For a couple years now I happily watched on the sidelines as my husband and buddies competed in various local triathlons. With practice, I’ve become quite the sports photographer. Not only quick with facial recognition in a fast pace environment, but maneuvering from spot to spot sometimes even climbing chain link fences to get a good shot. I’ve learned Triathlon is definitely a different beast than just long distance running. Even as a spectator, my heart races with excitement. So many times I’ve found myself cheering and being proud of complete strangers. Although I’m a runner to the core, there’s an appeal to triathlon that I felt the need to explore.
This past weekend I completed my 2nd triathlon (SheROX). A year ago I wished for the courage to just try. With the help and encouragement from some awesome people in my life (thanks Monika, Mike and Hubby!), I took the plunge and in June and did my first sprint distance tri. It was more fun and exciting than I imagined it would be. Sunday morning I found myself prying on my wetsuit again and scanning the swim course thinking “Oh crap, I thought it was only supposed to be 500 meters.” Luckily, safely tucked under that wetsuit was the courage I had wished for a year ago.
The Swim (750 meters; 20:59)- I’ve probably only swam this distance a handful of times IN MY LIFE and it shows in my time! I jumped into the pool the Wednesday prior to the race, but before that it had probably been a couple of months. The first 200 meters I felt my chest was going to collapse. The cold water and sudden intensity were shocking. I didn’t find sighting to be a problem, mainly because I was in the back and just followed everyone else. “Don’t freak out. Calm down, calm down. You’re not going to sink,” I served as my own swim buddy, trying to separate my sensible side to the side of me that wanted to climb on the closest lifeguard’s surfboard. I felt myself get into a rhythm once I had more space. 2/3 of the course in, the fast girls in the next wave caught up. By my finish some girls from two waves after were running along with me to the transition area. The volunteers were pros and got my zipper down as I ran, making stripping from my wetsuit a lot easier. Mental note: Get butt into the pool.
The Bike (12.4 miles; 46:57)-It’s a common theme in my life, but one I don’t seem to be learning from. No training = poor time! I managed to pass mountain bikers and even one beach cruiser, but that’s about it. Everyone had their wave # written on their leg and I watched girl after girl in later waves pass me by. I am not an efficient cyclist. In fact, I don’t even think I can call myself a cyclist. I have a road bike and I ride it occasionally, that’s it. I haven’t even found the nerve to clip in. Of the three disciplines, I like biking the least. I’m not positive it will ever grow on me, but I’m not putting a craigslist ‘for sale’ ad out on my bike just yet. Maybe a leopard print saddle may make me like it more? Mental Note: Find an animal print saddle.
The Run (3.1 miles: 24:58)- I had a bit of fun on the run. It is the area that I have the most confidence. As soon as my legs got used to being off a bike and running, I played “Beat the 7.” I would spot a girl with a 7 (my wave) marked on her leg and sprint pass her. I passed a few 7’s in this game. It probably saved me from a last place finish =). Mental note: You can improve your run. Wear socks.
The Finish 1:37:07– 56th place out of 81, yikes! I was really happy to see Ben and Monika at the end of the race. I had attempted the run without socks to save seconds in the transition area. In the time span of 3 miles a blister formed and the skin ripped off. OUCH!
SheROX is an all women triathlon series and a race I wouldn’t mind doing again. I loved the energy radiating from everyone. The race shirt was cute, and the volunteers were great. It was missing a beer garden so I do have to knock it down a couple notches. Time will tell if I have the discipline to get better at this sport. Triathlons are challenging mentally as well as physically. In order to do longer distances I will need to train harder. There are some distances you just can’t fake your way through.