If you've always wanted to do a race, but don't think you can...start with a short one. A mini-sprint could be a great starting place and motivation to train more for the next year. Look up all kinds of races in your area on trifind. Training is good. ;)
1) Visors are easy to loose in transition. Hide it. OR-if you don't mind writing on it...someone won't grab yours by mistake...or on purpose because they realize they need one on a sunny day. =) Next time I'll write on the actual visor part...yuck the permanent ink ran from...sweat.
Shameless plug for a very worthy charity Loving Shepherd.
2) If training for the swim in a pool, keep your eyes closed while your face is in the water and only open them when taking breaths. For open water swims, visibility will only be a couple inches. This has helped me stay much more calm about not being able to see anything.
3) Take Salt Stick caps every hour during the race and one before. I can't believe I never read anywhere that this was so important. Someone at the pool told me about this and I'm so glad. You'll wither and cramp if you don't take these or drink gallons of gatorade. I prefer the salt sticks. I tape three of them to my bike where I can see them so I don't forget.
4) Don't start the swim too hard. Your heart is pumping fast already because your excited about the race start. I swim on the far inside until I'm feeling more calm before I join the pack of other swimmers. Don't panic about running into someone's feet if you are swimming faster then they are. You will feel the bubbles from their flutter kick first and can sight quickly to swim around. Maybe this isn't needed for the more experienced, but it's helped me a lot.
5) Running socks make a difference. They have two layers that rub against themselves not your skin so you don't get blisters. Pretty cool. And expensive at $10. I have one pair that get washed a lot. ;)
6) I learned this one over the weekend. Don't touch anyone else's bike with yours on the rack. I'm not talking hit or bump...don't even come close to touching their handle bars if you can help it. You can make a full grown man almost cry by doing this right before a race. I was turning my bike around because "full grown man" said it was facing the wrong way...which it wasn't for the record, they can go either direction. Then the guy on the other side said it was fine. I re-racked it as it was. Handle bars touched (my front wheel turned in slightly due to gravity), "grown man" about flipped. I resisted the urge to tell him it would't have happened if he hadn't told me to flip my bike around. Don't be too sensitive about other jumpy racer's attitudes and try to respect their equipment with high regard so you can enjoy the day.
7) I don't drink soda very often...but for all the reasons it's an iffy choice everyday...it's a winner on race day. Drink some coke before the race and during if they provide it. it's sugar straight up and the caffeine helps too. Gels can make your tummy hurt because all the blood in your body is in your muscle tissue not digestive system. You don't need to digest coke to get the energy from it...and it tastes good too. Stinger gels are basically natural honey and I've not had trouble with that brand of gel in particular.
8) I have read about this on other forums...but here it is again. Natural swimming form is not the fastest. There is this myth that some people are born natural swimmers but it's just not true. Fish are natural swimmers. We mere humans have to work at it in the water. There is the a human tendency to feel faster if you scoop deep and hard at the water with huge fancy strokes. There is a mathematical equation that I don't fully understand that explains why less drag is more important in liquid than power if you want to look that up. Your elbows should be up and out of the water as much as possible stroking the water with shallow motions like a paddle boat along the surface. Imagine strings out in front of you pulling your elbows forward. Your feet kicking don't count for much, just keep them loose. Tip pelvis up to pull legs to surface. Keep head/ears level with water as apposed to up out of the water so it doesn't push your legs down to drag in the water behind you like trailing anchors. It won't feel like you are moving faster...but you are, trust me you are. =)
Okay...no more tri blogging...for a little while at least. ;)