Saturday, July 27, 2013

Memory Lane: My First Triathlon This Weekend in 2007

Oh my goodness. So I saw that this weekend is the Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon, and immediately a wave of nostalgia hit me. That was my first-ever triathlon 2007. I had just graduated from college, had a terrible haircut, and was about to find my life passion on that overcast morning. That one single day holds so much importance in my life, it's arguably the catalyst that led me to taking a different career path and becoming who I am now. Only six years ago -- but man did I go for it with full fervor!

I really had no freakin clue what I was getting into. I bought a bike only a short time prior to Solana, maybe that April/May? I forget. But I do know it was a Trek 5200 road bike, and it was my graduation present to myself -- the biggest purchase of my life at that point. I fell in love with riding immediately, and although 20-mile rides felt crazy hard and long, a new world opened up to me and the bike quickly became my favorite.

I had "trained" for Solana mostly with my ex-boyfriend, which included some 500-yard swims (+/- a few hundred) at 24 Hour Fitness (those sessions usually ended with my calf or toes cramping), bike rides of probably 6- to 20-miles long (going 20 then felt like the equivalent to a 100-miler on the bike now), and of course some running. I was always running even before tri, so that part was decent from the get go. As far as structured training? Don't know what I was doing. I wish I had kept a training log then. Would love to look back at it...

So, race day. July 29, 2007. I had actually moved back to Orange County before the race because I got a job in the area at a newspaper. So that morning my parents -- who've been by my side for this triathlon stuff since Day 1 -- drove me to North County SD at an ungodly hour. I was nervous -- heck, that whole week prior I was nervous to the point of sickness -- but I also remember being as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. That first race experience did not disappoint, and I knew from that day on I was going to make this endurance stuff more than a hobby....

So, from here, I'm going to let the following pictures tell the story of that first race.
Arriving to the race. I look 12 years old, haha. 
My mom is biggest fan #1 and has been there since the beginning. She did her first tri shortly after watching this one -- I think it was the Imperial Beach Sprint, in the Koz Series.

Before the swim with said ex-boyfriend. 
Rented wetsuit, of course! I look at my face here and think: This screams nerves and excitement as I'm about to embark into unknown territory... scary but exciting!
No turning back now!

That's me in the front thinking, "Good lord, I survived that swim." Surfing skills definitely helped me through the waves in that effort!

Get this biatch off me!

Damn this ramp is a steep mofo!

Aw yea, gotta love some rookie transition pics! Thanks mom! Um, for the record, I still wear those Fox bike shorts I'm sporting there haha.

Clock is ticking Tawnee.....

Tick tick tick....

I love this shot, especially with the copyright year! Remember Opix?
Are they still out there shooting?
Making the pass!
Long before aerobars -- those things scared me!!! I look so innocent on that bike. Love it.

Waving to all my fans, of course.

Now, the progression of this T2 cracks me up! Here's me probably talking to me mom over a HR of 190+ saying
something like, "That bike was awesome, mom!"

Wait for it...

Oh yea, sexy socks going on! 
Then come the shoes. Tick tick tick...

Oh, but wait...

...I must take the time to get in some water. After all, I carried two full bottles for a grueling ~9-mile bike...and probably didn't take a sip of either the whole time while riding haha.
And finally on that 5k run. I think this was just before the finish.

Pretty stoked to be going faster than the buff dude behind me ;)

Almost there... I can taste the feeling of victory!

A pivotal moment in my life. Not the best quality picture, but still grateful that one of my parents
captured this moment!

Celebrating at the finish, warning: Serious dork alert here! Check out those shades I'm sporting -- oh man!!!
I was hesitant to include this one, and keep showing me with a now-ex, but ya know what? It's part of the memory,
and there's no shame. That was then, and we all know I am in a very very happy relationship now with John :)

My other biggest fan, Dad! I'm a super lucky girl.... 

We hung out in Solana all day after the race, and I remember feeling on top of the world.
I eventually took the train home that night, greeted by my parents with signs congratulating me. So cute.
So that's the story of my first triathlon! I was 8th in my age group, and to me that was THE best thing ever. I was so shocked and impressed to crack the top-10 in my first race. That year I went on to do most the races in the Koz Series, which, by the way, they are great events, well-run and awesome for the first-timers all the way to the speedy SD locals...


  1. How neat for me to read this blog post for two reasons:

    1. I just signed up for my first Ironman so it's making me think of my first tri. I sure hope I'll be able to look back and say "look how far I've come!"
    2. One of my most formative experiences was running a marathon in Antarctica. I went with my then boyfriend, who, on the trip, ended up cheating on me and breaking up with me! It ends up making the trip more of a bittersweet than just sweet experience, but also much more interesting and dynamic and something that years later I can laugh about (which I think is helped by the fact that, like you, I am currently very happy in my relationship). I went down there looking for a good story to tell for the rest of my life and I got one- just not the one I was expecting! And sometimes I think that's what life's about.

  2. LOVE this! I remember the first bike i got ( at the age of 40) it had a triple ring on it and i used it. I Rode 40 miles one weekend it was as if i had done my first century!
    This is awesome Tawnee!

  3. Loved the flashback! I've got my first triathlon next Sunday, although I'm not sure it will be the same catalyst for me as it was for you.

  4. Hi again Tawnee,

    Great post. Very inspirational, as I'm seriously thinking of expanding my workouts from running (1 marathon under my belt) and biking (planning first century) to include swimming (I'd drown in a bathtub right now). I'd be interested to hear any advice you'd give your younger self on that first tri now that you're a serious triathlete. Keep up the great work here, on Endurance Planet, and with your workouts. We're all behind you!