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3987 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: May 12, 2011 4:56 PM by kakkoon
violets-are-purple Amateur 12 posts since
Mar 9, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 11, 2011 9:27 PM

HELP!! i'm feeling a little nervous, my 1st triathlon.

hi all:

first, i thank all who take time to read my post-- i totally understand you have very busy and active lives.  i have a few concerns about my 1st triathlon- i just registered for the iron girl tri- las vegas, april 30, 2011....  i am very excited but, i can't deny, i am also a bit nervous.  i have a couple of questions.


tri suit vs 2 piece (tri top-bottom)?  any thoughts, suggestions, etc.?  all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


when i go drop off my bike the friday before the event-- what do i leave besides the bike?  do i leave anything else in the transition station, e.g.: shoes, gels, do i leave my water bottles full (w/ energy drink-water) with my bike?  i notice in the iron pics some ladies covered their bikes in the transition station-- i guess the bike and seat warm up if you don't?


i'm a certified scuba diver and have a lightweight scubapro wetsuit, can i use it during the race or do i have to buy a" tri" wetsuit?


i usually get a toe-cramp when the temp of the water is too cold, may i use the aqua socks?  should i test the water prior to the start?


when i get to the race in the morning, what do i need to know or worry about?


i know my questions may be a bit trivial and i do apologize.

best to all,


violets are purple...   "it never gets easier, you just go faster"  greg lemond

4/30/2011 athleta iron girl, lake las vegas nv

     800m swim/ 22.5k bike/ 5k run 2:41:49

  • Chocolate Thunder 303 Pro 69 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008



    First off, welcome to the family!  Congrats on signing up!  Second, there are no silly questions here.  We've all been a rookie, at some point and were here because we enjoy the sport and we want other people to enjoy it too.  It's likely someone along the way helped us out too.


    It’s okay to be nervous.  This is a big deal.  I tend to worry about the people who aren’t nervous.  


    Regarding wardrobe: My thoughts are more focused on whatever works for you.  Wear your favorites!  I had a previous post about a similar question so I’ll paraphrase what I said there: I apologize if I tell you anything you already know.  I want to be thorough.  Quality triathlon shorts and tops are designed to get wet and to dry quickly so they don't make you uncomfortable during a race.  The chamois in tri shorts tends to be thinner than your regular bike shorts to facilitate drying and to allow you to run in them without feeling like you have a diaper on.  If you don't have any stuff made by a reputable company, I'm sure the local bike shop can help set you up.  I've always been warned that most tri-specific clothing is not designed to be used in a pool REGULARLY as the chlorine can ruin a tri top or shorts pretty quickly.   I caution you to use them in the pool before the race sparingly, but enough that you're going to be comfortable with them before race day.  I refer to triathlon rule #1: Nothing new on race day.  Quality stuff does not have to be the most expensive but consider that it's your butt in those shorts and you don't want to be in that nasty place where you wonder how the shorts that cost $15-$20 extra would feel. I am willing to bet there will be people at your race in all kinds of gear including two-pieces, just bottoms, and the whole trisuit.  My preference is to wear the two-piece, but that’s just me.


    When you go to the bike drop off, just drop off your bike.  You don’t need to drop off anything else.  Don’t bother with your shoes, water bottles or anything else.  Plan to bring that on race morning.  You can get more details about transition at the pre-race packet pick up.  You can usually ask specific questions there.  Also be prepared to stick around a bit at the packet pick up so you can take your time.  I’m not sure why people cover their bikes in transition.  Maybe someone else here has a thought.  The good news is that a bike is pretty much water proof.  I’ve seen people cover their seats in transition to keep them from getting wet overnight, but you’re going to get it wet the minute you get on the bike anyway. . . go figure.


    At this event it does not look like there are any wet suit restrictions, but you might want to ask at the packet pick up.  At a typical tri, you can wear just about anything except water wings and flippers.  Your scuba wetsuit should work okay for an 800m swim so you do not have to purchase a special suit.  Often, you can rent a tri wet suit but there are hazards to that.  One: make sure you use the wetsuit, with your tri clothes underneath it before the race.  If you’re renting a suit, you can’t often practice in it.  Two: there are two kinds of triathletes-1)those that admit they pee in their wetsuit and 2)those that lie and deny it.


    Also, typically you cannot wear booties or shoes with your wetsuit.  I don’t see the USA Triathlon logo on the Irongirl website and typically with a USAT sanction, there are no booties or shoes allowed.  However, I do see a USAT rule quoted.  Ask at packet pickup if you can use the booties.  Plan on not being able to, but it without seeing a USAT sanction, I cannot say it’s out of the question.


    Definitely, if you can, test the water before the race.  I would encourage you to try a short swim before the race.  Probably nothing more than a few minutes.  Another great point about the Irongirl is the time-trial start.  In this format, one person will go at a time, usually just a few seconds behind the person in front of you. This helps you avoid the battle of the open-water swim start.


    Okay, on race day you need to worry about one thing: finishing.  So how do you get there?  Here are my tips:


    On race day, your day starts early because you need to set up your transition.  This is something you want to practice prior to getting to the race so you can think about it and plan for it.  I’ve done enough tri’s that I pretty much know what my transition looks like but each race is different so I know how to make some changes.  Try to plan on taking up not too much space in transition.  You will no doubt see people with full towels overflowing with all of their equipment, junk, tools, umbrellas, pump, a sink and a Slurpee machine set up next to their bike.  Okay, maybe not the sink.  Just try to be courteous of the people around you.


    I usually fold a beach towel in half and put it parallel to my bike.  I try to keep my stuff within those boundaries.  If the person next to you is completely out of control with their stuff and refuses to share some space (after you ask politely, of course), ask a race official for help. 


    When you bring your bike to the drop off, pick a place to rack it that’s easy to find.  Once your bike is racked (you’re probably going to rack it yourself), look for landmarks or recognizable, NON-moving signs that will help you find your bike in the chaos of transition 1 and your running shoes in T2.  This could be a flag or a tree outside of transition.  It’s not wise to try to remember that you’re next to the yellow bike because that bike could be gone when you’re running out of the water.  Sometimes you can get away with counting the bike racks, but there’s so much mayhem in transition that it’s easy to lose count.


    When practicing transition, think about the order you want to do things.  There are some good articles on and some good videos on Youtube that give a good explanation of transition.  Outside of lying down and taking a nap under your bike, you can pretty much take your time. I like to do my helmet first (so I don’t forget it and get disqualified), then my bike shoes and I’m off.  I put my sunglasses on when I’m already riding.


    Just remember to be deliberate and get it done correctly.  It’s okay to take a breath after the swim and gather your head a little bit before you start the bike.  Like I said, transition can be chaos so just focus on you and getting what you need.


    Once I’m on the bike, I think about hydrating for the run and maybe a gel.  You’re going to want to practice how much water to take in because too much can lead to some gut unrest or some bloating when you run.  That’s not fun.  I usually take about 500ml of fluids or about a swallow or two every 15 minutes.  If it’s super hot, I try to make it gatorade or something else with electrolytes.  Don’t worry about what kind of bike you’re on or what kind of bike everyone else is on.  You can do a triathlon on a big wheel.


    Before you know it, you’re going to be halfway done with the bike and getting ready for the run.


    What do you need to worry about?  Just worry about having a good time.  Triathlon can be super fun, but you have to let yourself have some fun!


    Let us know how it’s going or if you have any questions.  Good luck and I hope this helps!



  • Joe_h1 Community Moderator 1,833 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    1. whatever is most comfortable to you. try both in practice and see which you prefer

    2. definitely youtube for videos of transitions it will help a lot


    3.  are scuba wetsuits designed to be swum in? also I also thought they were NOT bouyant and designed to keep you under water - not a gerat thing if you're swimming on the surface might want to lookinto renting one for the day

    4, get there early to avoid lines for portapotties and the prerace meeting and do not move anyone stuff in transition without asking first (not a good way to make friends) relax, have fun and kick booty!

    goals for 2011:

    break 19minutes for 5k

    break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic

    break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)

  • Chocolate Thunder 303 Pro 69 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008



    No problem.  Absolutely you can do this.


    Also, maybe look up your race on youtube, and you can get an idea of what to expect.


    I hope I've answered your questions and feel free to post more if you have them.



  • IronMakeover Community Moderator 738 posts since
    Jul 7, 2008

    Hi Violeta,

    First, what a beautiful name! 

    Second, welcome and thanks for posting.


    Clothing: tri suit or swimsuit, something that fits well and you feel comfortable in.

    Bikes: sometimes people cover their bikes related to changes in temp and the tires losing pressure, but you'll pump up on race morning, so it'll be ok, don't worry.

    Water temp: IronGirl events have registration before race day, so yes head down and touch that lake/jump in/figure it out. They'll also have info on water temp in your packet at registration. I did an IronGirl event last summer and loved how organized it was and the packet was super helpful.


    On race morning, arrive early and plan extra time just in case. Check your equipment, do a walk-through of the transition areas and do it again, make a few bathroom stops and warm-up for the swim. Make sure you bike is the the gear you'd like to start in. Eat/drink, relax & remind yourself that any race-day nerves show that you are excited and that this event is important to you!


    Enjoy & let us know how it goes and what other questions you have,


    Sara Cox Landolt

  • IronMakeover Community Moderator 738 posts since
    Jul 7, 2008

    Hi there Violeta,

    That's great news! Congratulations on getting past that step, you know you can do the distances individually. Great idea to work on transitions. Look for a combination of controlled speed, you don't want to race through a transition and make a mistake/forget something you need, but you don't want to take FOREVER there either! :-) Time sometimes feels funny on race day too!


    Doing your mini-tri simulation 2 weeks out sounds good--you're making great choices. I've seen and heard many athletes working out too hard too long right up to their events.


    The timing of when to get into your wetsuit is tricky... especially if you are nervous/excited or drink coffee...


    You can apply body glide 2x, once in some more private areas before you leave your hotel & then again on race site. Many many people do apply fairly intimately in public & think nothing of it, do what you need to do.


    Then, you'll want to get that wetsuit on & test the water out/warmup before the race meeting, so give yourself enough time.


    I like the speed laces, they do save time and my coordination isn't great bent in half trying to tie my laces, so those work well. Make sure you've run in them & trust them, because the tightness on your feet/feel while running will change a bit.


    I'm glad you're nervous & excited, it shows this is important to you!

    Keep in touch & great work,



    Sara Cox Landolt

  • kakkoon Amateur 24 posts since
    May 10, 2011

    This post helped me a lot too! Thank you so munch, I had the same doubts Violeta had!

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