My first triathlon experience!

So as Ang said in her last post and some of you know, I have been training for my first triathlon and it was such a great experience! I was very nervous the day before while picking up my race packet but knew I had to get to bed so I could get up very early (4:30) to make it to my race in good enough time! It started at 7 and the transition stages opened at 5:30 with the place being half hour away so with the help of some melatonin the night before I felt pretty good the morning of, considering the time my alarm went off.

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The nice people who ran the tri provided me with a checklist of what to pack the day of, which was nice because if I was going to have to think the night before or day of it was going to be about my times, not about packing. Speaking of times most (smart) people who are doing a big event like this for the first time let that set the standard for the future and don’t really set a goal. Not me. I started off with some serious goals, trust me, as I was going through my training they were changed multiple times. However, as I was going through my 9 weeks of training I was feeling more and more confident about my bike and my run, I was really starting to enjoy seeing my times drop and my endurance get stronger. My biggest challenge? Swimming. Swimming is hard, like really hard for me. Being that I have a limited budget right now I couldn’t afford to buy a gym membership to a place who had a pool and I figured after spring break, all the pools would be open and I would be able to get quite a bit of training in then. Boy was I wrong. Not only was no pool open after spring break, they still aren’t and my tri is over. So in all honesty, I was able to get into a pool approximately 5-6 times in all of my training. NOT recommended. Especially since my tadpole medal from kindergarten was not shining through in those 5-6 times I was extremely worried.  This is why I started off small people, 275 meters, anyone can do that with no training right? Wrong.

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Out of 18 people in my age group, I ended up 16th in the swim. I was able to swim normally for the first 100 meters and ended up on my back til the end. No shame in my game. Plus, they started us in the shallow end and we finished in the deep end, just as everyone is dog tired!!! Who planned that?! Anyways, I digress, boy was I soooo happy to see that ladder to lead me far far away from that water. I ended my swim with a time of 7:41,  my goal was 6:30 needless to say I have a lot of work in my future and I am extremely happy this is the shortest part of my race.

 

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On to the bike, LAND, thank God. Side note: it was raining, and VERY windy, we were warned heavily not to take any risks because far less of us would find the gold at the end of the rainbow if we did. I had issues with my bike in the days prior, needed a new tube and was having issues off and on with my brake rubbing but we went to a bike shop the day before and it seemed as if my baby was running pretty smooth. So, running to the transition I found my bike with no problem, popped my helmet on, tried to get my shoes on as fast as I could (went with no socks) and got a quick sip of water put my extra sports bra on (with my number) and I was off running out of the area and on to my bike to complete the two lap 14 mile course. My goal for this round was sub 1:00, however, I did not find out until the week prior that it was a 14 mile course instead of a previously stated 13 mile course, so I was a little worried especially factoring in the wind and rain but I was determined to make up for lost time. I used a LOT of self talk in this race, there were zero mile markers so all I had to go off was turning onto the second lap knowing that 7 miles was over, I looked at my watch on that turn and I was under 40 minutes, I was very happy with this since the wind took a lot out of me and going out of the transition stage I was between 10-11 minutes so I was right on pace. The second lap was still pretty windy but my mind was going through it knowing that it was the last time I would be doing so, so I gave it my all. I ended the bike with a time of 59:50, this was good for 5th in my age group.

 

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On to the run, I rush into the transition where my boyfriend was waiting for me, rack my bike, grab my GU and take off, “WAIT, you still have your helmet on!!!” I was too excited kids, I just wanted to finish this out strong, I swear to you I called that that would happen. I told my family that I would probably forget to take my helmet off and I came through! Ha, anyways I ran back and threw my helmet to my bike and took off. My butt HURT, I had some thin bike shorts on but I do not know what it was, even in training my butt never hurt this bad but I was sore, had to put it out of my head and get going, 3.1 miles to go, I’m in the home stretch. I see that running is not a strong suit for many triathletes, which is very surprising to me since that is the one that requires the least equipment and is least effected by the environment, I felt good, I was passing people little by little. Of course we start staggered but it didn’t make me feel any less good by passing some people! Anyways, like I said before there are no mile markers so I had nothing to go by but seeing the finish line, I take that back, they had a 3.0 mile marker, of all markers there’s one that tells you that you are .1 miles from finishing, props to that idea. Not. Anyways my last mile..ish I came in really strong I had no idea other than knowing when I took off on my run my watch said about 1:12. I come running through my last .1 with as much as I have left. I stopped my watch at just over 1:37, final time 1:37:02, which 1:37 was my original goal before my 13 mile bike was 14. So I was a pretty happy camper. Turned out my run was 25:42 which is about 8:17 pace, better than I had been practicing and I was very happy with this after a tough bike and swim from hell. Here are some happy faces after finishing with my support group, my boyfriend, mom and dad. 

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Overall I was happy to be done but even happier that I hit my goal and saw that I was capable of endurance and that most of my training paid off in the end. I ended up 3rd in my age group and in the top 40% of all male and female competitors (over 650). Now I am looking forward to the next one! who knows what I can do with out some wind and a little swimming under me! So as we are leaving I was walking barefoot to the car and as there is a pause between conversation I hear a rubbing sound. My brake was still rubbing on my tire, the entire race, I’m sure that helped!!! Anyways I will leave you with a few tips if you want to endure a tri and some things I learned the hard way.

1. Make sure you do a full check on your bike prior to your race, this sounds dumb but even the day before I thought all was okay and it could have skimmed seconds or even minutes off my time.

2. I was SO thirsty during my bike, the swim took it out of me and all I had was a plastic water bottle, that would not fit in my holder on my bike, so make sure you get a water bottle that fits your bike bottle holder!

3. Train in your race shoes, I knew I wanted the fastest transitions possible so tried many different options, socks, no socks, new shoes old shoes, elastic laces. Final day I switched. I don’t regret my decision, no socks, newish shoes an elastic laces. my shoes were a little small but I was in race mind so I didn’t care but my toes were done after that. Practice transitions trust me, you don’t think putting your shoes on takes long but it does.

4. Make sure you are prepared with equipment and print a map of your courses, it will make you feel more comfortable day of. 

5. Finally, have fun, invite some people, tell your friends so you are accountable and push yourself in training, these events are expensive so if you are doing one you must be committed! 

Thank you for reliving my day with me! 

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