My First Sprint Triathlon at 50

author : Gina60
comments : 16

I can't run a seven-minute mile anymore, but that doesn't take away from the joy of finishing

I competed in my first sprint triathlon this spring.

I decided to start training for it as motivation to lose weight. I had been working out at my local YMCA for about three years following a fractured pelvis I suffered in an auto accident.

I started training in in earnest February when I signed up for a race and bought the book, "The Idiot's Guide to Triathlons." I figured I'd need at least that much time to get into decent shape. My goal was to finish.

I ended up losing about 13 pounds during training!

The Swim

I was a little worried about the swim, so I took swim lessons at the YMCA from a gentleman that taught high school swimming and also was coaching other triathletes. My swimming really improved and was probably my best event during the race. I swam 550 yards in a little under 13 minutes. The crowds in the water were a little daunting but I never thought to myself, "I can't do this."

The next time I will swim wide and not try and stay close to the rope; I was run over several times.

The good thing now is I love swimming and do it three to four times a week.

The Bike

For the bike portion of the race, I decided to use my hybrid bike. I looked online and I had read that many first-timers use hybrids.

It's heavy and I struggle to go over an average of 14 mph. In the race I did just that ... 14 mph ... but that was really pushing myself. There were a few killer hills. Now that I see the pictures, I realize what an idiot I looked like sitting up so high on the bike. I should have realized that when I couldn't get it under the bar in the transition! I am tall (5'11") so the bike looks huge. I looked like I was out for a Sunday ride.

Now I am trying to decide if I should invest in a road bike. I went out and rode a few that I really like. I'm just not sure. I checked out some at my local bike shop but even an entry bike is $800, and how can I tell from five minutes of riding it around that I really want it? I wish I could just rent one for the next event.

The Run

I used to be able to run 7-minute miles in my 20s and 8/9-minute miles into my 40s. I didn't realize how far I had fallen now that I am 50. I struggle to run a 10 minute mile.

I keep thinking if maybe I lose another 10 lbs, it might help, so that is currently my focus. After the bike, I really felt it in my knees and it took me at least a mile to work out the kinks.

My run in the triathlon took about 36 minutes.

So I accomplished my goal: I finished.
I came in 628th place out of 648 finishers.

It wasn't pretty, but I have the shirt that proves it. I would like to do another one in under two hours. My transition times were not very good so if I improve those and work on my bike and run, I am pretty sure I can get my finish time under two hours.

I sometimes wonder why a 50-year-old woman would want to do this. But then I see others much older than myself out there.

I also wonder how much better shape I could get into. I guess that remains to be seen!
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date: August 8, 2011

Gina60