iTryathlon Race Recap

When we last spoke I was freaking out about the fact that I was going to have to bike around other people when it’s really hard for me to turn. (Heck, it’s hard for me to go straight!)

shit just got real

Luckily this morning I remembered that I needed to raise my bike seat, so Ben helped me out. It’s still too low but I was scared to raise it a lot. IMG_6353 (800x533)

The race was in Irvine – just the city next to where I live so we got these in 15 minutes. I got to the transition and Pam showed me how to prop up my bike.

triathlon set up

Since this was a sprint tri for women, I thought it would feel more “beginner”. Nope, shit just got real when I set up my bike and saw all the transition signs.

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run in

I mount my bike like I need training wheels so I was extra nervous about this part.

mount your bike

Ankle timing band and everything!

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They even wrote my number on my arm. Buuut, Ben rubbed it off when he was hugging me. rub it out

Finally it was time to line up!

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The 5k run went well. I kind of wish it wasn’t a reverse tri because I spent the run worrying if I was going too fast and tiring out my legs for the bike. The course is hilly, so I didn’t want to kill my legs and walk my bike up the hills!

Before I knew it the run was over and I was clumsily mounting my bike. The bike course was two 4.5 mile laps. The first 2 miles feel like a gradual incline the entire time. It takes a long time to get some downhill action.

bike view

This is embarrassing but, I can’t ride my bike standing up so when it got tough I just watched longingly at the others doing that around me.

9 miles later I was back in the transition area and headed to the pool.

The last part was a 200m swim in a pool. I ran to the pool with my shoes and kicked them off right before I jumped in since it was about 200m away from the transition area.

pool triathlon

On the second lap I started to freak out and swam for a bit with my head out of water (a crazy dog paddle on some level). Then, I realized I still had a long way to go and just slowed down and tried to get it together.

DONE! It took over an hour, maybe an hour and a half, I don’t have my time yet.

finish line

Thoughts on the race: This was the FIRST iTrythlon and I was very impressed with the race organization. The course was well marked, there were a good number of volunteers and everything seemed to flow smoothly.

I loved that it was a small race and that it is marketed to a new triathlete. These two things are was made me feel comfortable enough to go for it.

done and done

Thoughts on how I did:

Run – Good. It was hilly and I still maintained a good pace. I have never ran a 5k full out before so I’m not sure what pace I should have been aiming for. I did 7:59, 8:22, 7:59 I think??

Bike – I didn’t fall on the turns, so that is a plus.

I need to work on riding more so I am more confident maneuvering around things and people. I need to learn how to stand and change gears.

bike crop

Swim – I totally rushed it and didn’t just swim well. I told myself I was going to just go out and focus on form and breathing, but I freaked.

I need to work on my swimming form and breathing.pool swim

This part of the triathlon made me realize how important it is to RUN DO YOUR OWN RACE. We are all different and have different strengths and abilities.

I cannot keep up with a strong biker or swimmer. Heck, a little girl totally smoked me on the swim! I should not and could not have safely kept up with her. In the water it’s more than tiring your legs – you can drown if you don’t do your own thing.

Same thing on the run – run your own race.

Overall: I had a great experience. When I finished I was so proud of myself just because I was so scared to do this. On the second loop of the bike I thought, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. This is going to count for a month’s worth of scary stuff!” (I was thinking about the phrase: Do one thing that scares you a day.)

I do think I want to keep swimming and biking to get better. I would like to do another triathlon in the future and now I have a very clear picture of my current abilities. Just because I can run 13 miles DOES NOT mean I can also swim and bike. Cardio wise I’m fit, but I am a very beginner at these other things.

After the race we went to brunch. Ben was my cheering section and he was hungry! We went to Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills thanks to some quick Yelping (it’s a verb).

break of dawn

Luckily they have outdoor seating because we still had my bike and it doesn’t lock on the rack.

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For being called “Break of Dawn” I thought the breakfast options were very limited Sad smile They had one omelet on the menu and it was a chorizo one. I ended up getting the veggie casserole.

breaking dawn menu

Ben ordered a Vietnamese coffee. Super sweet, super good.

vietnamese coffee

And the skillet. Usually I make the better order, but today it was all him.

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The veggie casserole was good, but did not feel like a breakfast dish. I wanted a big ol’ egg scramble and this left me unsatisfied.

breaking dawn restaurant

But, this is a gorgeous meal so there’s that.

veggie pot for breakfast

I have to give a big thank you to Renegade Racing for inviting me to complete the iTryathlon and Coach Pam for helping me figure out this new adventure.

iTry tshirt

Renegade Racing

Coach Pam’s OC Triathlon Coach


  1. Angie says

    Congrats! It takes a lot to try something new. I’d love to try a tri someday but the biking and swimming scare me too.

  2. says

    Great work! I keep thinking maybe I should give a triathlon a try, so it’s nice to hear the experience of a newbie. Although, it’s the run that scares me. The swim is no problem for me, the bike is OK, but the run… It’s something to work on for sure.

  3. says


    I have my eye on a tri but have virtually no cycling or swimming experience. Once I work up to my first one, I imagine my race will be similar to what you described today. It’s really inspiring to hear from someone doing triathlons with limited experience in some of the sports. Brava!

  4. says

    Congratulations! I admire you for having the guts to do it; the transitions alone are enough to deter me from ever doing a tri!

  5. says

    Congrats on the Tri! It is so impressive to me that you did something that scared you the way it did. But you went out there and totally rocked it.

  6. says

    Congrats Monica!!! Oh and I totally love your top (cuz I have the EXACT same one, I think I got it from target quite a while ago….). Someday I’d like to do a triathalon (since I do love to swim and bike on top of running) so its good to know the one in Irvine is for beginners (might do that one as my first).

    Again, good job on completing your tri!

  7. says

    It was good “meeting” you this morning! Sounds like you had a good race. I bolted and ran straight from finishing my race to meeting up with my mom to finish her bike & swim (meaning I did 1.3 iTry’s this morning – yeesh!). And yes, those hills were brutal! Even if you could stand on your bike it was pretty rough….

    • says

      Good to meet you too!!! How’d you do? You were a total rockstar speeding by!
      Kinda glad you thought the course was hilly too, I wasn’t sure if I was just a baby…

      • says

        That wasn’t a little hilly. It was a 1+ mile hill. For a first-time triathlon it was steep! I did okay. I was frustrated after coming in on the 5k in 4th or 5th place and then getting passed by a few people on the bike. But c’est la vie. Running’s my thing – not biking :)

  8. says

    Oh my goodness. This just made me so excited! I’m injured from running, so am swimming (i.e. flailing around in the pool) and have just started thinking seriously about completing a sprint tri. Just like you, I can run, but the other two sports are new to me.

    You did it! It’s so exciting!

    I now believe that I can do it too!!!!

  9. says

    Congrats on your Tri! I kind of like the idea of a reverse tri, since the swim is the scary part for me. I hear ya on the form and breathing – I actually have OK form, but forget to, um, breathe. It’s so much easier to pace myself on dry land!

  10. says

    “Do one thing that scares you a day” …a day? LOL. but in general I think its great thing to face. Congrats Monica. If I ever get good enough, I will need to try something like this. Awesome job on your iTryathlon!

    is it hard to do the swimming last? swimming can really tire you out. I think it would be hard to do last.

  11. says

    way to go on stepping outside of your comfort zone, monica!!
    i think i’d rather get the swim done first then have the run to look forward to!! again – congrats on your accomplishment!

  12. says

    Hey Monica! I usually just read your blogs in silence, but I had to comment because I literally just screamed, “MOM, SOMEONE ELSE CAN’T CHANGE GEARS!” I’m at the same exact point as you on the bike (no gear change, no standing), so you just inspired me to try doing a tri. Congratulations on finishing your’s!

  13. says

    Congrats! Awesome job! It’s so hard to do something that scares you or something your not used to doing – what an accomplishment!

    My grandpa did his first triathlon at age 75 and he did a million times better than I ever could!

  14. says

    Everyday you ride the less scary it gets, so stick with it. Get your bike fit to you and you’ll be more comfortable and faster.
    You did a great job, way to tackle it!

  15. Tiffany says

    I am so impressed! Way to go girl! I love that you always strive to find the positive aspects of every situation–even the casserole hehee. You are so inspiring. I am looking forward to your next triathlon recap already. :)

  16. says

    Great work!! The whole story (prep and race day) were very inspiring! Facing your fears and Conquering something new is what life is all about!

  17. says

    Congratulations on your first tri! I’m hoping to get a bike next summer so I can attempt a sprint tri, but I freak myself out thinking about doing an open water swim and thinking about a bike break down. You’ve definitely inspired me to try something new!

  18. LiseyB says

    High fives all around! So happy for you!
    I completely agree with you about doing things that scare you…I’ve climbed the CN Tower on three separate occasions now, always trying to improve my time from the year before. Since I am terrified of heights and freak out in small spaces…doing this is a double wammy for me!
    My heart is in my mouth the entire time…but so worth it when it is over!

  19. says

    Congratulations! I feel so inspired after reading this post. I think it’s so awesome that, even though you didn’t feel totally comfortable in each area, you still signed up for a tri and completed the whole thing!

    I’ve always wanted to do a tri someday, but I’d probably be nervous about not being able to keep up. I also had no ideas that they have tris geared towards beginners, that’s really neat and something I’ll look out for.

    I’m just so impressed with your self-confidence and motivation! Thanks so much for writing this post :)

  20. says

    Congrats!! You did great. I know how intimidating your first triathlon is but you didn’t give up and made it through! You should be proud of yourself. And I’m sure that the more you bike and swim, the more comfortable you’ll get doing it and you won’t think anything more of a tri than a running race.

  21. Karoline says

    way to go:)
    ps..that vietnamese coffe: I had it too in Cambodia last summer (also called Khmer iced coffee) It’s so easy to make at home..if you dont already know: it’s just iced coffee and sweetened condensed milk that you can buy from any grocery store.. sooo goood :o)

  22. Sharly says

    BIG Congrats to you!! So proud of your accomplisment. Sounds like our biking abilities are similar!! I need to get on mine and ride, so I won’t be scared of traffic and I can learn to change gears.

    Good job on your first Tri!!!

  23. says

    Nice job! I’m always impressed by triathlons, no matter how big or small the event itself is. I can run, but swimming would be a lost cause. And biking? I am living proof that it is in fact possible to forget how to ride a bike (quite the embarrassing story). So thumbs up!

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