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|First Triathlon Story - Jen Schmitt
As I sit here tonight trying to type this post I seriously don’t even know where to start. I don’t want to bore any of you with the play by play, but there is so much to tell.
I of course could not sleep last night so finally at about 4:00 AM I just gave up and started checking the weather, reading other blogs, etc. My alarm was set for 5:00 AM, by that time I had already eaten by planned rice cake with peanut butter and a cliff bar. It didn’t take me long to get ready and we were on the road. I was SO NERVOUS at this point; I just played some songs off of my IPod to try to calm myself a little. I was freaking out thinking about the wind blowing directly out of the west which meant we would be swimming into it. I finally calmed down and told myself the one thing about this is everyone is going to be dealing with the wind; it isn’t like I was the only one trying to swim into the wind.
Rob and I got to the race, unloaded, got marked, and I started setting up my transition. I felt like such a newbie, but then I heard the announcer say out of the 400 and some people there today over 100 were first timers! Just hearing that announcement made me feel so much better! We had to ride a shuttle bus to the start which was on a beach across the lake. I said my good byes to Rob and was headed for the beach. Once on the beach I stood next to a few ladies and we quickly started chatting, the water was much warmer than the air so we stood in the water about to our calves while we waited about 25 minutes for the start. After just a few quick announcements things got rolling fairly quickly. The waves were 3 minutes apart and I was in the 3rd wave. Since you are reading this you know I did not drown! I am a tad bit disappointed in myself because I kind of threw out all of my prerace planning once I hit the water.
I cannot even begin to explain the experience that is starting the swim portion of a triathlon. If you have done one you know what I am speaking of, they told us to go and I ran out until the water was about at my waist and all of the sudden there were arms and legs everywhere. My mind immediately went back to the Rockford Country Club swimming pool days of playing shark in the pit with all of my friends and brothers! People were grabbing, kicking, and slamming into me and I had even started toward the back. I am sure the lake lost a few gallons of water that I gulped when trying to find a path to get the HELL out of there.
Now, I have read multiple articles, books, and blogs about triathlon and have read about how scary this can be, but no book can compare you for what this feels like. I finally really took off and told myself just get to the other damn side, however you have to get there just do it. I did the freestyle a little, but have no idea how far. I slid back into the old reliable side stroke and finished my swim in 15:47, absolutely nothing to write home about my goal by the end of the summer is to get that down around 11 minutes. :) (Yes, I think there will be more tri’s in my future!) I wasn’t the last swimmer in my wave and even caught a guy from the previous wave, but the leg grabbing and getting hit in the face continued for the entire swim so I was happy as could be to see that boat ramp!
Rob met me at the edge of the water and cheered me on to the transition area. I felt like I went really fast getting out on my bike and my transition took 2:11. Probably could shave some time right there, too.
As I was leaving on the bike I saw some of my fan club! They had signs and were waving; it was so nice to see the girls, Mom, Dad, Jackson, and Will. The bike was an out and back route and for the first 7.5 miles we pretty much road into the wind. I felt good and passed six or seven people before the turn around. I knew I wasn’t going very fast because of the wind, but I just kept pedaling.
After the turn around my average speed was right around 20 mph the wind helped a little and gave my legs a little break, too. There was a bad bike accident on the other side of the road. My first thought when I saw the ambulance was oh my lord; my dad is going to be freaking out. If you know him, you know that he is an absolute worry wart! I am sure he was quite nervous and it was one of the first things he asked me about after the race. I completed my bike in 56:45, I think the wind slowed me down quite a bit on the way out, but I was okay with my time.
My transition from the bike to run took 1:31. My legs were super heavy when I started out and my run pace was right around 9:49, I just kept telling myself to try to keep moving and keep it under 10:00 miles. My legs still were feeling very heavy around mile 2 and that was about the time that I was approaching the hill. I just kept plodding along. I did pass a couple of people on the run, but not many. Once I could hear the announcer I kind of started to get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I knew my family was waiting at the end, I knew I had gone faster than my “practice run” on Mother’s Day, I knew that I had just completed something that I never dreamed I would do, I knew my time wasn’t a record smashing time, but it was mine and I am happy to own 1:46 and 5th in my age group!
Rob and I stuck around to watch some Olympic finishers and wait for the door prizes, I didn’t win anything or get a medal, but I did accomplish something today and I am super proud of that!
I truly want to thank everyone for all of their support! I couldn’t have done it without all of the notes, messages, hugs, and comments. I really am thanking everyone from the bottom of my heart. I think there were some people last fall that thought I was crazy signing up for a triathlon, but I did it and I crushed it in my own way! You will have to follow along to see what is next, I think maybe some late night online race registering may be in order! (If I can keep my eyes open, I am so exhausted I think once my head hits the pillow I won’t move.)
This year I went from being a wanna be athlete to a TRIATHLETE! (Someone told me today that it was okay to call myself that from now on.)
What are you going to do this year for yourself this summer? Who are you going to become?
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