The little things I could have done for a stronger finish at Tri United 1

By Marit Balagtas

I joined my first triathlon in November 2014 and raced along the grueling hills of Bataan. Since it was my first, I made sure to enjoy every moment by giving myself room to catch my breath, take my time in the transition area, and slow myself down in the bike course for safety.

During  Tri United 1, my second race, I’ve had more time to think about how to improve my performance. After seeing the results, I reflected on what I could have done to get better splits.

1. I should have acquainted myself with the gear I needed beforehand

The day before the race, I had my wheelset changed. I’ve always had this mindset that I shouldn’t try anything new before race day, so I got a little nervous when I decided to proceed with the last-minute change. I was told several days before the race that I was getting loaned a different set of wheels but I never followed it up until the day before the race. One good thing that helped put my mind at ease was that I trusted my friend’s instinct to let me use a different pair of wheels.

Lesson learned: Watch after your own stuff and never rely on someone else to do it for you all the time

2. I shouldn’t have been over confident with my swim

I knew I was a relatively good swimmer and at the start of the race, I was even leading the pack. However, my overconfidence got the better of me and I ended up making a wrong turn where I found myself in the middle of the loop we were supposed to follow. I lost a few minutes that could have given me a good lead against my competitors.

Lesson learned: Sighting is key in the open sea

3. I should have trusted my training

Coach Kaye Lopez had already given me tips on how to negotiate U-turns and I even practiced it several times. However, during race day, when I saw the turnaround at Harbor Point, I suddenly panicked so I decided to give way to the bikers behind me, dismount my bike, and walk around the barriers instead.

Lesson learned: Had I trusted my training, I wouldn’t have lost several seconds or minutes that could have probably translated to a better bike split

4. I should have never underestimated the power of T2 training

On the week of the race, coach Kaye allotted a day to practice our transitions. I missed it, thinking that I could do it on my own. However, during race day, I spent so much time in the transition area and even snacked on a granola bar after the swim leg even if it was just a sprint. When I saw the official results, I realized that I spent almost eight minutes in the transition area for T1 and T2 combined.

Lesson learned: I could have been more efficient in the transition area if I had attended my coach’s session on T2 practice