Spoiler Alert: I’m a Triathlete!
Do you remember how worried I was about my first triathlon? It turns out that I didn’t really have anything to worry about at all! In fact, pretty much every minute of it was a blast! I went into triathlon day feeling tired and drained, due to three weeks of non-stop traveling and the unexpected death of a friend. I felt undertrained, and was nervous how I would hold up.
I participated in the Danskin Triathlon Series, specifically the one in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. It was a sprint triathlon: 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run.
Race Morning Prep/ Transition Zone: While I thought that Danskin handled the triathlon itself well, the set up was a hot mess, and the volunteers didn’t seem to know much of what was going on that day. We ended up driving in circles for awhile before someone was able to direct us to the parking lot. The line for packet pickup was chaotic, and no one there could answer my questions. I was so overwhelmed and tired that I came very close to crying in the parking lot. It was not the way I wanted to start the day. I set up my transition zone and then waited almost an hour for the race to start.
Swimming (1/2 mile, 20:52): I wasn’t too worried about this, as I’m naturally a pretty good swimmer. I haven’t swam in a lake in awhile, and the waves and people kicking around me definitely made it a little more difficult than lane swimming in a pool. I felt like I doggy paddled the first 4 or 5 minutes until people spread out a bit. My swim was strong and it felt like it flew by- I hardly had time to even think.
Transition 1 (4:20): I had never practiced transitioning before, so I wondered how it would go. Overall I think it went really smoothly. I had a water bottle that I used to rinse off my feet and then had a towel to wipe off my feet. This worked out perfectly! I also ate a few shot blocks and took my time to get something to drink.
Biking (12 miles, 43:13, 17.2 mph average): As you might remember, as of the beginning of July I hadn’t been on a bike in over a decade, and only got on it because I knew that I only had 4 weeks to train for this triathlon. The biking portion went really well, and I biked much faster than I have in any training ride. There were some slight rolling hills and a few sharp turns, and was a simple out and back pattern…except for one thing. At the end of the ride we biked over a bridge, and then turned around and biked back across it again. That was definitely a bit tough after the swim and bike, but the adrenaline certainly got me through!
Transition 2 (3:19): Because I didn’t wear biking shoes, and just wore my tennis shoes, this transition should’ve been faster. However, I took the time to take another drink and eat a few more shot blocks and stretch for a minute. I ran out of the transition zone feeling great!
Running (3.1 miles, 35:25): I wasn’t super concerned about this leg either, although I did worry the previous two activities if I was pacing ok so that I’d have energy for the run. I definitely was feeling a little tired when I started the run, but overall I was feeling pretty good. My PR for a 5k is 30:48 (i think! Or 28?- anyways, 30 minutes something), so this was definitely much slower, but 35 minutes is about what I’ve been running pace wise all summer, so considering that I had done 2 events before this, I feel pretty good. I had to take a few walking breaks along the way, and wasn’t thrilled that there was a hill at the one and a half mile mark, but overall the run went pretty well too.
Before the race started there was a woman walking around who was offering to write things on the legs of those doing the tri. I had her write this:
The last thing that my friend who died sent to us was a text that, in part, said “sweet existed” (it was supposed to be sweet excited)- it reminds me of sweet existence, and I found myself repeating that phrase every few minutes throughout the tri. Briana told me the night before my first half marathon in May “have fun- you only get one first half marathon”. I changed that around and a few times during the bike and run portion I thought “Have fun, enjoy every minute- you only get one first sprint triathlon”. You know what? I really did enjoy every minute of it, and towards the end of the run I really did think that I wished I could do another one in a week or two!
So- to put it in one single sentence: I finished a triathlon and I loved it!