Mistakes, Screw-ups, and Other Racing Hiccups

I don’t feel like writing a race report. I’ve written a lot of them lately and each time I wonder if they offer anything new. My goal is to provide insight as well as the occasional laugh (oh, you thought it was the other way around?), so instead of a report I’ll point out some mistakes I made at South Riding Triathlon. Not saying I’m gonna learn from them or anything…just point ’em out and keep moving! Oh and for fun I’ve assessed myself time penalties.

1. Swim start.

Cross mat, jump, go!

Sometimes a pool start is an “in water” start, where you jump in the water and hold on to the side while a volunteer counts back from 5. When you hear “Go!” you push off the wall and start swimming. Other times, there’s a timing mat on the deck at the entry point and your time starts when you step on the mat. You still get the countdown but once you step on the mat, you jump in the pool and go. So ideally you either jump and push off from the bottom or jump and push off from the wall. I did neither. I jumped in, surfaced, then realized I was supposed to be swimming. It was so comical I almost laughed. Penalty: 3 seconds.

2. Bike start.

Racked...but is it ready?

Always, always make sure you’re in an easy gear for the bike start. This is not the first time I have forgotten to do this and have had to switch my gears to get moving. Penalty: 4 seconds.

3. Focus.

In a sprint tri you have to maintain focus because each event is relatively short so you need to make sure you’re pushing  hard. You do this by focusing on what you’re doing all the time . I lost focus on the home stretch on the bike. When one of my teammates blew by me it was like a switch went off and I suddenly realized what I was doing and got back into the game. Penalty: 20 seconds.

4. Don’t rely too much on gadgets.

I use a Garmin 310XT for triathlon. I use multisport mode and press the lap button between each event to move from swim to bike to run. So when I started the run I pressed “lap” and nothing happened. I pressed it again, and again, and it stayed on BIKE. This was a problem because I needed to see my run pace (minutes per mile) but was seeing bike pace (miles per hour) which I can’t translate easily. I kept running but was messing around with my Garmin for the first mile until I managed to reset it and put it in RUN mode. Penalty: NONE! In fact, in the end I ran a 20:18 5K (43 seconds faster than my PR)!

Of course, in the end it all worked out:

Just for fun….is this guy wearing anything under that jacket??!!


  1. The last pic cracked me up! Mission accomplished!

    I like how you did the race report. Or should I say mistakes report? I always get soooo bored of the cliche race report, and never fully read them, unless I was actually in the race myself and can identify with the circumstances.

    • Hey Brian! That’s good to know! I was wondering if anyone was reading my reports… Actually, I was getting bored of them myself so can’t imagine how anyone who wasn’t actually racing must have felt!

  2. Hey – I read it too – always listening out for tips from my little sister !!

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