Race Report: Kelowna Apple Sprint Triathlon

What a day! What a race! Settle in, this is going to be a long and picture-heavy post 🙂 Want more pictures? Like Girl with the Red Hair on Facebook and check out the album I posted there!


Eric took Sunday off from work (he works weekends) so he could come with me to Kelowna for the triathlon and be the official “blog photographer” or blog-opher as he likes to call it – so all the photos below are courtesy of Eric! We got to Kelowna around 3:00 PM on Saturday and I met up with my friend Jamie, who was also doing the sprint distance (her first triathlon and second race ever!), she showed me the course and we went to the pre-race briefing together.


The three of us (me, Jamie, Eric) then went to Boston Pizza for some pre-race carb-loading.


Eric and I stayed with my aunt while there. When we got to her place we stayed up visiting a little later than we should have so lights didn’t go out until about 10:00 PM. Before going to bed I laid out all my race stuff. I can’t believe how much stuff you need for a triathlon!

In the pile (going left to right): sweatshirt and sweats to wear race morning, swimsuit, sports bra and goggles, tank top, shorts, socks and bike helmet, two towels, deodorant, body glide, headband, swim cap, hairbrush and running hat. Whew!


4:30 AM came bright and early and we picked up Jamie at 5:30 before heading to the start. We were at the transition area by 6:00 AM to set up our stuff and get body marked. Our wave started at 7:20 AM.



I got lots of comments on my 333 number!


A lot of people told me to practice my transitions before hand but I never did get around to it. Everything turned out fine. For an outfit I decided to wear my bathing suit with a sports bra underneath and then I pulled on some shorts and a tank top after the swim. It worked perfectly with zero chafing!


Finally it was time to head down to the swim start. I was starting to get pretty nervous at this point.

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Jamie and I did a little warm-up swim and before we knew it it was our turn!


SWIM – 750 m, 16:13


I was surprised about how nervous I was. I am a very strong swimmer and I used to be a lifeguard/swim instructor but something about the deep, dark lake and all the people made me anxious. I was swimming fine but I could literally feel a tightness in my chest during it.


We did a triangle route that involved going around three yellow buoys. It took until the second buoy for the tightness in my chest to go away and for me to calm down. I just kept thinking “omg, I can’t wait for this to be over.” It was a very long 16 minutes.

I did front crawl with a bit of breaststroke thrown in. If I felt that freaked out and I consider myself a strong swimmer I can 100% see why “weak” swimmers have issues with the swim leg of triathlons. There is just something about having all these people swimming around you (over you, under you, into you) and the black lake that is scary.



TRANSITION 1 (swim to bike) – 3:33

My first transition went well. I took a cup of gatorade from the aid station as soon as I got out of the water so I walked/ran to my transition area while drinking it. Once I got there I dried my legs/feet and pulled my shorts on, then pulled my tank top on and finally put my shoes and socks on. Helmet went on last and then I was off.

Eric hung back to get pictures of Jamie coming out of the water so didn’t get my bike start, but here’s a good one of Jamie at her bike start!


BIKE – 20 km (Garmin said 12.29 miles) in 44:35, 16.9 mph pace

The bike was a 10K loop that we did twice. There was one big climb at the beginning (and then the middle) but I would say overall it was a mostly downhill course. The 16.9 mph pace I averaged is really fast for me! I was feeling really out-of-breath and anxious when the bike started but managed to calm down about halfway through the first loop. I was all smiles the rest of the race!

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And once you got to the top of that first big climb at mile 1 and again at mile 7 the view was incredible – made it totally worth it!


Considering biking was my least favourite sport to train for I was surprised how strong I felt during this leg. I even passed several people – and a few people who had clip-in pedals and were on much nicer bikes than mine. I guess that just goes to show that it’s not the bike that counts, it’s the rider! 🙂

TRANSITION 2 (bike to run) – 2:30 (unofficial)

For some reason my T2 time isn’t included in the official results so I calculated that myself by subtracting all my other times from my final time 🙂

T2 was quick. Dropped my bike off, threw on my hat, chugged some water, grabbed a GU and I was off. It felt faster than 2:30!

RUN – 5 KM in 28:30, 9:07 pace

I was done by this point. My legs were so heavy and tired. I was shocked to look down at my Garmin and see an 8:30 pace flashing back at me 0.5 miles into the run because I certainly was not feeling it. I’m not sure what it is about running after biking but even though you feel like crap, your legs are ready to boogie!

The run flew by. At the beginning I was like “OMG, I cannot run for 30 minutes” but this run went by really quickly and before I knew it I was heading for the finish line! We ran along the lake and it was very pretty and scenic.




FINAL TIME – 1:34:20!!!!!!

I don’t know why, but I was expecting this race to take me close to two hours, so my goal was to break 2 hours. Clearly I blew that goal out of the water!

Jamie did awesome too!



Final Thoughts on my First Triathlon:

This was a really, really fun race. Doing three different sports made the 1.5 hours I was racing fly by; I would say this race went by faster than any other one I’ve done. The swim was a mental challenge, but overall it was not nearly as scary or difficult as I thought it was going to be. I was more worked up over this than I needed to be.

Are there more in my future? Heck yes! I already have an entry that I had to defer for the one in Kamloops next May and I may look into doing the Olympic distance next summer!

If you have the chance to try a triathlon, do it. I really enjoyed this race and had so much fun!

57 Responses

  1. congrats on the great race! i just did my first sprint tri last month and i am definitely hooked on them now. 🙂

  2. Jamie says:

    Great re-cap Amber! It was so fun and I’m so glad we were able to do this together. You rock.

  3. Great time, really happy you totally destroyed the 2 hour mark!

  4. Wes says:

    Awesome job! Proud of ya girl! I have been thinking about one, but I need to work on my swimming. Great inspiration.

  5. Way to go on a great race, Amber!!! This sounds so intense and I think you are such a bad ass for rocking this stuff!!! Go you!

  6. H-woman says:


    I have to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your race number!! 3 is my favourite number and 3 of them?! It’s perfect!

    Congratulations! You’re right, it’s the swim that makes me never want to do a tri…maybe I should find a bike/run duo…


  7. Tara says:

    Congrats! I knew you’d be fine!

  8. Sara says:

    Great job, Amber! I am so happy for you!! 🙂 Makes me want to try a tri!

    PS – I am almost done with my questions. Just need to proof the post and get some pictures. I only have a DSLR camera, which I don’t want to bring to work, so I’m working on how to get these to you!

  9. nicole says:

    SO SO SO SO cool! Congrats girl! I really really want to try one sometime but the swimming makes me nervous!!! 🙂 Cant wait to see more tri’s in your future! great job!

  10. Wow you did amazing!!! Congrats on the great race 🙂

  11. Heather says:

    AWESOME JOB!!! Good for you to make it through that mentally and physically!

  12. thats awesome and looks like fun!! Congrats!

  13. Kelly says:

    Yayyy! I’m so glad you loved it 🙂 !!! I felt the same way about swimming, I’m a good swimmer too- also used to lifeguard/teaching swimming lessons- I’m not fast, but I can hold my own. However, yikes, people kicking you, etc- I was happy for my swim part to be over too! The bike for me was similar to it was for you, a happy surprise- I also passed people and did well and I didn’t have clip in pedals back then either. Plus I just felt relaxed on the bike, I was enjoyed the crowd and saying hi to people as we drove by their house. Maybe someday we can do a tri together 🙂

  14. AshleyD says:

    Congratulations! I know nothing about triathlons, but that time is awesome. You are amazing!

  15. Becky says:

    I’m so proud of you! Way to go 333! 🙂

  16. abbi says:

    Congrats on a great race!

  17. Ris says:

    Congratulations! You are so awesome! But we knew you would be 😀

  18. J says:

    Congrats!! Awesome job on the tri! Looks like you had a beautiful day for it!

  19. Holly says:

    Congratulations! Eric’s pictures make the race look like a lot of fun – but I think I need to do a lot more running (and start swimming and biking … hmm …) before I can even consider something like that.

  20. Stefanie says:

    Congrats Amber!!!! Now I am looking forward even more to my triathlon in five weeks. 🙂 Yay! It was great to read and see what types of outfits you were wearing. I am considering try shorts and just a sports bra right now – no bathing suit at all. We’ll see. Lots of options there.

  21. Way to go! Triathlon is so addictive – I’m currently registered for my 4th (my first olympic distance in October) & I’m trying to find another Sprint to squeeze in before then!

    You definitely rocked that run leg – I often wish I was a stronger runner than I am because I always fall apart out there during the run. The bike is by far my strongest leg & I feel the most confident there.

  22. Nora says:

    1. Eric did a great job on the pictures. I like the term blogopher 🙂
    2. WAY TO GO!!!! You totally blew your time out of the water. That’s great and amazing. So happy and excited and proud of and for you 🙂

  23. Leigh says:

    Congratulations on a great race Amber! I knew you would rock it 🙂

  24. Laura says:

    CONGRATS!!! Great race~

  25. Awesome job! Putting up a sub-30 minute run split in your first tri is seriously impressive. My first sprint has a 32 minute run split.

    You did really well and should be proud of your accomplishment!

  26. Amber's Mom says:

    Good Job Hon. I’m very proud of you.

  27. Kara says:

    Wow, you did awesome! Congratulations!

  28. Amy says:

    Since I love to bike and swim, I’ve always wanted to do a tri. This is so inspiring—might finally push me over the edge to train. You rock, Amber!

  29. Amazing job Amber!! Your time is awesome, and Im so glad you had a good time doing it. Pretty sure I would just want to die. 🙂

  30. LG says:

    This is so awesome and inspiring, Amber! Great work to have “bagged” a tri!!! Now I really want to do one of these…

  31. Shoshanah says:

    I’m glad this race went so well for you Amber! You seemed a little hesitant heading into it, but I’m glad to hear that it all came together, and even more that you’re looking forward to running more tri-s. Congrats!!!

  32. stephanie says:

    Congrats! if i had to have guessed your time, i would have said just about that. I knew you would rock it. Well done lass.

  33. Caroline says:

    Congrats!! You did awesome! This recap reminded me a lot of my first tri experience too. The race went by SO fast because you’re switching activities and there’s always something to think about. That was also something I didn’t like though.. how much I had to remember and the logistics of what to wear/changing in transitions. The open water also scared me a lot more than I was expecting and I think if I were to do it again I’d be really nervous for that leg of the race.
    I’m glad the bathingsuit under your clothes worked out for you!

  34. Morgan says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh congrats chica!!!!!!!!!!!! So proud of you!!!!

  35. Naomi says:

    Congratulations you triathlete! I have followed your training cycle and had no doubt you would conquer this! You’ve inspired me to attempt one of these….someday!

  36. Rachel says:

    Great pics!! Congrats on finishing, and with such a kick ass time!!

    I can imagine the swimming would be the most intimidating, even for a strong swimmer. Cold, dark lake water… Eek! You did SO awesome though, and you totally deserved it after training so hard!

  37. Carissa says:

    you are amazing!!! congrats on a FANTASTIC race! oh my goodness, the swimming in the lake would have totally freaked me out too. I sort of hate swimming in lakes, haha. but great job on pushing through. I’m always amazed by how wonderful you look in these photos– so strong and beautiful. I would be a hot, sweaty, red-faced mess! but you just GLOW!

  38. mandy says:

    You never fail to amaze me. Seriously. Congratulations on such a great race and blowing your goal out of the water. You rock miss!

  39. Stephany says:

    You are such a rock star! Way to go on an amazing race and a FREAKING FANTASTIC time.

    I would love to do a tri someday but… only a relay! LOL. I hate running so I don’t think I could manage even a 5K after swimming and biking. I would, of course, be on the bike part. 😉

  40. Congratulations Amber! I’m glad you had such a great time! (both in the fun and the number of hours/minutes)

  41. Kyria says:

    Wow! Congratulations! I have had triathlon on my to do list for a while. I am glad to hear that yours went well — it gives me hope!

  42. yay! isla also gives you a smile. (i told her amber did gtreat at her race hah)

  43. Nice work, Amber! I am so proud of you! You did so well – I am super impressed w/ that 5k time. I struggle to maintain that pace lately and I am not swimming and biking beforehand. Well done, you!

    An dhey, at least your race number wasn’t 666. Those are th elast 3 numbers of my CFA candidate number!!

  44. Ahh! So impressed! That’s an amazing first tri, you were so strong!

  45. Lisa says:

    I love the photos! You got some great ones. I’m a really strong swimmer but I haven’t been in open water since I was a teen. That’s the part keeping me from trying the tri….

  46. Jess says:

    Congrats Amber! It sounds like you had a really good race and it looks like you had a lot of fun too! Way to blow your goal time out of the water!!!

  47. Lisa says:

    had to leave another comment….your T1 time matched your race number! 🙂

  48. Nicole says:

    Woohoo!! You did it! What a great race you had. Glad to hear you caught the bug! I agree that tris seems shorter than other races because you keep changing it up!

    Good to hear you didn’t have any chafing issues!

  49. Amy says:

    Sounds like a great experience! A triathlon is something I would love to try but I’m a crappy swimmer. Maaaaybe a good goal for 2012 🙂

  50. Heather C says:

    Killed it!! Loved this recap – so energetic and excited 🙂 Congrats, lady!!

  51. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! That is a fantastic time!!!!!!!

  52. Nikki says:

    Loved reading your recap! Tris are my new obsession (much like halfs were before I did one) and this makes me even more excited to “tri” (ha!) one. 🙂 Congrats on your finish!

  53. Congrats on a great race! I really enjoyed reading this especially because it was your first tri. I hope to do one eventually myself so I love reading recaps!

  54. You certainly DID blow your goal out of the water! Way to go girl! Glad you had such a great time! Congratulations!!!