There was a lot of nervousness going into just signing up for my first triathlon so I decided to sign up for 2 at the same time because I need to have 2 under my belt to fully comprehend this new sport I’ve stumbled on.
On race day, I drove to the race in a thunderstorm. Thunder, lightning and a downpour of rain. I was sure it would get canceled, or at least the swim would. As I arrived to pick up my packet I was informed that the race was still on! Maybe a slight delay but it would go on.
I was pretty confused receiving a bib number for my bike and lots of other small things that I’m not used to when running a road race. I tried to pretend like I had a clue what I was doing but I was a little lost. Luckily, I had a friend volunteering at the race and she was able to give me some pointers and make sure I was where I needed to be.
The Swim: Almost everyone is afraid of the swim but I have this huge fear of water when I can’t touch the bottom. It took me a while to get over swimming in the pool in the deep end. Now I fly through the water in the pool. However, I’m still getting over that fear in the open water. Especially in scary Lake Erie where you can’t see and there are crazy under tows. I only had 3 open water swims prior to this race.
Anyways, I put on my wetsuit and cap and headed to the swim start and was able to get in a quick warm up. I had a little freak out when I first got in the water to warm up but I pulled myself together and was able to calm down and get myself ready for the swim. The freak out is all in my head, I don’t start screaming or flailing my arms or anything. When then swim started, I ran as far as I could into the water and then when I couldn’t touch I started my swim.
As I start to actually swim I noticed the water was very rough out past the break wall. Everytime I tried to swim I just got tossed around. I could barely get a stroke in because the waves were knocking me back. I ended up rotating my swimming styles between breast stroke, freestyle and floating on my back. I kept telling myself “You are fine” “You’ve got this” “You won’t drown”. As I am telling myself this, people are clinging to the breakwall composing themselves or crying. I took quite a few gulps of water but finally made it to the turn to come back to shore. Doing so we had waves going in our direction and I was able to actually do a proper freestyle into shore. Total Swim: 14:32 (my goal was under 10 mins so I have some work to do). The best swim advice: There is no substitute for open water swimming. I don’t care how good or comfortable you are in the pool. the open water is a completely new ball game!
T1: I really know nothing about transitions but just tried to get ready to bike as quickly as possible. T1 time was 2:17 (My goal was under 2 mins)
The Bike: You think riding a bike is easy but I’ve found I have quite a few struggles with transitioning to riding my road bike. It’s also hard to ride my road bike in running shoes. in the rain. I was kind of shocked that I got passed A LOT while on the bike. I was pedaling as fast as I possibly could. Apparently I have to learn how to use the gears on my bike as I keep my bike in the same gear the whole time. Bike Time: 49:21 (My goal was under 45).
T2: All I had to do was park my bike and take off my helmet so this was an easy transition for me. T2 Time: 45 secs
The Run: Finally! The best part of the triathlon! The part I know I can do. The legs always feel a little weird after already completing 2 events. Which explains the weird shuffle thing that people were doing. Not me though, I was in my element and cruising. All those times I got passed on the bike now seemed ok as I passed multiple people on the run. I finished the run in 25:16 (My goal time was under 27!)
Overall Finish Time: 1:32:12 and 4th in my age group. I couldn’t be happier with my first ever triathlon finish. All day I just couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome it was.
Now the question I’ve received from a lot of people is “Are you giving up running and marathoning?” No WAY! I love running and marathoning. Triathlons are just a new challenge for me and something to tackle. It will be my summer fling:)
Looking forward to my second triathlon to see what I’ve learned since my first.