Surviving A Rough Transition

Last week I raced in the Boulder Tri Series Sprint Triathlon. It was a short distance race and I’ve raced in my fair share of them. I was using this race as a gauge to see where I sit physically. The first 5 months of this year where a little tough getting my training in with the birth of my son, Micah, but once the end of May arrived I was able to kick things into full swing.


I’ve written about transition before as it relates to triathlon and life, so going through this last race had me thinking about how crucial transitions really are in a triathlon.

To catch some of you up concerning triathlons, it is three sports in one race. Swim first, bike second and run third. However, between the swim and bike there is transition one and between the bike and run there is transition two.

I’ve said this in the past. We train in all three sports and get very proficient at all three but spend very little time practicing the transitions. Just like in life. We get really good at doing different stages of our lives, but it’s the transitions we sometimes aren’t as prepared for.

In this last race, even though I did well in the race. I struggled through the transitions and other parts of the race.

Swimming is my best of the three sports and since we got to wear wetsuits I was going to be able to swim even faster, but I failed to remember to cinch up my wetsuit enough to give me enough room in my shoulders to make my swim feel effortless. Instead, I spent the whole swim fighting my wetsuit. I swam slower as a result and was completely worn out as I exited the water into the first transition.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. Not only did I not go into the transition well, I was tired coming out of the transition as I left out on my bike.

The bike portion of the race was fine and when I came into the transition area. The bike next to where I’m supposed rack my bike had fallen on my stuff, which meant I had to pick up that guys bike and re-rack it as well as rack my bike. This was costing me time. I had another little hiccup in transition before I got into the run.

In the end, I just shook my head. Sometimes I’m great at transitions and sometimes I’m not.

I feel like my life rolls like this too. I seem like I’m on a good course to transition well from one part of life into another only to figure out I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.

Being prepared really can make or break the next stage of either a race or life in general. Don’t you think?

I know it’s been this way for me at times. I always want to perform at my best but for whatever reason, sometimes I struggle through it and don’t get settled in the next stage as soon as I could have.

I’m thankful for little reminders like this. It helps me to evaluate what I did wrong in the race and try to correct it in my training and in the next race. It also helps me to keep a focus on what’s going on in my life so that I can stay on top of what I need to be doing.

How have you gotten through transitions well? In a race or in life? Have there been struggles along the way you didn’t expect?

  • Timothy P

    Hey Spence, thanks for the great post. Was directed here from Michael Hyatt’s blog. And it was much more than I was expecting or could identify with. Last year, at age 36, I took part in my first sprint triathlon. I had put it off a year (wanted to do it at 35) due to the birth of my son 2 months before the event. God-willing, I’m doing my second sprint in exactly a month’s time, but the fatigue from juggling work, taking care of my now 2-year old son and ministry, really takes the wind out of disciplining myself to train. Interestingly also, I am just about a year into going through a major transition in my life, when I was very suddenly let go from a job of 3+ years when my son was just turning 1. I resonate with your thoughts and parallels of tri-racing, T1 & T2 preparations and mishaps, and life transitions. Thanks for the timely reminders, and all the best with your future transitions!

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