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3 Things I Learned from My First 70.3

When I signed up for my first IRONMAN 70.3 this spring, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I knew that I would come across things I had not expected, but I hoped that it would be an easy weather day and I could make it through.

IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast was not easy by any means and in the process of almost seven hours, I learned more than I thought I would.

1. I need something for motion sickness when the water is rough.
The Friday before the race and even a few hours into the day, the water in Panama City Beach was calm and picturesque. The morning of the race, however, there were three-foot swells and a cross current that caused me to swim diagonally on my way back in. I had not expected this, and I was not as prepared as I could have been. I often get motion sick and having some motion sickness medication on hand before I got in the water would have helped calm my stomach during the choppy swim.

2. I need to put sunscreen on places that may eventually be exposed. 
This was a rookie mistake on my part. I made sure to lather on my sunscreen before I got in the water and I had some in transition. What I didn’t do was put sunscreen low enough on my neck. As the day became hotter and my head went down from being tired, more of my neck became exposed and it received some unwanted sun exposure. In the future, I know it is important to cover my arms, legs, and neck under the kit where my skin may eventually be exposed.

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3. In preparation for the heat on the run, I need to take more salt in on the bike.
During my race, I was not expecting to be exhausted coming out of the swim, or to come up against some major headwind on the bike that hit me hard. I had practiced for the best of the best conditions and I thought I had a good handle on my nutrition plan. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Going forward, I will make sure that I have more salt for the bike and run. I’m grateful for the potato chips provided by IRONMAN, but this is something I can work on going forward.

My first 70.3 was not as smooth as I had hoped it would be, but I took away a lot from it that I can use going forward. The entire experience of this race and those I got to experience it with are unforgettable. I hope that by sharing these few mistakes that I can help make someone else’s triathlon experience a little easier and more manageable. From a sprint triathlon to a full IRONMAN, make sure you are covered up and preparing for the worst!

Written By: Hilary Schafer, Tri Sirena Siren Luminary 
Follow Hilary on Instagram @hilaryelisabeth

What lessons did you learn from your first triathlon? Share your experience in the comments below!

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