Nine months ago I was barely splashing through a couple breathless laps at the JCC pool. Nine days ago, I swam 1.2 miles in a murky lake, biked 56 hilly miles, and flew through a half marathon all in 6 hours and 9 minutes.
The morning of the race was tense after two sleepless nights sleeping at the campground inside the park where the race was to start. We had an ideal camping spot -- closer than a hundred yards from the finish line. I'm debating internally if I could have finished better had I slept in my own bed both nights of the race. Regardless of my front row campsite, it was fun being in the race atmosphere the entire weekend. It meant that for being a beginner, I had resources to help me figure out what exactly I needed to do on the morning of the race.
My training buddy Tim and I left the campsite at 5am to set up T2 and to meet Katie to head down to where the swim was to start as well as setting up T1. At this point, I had heard a thousand times, "Are you ready?" I think it's such a strange question to ask someone who is about to start a race. Ready or not, the race is happening and it doesn't matter either way.
After exiting the transition area, we waiting casually to get in the water with our age groups. About ten minutes before I was to get in the water, a girl who I used to coach at Aquinas spotted me and kept me company for the remaining minutes. I don't know how anyone recognizes anyone in ridiculous triathlon outfits, especially a swim cap and wetsuit. We hopped in the water about 15 minutes late and we were off! Although I thought the swim was the highlight of the event, it seemed to have gone on for an eternity.
Swim time: 41:09
Transition One: 2:31 -- almost 2 minutes faster than at the KC Triathlon. What was I doing at the KC Tri? Painting my nails? Brushing my teeth? Bird watching?
I ran out of the lake with a big smile on my face. Although being run over by a fast group of men behind us, I felt like I had swam comfortably and had gone in a relatively straight line. I couldn't believe how much fun it was, and I was ready for the bike. I took significant time off of my first transition and I didn't even use the wetsuit "strippers". In fact, I didn't even notice that they were there. I felt good about 41 minutes.
I hopped on my bike feeling confident. As I exited the park and began to climb the first long hill across the dam, I didn't feel quite right. My legs felt like I had biked for days. I tried to tell myself that it would take a little bit to get in the groove, but that did not happen. Right around mile 20, I had a hard time controlling my anxiety about how my legs were feeling. I tried to keep pushing, but kept losing confidence as people who appeared much less fit than me were passing me like I was going 5 mph.
I felt like I had been biking forever. I was so frustrated. I thought I had prepared for the hilly course and was completely defeated and devastated when I pulled up to the second transition.
Bike time: 3:36:54 OMG!!!
Transition Two: 1:28
After the disappointing bike ride, I had a pretty smooth transition and shot out of the transition area looking forward to how I was going to feel going into the 13.1 mile final leg.
I could tell within the first couple miles that I would have a decent run as long as I kept taking in water and Gatorade. I was greeted by my adoring fans (aka Mom and Dad, my boyfriend and my sister and her husband. My longtime friend and client Vicky also showed!). I must have seen my fan club at least 30 times. I needed it! I couldn't stop smiling once I realized I was going to have a good run. I gained over 100 places in the female division and 13 places in my own age group. I couldn't believe how easily the run had come to me. I spent very little time worrying about the run during my training and I was extremely satisfied with my finish.
Run time: 1:47:32
Finishing time: 6:09:34
My initial concluding thoughts were filled with disappointment, frustration, and embarrassment. My expectations were ruined following a tiring bike ride. Since then, my friends and family have been extremely supportive and encouraging when I'm sure the last thing they wanted to hear from me were complaints about my overall time. I had worked hard and spent hundreds of hours on the bike and in the pool anticipating this day. I trained and I finished my first long triathlon.
And so now what?
Here are my options:
- Rest/do normal stuff like half and full marathons
- Another Half Ironman in October
- Full Ironman in August
I should have wrote about this a few weeks ago when it was fresh in my mind. I completed my first "real" triathlon on May 18th!
After my "successful" open water swim earlier in the week, I thought I had shook off the rookie nerves but when I got into the sand at Longview Lake beach, I said "what am I doing???" I ended up being just fine although I certainly didn't break any records swimming. Maybe this was because I looked up after about a minute of swimming and I wasn't going in the right direction... Anyway, I straightened out and managed to pass a bunch of people at the end of it. I was shocked and amused about what I saw when I raised my head out of the water to breathe. Several people were doing a backstroke and some others were doggy-paddling to save their life.
And then the swim was over! My journey of 1) learning how to swim, 2) getting over my fear of deep water, and 3) feeling good in the water was complete. It only took 8 months....
My cold little feet scrambled to my first transition. The barefoot run was pretty painful but I managed to do what I thought was a smooth T1. After the race, the numbers didn't appear to show that it was smooth. Over 4 minutes - yikes! I took off and mounted my bike and continued on.
The bike right ended up being about what I expected. It was a hilly-ish course and I did it in about 50 minutes and 18 mph. I lost some ground trying to remove my feet from my shoes but then I was off and the bike was over.
I don't remember the last time I ran a 5k. I had no idea what I could run such a short race in so I just stuck to keeping my respiration rate at a healthy level. I finished it in just over 23 minutes and feel okay with it. I'm not much of a "sprinter".
I was greeted kindly at the finish line by my supporters. Even the Flogels got to witness my first triathlon. My mom looked at the results and told me I got third or fourth in my age group. When I got the printed receipt, it said I had won my age group... Ummm??!! So I got a cool beer mug trophy and a satisfied feeling that finishing Kansas 70.3 is not only possible but will be fun!! I'm addicted....