Back in 2019 I decided that I was going to do dive into the world of triathlons (pun intended). I signed up for an Ironman 70.3 in 2020 and did all of the training to have the race cancelled due to the pandemic. It was disappointing that I wasn’t able to race but I knew that it was just a temporary delay from my entrance into the world of endurance sports.

On August 8th, 2021 I made the inevitable happen with a sprint triathlon in Lititz, PA.

This is a reflection on the race and I hope that you enjoy!



I had been battling a cold for the past two weeks and while that was less than ideal, it was what it was and forced me to control what I can control. The morning of the race was filled with some coffee, a few bananas and a lot of pacing back and forth waiting for the race to start. It was nice to talk to other triathletes and make friends as I waited for the start.

Swim [300 meters]

The swim is hands down my least favorite discipline and in the days leading up to the race, I experienced nerves that I hadn’t felt since high school football. However, as soon as I hit the water, the nervousness washed away and I knew what to do. It was a short swim in a controlled environment (pool) and it went well. I got stuck behind some traffic in the water but overall, it felt as good as a swim can feel for me. I felt pressured at various points to change pace based on other swimmers around me but was able to stick to the plan and race my race. I experienced some dizziness during transition one because of some water in my ears but once I hopped on the bike, it all got better. [estimated time 6:30]

Bike [15.8 miles]

I was excited to make good time on the bike but had a hiccup. The person directing traffic sent me down the run course and I rode 3 miles in the WRONG DIRECTION before someone turned me around (she said “oh sweetie, you’re going the wrong way”). My heart sunk in my chest as I realized I had just made a 10 minute mistake, but I then took a deep breath and repeated “it’s behind me, control what you can control.” I realized that I couldn’t change the past and all I could do now was bike hard and do what I could. I pushed hard on the bike, made up a lot of ground and make great time despite the mistake. I loved being on the open country roads, surrounded by corn and passing people along the way. Overall, this was a grind but I was proud of how I handled it and it led me to a quick transition two. [estimated time 39:00]

Run [3.1 miles]

The legs felt heavy after the bike but I tagged along with another runner and fell into a good pace. I was thankful that another friend caught up and helped me hold pace through the finish line. I saved some in the tank for the home stretch and felt strong crossing the line. Overall, the legs hurt but in the best way possible. [estimated time 22:30]


This was the best part of the race because I got to see my wife and her family who was cheering me on all morning. In my opinion, the best part racing was pushing myself, pushing others and feeling an overwhelming sense of love through it all. If you’re reading this blog, I couldn’t do what I do without YOU. The support, encouragement and belief goes so much further than you’ll ever realize. While I don’t know what is next (just yet), I do know that I have a lot to learn, a lot of room to improve and a long way to go. I’m just getting started.


The race was exciting, challenging and rewarding. Looking back, without the bike mishap, I could have placed near the very top of the crowd, but that’s ok because I learned a lot and had a great time. I’ve got the itch to do another race and I hope that you’ll follow along when the time comes. In the meantime, enjoy these wise words on endurance.

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.”

William James

Thank you for reading!

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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