It started out as a “bucket list” goal that randomly popped into my head last winter. “I think I want to do a triathlon…you know, just to prove to myself that I can”. I picked out an early season tri and vowed to begin my 13 week training regimen the day after we returned from our wedding in the Dominican Republic. I just completed my first sprint Triathlon in Buffalo, MN on June 3, 2012. The training went well and somehow I managed to squeeze in each and every scheduled workout. Here’s how it went on race day.
I was insanely nervous going into the swim leg. I knew if I could get through this, the bike and run would be a “cake walk” – ha! I have had no formal swim training and knew that it was my weak spot. This triathlon was early in the season, which means (being from MN) I had very little opportunity to train in open water beforehand (brrrrr….). My only open water swims had taken place the week before, and I realized that it is an entirely different animal than doing laps in the gym pool. Moreover, I had heard many horror stories about the group start. I ran into an old friend about 60 seconds before the start of our wave. He reminded me that “you’re doing this for fun!”, which calmed me down quite a bit. When the horn went off, I did my best to stay to the side so as not to get a foot to the chin. Needless to say, the swim was the toughest part. Although I was completely exhausted coming out of the water, I am fairly happy with my 10:00 time (it felt like MUCH longer). I ran up the hill to T1 and my wetsuit slid off much easier than expected.
Wetsuit off – check. My feet were soaking wet and covered in grass (I didn’t bring a bucket to wash them off). It took a bit longer than I had planned to slip my wet feet into tight running socks. Next came the bike shoes, sunglasses, helmet, and I’m off running to the mount line.
Click in and take off. It was an incredibly beautiful day – 75 and sunny. The 13.5 mile ride took us through some nice rolling hills. There were volunteers at each mile cheering us on. Overall, I had a fairly smooth ride, averaging about 18mph. It was fairly uneventful but for the end – as I rolled into the dismount line, I clicked out and got nailed by another biker as I was getting off. Somehow I managed to stay upright but he flew off his bike and must have scraped himself up pretty badly. I think he was just coming in too hot and didn’t hit the brakes in time. Our bikes were stuck together, and we managed to dislodge them after about 10-15 seconds. A few bruises would develop as a result. Onto T2.
My legs felt like lead as I ran my bike through the transition area. C’mon quads – you’re not done yet!! I managed a fairly quick transition, hanging up my bike and switching out my shoes. I took a couple of quick swigs of electrolyte mix and ½ a chocolate Gu packet, grabbed my ipod and ran off.
Running through the transition area, I strap my ipod to my arm and hit play. Let’s do this thing. I get out on the course, which leads around Buffalo lake. What a beautiful place to run. Halfway through the first song on my playlist, my ipod quit working. NOOOOO! I am very dependent on having my music when I run (I know, I should get used to going without). So the whole run I kept trying to hit play with no success. The darn thing sure picked a terrible time to bite the dust. So I started singing Ke$ha in my head to keep myself entertained (really). On the way back into the finish, it felt so great to hear all of the cheers from spectators. I pushed it across the finish line for an overall time of 1:24:23.
Races are a funny animal. The whole time you’re doing it, you’re saying to yourself – “why did I decide this was a good idea again?”. Then the minute you finish, you can’t wait to register for the next one. The rush you get crossing the finish line makes you completely forget about the pain you endured getting there.
Will I do another? Sure…I plan on doing one more sprint Tri this season. I definitely need to work on my swimming. Maybe duathlons are more my cup of tea :)
How did YOUR first race/event/game go? Did you have any unexpected bumps in the road?