Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – First Time Triathlete Sam

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s Foto is from Samatha Goga:


Sam is one of my coaching athletes working toward a marathon PR in the fall. She also tackled her first triathlon last week. Here’s the story of her day:

I did it… I completed my first Sprint Distance at the Chicago Triathlon, despite everything that went wrong!

I racked my bike the night before and when I showed up to transition in the morning, I was missing my handlebar plugs. They told me I couldn’t ride without them and I began to panic a bit. All that for nothing over some plugs!? I refused to believe that was it. So I triple checked with bike solutions & one of the guys working there ended up taking them out of his own bike for me. All was right with the world again.

A few hours later I was entering the water and the horn was sounding just seconds later. I allowed most of the other first timers to go before making my way through the water. I didn’t want to start any breathing issues (I’ve been having a few lately), so I went with a backstroke. I felt really good that way and just decided to keep it that way the whole time. I had about 15 yards left and I flipped over to finish strong. However, I got thee worst charley horse ever in my calf. I couldn’t move my leg at all and it hurt so bad. I had to make my way over to the wall as I cried. My tears were filling my goggles and I just wanted to be pulled up. Because I was so close, my family and one of the lifegaurds encouraged me to make my way to the finish line so my timing chip wouldn’t get taken, so I did that. I stopped there to talk to a medic and stretch. It was still really tight but I pushed on.

I eventually made it safely back to transition, changed and hustled out… And as I mounted my bike, I realized the chain was off my bike. The nice guy at bike solutions saved the day again! After taking my bike apart to fix it, (it felt like forever) I was on my way. I’m pretty certain there was only 1 other person that started the bike behind me because I was out there all by myself basically the entire time. When I would come across a person, I made it my mission to pass them. I guess it helped me move faster to race them. I think I passed about 5 people the entire bike ride… Other than that, I was alone.

By the time I started to run, I thought that would also be a solo journey, but I was able to catch up to a few folks, and again race them. I quickly realized that nobody had respect for the course anymore because there were so many people just walking on it and through it. However, I felt really good on the run, if I ignored my calf. I was cheering on those going past me in the other direction and encouraging those that I passed. Finally, I see the finish line… Move it!! Once I passed it, I could not breath at all and my chest was really tight. I was escorted to the medical tent, taken care of and given a nebulizer treatment because of everything that was happening.

Sooo… It was a lot more than I ever expected, but that’s how it went. If it wasn’t for this extremely tight calf, I’d feel great! Oh, and if all that other mumbo jumbo didn’t happen, I’m confident that I would’ve finished with my goal of 2.5 hours… I’ll take the 2:45 though considering the circumstances…

Would I do it again? I’ll be in the Athena wave next year for sure!

Fantastic job Sam! That was no an easy day! You took each obstacle in stride, and found a way to keep moving forward. You definitely earned that finish.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s