I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this post about my triathlon, I wanted to earlier, but this time of year always does me in. I’m up to my eyeballs in projects for Thanksgiving and Christmas so there is no such thing as free time right now. However, I need to get this all down before I forget, so I’ll make sure not to answer the door or phone until it’s done this time!
First of all, thanks to Lindsey for convincing me to do this, and thanks to Cresta for reminding me that it’s on my list when I thought about NOT doing it. And thank you to Melody, Trisha, Lindsey and Meili for training with me. I would have never done this without all the help along the way no matter how small the push, it all helped! Meili, thanks for being a good sport and completing the race with me. I can’t believe your very first race ever was this tri! You were awesome and I’m so
jealous impressed with your natural athleticism, and am so happy we conquered this goal together! It was fun!(?)
I learned so much while training for this race. There are probably quite a few things I would do differently, but overall I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. My goal was to finish around an hour and a half, and I was 2 minutes under my goal. Considering I rode a mountain bike instead of a road bike and started to get a nasty cold the day before, I was actually ecstatic and shocked when I found out my time. After this race I told Jake I finally felt like an athlete. Not that I didn’t really before, but I think I discovered how much my body is really able to do. It was empowering to say the least.
If you’re thinking of participating in a triathlon, here are some little tips that may be helpful (or not) that I came up with:
- Get a training buddy. Or 2. Or 3. It’s so much easier to train if you have someone to workout with and to push you when you don’t want to jump in the freezing cold water for a swim.
- Make sure the pool you’re training in is going to be heated when the outside temps drop. Maybe get a temporary pass at a gym that has a pool. That way you can swim, bike then run without worrying about weather, bikes, etc.
- Find your bike before you sign up. Buy or borrow a road bike, but do it in plenty of time so you can train with it. If you try and find a seat post on a vintage race bike the week before it’s not going to work! For real.
- Don’t worry so much about what to wear race day. Try different combinations, then see what you are most comfortable in. Not everyone dresses like those you see in the Iron Man races, so as long as you’re not trying to race in your p.j.’s you’re going to fit in just fine.
- Over prepare for race day. Bring a jacket, beanie, gloves, and items for any weather. Bring extra fueling items and a bike pump. Even if it is super warm on your race day and all the extras sit in your bag, you’ll feel more at ease knowing you were ready for anything.
- Don’t drink too much on the hour long drive to the race, or while waiting for the race to begin. I wasn’t so smart this time, but I had one more reason to not stop running at the end when I didn’t really want to run anymore…
- Relax! Don’t worry too much about all the unknown in terms of race day. Talk to those who have done it before (if possible) to ease your mind and tell you what they would do differently next time or what worked for them. This is a HUGE help!
The only thing that held me back from doing a tri before (besides the time commitment) was the idea of swimming in a race. I’m not a strong swimmer by any means, so I wasn’t sure this was something I could physically do. The first time I tried to swim the 400 meters I kept choking on the water and my lungs felt like they might explode. It also took me over 30 minutes! (that’s really slow btw) I really wondered if I was cut out to even do the race.
I had to re-learn how to breathe in a pool and luckily I know an incredible swimming coach who gave me some wonderful tips that greatly helped me improve my time. By the 3rd week of workouts I had almost cut my time in half, which gave me a lot of hope! I really came to love my swimming workouts and even miss them now. Yes, there were times that I jumped in a freezing pool when it was under 60 degrees outside that weren’t so fun, but the post workout feeling is pretty nice. You can feel every part of your body working together, or in my case attempting to work together. It’s like a full body workout without all the gear and the sweat!
The race I did was also held in a pool vs. a lake (which would completely freak me out) and we swam serpentine style. Basically one person would swim down the first lane, then would go under the rope and swim back to the start wall until the next rope and so on to the end of the pool. Every 10 seconds the next person in line would be allowed to go and so forth. We were in the middle of the crowd and I think we waited at least 45 minutes to get in the pool. Thank goodness the sun was out to keep our backs somewhat warm, but the gel that I had eaten right before we entered the pool area ended up wearing off mid bike ride. I really should have packed an extra on me… anyway, I finished the swim in a little over 11 minutes. It wasn’t my best time, but I was so happy when it was over! (the pool was heated, which was wonderful, and the water was warmer than the air)
My transition to my bike was pretty quick. I only had to put my shoes and socks on and re-pin my number on my swim tank. I thought I was being smart pinning it on a long sleeve T before the race when it was really cold, but by the time I was done with my swim, it had warmed up and I was plenty warm from the swim! I felt like I got a great start on the bike and I cruised along pretty quick on the first half of the course that was slightly downhill. I did get passed by 5 or 20 bikes, but I passed a couple myself too. The last quarter was a little harder, but of all the events I think the biking was the easiest for me. I’m really thinking more seriously about biking a century now that I’ve been training on a bike more.
After the bike my legs turned to jello. I took a little longer on my transition than I needed to try and give myself a little break. Even though the biking wasn’t too bad, my throat was killing me and my lungs were not too happy either. I walked/limped for the first bit, then decided to start running after I could feel my feet again. I really wanted to walk, but I knew if I did that I would never be able to start running again and that would totally kill my time. (I also drank too much if you remember, so that kept me moving as well)
The last mile of the race was pretty miserable. I was running on a dirt trail right next to a concrete wall and it was really hot outside. Well, maybe 75 degrees, but it felt sweltering to me at that moment. I was exhausted by then for sure, but it was my throat that was bothering me more than anything. I thought for sure that I had strep or something equally terrible again, but I didn’t. I did sleep for 3 hours after the race, and again the next day, due to racing while sick. There was no way I was going to miss my race though!
Right before the finish line I saw Jake and the kids waving from the side of the dirt trail. They gave me the boost I needed to speed up and finish the race strong. Funny how a little thing like that will get you going when you don’t have anything left. Okay, maybe it was 4 little things.
After the race I got my medal, my bike and the rest of the gear and sent Jake to put it in the car. I got my meal ticket and went over to the breakfast table to find out that only orange and apple wedges were left. What the?! Didn’t they know how many people signed up for the race? There were plenty of people behind me too! Swell. A bagel or muffin really would have been nice…
Instead Jake, I and the kids proceeded directly to Rubio’s where I devoured the best grilled chicken tacos of my life. Then I promptly fell asleep in the car for the whole ride home. The end.