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Tales from a Beginner – Mona Rayachoti

Empire Tri Club’s first Beginner Program Session of the season has just finished! Here is what some of those participating athletes have to say about their experience in training with the team and completing their first triathlon.

Newbie triathlete Mona Rayachoti shares her story:

Q: Tell us about your journey with Empire Tri Club in preparation to your first race?
A:  When I decided to take on a triathlon, I was looking for a training program. I’ve been a runner for the last 3 years, doing several half marathons and a few marathons, but the triathlon world was a whole new game. I was looking for a program that was beginner friendly and Empire has a beginner program. I hadn’t ridden a bike in 2 decades, so the bike workouts with the coach were very helpful. Also, while I’ve been a runner for a while, I found the run workouts with speed work very helpful. My running pace improved since joining Empire. Overall, I felt mentally prepared for my first triathlon. Besides the workouts, I learned all about the logistics, like how to set up transition and be efficient, etc.

Q: What was the first thing you did when you crossed that finish line?
A:  I was so happy to finish and officially be a triathlete! I think I joined the rest of the Empire group at our area after I finished

Q: What inspired you to take on a triathlon?
A: I’ve done a few marathons and I thought the triathlon would be a whole new challenge. I’d have to relearn how to bike and swim. I volunteered at the NYC triathlon last year to get entry for this year. I’m glad Empire’s beginner program trained me for a sprint first and now I can take on the olympic.

Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do different on race day? Or not change?
A: My biggest mistake was panicking during the swim part and that slowed down my entire race. If I hadn’t panicked and just stayed calm and focused, my swim might not have been as long. However, I’ll have a chance to practice a few more open water swims before NYC triathlon, so hopefully I’ll be better prepared mentally.

Q: How were the nerves on race day?
A: Pretty high, because it was my first ever triathlon.

Q: Did you feel prepared for the race?
A: For the most part, yes.

Q: What was the greatest takeaway from your experience with Empire’s Beginner Program?
A: I went to the majority of the group workouts and followed the training plan and it make me feel more prepared. I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own, so the support of Empire was a huge help. The triathlon world doesn’t intimidate me as much. Also, the coaches were so encouraging! I was afraid that they’d only cater to the faster people, but that was not the case at all. I got so much encouragement and support from all the coaches.

Ready to complete YOUR first triathlon?!  Sign up here.