I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that something will always go wrong in a multi-sport event. I roll my eyes every time. I consider myself a very good planner. And executing under pressure, no problem! Nothing will ever go wrong.
After finishing my first duathlon and outdoor triathlon, I can now confirm that something will always go wrong. And in the case of my duathlon, multiple things can go wrong. You just learn to pivot and adjust plans accordingly… And laugh at all your mistakes.
My duathlon started off on a sour note right from the moment I woke up. As I was laying in bed the morning of the race, I noticed how bright it was outside. Unusually bright for 5 AM-ish. I looked at my phone and realized that my alarm was going off. It had been going off for an hour, and I never heard it through the noisiness of my stand fan, which had been used to drown out the obnoxious noise of teenagers partying next door the night before. And then a second later I got a call from my friend Kaitlin. Turns out she was outside my house ready to pick me up. She refused to leave without me, so I tried to get ready as fast as possible. I dragged my bike outside with my bed head, so she could attach it to her bike rack. Then I let Fredy outside, got changed and grabbed some cold cereal and my coffee for on-the-go. I was out the door in 5 minutes.
Second mistake of the day: making a very poor choice on pre-race nutrition. I’d like to say that I was powered by Ninja Turtles (cold cereal) that day. It was such a pathetic, icky breakfast that I had to choke down. But those Ninja Turtles sure looked cute!
More crazy ensued once we arrived in the parking lot. First, we tried pumping up our bike tires, but the pump was deflating our tires vs. inflating them. And then a glass bottle fell and shattered in the parking lot. We gave up on inflating our tires ourselves, and instead had Gear West pump them up.
No other unexpected craziness happened before the race. Except the fact that the Ninja Turtles failed me miserably, and I walked up to the start line starving. Everything went relatively well during the race, or as well as a competitive multisport event should go.
Even going into my first outdoor triathlon, I wondered just how many things could go wrong after my crazy-filled duathlon. I even had dinosaur candy imported from Germany for my candy race countdown platter. I was well-prepared.
The first unexpected event took place during the swim. It was a time trial start, so one participant started every 3 seconds. I was #59 in the water, so basically it ended up being like a mass start. I barely made it 10 seconds into the water before I was boxed in from all sides. Real bad. My parents and Kate who had come to cheer had even noticed the predicament I was in. I ended up stopping, standing up, assessing the best escape route and then darting out as fast as humanely possible before the gap was blocked.
The rest of the swim and the bike was uneventful. However, my second mistake of the day was when I realized that I had forgotten to put socks in my running shoes. I had packed them; they were just in my bag a foot away from my transition towel. I cursed loudly when I noticed my mistake, but decided to go sockless during my run. It ended up being a wise decision and saving me some time.
I’d say the race director made a mistake when it came down to the quality of the “raffle” post-race. Most of the prizes were given only if you would stand up and scream “I AM A TRIATHLETE.” There was absolutely no way I would ever do that. Even at gunpoint, well… okay maybe I would then.
So to sum up, mistakes do happen during racing. It’s inevitable. Despite the mistakes, it was so much fun to be with friends and family in a nice supportive environment.
My next outdoor triathlon is next weekend. I wonder what unexpected event(s) will happen this time around… What sorts of epic mistakes have you made during races, or what have you witnessed?