What's the difference between a non-triathlete and a triathlete?
1 hour 52 minutes and 16 seconds
Today I competed in my first triathlon! The Tri Latta Sprint Triathlon: 750 m swim, 17 mi bike, 3.1 mi run.
The goals for this race? Finish and have fun
It was intense but a lot of fun. In fact, I had so much fun I wondered why I haven't done a triathlon sooner.
But I almost didn't start at all. I freaked out before the swim. Tears were shed, my hubby said we could go home but I was determined to try tri.
I only did one open water swim in preparation for my 750 m lake swim during the tri. And it went awfully. At the start, I seriously started to doubt my swim training. And I'd heard SO many horror stories of people getting kicked in the face or panicking during the swim.
I had a tactic. Stick to the outside and a wait a minute for everyone else to get ahead of me before I took off.
In theory it sounded good. But this was a novice triathlon meaning I was surrounded by newbies. Everytime I would put my head down in the water and swim, there'd still be people around me. Some just floating on their backs. And worse, it was a staggered start. A new wave started every 4 minutes. I was in the last wave of women and men started after me. Doesn't that sound backwards?
I took the swim slowly. I swam freestyle for a few seconds then did modified breast stroke to get out of people's way.
The good about my technique? I wasn't tired or out of breath at all. I knew I was going sloooooow in the water, but I was surprised how quickly each buoy came up. I also knew I'd have tons of energy for the bike and the run. The bad about my approach? I was SLOW.
Luckily, I never got kicked in the face and I never freaked out. But I knew if I ever want do another tri, I really need to work on my swim confidence. Physically, I could have done the swim much faster. But my fears got the best of me.
I finished the swim in 21:49. 121 of the 183 women who competed today.
I was thrilled to be out of the water! I quickly ran up the hill to my first transition.
I never practiced the transition from swim to bike. I just told myself "go slow" so I didn't forget anything important- like my helmet, bike shoes, sunglasses, Garmin. There was a lot to remember! I also took this time to eat a snack because I haven't mastered eating on the bike yet (I just learned how to drink on the bike without falling over on Friday).
T1 took 4:17... one of the slowest transition times. Oops!
I ran my bike out of the transition area and to the mound/dismound area. I was terrified about clipping in with my new bike shoes, but it was a breeze.
(This is where my pictures end. Hubby tried to find me on the bike and the run, but he couldn't )
The bike was my favorite part of the whole triathlon. I'd only done 6 road bike rides (the rest of my training was on the spin bike) so I was expecting to be at the back of the pack the whole way. But I passed a bunch of people.
I enjoyed the rolling hills course. Even though it was hot and humid out- already in the 80's at 7:00 am- I never felt uncomfortable. I love how you feel a breeze while biking. And slowing down and speeding up was so easy. When running, I never want to slow down because I worry it'll ruin my groove. But when biking, I just took it easy whenever I needed a break.
For the first time ever, I could see why my cyclist-loving husband enjoys biking so much. I didn't glance down at my Garmin until it read 11 miles. I couldn't believe I biked 11 miles. The time literally flew by. I felt fine and full of energy. Never ever have I felt that way 11 miles into a run!
I did the 17 mi bike ride in 58:55. 39 out of the 182 women competing.
Next came transition 2. I once again took my time switching from bike shoes to running shoes, helmet to visor, grabbing my number (I had a race belt that I attached my number to. You only need to wear the number on the run) and hydrating.
T2 took 3:25.
Now it was time to RUN. This is my event. This is when I knew I had this triathlon thing in the bag. I took off like crazy running up the road. Then the race turned into a trail race An out-and-back trail race. The trail was so narrow that it was hard to pass people at most times. I was SO frustrated. I wanted to run faster, but I couldn't get around people. I also started feeling the heat of the hot sun and how tired my legs were at this point. It's funny that as soon as I started feeling frustrated, negative energy engulfed my body and the fun race experience turned miserable. I trudged on, reminding myself that the run was the fun part.
And before I knew it, my race was over and I was a triathlete!
I finished the 5k run in 23:52, 4 out of 182 women.
My overall time for the tri was 1:52:16, 39 out of 182.
After the race, I was really proud of myself! I hadn't swam freestyle for literally 20 years before I started training on May 2. I'd been scared for years to bike in the road until I started training. Finishing this race gave me a lot of confidence. Facing your fears head on is kind of amazing that way.
My husband also couldn't be prouder than me. He's happy to have a tri buddy, though now we'll need a race photographer! I couldn't have done this race without his help. He's chaperoned me on each bike ride, taught me how to swim, built my bike and gave me some amazing tri insight. I'm a lucky girl
A couple of months ago I read a triathlon magazine article where experienced triathletes shared their first tri experience. They all said after their first race that they felt a high, had so much fun and couldn't wait to compete in their one. At the start of my race this morning I thought of that article. I thought they were all crazy. I honestly thought at that moment before entering the water that this was going to be my first and last attempt.
What a difference 1:52:16 makes I definitely see more tris in my immediate future. Hopefully an Olympic distance and 1/2 Ironman before the year is out!
This week I'll share my post-race reflections and my training plan. So stay tuned!
Becoming a triathlete, though, wasn't even the highlight of my weekend. On Friday night, Brittney and I hung out with my next husband favorite singer, Chris Daughtry!
And by hung out, I mean went to the sound check, hugged him and his band members, got a professional picture taken (I'll share when posted), got some more Daughtry swag and went to the awesome concert. It was amazing! This was my 6th time seeing Daughtry and second time meeting him. Told you I was a huge fan.
I had a great time and was so happy Brittney came with me! She's such a fun concert buddy and seemed content to put up with my craziness