This blog stuff is brand new to me. Triathlon once was, too. For some reason, writing this seems much more daunting than the first race I ever did. I didn’t know anyone who did triathlons and I didn’t have a reason to do one, other than it sounded fun. I liked to run and swim and I owned a bike. I registered for the event that would take place the day after my 32nd birthday. Instead of going out with friends that Saturday night to celebrate, I figured I should get some sleep.
I didn’t have any fancy gear. I didn’t even know I had to put air in my tires or how to shift the gears on my bike. I wore my bathing suit and a threw on a pair of bike shorts and a tank top after the swim. I rode in my running shoes and blasted my iPod on the run. It was exhilarating!!! And I was hooked. I didn’t break any records and I had a lot to learn about the sport.
Over the last seven years, I’ve grown as a triathlete. More importantly, I’ve grown as a person. My blog is about what I think is important on race day and certainly any other day, as well. We are all going to be proudly sporting our sun protective Tri Sirena kits. Let’s show the triathlon world how Siren Luminaries tackle race day. Triathlon is more than swim, bike, run. It’s also about discipline, mental tenacity, and camaraderie.
Race day is the final exam for which you’ve been studying. It’s a time to take all your hard work and trust your training. Your level of fitness is where it will be for the day. You cannot change that race morning. The weather may not be what you prefer and your sleep may have been less than ideal. The one aspect you can control is your attitude!
Remember you don’t have to do this, you get to do this. Your body and mind are strong. Any adversity you may face can be handled with a positive attitude. When you’re nailing your transition, smile. When you’re struggling on the run, smile. It’ll make it so much easier because you’ll be using fewer muscles to smile than you would to scowl. Let’s face it, you’re using enough energy already. And don’t forget those race photographers pop up where you least expect them. If you’re already smiling, you’re one step closer to a great race photo! Just throw in a shaka, a peace sign, or a thumbs up and you could be the next Triathlete magazine centerfold!
You are part of an amazing triathlon team, who love the same sport as you. The race will be filled with lots of others who feel the same as you or who are growing their relationship with the sport. If we nurture one another, triathlon will become an even stronger community. Offer words of encouragement or a reassuring smile. You never know who might need it. Small talk in the bathroom line always calms my nerves. And if you feel like you don’t have anything to give, look around and you’ll surely see someone you can draw some love from. We have our team, others may not have anyone. They may be future Luminaries, so let’s shine our siren love on them.
Extra hair ties, extra goggles, extra toilet paper. You may not be the one who needs it, but someone will. Body lube, sunscreen, a permanent marker. Be willing to share it. I like to bring my own bike tire pump because I am comfortable with it and I don’t like to wait. Use it and then offer it up to others around you. You may just put another racer's mind at ease. If they’re not sure how to add air to their tires, help them. I didn’t know in my first race and I’m thankful for the person that offered to air them up for me. I probably would have been riding at 50 PSI otherwise.
Thank everyone. Volunteers, law enforcement, race staff, photographers…they are all spending their time to make our event possible. The hotel staff, Air BnB hosts, and restaurant workers are also instrumental in our race experience. Remember to thank them for what was likely a chaotic experience with a bunch of excited triathletes. Last, but not least, your family and friends, if they have been involved with your journey. Triathlon can take up a lot of our time, but it’s important to realize it uses others time, as well.
Focus on your race. It seems simple enough, but it’s easy to lose sight of. Remember why you are out there. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Share your experience. Write a blog about it. ;) Over the past seven years, I’ve learned so much about triathlon. I started out in sprints and have found my love of the half iron distance. I’m not much better on the bike than I was back then, but I know more about it mechanically than I did. So, that’s something to be thankful for.
My goal for every race is the same…HAVE FUN! Of course, the entire race is not always fun, but I use the tricks above to make it the best it can be. Happy racing!
by Colleen Nihiser, Siren Luminary
Follow Colleen on Instagram! @pono_wahine