Finally the culmination of an entire summer’s worth of work came to fruition! Race day! Being a triathlon newbie, I got to the race early, 5AM. I could only sleep about 5 hours. The transition area where you hang your bike was muddy. I setup my transition area and hung around in my bare feet along the side of the lake which had a concrete sidewalk and watched the sun rise. What a great time to mentally prepare. I’m thinking please don’t freak out in the water again. The announcer was playing music and giving instructions on a really loud speaker. We gave pause for our national anthem.
The olympic distance waves started first. I think my group was the 2nd to last wave in the water for the sprint which started an hour later. Still very grateful to have attempted the swim course a week ago, I made my way to the back of the line and kept telling myself, pace yourself. It is no fun feeling like you can’t get air in your lungs. That works! The goggles on your face only keep the water out and don’t aide any anyway to your vision. I think that’s kind of helpful, because you have one target out and one back and that’s all you need to know. (that and find your space). If you keep telling yourself to breathe you fall into a rhythm. During practice I always repeated the lap number in my head, this was different, I tried to focus on the music and that up next would be the best part…the bike ride! Swimming is fun, just not when you panic.
Since the transition area was muddy, I decided to carry my shoes and bike past the mounting area. The really good people clip their shoes to the bike, mount and stick their feet in the shoes (that are held upright by rubber bands). This looks really cool, but threatens disaster for me…taking a little more time to avoid that disaster was totally worth it. The amount of people riding on the bike race was thrilling. My family was there to cheer me on and it made me happy. I now had a decision to make… to pass or not to pass? I noticed I was going a lot faster than my practice runs for longer. I also felt like I was pushing myself to that point where I can’t get enough air in my lungs again…not good. There were some people on really nice bikes whizzing by and I was able to whiz by a few also. My speed was about 20 miles per hour the entire 12 miles, for me that’s good. The road was flat and the wind wasn’t bad. Police officers were stopping traffic through intersections and we had one lane just for us marked by cones on the open road. The ride was the best part of the race! Clipping out went fairly smoothly so I started to run with the bike back to transition quickly running out of breath!
Onto the last leg of the race! I’m not a fast runner, however, I have trained for heat indices pushing 100 degrees. Once again pace is key. No headphones are allowed so you can enjoy the heavy breathing behind you as someone begins to pass you. They mark your age on your calf so I’m looking and thinking ok, 20 yeah, they should be passing me. But if you get the same gender and older passing you, OH NO WAY! LOL! That happened once and I switched into a faster gear! I remember passing a 1 mile marker on the trail and thinking, only one mile…nooooooo. Then at the end hearing the music once more, I wanted to finish strong. It was really fun that my kids were there and starting running along side me. It made me realize though that I was going too slow…so I stepped it up again.
SO FUN!!!!!! People of all shapes, sizes and ages participated. Everyone I met was so nice! I’m pretty sure I met my goal for time, with transition my fitness tracker says 1 hour 30 minutes to swim 1/4 mile, bike 12 miles and run 3. Whoo hoo!