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Siesta Beach Triathlon Recap

by Meghann on July 23, 2011

‘Twas a beautiful morning for a triathlon.


Not a cloud in the sky and picture perfect views.

Of course, that picture perfect blue sky would come back and bite me in the butt later on, but it was really pretty to look at. πŸ™‚


The Siesta Beach Triathlon was… an experience. I learn a lot – a heck of a lot – but the beauty of all races is that the majority of them are learning experiences. If they were all the same then that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? πŸ˜‰

My alarm had me up at 3:30 am this morning. I had an hour and a half drive to Siesta Key and needed to be there to pick up my registration packet before 6:30am. That’s an EARLY morning.

I gathered my gear, had a bagel with Chocolate Toffee Butter Peanut Butter and strawberries, and headed out the door.


5 minutes later I realized I forgot my wallet at home. Doh! Don’t worry, I went back and got it. πŸ™‚

Once again Derek wins the award for boyfriend of the year for accommodating me on such an early morning.


Love this guy. πŸ™‚

His stipulations were simple.

  1. I would drive so he could sleep.
  2. I wouldn’t blast my music so he could sleep
  3. We would find a Starbucks before the Tri so he could load up on caffeine

Done! Done! And Done!

Once we arrived on site, everything ran seamlessly. There was plenty or parking, I was able to pick up my registration packet without a fuss, and I immediately found Courtney!


Seeing my training buddy really calmed my nerves. All of a sudden the race didn’t seem so scary.



All set up!


The Swim


I’ve completed two sprint triathlons and one olympic , but all three had lake swims – this morning was my first open water beach swim. Ever.


I probably should have done a warm up, but I was too nervous to get in the water. I just wanted to start.


The ‘blue caps’ were the third group called. We were given a rundown of the course, then slowly inched our way to the water.



Ready or not – here we go!


I gave it my all and just jumped right in.

The majority of the blue caps split from me early on. I’m a slow – but consistent – swimmer, so I was expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting was how much the salt water would burn my throat. I was taking in more salt water than I wanted to with each breath and it immediately began to irritate my throat. I tried to push the burning feeling out of my head, by concentrating on my stroke. I’m proud to say that I never stopped or waited in the water – my goal was to keep moving and I succeeded.

The swim was an out and back along the beach. I didn’t realize we were going with the current on the way out, until I had to fight it on the way back. It took everything in me to go straight and not get caught in the waves or be pulled in the other direction. At some points I wasn’t sure if I was even moving or just staying in one place! The water was really shallow – and warm! – I could have stood at any point during the swim – a fact I found really comforting.

I took the swim one buoy at a time and eventually I saw the final one. I made my last left and headed straight to the beach.


Swim Time: 35:51 (1.5 K)


Transition 1

The run to transition 1 was all in sand and felt like uphill. I was happy to see my bike wasn’t the only one still there and quickly saw other blue caps file in behind me.

I wiped my feet off, slipped my socks on, shoes, helmet, glasses, and gloves and took off. At the last minute I decided to shove the packet of Skarkies into my sports bra.

T1 Time: 4:13

The Bike


During the swim I mentally set a goal of maintaining 15 mph on the bike. That’s my goal for Augusta and I wanted that to my goal here. However, I felt great when I got on and was easily maintaining in the 16.5 – 17.5 MPH range. Instead of fighting it, I decided to go with it.

That was an awesome speed for me – and one I am pretty darn proud of! – but it was hard to watch cyclists after cyclists pass me going much, much faster than that. There’s nothing more humbling then seeing someone on a mountain bike zoom on by. I had to keep reminding myself that this was MY race and I all I could do was the best speed for ME.


I had a lot of time to think on the bike.


  • I need to raise my seat – it’s way too low. I wonder if I’m brave enough to attempt this raise on my own?
  • The one piece swimsuit was a bad idea – HELLO chafing! Ouch.
  • Trying to eat Sharkies on the bike was… interesting.
  • I want aerobars. bad.
  • I really, really need to work on speed with drills or something. I wasn’t the last one in my age group to finish the swim, but I was the last on the bike.


I almost missed Derek at the loop point, but he found me! Check out the video he caught of my on his iphone HERE.

The second lap was very lonely. All of the sprinters were done and I was lucky if I saw a cyclist at all on the road. The road wasn’t marked very well, so there was a lot of crossing my fingers that I was going the right way!

The bike portion took place entirely on an open road. There were cars zooming by the entire time and I even saw someone get hit on their bike from a car trying to turn into a parking lot right in front of them – it was very scary! There were cops directing traffic at all the stoplights, but the guy didn’t see me on the second lap and started letting cars cross as I came to the light. I had to practically come to a stop and scream for his attention so I could go.


Eventually I found my way back to the beginning and was more than ready to hop off my bike and start the run.

Bike Time: 1:31:13 (26 miles)

Transition 2


When I came in for transition 2, a majority of the sprint triathletes were packing up their gear and heading home. It was really hard knowing I still had a 6 mile run and they were all done. I threw my bike over the bar, threw off my helmet, switched shoes, and headed out.


T2 Time: 1:18

The Run


The run? Oh god, what can I say about the run? It was hell.

I’m not in my best running shape, so I knew it was going to bad. Throw in sand, direct sun, humidity, and heat and you have the recipe for a disaster. I started out strong, but it quickly crumbled from there.


The sand wasn’t so bad. It was hard, compact, and completely runnable. I saw a few people running barefoot and almost wish I had left my shoes at the transition area as well. The course was another double loop. Down the beach for a mile and a half, turn around, and do it all over again.

I knew I was in trouble a half a mile out when the heat got the best of me. I felt drained and exhausted and needed to walk. I took a few sharkies and decided to try a run/walk method just to survive. I started running 5 minutes and walking a minute, but eventually ended up running 2 minutes and walking 30 seconds. It’s the most I’ve ever walked in a race, but I didn’t care – I wanted to be able to finish, not die in the process.


I saw Derek at the turn around and told him I was dying. He joked back with ‘so, you ready for that half ironman now?’ Ha! Only if it’s a freshwater swim with a shaded bike and run that doesn’t involve sand. πŸ™‚


I was taking three waters at the stations. Well, one heed drink and one water to drink and one to pour over my head. Cold water never felt so good.


Once I got the 2 minutes running/ 30 seconds walking pattern down, the second lap was much smoother. I was still dying, but I felt more confident that I could finish. I should also note that we were running by families who were settling into the beach for the day. I was very jealous of their relaxing/ sunning day. I was very tempted to take a dip in the water at various points during my run. πŸ˜‰

Run time: 1:03:57 (6.2 miles)

The Finish


The finish! The finish! The finish! Something I never thought I would see. πŸ™‚


Finish Time: 3:16:31

Done! And so proud.


I was all smiles, but I really felt like this.


And did this.


Sooo.. Cold. Loved it! πŸ™‚

I immediately found Teresa (who did the sprint!) and Courtney (who rocked the olympic with me!). Awesome job ladies!


And Derek!


My faithful photographer, who wouldn’t let me give him a hug in thanks.



Final Thoughts

I know I complained about parts of the swim, bike, and run, but, honestly, I loved this race. It was challenging and fun. I’ve only done Buttar triathlons before in Orlando (which are cheap and always in Moss Park), so this race was a great change. Now I can say I’ve done a beach triathlon and truly call myself a triathlete.

I learned a lot today, mainly that I really need to pick up my training. This race was tough, but Augusta is going to be twice the distance and even tougher. Holy cow, what did I get myself into?!?!

Feed me

After the race Derek and I headed down the street to The Broken Egg – a cute local place that was perfect for a post-race feast!


My hunger really began to sink in once we sat down. I ordered the biggest thing I could find on the menu.


The Sampler: One Egg (scrambled), One Pancake (whole wheat w/ apple), Ham, and Fruit Cup.

Come to Mama!!!


The pancake was larger than my head! I ate 3/4 of it and gave the rest to Derek. It was amazingly delicious and exactly what I was craving. πŸ™‚

When we made it home ( 4 hours later – don’t ask) I made a batch of smoothies for the house.


  • Frozen Peaches
  • Vanilla Soy Milk
  • Spinach
  • Ice
  • Vanilla GoTein Powder
  • Kashi Go Lean Crisp



Nap time!

Have a great Saturday everyone!

1 Evan Thomas July 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Congratulations, Meghann!
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2 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance July 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Great job! And LOVE the huge meal afterwards!
Refueling is my favorite part of racing– Lets just say that after my first full marathon in San Francisco I practically LIVED in Ghirardelli Square πŸ˜‰
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3 Theresa July 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Great job today Meghann! That was was most definitely brutal & I can’t imagine what it was like to do 2 laps – just one killed me! (I also seriously considered getting back in the water during my run leg because I was so hot!)
Hope you enjoyed your first SRQ area race – and I’m glad you found the Broken Egg!
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4 erica July 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm

congratulations!!!! πŸ™‚
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5 Victoria (District Chocoholic) July 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Salt water swims are DEFINITELY rough. I did a 1.2 mile open water swim off the north shore of Oahu last weekend (OK, maybe it wasn’t so rough…) and man, that stuff numbs your mouth something fierce. But, then we got chocolate bars when we turned in our timing chips, so I declared it to be the best race ever.
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6 April@ Marathons 'n Martinis July 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Good job on the race! It’s so hard to keep pushing when you feel alone on the course. I just did my first sprint today. I’m not the best swimmer and feared I’d be last out of the water. I wasn’t, but I was pretty slow! Enjoy your recovery!

7 michelle July 23, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Congrats! That sounded tough but you pulled through
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8 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife July 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm

GOOD job!! That is awesome that you pulled through a hard race. You should be proud! πŸ™‚
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9 Hilary July 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Way to go! Both the pre and post meals look amazing! Being slow kinda sucks (trust me, I know), but way to stick it out and finish strong!
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10 Eric July 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Congrats on finishing the race. Ocean swims are tough. Your HIM swim should be a piece of cake since it’s only 400 meters more and the current of the river will help you. The heat always kills me during the run. It’s my kyptonite.
Eric recently posted..Moss Park Sprint Triathlon

11 Alex July 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Oh my gosh! You’re a rock star! You inspire me – Congrats!
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12 Liz July 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Congratulations! That looked tough, and you completed it and had a great attitude about the whole experience. Good job!

13 Brittany July 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Congrats on finishing the race! That sounds like a tough one, yikes! Swimming against the current, in salt water…no thanks, ha. As fun as it is to bust through PRs and breeze through races, I think the most rewarding ones are those you have to fight for tooth and nail. You should be so proud! πŸ™‚

14 Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Wow, awesome job!!! You are so impressive! I was just in Sarasota a week ago, and it was miserably hot and humid by 8am. I can’t believe you managed to do all of that!! And I love Broken Egg. One of my favorite places! πŸ™‚ I just blogged about it when I was down there… I had a sandwich that time, but usually I get their chocolate chip and banana pancakes… yum!

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15 Jessica @ Sushi & Sit-Ups July 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Congrats!! That’s so awesome that you persevered and finished!! You go girl!
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16 Jane @ Broccolini & Cheese July 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

It is HOT on the East Coast today. Way to rock it out and finish!

17 Caitlin July 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

YAY! Congrats buddy. You are going to kick ass in Augusta… You have so much more training time and hopefully it won’t be as hot.

I’m disappointed in these race organizers, though. Not having major intersections or manned by volunteers to the point that bicyclists had to practically stop to get through is completely unacceptable. I would write the organizer a letter if I were you!
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18 Caitlin July 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

*not having major intersections closed
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19 Karen July 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Nice job Meghann! I can’t promise it won’t be hot but the run definitely won’t be on sand in Augusta πŸ™‚

20 melissa (fitnessnyc) July 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Amazing job! You’re run was actually pretty speedy. I love all the flags at the end! Loved the recap.
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21 Kristen (inspiredbydooce) July 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

That even looks hot! Way to go!!
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22 Mary July 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Good job! way to stick it out and be a champ! Keep on plugging, you’ll rock that HIM in september!
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23 Christine @ BookishlyB July 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

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24 Katy (The Singing Runner) July 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Great job Meghann! You did fantastic even with the Florida heat! Lord knows I’ll be happy when the cooler weather returns again!
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25 allpointswhole July 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I have a coffee cup from the Broken egg…way to pull it out and finish strong!!

26 katie July 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm

CONGRATS girl! You seriously are a rockstar!

And I hope you don’t smell like fish anymore , lol! Your tweet cracked me up! xo
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27 RunEatRepeat July 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

You Rock.
I’m very proud of you πŸ™‚
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28 carissa July 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Congrats! Im soooo impressed by you!!! You’re awesome and you ran your race!
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29 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food July 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm


You did such an awesome job in less than awesome conditions. You should be so proud that you just stuck with it and found a rhythm and pace that worked for you! πŸ˜€

What a wonderful inspiration! πŸ™‚
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30 Nikki July 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I loved reading your recap! Truly inspirational! I love how you add the whiney bits and your mind process on the bike, as those are the bits I can relate to πŸ˜‰ It also makes it seem more real.
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31 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake July 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Congrats! Such an awesome accomplishment!
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32 abby July 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Grats on finishing the tri!! It was wicked hot out, I’m amazed that you powered through!! Sarasota has a great 1/2 marathon in march, if you liked racing here. I ran it this past year and was probably my fav… not too crowed and a lovely run! Disney 1/2’s are the only other races I’ve done.

33 Cate July 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Congrats Meghann! It sounds like it was a tough race, you should be proud! πŸ™‚
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34 Amy July 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Congrats on your great race!
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35 Army Amy* July 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Great job on the race! I recently ran on the beach without shoes and got some gnarly blisters. Be glad that you wore shoes!*
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36 Theodora July 23, 2011 at 9:43 pm

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37 Cait's Plate July 23, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Congrats! That’s so amazing!

That picture of you trying to give Derek a hug completely cracks me up. His face alone is classic! Haha
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38 Wendi @ A Southern Yogi July 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I did my first triathlon the other day and the run was very very short (only 2.5 miles) and I had to do run/walk. I was running 2, walking 1 and I was like, well, I’m slow but whatever, it’s my first tri, who cares. But in the end, I ended up running a 9 minute pace which I felt pretty good about it since I thought I was going WAY slower. So crazy!!

39 Alaina July 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Congrats on a successful race Meghann!! I’ve thought about doing tri’s eventually. They do look like a lot of work but also a lot of fun!
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40 Katherine July 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Woot! Awesome!
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41 Caitlin July 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Congratulations! You should come back out for the Sarasota Y Sharks tri in October!

42 Natasha July 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Congratulations! You are awesome…I don’t know how you did it. You should be very proud of yourself!
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43 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen July 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Congrats Meghann! I think it’s the tougher races that make you even prouder to have finished!
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44 Ashley July 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm

WOW!! How much fun??
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45 Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food July 24, 2011 at 12:13 am

Amazing job, Meghann!! You seriously rock! You kept going and I’m not sure I would have had that in me! πŸ˜€
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46 Danielle C. July 24, 2011 at 12:25 am

Amazing job! I can’t believe they gave you #187, I’m so number superstitious. LOL
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47 Meghann July 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

What’s wrong with 187?!

48 Danielle C. July 24, 2011 at 10:07 am

It’s the police code for homicide.
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49 Dione July 24, 2011 at 12:30 am

You always ALWAYS have the best race recaps!!
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50 Lorin July 24, 2011 at 1:46 am

Wow! So inspiring, I’ve heard so much about the heat over on the east coast lately, it’s awesome you were able to do a race in that πŸ™‚ Have a great, relaxing weekend.

51 Reenie July 24, 2011 at 2:11 am

OMG girl…you did frickin’ awesome. I can’t even imagine….and you did it by yourself.

I can’t believe they didn’t have everything blocked off for you….how scary.

Way to go Derek….you rock too!!! πŸ™‚

52 Shah'ada July 24, 2011 at 4:06 am

awesome race recap!!! i seriously always appreciate your honesty!! sounded like a very challenging course- seriously you ROCK for sticking with it!!
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53 Pamela July 24, 2011 at 4:17 am

Way to go, Meghann! You are a f*cking rockstar!!!!!

54 Amber @ Stop and Smell the Wildflowers July 24, 2011 at 5:37 am

Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve been toying with the idea of training for a triathlon, so it’s always fun to read about other people and their experiences. Great job finishing! πŸ™‚
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55 Jane @ Jane's Addictions July 24, 2011 at 10:13 am

Wow! You are amazing! Congrats on completing the triathlon. Blows my mind how you can swim, bike and run all in one race!
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56 Anne P July 24, 2011 at 10:37 am

So proud of you! Congrats on a great (and very hard, from the sound of it) race. πŸ™‚
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57 Jess@atasteofconfidence July 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Congrats on finishing! I can’t even imagine running that much on sand, it must have been tough!
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58 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run July 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Congrats! Way to power through it. I hate when you don’t feel 100% through most of a race. Really breaks you down mentally.

I do love Siesta Beach. So pretty. I used to work close to there.

Oh, and I think you could have truly called yourself a triathalete even without the beach tri.

59 Mariel July 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Great Race Recap! Good job! So inspiring! I don’t know that I’d ever be up for a Tri! (I’m not a huge fan of biking, yet anyway!) but it’s so awesome to see you go out there and do it! It really motivates me to get up and move! Love your blog!

60 E July 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Congratulations on making it through a tough race!

61 clare @ July 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm

AWESOME job! Sounds like it was a blast! I actually did a tri yesterday too. It was so HOT, I don’t know how you do it down in Florida. We had a heat index of 120 degrees in central NC and the run was so difficult. Love to hear that someone else loves the challenge (even though it sucks while you’re doing it) πŸ™‚
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62 Andrea July 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Great job Meghann! I love your attitude!

63 Laura (Cookies vs. Carrots) July 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Looks like a tough course, but you did it! Congrats! Can’t wait for Augusta πŸ™‚
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64 Amy July 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

You should be so proud of yourself Meghann! You are inspiring me to actually learn to ride a bike and maybe give a sprint triathlon a try πŸ™‚ First up is my second half marathon though!
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65 Amanda July 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Congrats! I love this recap. Your so honest about your performance and you can still say that you loved doing it. That’s the best kind of race. We can all benefit from a nice challenge. Thanks for sharing with us!

66 beachgirlrunning July 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Congrats on a great race! Awesome job getting through the heat. summer races can be brutal! Love all the pix!

67 Lauren July 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Awesome, Meghann! You’re right – every race is a learning experience. No two have really ever been alike for me…and ultimately, I’m happy that way. πŸ™‚

You did a fantastic job with your Olympic!
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68 Katie July 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Hi Megan, I just did a tri this weekend too! I also go for the poor man’s tri outfits – but I would definitely not wear a swimsuit under bike shorts. Ow! I wear basic quick dry running spandex shorts (or your tri shorts are great) with a fitted, quick dry tank that has a built in bra. The combo has worked well for me for a few triathlons. Hope this helps!

69 Katie July 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

I have absolutely no idea how you managed to do 6.2 miles in sand & the heat. I tried do a mile in the sand & I was back to the sidewalk! WAY TO GO πŸ™‚

70 Anne July 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

May I give you some tips on improving your biking?

First of all, I think you are right about your saddle: it is too low. And your handlebars may need to come down a bit. You are sitting way too much upright and this means getting a lot of resistance. The way you hold (or: the angle of) your upper body in the pictures is how it probably should be when you are holding the top (flat) part of your handlebars, not when your hands are in the ‘arches’ . Your neck (and maybe even your back) will probably ache the first times you’ll try to bike in the new, more aerodynamic position, but you’ll get used to it, trust me!

Second, you’ll need to eat a LOT of food. And by a lot, I really mean a lot. My cycling instructor recommends to start eating (carbs!) after half an hour, and then every half hour. Your leg muscles simply do not have enough glycogen in store to bike for more than an hour at, say, 19 mph. In every long distance bike ride I did there was a point where I thought my muscles where just plain tired and I could not go on anymore, but then I ate something and… was good to go again.

Third, you’ll have to put a lot of training hours in, out on the road. Just try to keep an higher speed, because I think with your level of fitness you should easily be able to do that. Do you use your Garmin to check your speed while riding your bike? Or do you have a separate one your bike as well (can’t see it on the pics, but it’s easier to look at and [at least here in the Netherlands] they are quite inexpensive)? Try to bike a certain speed (18,5 mph for example, as an aim, not as an average) which is higher than what you think you can. You’ll probably feel like you’re dying, but you will soon get used to it [it’s a lot like weight lifting!]. If you can’t do that for, say, 1,5 hour, than try long intervals: as I said, with your level of fitness I really think you can manage 10 minutes @ 18,5 mph.

This is also really good to try:

But I think this gets really boring on your own, so try to get someone to do this with you! Biking is much, much more fun when you do it in a large group. Doesn’t the Tampa Tri Team do bikerides together?

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