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Houston Olympic Triathlon Recap

September 30, 2011

Well I did it! I finally completed my first olympic distance triathlon! and a good sign it was a good race? I’m itching to do another one.


I have to admit that for some reason I’ve always been pretty scared of doing an olympic distance triathlon. Up to this point I’d done 3 sprints, but something about swimming 1500 meters, biking 25 miles when you’re not the fastest cyclist, and then running 6.2 miles after that was terrifying to me.

I’ve tended to never allow myself to sign up for a race unless I thought I was 100% prepared for it. I’ve never been one to want to find out come race day if I was able to complete the distance or not. This means I really over prepare for every distance event. I decided on a whim one night I was feeling gutsy and womaned-up and registered. I had 5 weeks to let my self prepare. I ran, cycled, and spinned (spun?) my butt off the last five weeks. And I threw in some swimming for good measure.

I got to the race site with just enough time to set up transition area. Thankfully, they had the option to drop your bike off in transition the day before so Barbie was already there waiting for me.


After transition I had over an hour and a half to burn before it was my wave’s turn. I was almost in the very last wave which I was kind of nervous about because that meant I’d be starting the bike and run portion pretty late when the temperature was starting to warm up. Luckily I had my dad there with me before the swim start and I was just talking to him keeping my nerves down.

Finally it was my waves turn to go and I was surprisingly calm and ready to start. My wave was called out to the water (it was a tread start). We had two laps of 750 to swim. When the horn went off everyone darted off in the mass chaos that is always the swim. I told myself just to stay calm and pretend I was just swimming in the pool. I got kicked a few times and I found out later this turned off my watch so for the rest of the race I had no sense as to how long I was taking. The swim went surprisingly well except for the fact that I can’t swim a straight line to save my life. I kept veering off to the left of the buoys. It was nice because I was out of the line of the majority of the swimmers, but I ended up swimming a lot more than 15oom when sticking to the outside. I finished 2 minutes faster than the goal I had in mind in about 35 minutes.



The transition from the swim to the bike was a lot farther than I thought it would be. It was about a quarter mile back to the transition area and my bike rack was in the very back  of the transition area as I was the last wave. I jogged an easy jog back to the transition and my legs were more tired than I expected from the swim. I don’t usually experience that swimming in the pool. I found my bike, wiped my feet off, put on my socks and cycling shoes, my helmet, sunglasses, and my spi belt which had my power gels and a spare tube for my bike inside. And then I was off!


The bike course was 2-loops of 12.5 miles through neighborhood roads. It was a pretty flat course with all right turns and one u-turn. The first loop went really well and I was making killer time according to my Garmin. I’d kept my pace between 16-21mph the whole time. Unfortunately, sometime on the first lap as I was trying to put my water bottle back into the holder I completely dropped it on the ground. I had only had one sip of water (the sip before I dropped it) for the whole race and I wouldn’t have any until I got to the water stations on the run course. The second loop of the course was challenging! The wind started to pick up heavily and the headwinds were difficult. At one point, I couldn’t hold on to my aerobars because the wind coming from the side felt like it was going to blow me over. I really pushed myself on the bike because that’s the portion of triathlon I feel I need to most work on. I kept my pace up and ended up finishing the bike portion nearly 5 minutes faster than I’d anticipated in 1:25.

1368 Bike

When I got off the bike for transition 2 my legs were jelly. I did not expect them to feel so heavy. Triathlon is all about finding a balance between the 3 sports and saving enough energy to finish the race strong while still performing well in each event. I got my bike on the rack and I was really concerned about finding water. I switched my shoes out and headed out for the run.

1368 Bike

Thankfully there was water right off the bat out of transition. I was so thirsty and feeling dehydrated that I grabbed two waters. As soon as I started running I felt as slow as molasses. It was HOT out at this point, like 96-degrees hot, and there was not an ounce of shade on the course. I told myself I wanted to run the whole thing, but just to pace myself. I tried to just tune anything out of my mind and watch the miles tick by. I played it pretty safe on the run just taking an easy pace and waiting for that finish line to come. The run course was pretty. It was around a part of the lake we had swam in, and around a neighborhood sidewalk, we even had to run across a football field and up the ramps in the stadium (that was kind of mean at mile 5). At every water station I grabbed two waters- I drank the first one, and half of the second one, and then dumped the rest on my head. My main focus was staying hydrated and making it to the end. Finally we started to inch closer to the finish and people were lined up to cheer us on. I saw hubby right at the finish and they called my name over the loud speaker as I crossed the line!


I ended up finishing in 3:15, a little slower than the goal I’d set for myself , but I was happy with how it turned out and especially happy I had a good swim and my bike pace had improved a lot. It was an overall great experience and I can’t wait to do another one!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2011 7:30 AM

    Congratulations Britt! Sounds like a hot day- I would have absolutely wilted without water for that long. Way to push through 🙂

    Did it feel awesome to hear your name as you crossed the finish line?

  2. September 30, 2011 7:56 AM

    Congrats! You got so many good pictures. Sounds like you had a great race, despite getting the heat and wind. What race was this?

  3. September 30, 2011 9:05 AM

    Congratulations!!! Sounds like you did awesome and those are some GREAT pictures! I guess since you loved it so much you’re just gonna have to sign up for a half ironman! 🙂

  4. September 30, 2011 9:19 AM

    Wow that’s really amazing Brittaney! Sounds really hard. I’m very proud of your for hanging in there! You are an inspiration! Love you, Mom

  5. September 30, 2011 9:24 AM

    It sounds like you had an awesome experience! I want to do a tri one day but I have a mountain bike not a road bike and don’t know anything about them haha…One day! I hope that we end up at the same race one day again too :)! Are you doing the thanksgiving turkey trot 10k?!

  6. September 30, 2011 1:36 PM

    Congrats! I can’t imagine doing that in the Houston heat. I really do want to do a tri. Its the run at the end that scares me. PS I love your hair in french braids.

  7. September 30, 2011 1:58 PM

    Congrats!!! I keep reading about people doing tri’s and it ALMOST makes me want to do one… Of course that means I’d have to learn how to swim and buy a bike.

  8. September 30, 2011 5:32 PM

    Congratulations! I’m super amazed! Its my goal to do one in the next year or so. Probably alittle longer; I have other goals too! I just want to do it all right now!

  9. October 1, 2011 2:36 PM

    Congratulations girl! You did great and you look so happy!!! Sorry your Garmin got shut off. I know it’s always nice to have the data!
    I have to know, is that a Nike tri top or a regular jog bra? It’s too cute!!

    • October 1, 2011 9:12 PM

      It’s just a regular sports bra. I found it at the outlet a year or so ago. It was perfect for the tri and matched my tri shorts nicely.

  10. October 2, 2011 11:12 PM

    Congrats on your race! Looks like you had a fantastic time doing it and stayed positive the whole time. I thought about getting into triathlons but it seems like a lot of upfront costs for the bike stuff, and I’m not a very strong swimmer anymore. Oh well! Great job.


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