Here's the thing about doing anything for the first time: you learn a lot.
First First: On Sunday, October 13th (also my mom's birthday), I completed my first Olympic-distance triathlon at the Rev3Tri Anderson, South Carolina. Rev3 puts on a well-organized triathlon. Everyone that works with them is informed and nice, and with the help of my dad (an incredible triathlete), Anthony Beeson, my local friends, and some women I met at the swim start, I was completely confident.
My goals for the triathlon were completely do-able: around 3 hours, pass one person on the bike (I've never raced on a tri-bike before, only on a mountain bike), and run the whole 10k. And that's exactly what I did.
Second First: On Sunday, October 21, I ran my first half marathon--the Healdsburg Half Marathon in California--with my dad, his girlfriend, and a bunch of his friends. Again, it was a well organized race, running past vineyards was beautiful, and five of us stayed together, talking and taking pictures, through the whole race. I turned my watch off and let my dad pace me, and besides a mile of crabbiness, it was a successful race.
My goals for the half marathon were easy, too: finish in under 2 hours and 30 minutes and be smiling at the end. And that's what I did: 2 hours and 15 minutes (ish).
The Three Most Important Things I Learned (Some Profound, Some Not):
- Be confident. I can go a lot faster than I think I can; I negative-split my swim and bike during the Rev3.
- Make friends, smile, and say something grateful or encouraging to everyone you can: other athletes, volunteers, kids at water stops, traffic officers, everyone. Positive energy creates positive energy so if you're being positive and enthusiastic to others that blerch will just shut up (see theoatmeal.com for more information on the blerch: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running).
- Everything chaffs, even braids.
***Also, my family has a "finger-giving" tradition. It's a thing we do. For us, it's like saying, "Screw you for making me work this hard to achieve something I love. And thanks."