Do you have the bug yet? Just in case, I'll try to make it a little more approachable... Quite often I hear, "I can't run/bike/swim fast." Obviously they haven't seen me crawling along in the slow lane of the pool ;) I'm not out there to finish in the top 10, so I think of it as an "event" rather than a race. I'll do the best that I can, but I'm doing this for myself, to have fun, and not to race against the top women in my age group. All you have to do is cross the finish line--it doesn't matter if you do breast/side/back stroke during the swim, ride leasurely on a granny bike, and walk during the "run." Sign up with some friends that you can train with, and you'll have a blast. And if that's not enough of a reason, pick one event you like, find some friends that like the other events, and participate as a team! So really, why not tri?? :)
I didn't get too many questions, but I wanted to put together some general thoughts, in part to remind myself of everything as I pull things together for my tri tomorrow morning :) Feel free to ask more if you think of anything!
One of the first questions I had was, what do I wear? There was no way a bathing suit was going to give me any support on the run, if ya know what I mean ;) And wearing bike shorts on the swim--can we get any heavier in the bum? There are a few options here, the most cost-effective being to wear a sports bra under your swimsuit, and then pulling on shorts for the bike/run. You probably already have the "equipment" for this! There are also tri shorts (with less padding that dries quick) and tri suits that are specific for the sport. These can be expensive, but there are some discount sites online that offer last years' colors/models for less. If you're looking for a tri-specific top for the well-endowed, I'd recommend the Zoot Ultra Bra top--it's the only one I've found to give any support.
This is definitely the toughest part for me, as I'm not that strong of a swimmer. Try to practice in open water if you can, so you can be prepared. If you panic (like I did the first time), tread water for a few seconds while your wave starts, collect yourself, and then swim. I tend to stay to the back and right of the group, to avoid flying hands and legs. If you're in for a fight, by all means go play in the center :) While training, I'd practice sighting (click here for a good description), and in the race- do this early and often to make sure you don't make the course longer for yourself! And if you hit a beer bottle during the swim, push it out of the way and just keep swimming ;) (This will probably only happen if you do a tri in Philly, and yes, it really happened!)
What to bring? goggles, earplugs, swim cap (will be provided for the race), towel, extra water bottle (fill this up at the race site and use to wash off feet before putting on socks/shoes). A small bottle of antifog can also be helpful for your goggles.
Tips: Swim as long as you can, don't try to run through the water as you get close to shore. Another thing I've heard is to change to breast stroke for the last few strokes of the swim, I think it's to get your ankles/legs ready to run.
Try to check out the course ahead of time. Unfortunately I haven't been to the course I'm doing tomorrow, but I am going to drive through today. Due to the way I need to fuel my tummy, I need a little fuel during the event, and take it early in the bike to allow enough digestion time. I use a Bento Box to store some tissues and orange Clif shot blocks. If you're wearing a cycling jersey you can always store things in the pockets, I just find it easier to grab something in front of me.
What to bring? helmet, sunglasses, bike gloves, water bottles, fuel, socks, shoes, other apparel (singlet over bra top or shorts over bathing suit).
Tips: I put everything I don't want to forget in my helmet. They won't let you onto the course w/o a helmet, so my shades and gloves go into the helmet. I wouldn't mind forgetting the gloves, but I'd rather not be blinded by bugs :) Another tip to make the bike-run transition a bit easier is to increase your cadence at the end of the bike, that is, lower your gear to make it easier and quicken your pedal stroke.
Not too much to mention here, just don't forget your number! Most races require you to wear it on the front of you. This can be done using a race belt (often available at expos) or pinning it on to your shirt ahead of time with some safety pins. You might also have a hat or sunglasses if you use those as well.
Other things you might have in your bag: sunscreen (apply AFTER you get marked), body glide (for areas that might rub or be more sensitive), chapstick, spare hair ties, extra socks, safety pins, towel, (dry) clothes for after the race, and 2 garbage bags. Why the garbage bags? Use one to set up your transition area--it'll keep things dry and all in one spot (easier to see things if it's white). Keep the other one in your bag just in case the weather's unfortunate... you can lay this on top.
Well, I gotta get going, but I'll try to take some pictures of how things get set up so that I can share those, along with some more helpful links to get you started next week. In the mean time, get outside and have some fun :) After another week filled with rain, the sun's out today, and I'm hoping it holds out through tomorrow morning! See you back here for Melon Mondays ;)