Trisport Canada Milton Try-A-Tri Race Recap: Part 1

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on June 6, 2010


First, the good news: We are ALIVE.

Second, thank you for your encouraging comments and tweets yesterday and today!

Third…the recappart 1…because you know I am too chatty for just 1 part! :whistle:

Let’s just say I had a wee bit too much caffeine this morning! I turned into a crazy ninja before Eric’s eyes.

IMG_8746 IMG_8740  

5 hours sleep + Adrenaline + a couple cups of green tea = Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery.


I may have let out a few rawrs and growls. Two necessary acts when you are scared. I’ve heard the open water can smell your fear!

The weather was probably the worst it could have been! Hard rain, cold, and wind.


The parking lot was really far from the start area, so we had a long walk to our transition and got fully soaked in the process. Go big or go home, right? :lol:

Finally we made it to our transition area!


My arms were already sore and tired from hauling the heavy garbage bag of gear and the bike.


Soggy clothes!



Thankfully we put our bags (with our gear) in black garbage bags to keep all the rain out. It worked perfectly!

After racking our bikes, we headed to get our time chip and number mark-ups. We waited in the pouring rain and got colder and colder!


On the left arm goes your race number and on the left leg goes your age!

Peeling off the wet clothes to put on my wetsuit was the second worst part of the day. I was absolutely freezing. At this point Eric and I were both shaking from the cold.

The rain also made the wetsuits hard to put on! 


POP QUIZ: Do you notice anything wrong with my wetsuit in this picture?


If you guessed that I put my wetsuit on BACKWARDS…you win!

I had the sleeves on and everything and I went to reach for the zip cord in the back and I realized I put it on the wrong way. Eric and I laughed so hard. I guess my practicing yesterday didn’t do me any good after all.

After an embarrassingly long time, I was suited up! It’s a good thing we got there over 1 hour early.

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The wetsuit was so nice to have. As soon as we put it on we felt much warmer.

Then we bumped into our friend Brenna!

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She deserves a medal for being a spectator in this weather. All of the spectators do!

Then it was time to head down to the lake of doom

The Warm-Up

As planned, we got into the water for a warm up swim! To our surprise, the water felt SO WARM compared to the wet & cool air. It was actually warmer to be IN the water than out of it. This was the opposite of yesterday, when the air was much warmer than the water felt.

We warmed up for about 10 minutes, with many other try-a-tri participants doing the same thing. During the warm-up, we felt very confident…even more so than yesterday. I thought we had this swim in the bag!

Below is a picture of the try-a-tri swim course which is 375 metres. The yellow line that I drew depicts our loop around 4 orange buoys (the two on the left I had to draw in because this picture was taken after all of the races were finished). I will get to the red X in a minute…


As I mentioned, we were in WAVE #1 which was male and females between the ages of 20-29. I have no idea how many there were in our wave…maybe 100 or so?

The Race Begins

Off went the horn and Eric and I were in the middle of the pack. We were instantly swept into the group of swimmers. I was kicked a couple times as was Eric and later Eric told me that someone actually held onto his leg at one point! It was utter madness. We swam, and we swam fast, mostly keeping our head up to see the people (aka FEET!) in front of us. I felt like I was swimming quite strong despite all of this.

Then, suddenly, the Red X hit.

The Red X hit at around 75 metres into the swim.

I started to panic.

I looked at the distance ahead of me and I started to hyperventilate- I started breathing very fast, much faster than necessary. I was breathing so hard it felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. Swimmers were passing me left and right and I was falling to the back of the pack quickly.

My eyes darted around to Eric, who was a bit ahead of me, and he started to struggle too. I said to myself, “I don’t think I can do this, I need to stop….I need to get out of this water asap.” I couldn’t believe that the swim was going so horribly wrong after just 100 metres.

We gave each other a pep talk and tried to calm down and stay positive. We went on our backs to float for a bit and all I could hear were my sharp gasps for air. Other swimmers around us struggled and many of them floated on their backs too. Eric and I decided to take as long as we needed, but we both agreed that we didn’t want to quit or to hold onto a canoe unless absolutely necessary. We were determined to carry on and we proceeded to make our way around the first buoy in slightly better spirits.


We kept telling each other, ‘You are doing good’ and ‘almost half way!! yawhoo’ and we mostly stayed within about 5 metres from each other, with Eric often ahead of me. I used any stroke I could, alternating between freestyle, breaststroke, doggie paddle, backstroke, and just floating on my back. My legs felt so weak and I could barely kick to support myself in the water. I think this is partly why I got so tired- my legs just weren’t doing their part!

I would not give up, but man oh man, I was going SO much slower than I thought I would.

Around the second buoy, some male swimmers from WAVE #2 (30-somethings) flew by us! Each of the 3 waves were 3 minutes apart and the men flying by us looked so strong. This started to freak Eric and I out a bit more because not only were we in the back of our pack, but the second wave was hot on our trail. We kept on and did our best…and we gave each other lots of pep talks along the way.

After the 4th buoy, the end was in sight, but the shore seemed so far away. I felt like I was slowing down with each minute. With around 50 metres to go, Eric got a second wind and began rocking his freestyle stroke at a pretty good pace. Go Eric!

I, on the other hand, could barely do the breaststroke…but I kept on. I would NOT quit. Eric got out of the water probably 10-15 seconds before me.

One piece of advice I remembered is to swim until your stomach basically touches the sand. Otherwise, if you stand up too soon, you waste precious energy trying to run through the water. I swam on my side until I was only about 1.5 feet deep.

I stood up out of the water and it was possibly one of the proudest moments of my life. I didn’t care that I was among the last of my pack to exit the water or that I struggled…all I cared about was that I did what I could at that moment. I said to myself, Ange, you did it girl!

I caught up to Eric and we gave each other a huge HIGH Five and gave each other a little congratulatory squeeze. It was a proud moment for both of us. We dedicated this swim to my sister Kristi who has a BIRTHDAY today!!! Happy Birthday Kristi! Sorry we didn’t get 1st place for you. :lol:

We finished with a time of 12:54 mins. for the 375 metres, which is an average of 3 mins and 27 secs per 100 metres. It honestly felt like so much longer than that, I can’t even begin to tell you. I thought we were in the water for 20 minutes at least!

We made our way to the transition area to take off our wetsuits and prepare for the bike leg

The bike & run legs will be coming up in part 2 tomorrow morning. This gal needs to go relax on the couch with a good chick flick!

I also need to find chocolate, oodles and oodles of chocolate.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

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Danielle (Runs on Green) June 6, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Congrats!! I’m glad you didn’t give up :D


Amber K June 6, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Congratulations to you both! You certainly overcame those initial fears. =)


John June 6, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Congrats on fighting through your fears and finishing the swim and in pretty bad weather ta boot!! Looking forward to the next part.


Marina June 6, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Congrats to both of you!
The story scares me a bit, and I admire your courage!
Get that chocolate, and enjoy in every bite, you deserve it!


jassy June 7, 2010 at 12:21 am



Jennifer June 7, 2010 at 12:33 am

Congrats Angela and Eric! What a proud moment in your journey! Thanks so much for sharing it with us (the readers) I love how candid you are, it helps me put things in perspective and find the funny in my activities


Jenn (GH) June 7, 2010 at 12:39 am

Congrats to both of you!!!

I’m such a sap but I got teary eyed reading about your teamwork. :-)


Megan @ Sweet On June 7, 2010 at 2:15 am

Eee Ange! Yay! I just woke up and got online and thought, “THE TRIATHALON!” I can’t wait for parts two and three…you guys rock! :D


Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) June 7, 2010 at 4:13 am

CONGRATS!!!!!!!!! you guys rock!!!!


faith June 7, 2010 at 4:31 am

Congratulations! You must be very proud!
Thanks for the full recap of the swimming portion. A Try-a-Tri is in my future and the swimming is already haunting me, especially the idea of getting kicked and climbed over! Good job sticking with it!


Faith June 7, 2010 at 6:36 am

A huge congrats to you and Eric — you guys did amazing! It must have felt phenomenal when you swam up to shore!

Happy Birthday to your sis! :)


Faith ( June 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Hi Faith, this is Faith from the comment right above yours. Just thought that was ironic.


Faith (An Edible Mosaic) June 8, 2010 at 6:11 am

Faith, I saw your name above mine and wondered for a second if I hit the “submit” button twice! :) It’s always fun to see someone w/ our name (because it’s really a pretty uncommon name!).


Lea June 7, 2010 at 6:44 am

Congratulations to the two of you! You definitely deserve to feel like a superhero after yesterday!


Veggielady4life June 7, 2010 at 7:16 am

I am so impressed! Congratulations! What an accomplishment… I’m anxious to hear about the rest of it!


jenna June 7, 2010 at 7:20 am

CONGRATS on finishing!! you are such an inspiration!


natalie June 7, 2010 at 7:30 am

i just started reading your blog and i love it! you are so full of positive energy and good vibes. congratulations on finishing the swim. very inspiring!


Helen June 7, 2010 at 8:00 am

This is why I only want to do a duathlon, no swimming allowed! You did so well, both of you. It must have been so good to have someone to spur you on. Congrats on making it round, when you said that you had made it I welled up!! (so pathetic) Can’t wait for the recap of the bike and run.


AngelaOSG June 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

haha,….aww thank you! I too think a dualathon would be pretty fun!


AngelaOSG June 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

oops I mean duathlon


rachael June 7, 2010 at 8:35 am

What inspiring perservenece! The swimming aspect of a tiathalon seriously scares me. Hope you found enough chocolate:)


Therese June 7, 2010 at 8:48 am

You guys are AWESOME!!!!! Way to go on conquering the lake and continuing to finish regardless! That takes guts! Can’t wait to hear the rest!!!


Rachel June 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

Congrats! You two are amazing. I’m a swimmer, but I have to say the swimming part of the Tri-a-tri sounds scary!


Emily June 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

I’m going to add to the chorus above- I had the EXACT same experience two weeks ago during my first open water tri (and, come to think of it, during my first-ever tri too, which was only a pool swim). I don’t know what it is, but I just could NOT get myself to put my face in the water and breathe normally. I did backstroke for all 800 yards and didn’t care one bit. But from what I’ve heard, panic attacks in the water are really common. I have a friend who’s been a pro triathlete for about five years, swam all through college, and she had a panic attack in the water just last year (during an Ironman swim, no less).

I think the solution is more open water practices- I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’m determined to get more comfortable in the open water. You can do it too!


AngelaOSG June 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

Great story! That was SO me. I could not get myself to put my head in the water- I was breathing much too hard! I too abandoned all hope of using my much practiced freestyle stroke! haha funny how that works out! I was doing all kinds of crazy strokes. I would have loved to have a birds eye view of what I must have looked like. Ahh memories. Congrats for finishing your race! Also, I can’t IMAGINE doing an ironman!!!!


Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) June 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

Ugh, so sorry it rained on you! But CONGRATS on finishing!! Whoo!!



jenny (Green Food Diaries) June 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

congratulations angela and eric!!! yay!!! angela, those first three pictures made me laugh out loud. i hope you found oodles of chocolate afterwards :)


Crystal June 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

So inspiring! I’m looking to do my first tri sometime soon. My weakness and only fear is the swim!


Sami June 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Oh my goodness! You are amazing. Seriously! Way to inspire all of us to do MORE than we thought we could! :)


Lauren @ She's a Runner June 7, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I loved reading this recap! I found it very inspiring. For a really long time now, I’ve been pondering the idea of a triathlon, but I’m not much of a biker or a swimmer (so it sounds like a lost cause to me lol). But the try-a-tri looks like a really fun challenge, maybe I will be up to it in time for next year’s race season. I need to start getting more comfortable on a bike and in the pool, but I feel like there is actually a slight possibility of it happening now. Or maybe its just wishful thinking on my part? I guess I’ll find out either way…
Anyway, huge congrats to you and Eric! It is such an accomplishment that you finished and got through it, even when it got HARD. You must be so happy.


skinny latte June 8, 2010 at 4:39 am

Ange, I’ve so enjoyed reading about your tri experience – and I have to say reading about your swim I found myself nodding along because my swims were always the most stressful part of my tris and I had similar experiences to what you described here! Getting kicked, people grabbing on to your legs – it’s so random and scary, especially when you’re out in the ocean!! Well done to you and Eric for not giving up and just doing what you needed to do to get through it! xx


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