My (Accidental) Barefoot Triathlon (Guest Post)

This past weekend, I had the chance to complete another triathlon with my mother, Samantha Brennan. It was located in Rondeau Provincial Park and we camped for the weekend and participated in the triathlon on Saturday afternoon.  We decided to do this triathlon in part because our earlier triathlon in Kincardine became a duathlon after water temperatures were too cold to swim. You can view Samantha’s post on our triathlon in Rondeau here which includes some of the other reasons we decided to do this particular triathlon.

If you have read Samantha’s other posts you will be aware that I am a barefoot runner. To be fair, I don’t run very often but, when I do, I find it more comfortable to do so barefoot.  I have a pair of nice running shoes with orthotics for running. I also own a pair of Vibram FiveFinger shoes. But since I don’t usually wear shoes in the summer, it seems silly to find socks and put on shoes just for running. I also find it much more comfortable. When we looked at completing our first triathlon of the summer in Kincardine I had to think about what kind of footwear I would wear, what worked best for transitioning from swim to bike to run. In the end I decided to do it barefoot although I put on sandals while riding my bike. (I also had running shoes in case race officials insisted on shoes)

For our second triathlon it was an easier decision. Having already completed a triathlon (technically a duathlon) barefoot I wasn’t worried about being able to do it so I decided again to do the run barefoot.  In preparation for the race we set up our transition zones. As Samantha was doing the do-a-du (run, bike, run) and I was doing a tri-a-tri we separated into our groups- the duathletes started first, followed by the male triathletes followed by the female triathletes. As my group was the last to start I had lots of time to chat with other people racing. It was a really diverse crowd with lots of beginners who had never done a triathlon before as well as lots of people who had done triathlons years ago but not since.

The first event was the swim. The water was choppy and we heard later they almost cancelled the swim because of this. Also, most of the lifeguards were in the water with us instead of on shore as they had been with the earlier races. This made the swim harder than expected, especially since I am used to swimming in a pool where there is no choppiness at all. I finished near the end of the pack but there was not a huge gap between swimmers. There were a number of people who had to be rescued because they could not complete the swim.

After the swim, you had to run along the beach to the transition zone where you put on your helmet, switched shoes and grabbed your bicycle. Here’s where the accidental barefoot part comes in. I put on my helmet, my glasses (since I swim without them) and a t-shirt over my bikini. Then I grabbed my bike, ran out the transition zone and started riding. About fifty meters down the path I realized I had forgotten to put on my shoes!

The rest of the triathlon was lots of fun. I was the slowest of the runners, middle of the pack for biking and swimming. I passed lots of people in the transition zone because I didn’t have footwear to change between events! Next year my goal is to complete the sprint distance- 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run.

The photo above is from the Kincardine event. It’s me crossing the finish line, in barefeet, of course.

Mallory Brennan is a studying music and computers at University of Western Ontario.  She enjoys aikido, swimming and singing in many choirs.  During the school year, Mallory is far too busy for her own good but enjoys life nonetheless.

2 thoughts on “My (Accidental) Barefoot Triathlon (Guest Post)

  1. Go Mallory! Thanks for posting your experience with barefoot running. And congrats on finishing the triathlon so well!

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