Yesterday at this time, I was at the end of the bike course of my first triathlon.
Making memories, and living my life as a "Goal Making Machine" (thank you Mizfit)!
I have to first tell you guys that I am so proud of myself. I am even more proud of myself today than I was the day after my marathon. I'm not sure what the difference is, but something about doing this triathlon was more difficult to me. For this event, I had to be swimbikerunmentally prepared.
Nothing (and I mean NOTHING) could have really prepared me for the reality of this swim. When we stepped in the water, I felt a creepy "squish" between my toes that does not happen in my chlorinated gym pool. Swimming in a murky lake is much different than swimming in a pool. Don't get me wrong...I swam in many a murky lake/creek/river growing up in the country. However, the last time that I did that, I walked out of the "CRICK" (as we call it a back home) with leeches on my feet.
Let's just say that memory has scarred me a little.
My wave left at 7:49AM, and by 7:51AM, I was fully immersed in an MMA-style match with more seaweed than I even care to discuss. I am thinking about changing my name to "Swims With Seaweed" after this ordeal. It was really gross, and I was not prepared for the seaweed aspect of this swim at all.
Here is my depiction of the swim route:
Wherein the black squiggly lines inserted in the picture are colonies of seaweed. The big pictures of black squiggly lines indicate periods when I felt like I was in a bad horror film, and I was the first scantily-clad swimmer on screen. We all know what happens to her...she gets engulfed by the seaweed and dies. Yes, I daydreamed this movie scene several times while fighting with the seaweed monster.
Besides the seaweed throwing off my groove, I am also a very slow swimmer. As a result, every wave that left after mine passed me. Just imagine those scenes on The Discovery Channel where all of the animals in the desert get spooked, and they all run full speed ahead in the same direction. Unfortunately, there's that one poor little slow ass Desert Mule Deer who gets caught up in the mess and gets trampled on. Yesterday, my friends, I was the mule deer.
I could literally hear each of the waves as they closed in on me...
As I heard the sound get louder and louder, I would start sucking more and more water as they passed. Eventually, I figured out that I could time it so that when I heard the "thwap-thwapping" getting louder and louder, I'd flip on my back and backstroke until they passed.
When I was somewhere between the 230 yard mark and that next patch of killer seaweed, I heard the race director across the lake on his microphone announcing that it was 8:25AM. I knew that my wave left at 7:49AM, and if I didn't finish the swim in an hour, I was disqualified from the race. It was at that point that I started to really find my mojo, and even though I had to freestyle/backstroke interval my way through the rest of the killer seaweed patch, I finished in about 43 minutes.
Entering transition 1 (T1), I was completely out of it. I had very efficiently organized all of my items into "swim", "bike", and "run" bags of their own, but for some reason I couldn't wrap my brain around where to begin. I was trying to catch my breath and get my wits about me, and it took me much longer than I expected. I also couldn't get my Garmin working at first (for some reason it took me through the whole setup menu). However, I really was not concerned about racing out of T1--I wanted to make sure that I didn't forget anything. At this point, I took a Gel (I use GU Chocolate and Vanilla, and they are yummy!), got on all of my gear, and rolled out. It took me 9:22 (I'm still laughing about this time...it didn't seem like that long).
Nothing very eventful happened on the bike. I knew that there were going to be parts that were difficult (the course is described as "rolling hills", which is very accurate), but all in all it was just as difficult as I expected.
It also helped that I had already done a couple of practice rides on the bike course, so there were no surprises for me. In hindsight, I'm really glad that I had already done the bike and run courses in advance because it made me feel more prepared on race day.
I took 2 gels during the 17.5 mile bike--one around mile 5, and one at mile 10. I also drank 1.5 bottles of water because I knew it was incredibly hot outside and I was sweating my arse off, so water was very necessary. I finished the bike course feeling really good. I was tired, but surprisingly anxious to start the run and finish the race.
Going into the race, I had already decided that even if I walked the whole run, I was going to still finish in less than the required 4 hours, 30 minutes. I also decided that if I NEEDED to walk the whole run, I was not going to diminish my accomplishment in hindsight just because I wasn't able to run. A triathlon is still a triathlon.
In Transition 2, I took another gel, put on my running shoes and rolled out. My legs were feeling very strange, and I immediately knew that I was going to have to at least walk the hills. One thing about this race is that the bike and run are both very hilly, so I was going to do what I had to do to finish at that point. I ended up jogging most of the flat parts of the course, and power walking up the hills. I tried to jog the last hill when I only had about .25 mile until the finish, but my legs just weren't having it. I walked it and then ran to the finish.
Hooray!! I finished!!
My official time was 3:03:43. If I had taken less time in the first transition, I would've finished in under 3 hours. I'll probably laugh about that until the day I die.
But, regardless of how long it took me, I did it. And I'm proud of my accomplishment.
I checked another goal off of my list.
I'M A TRIATHLETE!!