First Triathlon Story - I did it!
This year I turn 45 and I set a goal to complete my first triathlon before my birthday. Well, I put it off and put it off and then finally six weeks week ago I signed up and committed to doing the Lake Davidson Sprint Triathlon in Davidson, NC. I also recruited ten of my co-workers to participate as well – misery loves company!
I jumped into the training fairly hard and quickly since I was out of shape and needed to get ready in a hurry. I really tried to work hard on my swimming and watched a lot of videos on Total Immersion, Swim Smooth, etc. They definitely helped me relax and improved my body position. In the last few weeks I also worked with my health club’s triathlon coach who reinforced the things I had been learning online and gave me some practice drills to help.
The night of the event, I went to the pre-race meeting and picked up my race packet. It was nice to have that done before the day of the event. It was one last thing to have to worry about. When I got home, I packed all of my gear and placed it in my bag in the order I would set everything up for the transition area. I made a list on my iPhone to make sure I remembered everything. I also packed an extra water bottle with a medium-sized tupperware container to rinse my feet off with after the swim (this really helped clean the grass off). I tried to go to sleep early, but it was hard to fall asleep. I finally did but then woke up at 2:30am and tossed and turned until my alarm went off at 5:30am
I woke up, put on my body-glide in all the areas I thought my get irritated and put on my tri suit. The water was too warm for wetsuits so I didn’t need to worry about that. Then I threw on some sweats over the tri suit (the morning was a little chilly) and ate a banana and half an omelet. I put my number on my bike, pumped the tires, and packed the car with my bags and headed out to the event. It was less than ten miles away so the drive was quick and easy.
When I pulled in to the parking lot there were already a lot of people there and I thought I was early! Surprisingly though, all of my nervousness went away when I got out of the car. I just felt ready to do this! I took my bike and bag to the transition area to set- up. Luckily I was the first on there for my rack and was able to get the end spot. I organized everything next to my bike as I had practiced and went to get my timing chip and get my body marked with my number. At this point I was very glad I picked up everything the night before. The registration line was extremely long.
With an hour to go, I double-checked the transition area and then met with my co-workers and then my family who all wished me luck.
Our swim started in waves of approximately 50 people at a time. I was in the second wave. I looked at the swim course (it was supposed to be 500 yards) and it looked long, but not that bad. As I stood there waiting my turn I looked back and the buoys were moved! Now it looked much longer! We found out later that they didn’t trust the GPS and ended up setting up the course to be 660 yards! Thanks a lot!
Our swim started on time and I started out to the first buoy. I set myself up to the outside, but still had arms and legs flying all around me. It was very crowded around the first buoy, but then I found some room to myself and settled in to my pace. I was surprised how even my breathing was and how I was enjoying this! I would still hit a leg or get run into a bit but it wasn’t too bad. After making the turn around the second buoy my heart rate went up a bit because I could see the finish. I drifted a little to the outside, but kept my course. That last leg seemed to last forever. I had read that you should keep swimming until your hand hits the bottom so you don’t have to wade in as much. So when my hand hit the bottom, I stood up – only to find I had hit a sand bar 35 yards from the finish! I jumped back in and was on land and running up the hill to the transition area. Well, I think I was running since my legs were numb. They felt much worse than the bike-run bricks I had done
I made to my bike, washed my feet in the tupperware container (that was nice to have), dried off and put on my socks and running shoes. I use the toe cages and not clip-in shoes. I ran my bike out of transition and started off.
The bike felt good. This course has three pretty big hills, but I knew where they were since I had practiced on the course a few times. I kept a pretty good pace and passed a number of people, including some co-workers which felt good. After getting through the last big hill I felt awesome! The hardest part was over. I felt myself smiling. This was great! It was all downhill back to transition and I quickly dismounted and rack my bike. All I had to do was exchange my helmet for a hat and take a final drink of gatorade and I was off on the run.
My legs were wobbly as to be expected after the bike, but after about a half a mile I settled in to an ok pace. At mile one I really started to feel tired, but I knew it was just a wall I needed to get past. The course looped a few times and I saw two of my co-workers not too far behind. That gave me the motivation to keep going. With a mile to go, I picked the pace up and sprinted as fast as I was able to across the finish line.
I did it! I never stopped! My wife was there to meet me at the finish and tried to hug me, but I told her you probably don’t want to do that yet. I needed to walk it off, towel off and get a drink. I went back to the finish line and shared war stories with all of my co-workers and a few friends as they crossed the finish line.
A day later I still feel great! I finished in 1:35 minutes and was the best time out of all of my co-workers (most of them in their 20s to early 30s!). I can’t wait to do my next one. I will make sure I have more than six weeks to get ready and hopefully improve in each event.
I have to say in closing that Triathanewbie.com was instrumental in my success. Reading the first time stories was great and really helped me be prepared for the event.
TriathaNewbie.com Recommended Resources:
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