing… to Vanilla Ice. It seemed like I was stuck in a cycle of really focusing on preparing for a triathlon, then something bad would happen and it would all fall apart for a few weeks, and the whole cycle would repeat itself.

Around the beginning of July, I had strung together a couple weeks of good workouts and thought maybe I will do that sprint tri the second weekend in September - then my fiancée informed me that we had to go to a wedding that day.

This past Friday, I was planning a couple really long (by my standards) workouts for the weekend. My fiancée was heading out of town for a bachelorette party and I was at work googling races I could do now that the one I had originally planned on wasn’t going to work out. That’s when I came across the Lewisburg (PA) Sprint Triathlon. It was a pool swim, which calmed a lot of my fears - and it was the next day! Without time to overthink it, I requested a couple vacation hours to leave work early, grabbed my tent, air mattress, and bicycle, and headed out on the four hour drive down to PA.

I awoke the next morning at 3 am. The campsite was dark and quiet, but I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I had no cell service at the camp site and I knew the race might be cancelled due to thunderstorms, so I packed up my gear and drove down into civilization. I pulled over to check my phone, it looked iffy at best. 

By the time I got to the race site, the weather had calmed down quite a bit. I arrived at the registration area and signed up. Dropped my stuff of the transition area. I looked for friendly faces to ask questions, since I had nothing to do but wander around and be nervous. The biggest epiphany was wearing my running shorts under my swim trunks (no tri suit quite yet), to avoid a scandalous T1.

Before I knew it, I was trying to talk to the person next to me in line when the official told me I should get in the water - my swim started in 5 seconds. Oops! The next 1:59:51:1 was a frantic, exhausting, terrifying, joy. If forced to guess, I would have thought the bike would have been my best sport (it was my worst), and swimming my worst (it was my best). I wasn’t necessarily prepared for the race, and finished damn near last, but it was a blast and I can’t wait to do my next one!

James Keefe


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date: December 28, 2018

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