Let's backtrack for a minute back to June 6th. My first triathlon. Truth be told, I never thought I would find myself racing in a tri. I'm not a swimmer, and I don't cycle, so it makes sense for me to stick to running races! Last August, one of my best friends decided it was time for me to learn how to swim. She taught me a basic freestyle stroke with the idea that we could train together for a tri. Unfortunately, she had some medical issues that prevented her from competing, but she was really the one who pushed me to sign up for this race. Thanks, Alicia!
I was a nervous wreck for several days leading up to the race. A few days before, Alicia and I went out to the reservoir so I could practice open-water swimming for the first time. It made me MORE nervous than I was before! The water was frigid (it had snowed significantly just three weeks before!), and I was gasping so much that I was having a hard time breathing. I recognized that it was making my exercise-induced asthma flare up (it's always worst when it's cold), and I really started doubting if I would be able to complete the swim, which was 750M, or about a half mile. I was terrified that I would get way out into the reservoir and then not be able to make it back.
Alicia and her husband (who was also competing) picked me up the morning of the race to drive out to the reservoir. I was so grateful that she was there to show me the ropes and help calm me down. She snapped a quick photo of me before the race started, too:
I have the best friends! I borrowed the wetsuit from Sarah and Nicole lent me her awesome road bike so that I had all the equipment I needed to compete.
This particular triathlon was unique in that it had a wave strictly for beginners. We were the last wave to start. As we were down on the beach watching the other waves begin, I was able to chat to a few other women who were also first-timers. That helped more than anything else to alleviate my fears. ALL of us were concerned about swimming in open water, and I quickly realized that nobody would be swimming over the top of me or shoving me under the water in this group. That was a big deal!
And in fact, the swim went really well for me, surprisingly! I didn't have to hang onto any of the kayaks, and though I wasn't the first one out of the water, I certainly wasn't the last! I even passed a handful of swimmers that had started in the wave ahead of me (the swim caps were color-coated by wave--that's how I knew)! I probably swam about half of the distance freestyle, and the other half on my back. It worked for me--I didn't drown! :-)
My friend, Sarah, had recommended that I take my time in the transitions, so I did. I got a drink, changed out of my wetsuit, and made sure my feet were nice and dry. Then it was on to the bike portion of the race.
And it was my favorite part. This past winter, I started doing a cycling class at the rec center at least once a week. That was 100% how I trained for the bike, and it was pretty good training! Nicole's bike was great, and the course was just beautiful. It was lots of rolling hills, and some of them were pretty tough. But I absolutely loved it. My only close call came when I was flying down a hill and I saw a huge rattlesnake in the road. It was dead, but I didn't know it as I was approaching, and I tried to swerve out of the way so I didn't run over it. I about biffed it, but luckily I caught myself. Disaster averted!
Adam and the kids were back at the transition area to cheer me on when I came back from the ride. Ty had had a late baseball game the night before, so it was a slow-going morning for them. I totally get that! But it gave me such a boost to see all their cute faces before I started on the run!
Surprisingly, the run was the hardest part for me! About halfway through, I got a terrible cramp in my quad and had to stop and stretch for a couple of minutes. I was slow. Actually, it was the slowest 5K that I have ever run! I guess the fact that I had swam half a mile and biked 12.5 miles before explains that. But that was the only disappointing part of the race for me.
Finish Time: 2:01:29
I didn't have a "goal time" in mind, since I had never done this before, so I was completely satisfied with my results. Even more so when I learned that I had finished 13th out of the beginner wave of 60. But I know where I can improve and what I will do differently in the future to beat that time!
Yes, I am planning on doing another triathlon. Actually, Adam and I have plans to compete together in another sprint tri at the end of August. I really loved competing in a triathlon far more than I expected to! I think I might be hooked!