My first triathlon, I was standing on the beach staring out at the ominous Pacific Ocean, ready to conquer. I was wearing my brand new wetsuit (never been worn), I had done a bunch of laps in the pool, and I was confident I was going to WIN the race. The gun sounds, I jump in the water with 100 other savages, I get punched, kicked, elbowed, etc and I start swimming as fast as I can. I made it about 50 yards before I was spent. I started to hyperventilate and I thought I was going to die. I breast stroked for a few minutes, caught my breath, finished the swim and eventually the race, but I learned a ton from that experience. First, practice in your wetsuit; it is tight, constricting and uncomfortable at first. You need to get used to it. Next, get in with a group swim. There is nothing like the mass start of a triathlon. Jumping in the water with 99 of your closest buddies could also be called water boarding, so get used to it BEFORE the race. Third, pace yourself. Your adrenaline will be sky high, recognize that and try to keep it in check. And lastly, have fun and don’t take it too serious.