I just did my first triathlon this past weekend! By far the most physically challenging thing that I have done thus far in my life. For those that are attempting one that never have before let me tell you this: first, 2 and a half months is not long enough to train for one even if you are committed to it. Second, insulated water drinking hot water will only end dehydrating you more And finally, don't do your first triathlon in July
Swimming in open water is super difficult, much more so than swimming in a pool. I think that its because you don't have good reference in the open water, you don't have a line you can follow you have to try and keep track of how straight you are going so you sometimes create more work for yourself swimming in zigzags. Another thing is you can't keep track of your lap count so you have no idea how far you have been swimming and when you are swimming a mile it starts to feel like you have just been swimming forever and ever and thats such a bad frame of mind to be in when you are doing distance athletics. I ended up taking almost an hour on my swim which is really slow.
It was so hot by the time I got on my bike, and it didn't help that 13 plus miles of it was uphill. I had so many cramps and dry heaved so many times that my stomach wasn't gunna let me put water in it. The last 5 miles whenever I saw an ambulance pass by I wanted to stop them and let them stick me with IVs so that I would feel hydrated. I was gunna just be satisfied with not even attempting the run portion and glad I pushed myself through the bike and swim but then I saw my girlfriend at the transition area who surprised me by coming and I was like, "crap... six more miles to go." But I'm glad she came and I'm glad I went on. Surprisingly by now I actually did pass people in my bike and a couple people on the run and about a mile into the run a guy came up next to me and I found out he was the sweeper and that everybody else behind me quit. I was like "oh great, i'm gunna finish last." It wasn't till the very last straight away that I saw somebody and that I pushed myself past them. I was the second to last person to finish the race but I was the second person not to quit. It was by no means a glorious finish but I am satisfied with the fact that I finished and its something I'd like to push myself to do again sometime soon.