Leading up to Sunday’s Central Park Triathlon (put on by New York Triathlon), I felt pretty confident.  I’d put in the miles and my bag was packed – I was ready, but I was really nervous that I’d have some kind of gear malfunction.  Let’s just say, I’ve never had to change a flat and I don’t oil my bike chain on the regular…or ever.  If something went wrong with my bike during the race, I really would have been out of luck.  This thought threatened to keep me awake on Saturday night, but I forced it to the back of my mind, watched some mindless television and hit the hay early.  On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early, ready to become a triathlete.

It was a gorgeous morning for a race.

Lasker Pool at Central Park
Lasker Pool at Central Park

Lasker Pool was cool and clear; a very safe option for a first-time triathlete, and the transition area was completely within the pool grounds, which made the race nicely self-contained.  I set up myself up for transitions and got in line for the swim!


The 400m swim was completed by snaking up and down the 6 lanes of the pool.  The race was a time trial start, so each athlete started 5 seconds after the person in front of them.  We were lined up by bib number- which corresponded with how quickly we expected to finish our swim.  I didn’t have high expectations for myself when I signed up in  January, and grossly underestimated my swim.  I started toward the back of the pack, and ended up with one of the faster swim times overall in 7:25!  Turns out those years on swim team served me well :).

Transition 1 was….slow.  I don’t have a triathlon suit, so I swam in a swimsuit and threw on a running skirt and bike shirt on top after the swim.  With a time of 2:34, I learned that this apparently is not time efficient.

Central Park is hilly, so I knew it wouldn’t be a cruise, but I’m pretty slow on a bike.  I’m sure I’d be a little bit faster with clipless pedals, cycling shoes, and a real road or tri bike, but I probably just need to get stronger on a bike. I knocked out the 12 miles in 46:44 – I’m happy with it, but I know I can do better.

When I finished the second lap of Central Park I was so happy to get off my bike and on my feet that breezed through transition 2 in 38 seconds.  I just wanted to run.

The run was a blast.  I wasn’t flying, and my legs were pretty tired, but it was a beautiful day.  There were a few moments where I was hurting while charging uphill, but I kept thinking “I get to do this!  I’m lucky enough to be doing this race today! I’m accomplishing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time!”  In the end, I cruised in at a casual 27:26 and felt pretty darn victorious.

As I came through the finish chute, the woman collecting time chips told me I was the 17th woman to finish!  I was elated! (I ended up being the 21st placed female, but I’m still pretty psyched).


I grabbed a ZICO coconut water and a banana, chilled out and watched a few finishers come in.  My final time was 1:24:49, and I placed 5/14 in my age group, and 78/205 overall.  I can’t wait to take on Tri Rock Asbury Park in a couple of weeks!

So that’s my story- my first triathlon!

Next week, I’m excited to introduce you to a new series I’m hosting on the blog, so stay tuned!

About the Author Aubrie Fennecken

Aubrie Fennecken is the Chief Alchemist at Opportunity Kitchen | work + wellness strategist | nonprofit fundraising expert | providing productivity and self-care support for mission-driven humans

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