First Triathlon: I Didn’t Drown

I did it. I finished my first triathlon. Granted, it was a short one, but still. I did it. And it was fun, too (fun in a strange sort of way). And most importantly, I didn’t drown.
I had one of the best weeks at work that I’ve had in a very long time, and was able to get an abnormal amount of sleep over the course of the week, so I was happy, well-rested and raring to go yesterday. Not cool because it was the day before the race. It took all the energy in me to resist the urge to get outside and do some sort of physical activity. Luckily it’s not summer because I probably would have dug up my entire garden, and painted every room in my house, draining that precious energy. Instead, I put my hands to work crocheting a blanket while watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. It was a solid, lazy Saturday. I fell asleep reading stories about Ironman athletes. Crazy people. Although I finished my first triathlon, I’m happy to report that I don’t have any urge or huge boost of confidence to sign up for an iron distance race anytime soon :P. Not yet, slow steps…
Since I was in bed by 10 PM prior to race morning and I didn’t have to race until 10:20 AM, I had a nice long sleep (with no crazy dreams), and a leisurely morning at home.
One chocolate espresso bean left. It must be race day!
I was getting a little antsy, so I decided to head to the YWCA early to check everything out and connect with friends.
Fooling around before my race with friends and mini dinosaurs (inside joke).
 Time flies when you’re having fun, so in no time I had to start getting my transition area setup, body marked (so badass), and get a couple laps in the pool before the swim start. And bam. All of a sudden, it was time to start the 500y swim. I ended up sharing a lane with a first-time triathlete who backstroked the entire time. He didn’t create too much choppy water, so he was the perfect lane buddy. I honestly don’t remember too much about the swim, and maybe that’s due to my lack of oxygen. It felt like I was floating or in some special make believe dream land. When I had two laps to go, I saw a couple of the young Otters boys jump out of the pool (probably about 4 minutes before I was done). I didn’t let that bother me though. I am not a hard-core swimmer. I wish I was faster, but for now slow and steady for me. In a short amount of time, I was able to hop out, too.

I ran from the pool deck to the gym where my transition area was set up, and my friends were there waiting for me. They cheered for me, but all I remember was being in a fog, and saying something to the effect of “uggghhh, I’m so wet!” They responded with something like “yeah, you just got out of a pool.” Clever. With bike shoes on and running shoes in hand I started to run from the gym to where the stationary bikes were positioned outside of the track. I resisted the urge to throw up in the garbage can along the way. I came close, but I’m happy to report that it soon passed. It must have been the donut mile that thoroughly prepared me.

And then I faced my next challenge: a 10 mile ride on a stationary Keiser bike. I had no issue getting all clipped in, and then it was just fast legs. My goal was to spin so fast that I couldn’t see the rpm callout on the screen (>140 rpm), but I also didn’t want my legs to combust with spinning too fast. Biking was mentally challenging for me since I wasn’t going anywhere, and it seemed like the 10 miles took forever. There was music playing, but nothing interesting to watch. I’m grateful to Bob, one of the volunteers who came over and a.) gave me a towel since I was very, very wet, and b.) told me to try some one legged drills. This kept my mind occupied for the last 2 miles. I would spin very fast for 0.2 miles with my right leg, 0.2 miles with my left leg, and repeat. And then, boom. 10 miles. Take off bike shoes, put on running shoes and run 2 miles!

I also don’t remember much during the run part of the race. My legs were so darn numb at this point. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been plagued with various minor aches that intensify as I run, but today I didn’t feel any of them. I tried timing each of my laps, but then soon got bored and too tired to lift my wrist and press lap :). I’m thankful for my awesome lap counter because it was hard to remember which lap I was on. At some point in the run, I questioned why I was doing this. Why would I pay money to put my body through this crazy amount of pain? I just had to look at all the awesome people around me. Friends and even strangers were shouting out words of encouragement every single lap, for 16 laps. These people are awesome to be around. I’m also doing this because it’s part of my happy journey. I came from such a low place, and now I’m just so happy. There’s a great amount of satisfaction that comes with setting goals you thought were never possible, and working hard to get there.

After the race, I was able to enjoy burgers and beer guilt-free with a couple of friends at Northbound Brewpub. Since I now know that this is the sport for me, I also made an attempt to sign up for the YWCA Women’s Triathlon happening in August. Because that’s happening.

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