My First Triathlon
I’m in a place right now where I can’t put into words how happy, proud, and content I am with my race today. I didn’t put enough time into training and it showed but I pushed through, perservered.
The morning started nice and early, waking up at 4am to get a good breakfast in and put the finishing touches on all of my equipment. I don’t remember being nervous until I got in the car and started moving. I drove with Teri, who did the race with me, and we drove the hour long ride to Tarpon Springs. We got our bikes off the rack, got our gear together and headed towards check-in.
I got my chip, got my body marked (#7!) and headed in to transition. Since this is my first race, I was kind of shell shocked at the amount of people, the sheer amount of money that the bikes were worth, and the often strange rituals the athletes were taking a part in. Think; buckets of water to dip their feet in, religiously checking their tire pressure, frantically checking their watches…I suppose when there’s so little you can control about the race, you take whatever you can into your hands.
My “station” was in the front right hand most corner, allowing me to kind of spread out a little bit, which was nice. I set up all my stuff just as I had planned and stretched out. I went to the beach to watch all of the waves go off and get acclimated to the water. Allie and Teri were in the waves ahead of me so I got to see them both off which was really cool.
In the water, I’ve heard so many horror stories about being kicked in the head, being swum over, etc, but I only got kicked twice which was surprising and such a relief. The water got progressively choppier as we got further out and I took a few facefuls of saltwater. I started in dead last and finished the swim in only 6:41 which was AMAZING. I passed 7 people. So awesome.
The fastest I had ever done 10 miles was in 39 minutes so I was aiming for 45 because the course had a BUNCH of sharp turns. Two miles into the ride, I realized my tire was flat. Like, flat flat flat flat. Both tires. Crap.
I knew that I wasn’t going to stop in the middle of the ride because I wanted to badly to finish this thing. The course was amazing, and the volunteers were even better. Literally every 500 yards there was a volunteer cheering me on like there was no tomorrow. I loved every second of it.
Except for the part where it started POURING. Three miles into the ride, the skies literally opened up and I was drenched. Every ten seconds I would ride with one hand to shake off excess water. THe water from my hair was rolling down into my shoes so by the end of the ride, I had 2 inches of water in my shoes. The bike was 10.2 miles and I finished in 55:23, even with two flat tires and a hurricane.
At times when I struggled during the race, I developed a mantra. You’re doing this, and nothing or no one will get in your way. Anything and everything that’s been in your way before, is no more.
It really helped to focus on those words. Particularly because they were true.
Transition 2 was ridiculously quick. All I had to do was change out my shoes and I was on my merry way. Because it was still pouring, I decided against a hat as there was no need. My legs were pretty much jello for the first mile so I walked a good half mile to reintroduce my legs to the movement of running.
My knee was bothering me like something fierce so I decided to play it safe and went with a walk/jog routine to minimize any more damage that could be caused. The 5k course was beautiful, it went along a causeway to the mainland where it wrapped around a park and headed back out over the causeway. I normally hate out and back courses but this one seemed to fly by.
While I was in the park, the winds started picking up and I was literally being blown sideways, the rain was pelting my face and there were little kids who were trying to fly into the wind (kind of funny). I made my way through the sudden storm and headed back towards the causeway.
Crossing over the bridge, Teri was waiting for me to finish it out with her which was so cool. I ran the last 1/4 mile and finished under 2 hours.
I swear, there’s nothing like crossing that line with your arms raised knowing you did it. You accomplished what you had set out to do, and here you were, celebrating that moment.