As promised, from yesterday’s #NaBloPoMo post, here is a little recap of my 1st Triathlon. I can’t believe it’s been three weeks already since I crossed that finish line!
Back in August, I took my husband’s challenge to put the cross training in biking and swimming to good use and I completed my first Sprint Triathlon. He told me that I could do it and I believed him. It was hard, but I did it! It was especially hard as a brand newbie swimmer, but it was an awesome experience. I can’t wait to do another one, after I learn how to swim better, much better!
With my husband serving as my personal one man pit crew, paparazzi, chief encourager and nerve soother, we arrived at the race location. I could tell that he knew I was on edge, as he seemed to be extra cautious with his words and actions that morning. I tried to be extra sweet, but don’t think I was very good with that. I had gotten myself worked into a bundle of nerves over this thing. It was the swim portion of the race that I knew I wasn’t ready for. I just wanted that swim to be over with!
The bike racks were already full by the time we arrived, so I had to find a place along the fence to set up my transition area. I liked it that way though, as I knew it would be easy to find my bike after the swim.
Six weeks from the time of starting beginner swimming lessons to doing your first triathlon is not enough time! I’m serious when I say beginner. My first lesson was how to blow bubbles in the water! The morning of the race, it was 55 degrees, which isn’t bad compared to some of the temperatures we’ve experienced at the start lines of our half marathons. But this race involved getting in a pool at 55 degrees, then jumping on a bike and riding in the wind while wet. Ask my husband and he’ll tell you. I don’t do cold. It didn’t help that I waited for over an hour to even start the swim, standing barefooted on cold concrete. So yes, I was a bit chilled that morning.
It was finally my turn to jump in the water. I panicked a little right off the bat. The water depth was at 7 feet which is well over my head. I was supposed to jump in and swim from there and I hadn’t trained that way. I was used to starting from a standing position at the end of the pool lane. Glitch one!
“They”, meaning people who do races, tell you not to do anything new on a race day. I wanted everything to be perfect. Everything matched, because I knew that should make me at least 10% faster, right! My goggles were looking a little foggy and I wanted them to look shiny and new. I read online that if you use baby shampoo on your goggles, they won’t fog up, so I tried it the day before the race. The goggles were nice and shiny and they matched! The problem was, they didn’t seal around my left eye. Maybe it was the lavender baby shampoo that made a difference. I don’t know, but have you ever tried swimming with one eye shut? Glitch two!
I did make it to the end of those incredibly long lanes! I had to rest often, but I wasn’t alone at those rest stops, so that made me feel a little better. Waiting until the end of the pack to start the race had some definite advantages. I didn’t get kicked in the face and no one swam over top of me. I had to pick up my pace to break away from one guy who was doing the backstroke over the top of my legs, but that wasn’t so bad compared to the horror stories I had read about. I was so glad when I came to the end of that last lane and I even had enough strength to pull myself up on the side, barely, which was almost glitch three. I was out of the pool and that dreaded swim was over. I thought it would be a piece of cake from there and it pretty much was.
I felt really good once I got going on the bike. I started passing people and was surprised that I really wasn’t cold at all. I knew I was making good time on that portion. The only glitch on that leg was coming back to my transition area and finding that someone else had stolen my spot along the fence, so I had to go find a spot on the rack for my bike. I didn’t like having my bike separated from my transition area, but I did what I had to do and stayed focused.
I was especially surprised at how hard it was to go into the run after biking and swimming. I had done some “brick workouts” in my training to help me be prepared for this, but apparently not enough. Plus, I’m sure that the fact that I had just been easing back into running after being off for four weeks, didn’t help. I announced myself as I came up behind people to pass. “Heavy breather passing on your left.”
Finally, it was over. I crossed that finish line more winded than I have ever crossed a finish line before, but I think more thrilled than I ever have been before. I was a Triathlete!
I was lousy at the swimming, but made good time with the bike and transitions. My total time was 1:34:35. I finished 2nd in my 55+ age group, which I was very happy about, even though there were only three people in my age group. My overall ranking with the women though was 71 out of 131, so not too bad for a newbie at my age with almost all of the women being younger. Ok, it was a big deal for me, so I just had to tell you about it. #NaBloPoMo