A few months ago I decided I was going to do a sprint triathlon.

Why?

Maybe I thought I could do it and the event should be on my bucket list.

Maybe I thought if my husband could do one, so could I.

Maybe I thought I should get in shape and trim up. While I didn’t get trim during the process, I did commit to the event and started training last May.

I also started a blog (www.laurensfirsttri.blogspot.com) and wrote about my training adventures.

I met a huge snake.

Watched people throw up.

And I learned how to properly wear bike shorts.

When I shared some of my training techniques with the fine readers of BRO, I was scolded by a reader for approaching the race with a lolly-gag attitude.

And while this reader (a triathlon coach who actually does know what he is talking about) may have been right, and my training plan may have been not ideal… I am here to report that you can be a lolly-gagger and do reasonably well in a Sprint Triathlon.

Imagine with me if you will, a cold rainy September morning near Williamsburg Virginia. Imagine 683 strangers pushing toward one very narrow finish line – each at his or her own pace.

Imagine me, bright eyed and purple cap clad ready to tackle the water and road, wearing a very small little outfit. I felt a warning was necessary for those who want to look away about now at the mention of the outfit.

Here are some important lessons I learned during the Patriot Sprint in Williamsburg. Lessons I would like to share with those experienced in the sport, and other newbies like myself:

1. Hydrate

It is important to stay hydrated even in the rain. I chose to drink from the James River during the swim. Ok, so this was not a choice but I did consume a few pints of the tea colored brackish water as I fought toward the shore with 100 of my wave mates. The swim was brutal, much to my surprise as swimming (at least pool swimming) is the only sport I am not terrible in.

I felt like I was going no where for most of the swim and trying to fight people who were accidently swimming over me. I will admit, the swim was very difficult.

2. Regarding Wetsuits

Only wear a wetsuit if you know how to take it off. I had never peeled one of my wet skin before and so transition from swim to bike was well, a bit sticky. Here I am enjoying the run from the beach to the bike transition area – don’t I look happy? It was a few minutes later that I realize the wetsuit may have been a bad idea. Oh well, too late at this point to regret that decision.

Transition from Beach to bike took 4 minutes – too long….a lesson learned.

3. Smile for the camera

I also learned during the race, that it is important to smile when you are in pain. Why? Because there are professional photographers taking pictures of you. Furthermore, your family thinks you will want photos of the event to remember the special day by and so they will be on the route smiling at you – so smile back.

4. Helmet safety.

I also learned that wearing your bike helmet correctly is a good idea. If not, you look like an idiot. Thank God I did not actually need the helmet to protect my face and head from the pavement for only 1/2 of my head would have been protected.

5. Running fast is good.

I learned this during the run because I was getting passed allot. People who I creamed on the bike and swim, were kicking my wide tail on the run. If I do another one of these, I will be a better runner.

Overall, I do think you can take your time and train for a triathlon. You can even do it with a pretty lax training schedule as long as you take your time and learn to do each event well – and spend some time putting them together.

It wasn’t easy by any means. It was however, fun. And it helps that I beat my goal time by 15 minutes and came in at 1:30 minutes….

Not bad for a lollygagger?