Gina’s First Triathlon, Part 1: Pre-Race Meltdowns

Something you should know about me: I’m a cyclical melter-downer. I am really awesome, right up until the point when I’m not. I can juggle a lot of diverse, difficult, time-consuming, and draining tasks for an impressive length of time. But it always involves a meltdown/reset phase, where my husband finds me sobbing over something trivial just days (ok, sometimes hours) after he’s complimented me on how much I’m doing and how well I’m holding it all together.  It’s just the way I process; I’ve decided that accepting it and rolling with it is infinitely better than fighting who I am.


All my triathlon-related meltdowns happened before the race. I flew to Portland after work on Friday, and all that day I felt a weird combination of anxiety, excitement, and certainty that I was forgetting to pack something vital.  Saturday I was even more anxious. I left the packet pickup all morose because a) all the other participants there had like 0% body fat and looked Very Serious, and b) I felt so stupid, inexperienced and out of place that I couldn’t even bring myself to ask a salesperson the simplest of questions about buying a race belt.

After that, I headed to the shop where I was renting my bike, and almost burst into tears because it was so different from mine. Luckily, the guys at the shop (Veloce Bicycles) were really very kind and helped me make some adjustments, and everything was fine. I don’t think I realized til Saturday afternoon how far outside my comfort zone I was actually stepping with all of this.


Tomorrow: Part 2 – Getting to the Start Line!


6 thoughts on “Gina’s First Triathlon, Part 1: Pre-Race Meltdowns

  1. Oh man, I feel ya! I had a similar hard time when I showed up to my first LifeCycle training… in jeans with a borrowed beach cruiser. EVERYONE else had these sleek road bikes and they were wearing all of this serious cycling gear – things I didn’t even know the names for, let alone own. I didn’t even own a pair of sunglasses!

    Fortunately, a dear friend who was almost as clueless and out of place as I was, met me there. She helped me figure out how to get the front wheel back on my bike (also fairly mortifying), and we sucked it up and did the ride. We picked the easiest of three routes, took lots of breaks, and were the LAST people to finish. But we did it!

    Not listening to that little voice that says you don’t belong is the only way to get there. But man is it hard! I struggle with that every time I try something new. I’m working on getting used to that feeling… being the person struggling to keep up in the fitness class, the least coordinated person in the dance class, etc. Every time you show up, it gets a little less embarrassing.

    I am so impressed with your taking on this challenge! Now I want to do a triathlon, too! I just need to learn how to run and swim.

      • This, EXACTLY. It makes me sad to think of how many people aren’t doing awesome things because of that feeling. Pushing past it is the best! You rock. 😀

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