I am officially a triathlete!!
Yup. I did it – I jumped in a pool and swam 400 meters, biked 8 miles, then ran 2.2 miles!
A few months back I heard about Tri for the Cure from my friend (and old boss from my AMC days!) Rodi on Facebook. After looking into the race a little I decided that I really wanted to do this tri – it seemed like the perfect first one. I decided to try out a few laps in the pool and if I felt okay, then I would sign up and start training.
The first swim was difficult, but I knew that with some practice I would get better. So I jumped right into training. My plans got slightly derailed when I had to have emergency surgery to get my appendix removed and couldn’t swim, bike or run for over 2 weeks. I contemplated not doing the race, but decided that I might as well give it a shot – and that finishing it no matter what would be a great achievement.
So I signed up last week, then Saturday morning I went and picked up my race bib and got to work on packing for the race! After everything was all packed up I was a little surprised just how much stuff I needed!
Luckily the race was in Chandler – so about a 5 minute drive from home. We arrived with just enough time to prep my transition area and listen to the pre-race meeting. There was a slight last minute change to the bike course, but it was just a minor detour to avoid some road construction. During the pre-race meeting I spotted Rodi and we had a chance to say hello, catch up a bit and give each other some words of encouragement.
At 7 am the swimmers started – one person started ever 15 seconds. I was number 516 so I had almost a 2 hour wait until it was my turn to start. I also spotted Ari – who had come to cheer me on for the event, she even made me an awesome sign! My favorite part is that she wrote “swim, bike, run, talk” on the top corner – boy does she know me well! When my time got closer I walked around and chatted with a few fellow triathletes – the girl behind me was from Canada and does tons of triathlons, oh and she is an amazing swimmer.
Before I knew it, it was my turn to get in the water! I got a 3-2-1 countdown then I was off! once I was about halfway down my lane the girl who started after me whizzed past me (which I was completely prepared for – she ended up being the #1 swimmer in my age group). I just trucked along swimming the best I could, trying to stay calm. Lance and Ari were down on one end of the pool cheering for me – I could hear them each time I got to the edge to flip around. At one point in the swim I passed about 3 people (I was totally shocked!) but on my last lap one of the reclaimed her spot in front of me.
After hopping out of the pool I quickly jogged over to my transition area. Putting on socks, shoes and shorts while your sopping wet is harder than you’d imagine! but I think I did pretty well time wise (the transitions were not separately timed for this race). I grabbed my bike, hopped on and pedaled my heart out!
The 8 miles flew by pretty quick – it was a nice flat course so I maintained a good pace and was able to pass a few bikers right from the get go. After completing my first lap I passed Lance and Ari who were cheering for me again – to which I responded with a few rings of my new bell! I decided to wear my camelbak for the bike ride – which turned out to be the best decision ever! I saw so many people struggling with water bottles but I was able to keep riding and get hydrated :)
I thought for sure that I was going to fall when I tried to hop off my bike, but luckily I made it off somewhat gracefully! Then hurried over to my transition area to remove all my biking gear, grab my bib and head out for the run.
As soon as I came out of the transition area I saw Rodi who was cheering for me! I managed to pass a few girls and then spotted Lance and Ari up ahead. I knew that the run would be hard initially since my legs were tired, so I was trying to keep a good steady pace and remind myself how close I was to the finish. I caught up to a couple of girls I had seen randomly throughout the race (one girl had passed me on the bike, then about a mile later I caught back up and passed her).
After the first lap of the run I was questioning my sanity and was seriously considering walking – I was hot, worn out and ready to be done. I came around the corner to the start of lap 2 and there was Rodi again, yelling words of encouragement! That was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I kept pace with the girls in front of me and was directly behind them once we got to the final stretch of the race (which was one lap around the track). On the last turn Ari came up to tell me I was almost there – I think I just nodded then sprinted to the finish. There was no freakin way those two girls were going to finish before me (competitive much? haha) I was behind them the entire run and all I could think about was that I desperately wanted to finish 1 step in front of them – so I did!
So here were my final stats:
- Swim – 10:26
- Bike – 34:32
- Run – 16:58
- Total – 1:01:55
- #13 out of 31 in my age group
Over all I really loved the triathlon – it is so incredibly different than running a half marathon (and I’d definitely say it was more challenging as well). But I had so much fun doing it. I am positive that this will not be my last triathlon – I am ready to do it again!
After the race Rodi and I exchanged congratulatory hugs and took a few photos. This is a small tangent but I can’t say enough how lucky I was to get to work with such an inspirational woman like Rodi. She was training for her first half marathon when she was my general manager and I loved hearing her running stories – ever since then I have had the desire to run a half marathon of my own. I’m not sure if I’d be a runner today if she hadn’t inspired me! I loved getting the chance to complete my first triathlon next to her, so thank you Rodi for being such an amazing strong and passionate woman!
A huge thank you to Ari and my wonderful husband Lance – it was incredibly uplifting to have people there to support me and give me encouragement when I needed it! And a huge thank you to my wonderful readers and friends on twitter/Facebook who took the time to wish me luck!