Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My First Triathlon!

Wahooooo!  It was great!  I finished in 1 hr 54 mins, totally under my 2 hour goal.

I took a 1/2 day Friday so I could get to the tri for their open water swim clinic and first timers clinic.  My car had been having some more issues, so I took it in, walked home, walked to get my nails done, walked back to the car place.  Doesn't sound bad, but a couple of miles walking in flip flops with my hip still feeling janky wasn't the best idea.  I shrugged it off, grabbed my stuff, and hit the road for the hour drive to the tri site.

I printed out directions because, Lord knows where my GPS is, and I don't have a smart phone.  And this is the country, like every corner is a field (which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), but the roads are all numbers and I'm bad with directions...I ended up getting lost.  I got there at 5:20 and the open water clinic had started at 5.  I grabbed my race bib and shirt, took them to the car, and then headed down to the water where there was a group of women drying off, but one still in the water.  I made my way in and spent about 10 minutes swimming around, trying to get my sighting groove on.  The other woman's name was Kim and she was great!  It was her first triathlon too.  During the first timers clinic, they basically went through step by step of the whole tri and answered any and all questions we had.  I can be a nervous nelly, so this was awesome.  The next morning, I found myself answering questions that other triathletes had about the course!  I drove the 5K course on my way home, and sure enough, it was super hilly.  Still, I knew I could do it!  I went home and tried to relax a little!

In the morning, I needed to pack my stuff for the tri, a suitcase for a family weekend at the lake, and arrange my room so that the carpets could get cleaned (renew your lease = either $50 credit or get the carpets cleaned...duh!).  I just couldn't do it the night before. I am really a procrastinator!  I got everything in my car and left at 5:30am.  It was a breeze getting to the tri site this time.  Although I did eat breakfast (toast + pb), and I took some pain reliever just to make sure my neck was okay.  It says to take the pain reliever with a full glass of water, but I knew there were only port-a-potties, which I hate, so I just sipped some.  I don't know if it was nerves or the pain reliever, but my stomach was feeling a little nauseous as I was closer to the race.  I arrived just before 6:30, as the sun was making its appearance.  I got out of my car and started putting some stuff together to go into the transition area and started talking to the ladies next to me.  It turned out to be Melody!  That was super exciting and definitely helped calm my nerves.  I got body marked, set my stuff out, then it was time for a warm up swim.  The water was very calm and it was partly cloudy, which was great.  I got back for the pre-race meeting/USAT rules/prayer/national anthem.  Then it was time to head to the water!

Melody is in the green, I'm behind my car chatting with her an Tanya.

Leaving transition set-up (in the purple)

I'm in the green suit, to the left of the pink (olympic distance) caps.  Teammate Sarah is covering her ears due to the impending cannon blast.

I saw my teammate, Sarah, and she told me to start in the elite wave because I was a fast swimmer.  Girl be crazy!  I said I was definitely not starting in the elite wave, but I did line up at the front of the time trial start for the non-elite.  They fired a cannon to signal the elite wave start and then waited 2 minutes before they told me to go (why does the elite wave need a head start? hehe).  They said to walk over the timing mats, just so they could make sure it was working correctly.  I had my game plan of breathing every 5 strokes and sighting once or twice every 10 strokes.  Well, that went out the window once I hit the water!  I was holding my breath (instead of continual release), I was breathing in uneven patterns, and I definitely got passed in the first 100 yards.  I was all "oooh, ego check!".  But I kept up with her pretty well.  As we rounded the last buoy and headed back to the beach, which the sun was rising over, I couldn't see that well.  I knew the dock should be to my right, but I couldn't really see it.  They did have an ambulance with its lights flashing at the exit to help with the sighting.  The girl in front of me went far left and I was just a smidge left of where I was supposed to be.  I got out of the water, ran through the timing mats, then started walking.  Transition was several hundred yards away, uphill.  I wasn't trying to break any speed records, so I stuck to walking!

A little gallop into the water

Running out of the water, guess the others weren't too far behind!

Swim time: 6:13 (course marked as 400 yards)

I am at the end of the alphabet, which is how bib #s were handed out.  The people next to me in transition were the relays.  So there were a couple ladies there waiting for their swim leg to get done.  Pretty sure they thought I wouldn't make it due to the difficulty of me getting my socks on.  Getting socks on wet, dirty feet while standing on uneven, dewy grass is really hard!  Again, I walked my bike out of transition because this clumsy girl did not need a spill like that!

Starting on the bike was exhilarating.  It was a chance to take a minute to think about how great this was, and how tired my legs were already.  I started getting passed a couple of miles in, but I did pass 2 people on the bike - woohoo!  The course has rolling hills, so there was ALWAYS another challenge.  I didn't have too many problems besides being REALLY tired at about mile 9.  One hill just felt like it was never going to end.  I tried coasting on the flat parts! haha.  When I rode past the 10K turnaround volunteers, they were awesome, cheering like crazy, one was standing on top of an SUV!  I got to the 5K turnaround and started to see lots of women running and I was able to keep riding, but focus on cheering for them instead of how I was feeling.  I saw my teammate Sarah right after the 5K turnaround.  She was KILLING it!  I didn't have a "mantra" per se going into this tri, but all of the hills made me say "I think I can, I think I can".  Oh yep, I'm the little engine that could!   I made it back to transition, racked my bike, put on my race belt-thing, grabbed a gel and took some swigs of from my water bottle and I was off!

Rolling hills

Bike time:  55:11 (course marked as 12.6 miles)

As I was running out of transition, teammate Sarah was running into the finisher's chute into a great 2nd place!  I started to run down the first hill and saw Melody!  I was thrilled to see her and she was so close - obviously had lied to me...she told me she was slow!  Slow would have been walking the bike up the hills!  My running strategy, much like my swim strategy, fell to the wayside.  The brick effect took my legs full force and my strategy of at least 3:1 run/walk ration went out the window!  I was probably doing 2:1 there for a while.  I just went with the flow and cheered more runners (that were passing me!) and bikers on.  I got some water just after mile 1 and wondered how 1 mile felt like 5!  Near the turnaround we were no longer in the shade and it was getting warm!  I grabbed some water  there and felt my legs perk up a bit.  I was able to run 5-6 minutes a time or two and felt really good about that.  Then I stuck to running to a tree, a line in the road, etc. The photographer got my picture near the end.  There was one nasty hill at the end.  Melody caught up to me and we ran our way into the finish.  Teammate Sarah was there cheering me on, so great to see a familiar face!  They announced our names, we crossed, got our medals and were handed a water.  I was finished!  Official triathlete!

Run time: 44:48 (course marked as 3.1 miles)

Overall time:  1:54.27

In the unofficial results, I was 4th overall in the swim, 28th in the bike, and  32nd in the run.  Overall I got 31/34 women doing the Sprint.  That placing isn't great, but I knew I did the best I could on every part.  Yep, I was right, just got passed for most of the race, but I loved being able to be 4th on the swim! 

Yay!  The post race was disappointing to me.  At the first timers clinic they had boast how there was to be "chocolate and wine" at the finish line because this was an all women's tri.  Awesome!  Well, there were Hershey kisses and boxed wine.  LOL!  I don't drink wine, but yeah, I was expecting a little more than that.  I had a few Hershey kisses, a few pretzels, and the rest of my water bottle that I retrieved from transition.  I was excited for door prizes because this was a small place, and I am usually pretty lucky.  Well the announcer didn't draw bib #s, he asked questions.  Like "who was the youngest president?", "what is pi to the 10th digit?"  For real?!?  I don't even have a smart phone to look this crap up!  Needless to say no door prizes for me. Still kinda pissed about that.

TeenSwimSis needs to clean her mirror!

I packed up, drove 3 hours to the hometown, which was terrible.  I was so sleepy and my legs were a little crampy.  I drank half a coke because I didn't want to die in a 1 car accident in the middle of a Saturday.  I did go 7 minutes out of my way to stop at a legendary ice cream place.  Ohhhh it made my stomach hurt!  I was never one of those people who thought something could be too rich, but dang, this was it!  I made it to my dad's, got in my epsom salt bath, and watched and episode or two of Scandal.  SwimSis asked if I would bring a side dish to the lake.  Heck no!  I didn't want to do anything but show up!  Family dinner was great and the next day I spent 6+ straight hours on the lake.  Boating, tubing, swimming, kayaking, repeat, repeat, repeat.  It. Was. Awesome.

It was such a great weekend and I really loved every minute of it, except for the driving!  Next tri will likely be September 7th in the same spot!  Eek!  It may be a little late in the game, but I REALLY want to do this half marathon.  It is a race that is only happening once! How cool!  And if I'm driving that far to do a race, I am NOT only going to do the 5k!  Hmmm...start half marathon training while keeping the fitness level up for my next tri???  We will see!

PS Pretty sure when I started my blog 17 months ago, this girl would not have imagined I am where I am today!


  1. WOW!! Way to go girl! I'm soo jealous! I can not wait to do my first triathlon! ALSO... Way to go on the swim!! 4th overall?! That is awesome! ...I'd be so nervous to do the swim in open water!

  2. Ack, that's awesome! You beat your goal. you definitely deserved that ice-cream. :)

  3. Aaaah congrats!!! Nice job! Can't wait to hear about the half marathon training!

  4. WOW! Congratulations! What an awesome accomplishment!

  5. Amazing job! Congratulations on killing it in the swim! I've never done a tri but your post makes me want to do one!

  6. Wow! That's awesome, you are awesome. Thank you for going into detail. I've always wondered what a tri would be like. Congrats on the swim! Also, that weekend sounds great!