Tag Archives: race

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – Kettlebell Claire

Welcome to another edition of 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 photo is from Claire Knight:


Claire: A friend talked me into signing up for a super sprint triathlon, and then backed out. I carried on as I thought it would be a great challenge. I learnt to deal with open water swimming, and did more cycling and running in my training than I had been doing (I’m primarily a kettlebell athlete competing nationally in the UK, fitting it all in around work, husband, and cats whilst managing my asthma).

I completed my first event on a glorious sunny late September day, was thoroughly exhausted, but ecstatic with my time and placing, about half way through the female field. I enjoyed it far more than running events I’ve done!

Claire’s full race report can be found here.

Congrats Claire on your first triathlon finish and smashing your goal time. Way to hang in and accept the challenge even after your partner backed out.

If you liked Claire’s post and want to see other Fantastic Finish Photo post, you cna check out the archives.

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 firstimetri@gmail.com.


Sexy in Lycra Part III

Welcome to Part III of the Sexy in Lycra and other benefits of triathlon series. (Part I, Part II) This time we will discuss the different species of triathletes that dwell in our community. As you read through the list, don’t be surprised if one of these species of triathlete is you.



1. Fuel Belt Batman 

Fuel Belt Batman stalks the local jogging paths, equipped for any situation that may arise. Extra water in little tiny bottles? Check. 16 gels holstered neatly?  Check. Cellphone, Tazer, Can Opener, and Pocket Fisherman? Check. Fuel Belt Batman may be only be running three miles today, but he is ready for action. After the run, the Fuel Belt can double as a Dive Belt.


2. Amateur Al Roker Al-Roker-900-600

Amateur Al’s race is still ten days away, but he insists on trusting the long range forecasts. He has consulted ten weather sites, poured over the data, and has determined that the worst weather since Noah built the Ark, will happen on race day. Don’t buy into the hype. Like most weathermen Amateur Al is only right 30% of the time.


3. Robo Athlete (Cousin of Fuel Belt Batman) 

Robo Athlete’s motto is “if I can’t track it it didn’t happen.” He/she can been seen on the bike with a bike computer, power meter, gps watch, iphone app, heart rate monitor, and maybe a portable weather station. When Robo Athlete gets back to his lair, he analyzes the data for hours. Formulates complex excel sheets to explain the 5 watts missing from his normalized power. Could the cause be the weight of all of the devices?

4. Age Group Result Stalker AGRS

“Hi I’m Joe, and I’m an Age Group Stalker.” The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. The Age Group Result Stalker (AGRS) lurks among us. They look like normal people, but they hide a dark secret. Before and after each race they obsess over age group results. The AGRS will stalk the Athlinks profile of all the racers that finished before them. They will keep a mental FBI  style folder on each of those people for future reference. Next time you meet someone new at the start line, they may already know everything about you.

5. Mid-Pack Sprinter Pipped

The finish line is 200 yards away, and you are getting the pose ready for that perfect finish photo. Just as you are about to cross the line, the guy you passed walking half a mile ago, comes by in a full sprint, and collapses after the line. You just got Mid-Pack Sprinted! He could not let that dream of 37th place go. I know we are all out there to race, but if you aren’t sprinting for the podium, be cool, and let others have their moment at the finish line.


Like this post? Check out Sexy in Lycra Part I & Part II

photo credit: Ben Lawson via photopin cc

photo credit: Surat Lozowick via photopin cc

Workout Wednesday – 5 Tips for Better Long Runs

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)


Long runs are the bedrock of all running programs. Long runs help you to build endurance through time on your feet. Also, through low instensity training, your body learns to use more fat as fuel. Even though long runs are included in most training plans, many athletes perform these workouts incorrectly. They focus too much on the challenge of a new distance or speed, and turn a lower intensity effort into a death march.

Continue reading Workout Wednesday – 5 Tips for Better Long Runs

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday (need your help)






Beach 2 Battleship_0087


Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday!

The saying goes a picture is worth 1000 words. This is true, but doesn’t tell the entire story. A finish line photo is the snap shot of your achievement, but we want to hear the story as well. How did you feel at that moment? What struggle did you overcome? Did you just complete something you thought was impossible?

This where I need your help. If you have a fantastic finish photo, please consider sharing it. Actually the photo quality might not be great, but it brings back all of the feelings of that moment when you see it. Along with your photo, add a paragraph or two that explains how you felt as to crossed that line. Not a full race report, just what this photo represents to you. The more emotion the better.

My plan to is feature at least one of your photos every Friday. Let’s celebrate that sense of achievement as you crossed the finish line. Your story will inspire and uplift others that are working toward their own finish. Also, we are hard on ourselves most day. We should take a moment to look back and remember our own greatness.


If you would like to share your greatness, leave a comment below, or email me @ firsttimetri@gmail.com.

I’ll start things off:

Photo above was taken with my two girls at the Beach 2 Battleship IM, my first IM finish.

 Finally, I arrived at the final downhill ( Das upper thigh crusher), and started toward the finish.  As I came down the final 500 yards, I could hear the cheering from people in the restaurants, and a live band rocking past the finish. I saw the bright lights illuminating the finish area, and I picked up the pace. I felt the culmination of all that training and sacrifice, as I crossed the line and looked up to see my family. The volunteers handed me a WWF belt buckle (medal), and a hat. I stood there for a moment, exhausted, but elated and completely at peace. What an awesome experience.  

First time Tri tips in stereo. FTT on the Prepared idiot Podcast.

Rich Barna from The Prepared Idiot Podcast had me on his podcast to discuss racing your first triathlon. Rich is a self proclaimed “Clydesdale Triathlete” himself, and got into triathlon to adopt a healthier lifestyle. In this episode we talk about getting started in triathlon, each leg of the race, and some motivation to get you going. There is some great info and tips to get you started to your goal of completing your first triathlon.

Play the show on itunes

Show Notes:

For swimming videos on proper form check out: http://totalimmersion.net/

USAT Rule Book  – Rules on setting up your transition, and racing






“Oh Man This Hurts”, Keys to Racing Mental Toughness


Tough as nails

Mental toughness is the ability to withstand discomfort with a focus on your goal.  All of the situations and struggles in life develop your mental strength. You are defined by how you react to different situations. In racing, the battles lies between your body and thoughts. When a race gets tough, the mind will always give in before the body. The challenge is to control your thoughts, and get your mind and body to work together to achieve your goals.


The key to mental toughness is preparation. Training for your race will increase mental toughness. When you show up the the start line, you should be confident in your abilities. You confidence comes from adequate training, and preparation. That confidence kicks in when the race gets hard and you want to stop. If in training you have already had these feelings, you know you can push through.


  • Know your body – Be sure to notice the difference between this is uncomfortable, and this is injuring me.
  • Have a race day plan and execute – eliminate unnecessary decisions.
  • Simulate race intensity in training – not everyday
  • Have confidence. Accept that the race will be difficult, you are trained, and prepare to suffer a bit for your goal.


Be Present

When a race or workout gets hard, the brain wants you to stop. Your mind will play every trick it has to get you to stop or slow down. That little voice in your head will say “go ahead, just walk for awhile” or “Today is just not your day, slow down a bit”. Everyone has these thoughts, even elite athletes. When you can push through and not give into these thoughts, that is when breakthroughs happen.

To combat this voice, you need to be present and focus on the now. The mind may trick you into thinking you can’t run another mile, but it’s hard to convince you can’t run two more lamp posts. Focus on what you can do right at this moment to push you toward your goal. Accept the situation, adapt, and overcome. 

  • Focus on breathing and relaxing into the effort
  • Break the race up into small pieces – Run to the next lamp pole, Swim another 20 strokes.
  • Have a mantra – My mantra is “Relentless Forward Progress”
  • Be optimistic that things can get better. Example: You stomach may become upset during a long race. Know that it may hurt now, but with some additional nutrition and time, it can come back around.

Find Your Happy Place 

To pull yourself out a funk during your race, go to your happy place. I know this sounds a bit new age, but it works. When all of your focus is on the hurting, you need to shift your focus. Turning those negative thoughts, into a positive feeling is powerful. Those positive thoughts can get you into a rhythm and carry you through the difficult times in a race.

Try this: Force yourself to smile for the next two minutes. After the feeling silly for the first 30 secs, your mood will actually start to improve. You actions can impact your mood and attitude.

Here are some ways to find your happy place during a race:

  • Smile – It is also easier to breath while smiling
  • Encourage others – Your positive attitude will spread to others, and you will feel more positive in the process. Win-Win
  • Remove the word I can’t – Turn your mindset to thinking of what you can do , and not what you can’t
  • Think of the reasons why you are racing the event. Maybe you are racing in memory of a loved one, or to set an example for your kids. These powerful thoughts can push you through.
  • Absorb the energy of the race. Feel the energy from the crowd and other athletes. They are cheering for you because you are being awesome. They respect the training and effort your are putting forth. Soak it up.

I hope these suggestions help next time you are in the pain cave during a race. If you have any strategies that work for you, please share in the comments.

photo credit: bitzcelt via photopin cc

Race Morning Anxiety – Tip to reduce the stress

Alarm Clock

I wake up on the morning of my big race of the year, and look over at the clock. It reads 7:42 am, and my race start was at 7:30. Panic and terror flood through my body. I just trained for 20 weeks for a race, and I just missed the start.

This was the nightmare I had two times before my first Ironman. Race mornings can be very stressful, if you are not prepared. I’ve seen athletes leave bikes, shoes, goggles, and everything you can think of at home. This makes for a very stressful day, and sometimes can cause an athlete to DNS.

Now that I have stressed you out, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are well prepared and organized on race morning, your stress can be reduced, and you can have a great day.

The Night Before  

Pre-race Prep – Plan to pack your gear the night before your race. The night before you have more time, and you are not frazzled. Have a checklist of all of your gear. List all of your gear for each leg of the race, your nutrition, and any other items you need. If there are gear bags, organize and pack them as well. If you have already picked up your race packet, attach your race numbers. Tip – Have a gear checklist, and double check it. 

Set Two Alarms – You will most likely wake up before you first alarm, because of excitement, but it is a good idea to have a back up. You have the peace of mind, that you won’t sleep in.

Get To Bed Early – I know this sounds like common sense, but make an effort to get some rest. Relax, read, watch TV, and get off of your feet. You may be excited and have trouble getting to sleep, but the time spend resting is still beneficial.

Race Morning (Early)

Wake Up – Plan to get up early, and give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Also, if you have friends/family coming with you, be sure they are up early as well. Tip – Bribe your family with a nice breakfast. 

Bathroom Plan – Everyone’s  body is on a different schedule. Be sure to have time to take care of your business. Using the toilet in your own house, sure beats a dirty port a potty, so plan accordingly. For me pooping is the fourth sport of triathlon.

Packing – Pack all of your gear into your car, boat, train, tractor. While packing use your checklist to double check you have everything. When you pull out of the driveway, you should be 100% certain you have everything.

Race Morning (Race Start)

GET THERE EARLY – Plan to get to the race at least an hour early. Do your best to account for drive time, traffic, and parking. Arriving late to a race is very stressful, and can make for a bad race. Tip- Check out a map of the start, and find the best areas to park. 

Check In – If you didn’t pick up your packet the day before, find the registration area to pick up you packet. Have your ID ready, and other info ready to go. Tip – Take a photo of your ID with your phone. If you forget your ID, you have a back up. 

Body Marking – There will be volunteers around with Sharpies to mark your race number on your body. Find them and let them draw on you, its a funny experience at first. Tip – If it is a cool morning mark yourself, before leave the house. This way you can leave your warm ups on until the race start. 

Transition – Since you got to the race early, you should get a nice spot on your transition rack. The racks will be marked by numbers, so you know where to set up your area. Be courteous to others, and leave plenty of space. While you are in the transition area, notice the entrance and exits to use during the race. Tip – Practice transitions before the race, so you know how to set up your area. 

Warm up – Give yourself 10-15 minutes to get in a warm up. A good warm will loosen your muscles, and get your heart rate up.  Jog, do yoga, jumping jacks, anything to get the blood flowing. If it is an open water swim, get in the water for a quick dip. Swim around and get a feel for the water.

The Start – Walk down to the start with enough time, so you don’t feel rushed. Have time to breath, relax, and focus on your race. You have put in the training, now its time to show your stuff. Tip – Remember to reset your GPS/watch while you are waiting to start. 

My First Triathlon with Bart Yasso



Bart Yasso is an icon in the running and endurance world. Yasso is the Chief Running Officer for Runner’s World, and has an awesome passion for adventure. Yasso has completed races on all seven continents, completed the Badwater 146 through Death Valley, completed Ironman five times, and rode across the USA twice unsupported.

Yasso is fantastic writer as well, I highly recommend his book, My Life on the run.

Below Bart generously shares experiences from his first triathlon. He has gone on to race and win many more triathlons, but just like everyone else, you start with your first race.


What was your first race? Location, Name, Year, Distance

My first tri was the Emmaus Triathlon, Eastern Pennsylvania in 1984, 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. One of the first half marathon distance races in the country.

What motivated you to try your first Triathlon?

The triathlon craze was taking off and I wanted to be part of it.

What was your athletic background?

I was a runner for many years so I just needed to add a few swims per week and some weekend bike rides to my training.

What was your biggest concern when starting out? How did you overcome it?

My only concern was my right shoulder during the swim. My right shoulder pops out of joint on occasion. It would not be fun if it happened during the swim. I was careful in the swim I stayed away from the mass start.

Were there any difficult/funny moments in that first race?

No I had a great race I finished 4th, When I see photos I laugh because most of us did all 3 disciplines in a Speedo.

What bike did you use? 

1984 Team Fuji
1984 Team Fuji

Team Fuji

Were you hooked after that first race?

Yes I was hooked right away.

What piece of advice you wish you had when you were starting out?

We didn’t have energy bars or gels back in 1984. I remember wishing I had some food on the bike. I was pretty darn hungry on that 13.1 mile run.

What was your feeling as you crossed the finish line?

I remember thinking I can win some of these races if I take this seriously. I won a bunch triathlons/biathlons back in the 80s. Overall and loved every minute of the race.

I’ve Signed Up For My First Triathlon, Now What?

Race Start

You’re awesome. You took the plunge, plopped down your money, and signed up for that first triathlon. Now what? Don’t stress. Here a quick guide for next steps to get started on your triathlon journey.

Step One – Tell Your Family/Friends – This may seem obvious, but don’t forget to fill everyone in. You’ll need a support system to help you through training.  People are general supportive of others going after new goals. really keep your significant other in the loop. You may need to trade some training time for household chores.

Step Two – Inventory Your Equipment –Training and racing Triathlons definitely requires some equipment. Before you go and drop whole paycheck on a new tri kit, check and see what you can make work from what you already have.

Here’s a quick guide for first race essentials. First Race Essentials.

Step Three – Choose a Training Plan – A great training plan is the key to ensure you show up for the race ready. The plan should layout your workouts week by week leading up to the race. This is the most important step when you start your training.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a plan:

  • How many weeks? Most plans for a sprint race will be between 8-12 weeks long. Be sure there is enough time to complete the plan before your event.
  • How much time each week?  There are only so many hours in a week, be sure you have enough hours to fit in your training. Your plan could be as few a fours hours a week. Four Hour Post Here.
  • What are your current abilities? 
  • Is the plan doable? Start with a plan your feel comfortable completing. If you start a plan that is over your head, you may get frustrated, and quit.

 Beginnertriathlete.com has some great plans to get you started.

Step Four – Schedule your workouts Now that you chose your plan, it is time to schedule your workouts. Sit down with your calendar and fill in the times. This is an important step, as it takes choice out of the equation. I like to do this weekly, as I have a good idea of what my week will look like. Be sure to consider open pool times in your schedule.

Step Five – Find a training buddy – A training partner provides encouragement and accountability. You are less likely to hit that snooze button seven times when that alarm goes off at 5:30 am on Saturday, if you know you have to meet your training partner at 6:30 for your long run.

Congrats again on taking the plunge into Triathlon. Training will be easy some days, and extremely difficult on other days. There will be days that you dread going out for another run. On those days, lace up those shoes and just start the workout. Most of the time just starting will get you through that workout, and you will feel much better after.

Dive In! 7 tips for selecting your first TRIATHLON


Congrats! You’ve decided to dive in and and become a triathlete. Now it’s time to sign up for you first race. We want you to have a great experience at you first race. You have put in the commitment and training, and now its time to show your greatness.

Here’s some tips to help you decide which race is best for you:

1. Race Distance – Sprint distance triathlons are usually best for first time triathletes. Typical distances for a sprint triathlon are ~500M Swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run. The majority of people will finish this race around 90 minutes. Sprints are short enough to let it rip, if you are feeling great. If it’s not your day, you can cruise through the finish.

2. Race Location – Consider you logistics when choosing a race. Sometimes the effort to get to the race, can be as nerve racking as the event itself. Some things to consider here:

  • How far do I have to travel?  If you have a private helicopter, this is not an issue.
  • Do I need to stay in a hotel? If the race has an early start, and you have a significant commute to get there, staying close to the race start will decrease race morning anxiety greatly.
  • Is the race spectator friendly? Your friends and family have supported you through all of your training, and want to cheer you on during the race. Races that are held in parks or in downtown areas work well for families.

Tips to decrease race more anxiety.

3. Swim (open water vs. pool) –  If you are not yet comfortable swimming in open water, you may want to start with a pool swim. This is usually the largest concern for new triathletes, and justifiably so. In open water, most times you can’t see the bottom, there are many other swimmers around you, and swimming in a straight line isn’t easy.  A pool swim will be staggered, so you are not in a a big crowd, and there is a black line at the bottom to follow.

If you are considering entering your first open water triathlon, here are some tips:

Enter the Washing Machine – Tips for your first open water swim

4. Bike/Run Course – Check the course info page for the race, and pay attention to the course profile. A short event can be made very difficult by elevation. Be sure you are comfortable with the climbs and descents, if the course is hilly. Bike handling skills take time to develop. If you are still working on your handling skills, save those technical sections, and screaming descents for later.

Run courses can vary in their terrain.  Courses can be on pavement, trails, sand, the surface of the moon, you never know. Most of the time this is not a deal breaker on the decision to sign up for a race, but be prepared. I once didn’t check out a course in advance and it had 8 large sets of  steps on it. I was not prepared, and that course crushed me.

5. Local Weather – I know we can’t control the weather, and it is unpredictable. This is one area where you can play to your strengths. If you can run all day like a camel in the heat, then sign up for a summer race. If you melt like a snowman above 80 Deg, then pick a fall race.

6. Race Organization –  The quality of the race promoter will have a huge impact on the overall event. Race promoters vary in there experience and commitment to quality. Be sure to check into the race promoter before signing up for an event. Ask other athletes about the promoter’s events, they will be happy to share their experience, good or bad.

7. Post Race Party – This may sound like a silly thing to consider, but some races have great post race parties. If you are racing with friends,  you want to celebrate after the race. A beer never tastes so good, as after a hard race.  There are a few races I do every year, just because the party is so much fun.

What are you waiting for? Get on www.active.com and get signed up.

If you know of a great beginner friendly race, please leave the info in the comments.