Thursday, August 12, 2010

Triathlete

A week and a half ago I completed my very first triathlon!  Woohoo!  It was 1500m of dirty water swimming, 15.96 mi of grueling biking, and 5.46 mi of hilly running.  It was HARD!  And at times I don't know how I kept myself going.  But when I crossed that finish line it was all worth it!  Congrats also to Laura Mozdzen and Austin Gunn (my partners in crime) for completing their first tri also!  You both did wonderful!
I was pretty nervous when we got out to Sugar Bottom in the morning, but kept trying to get myself to relax and calm down.  Laura and I went for a short jog and I got on my bike for a short warm up before setting up our stuff in the transition area.  Then we got in the water to test it out, despite it being quite disgusting--I couldn't even see a foot in front of my face--it wasn't too choppy or rough.  It was then time for the pre-race meeting and that's when my nerves really started kicking in.  Laura kept telling me I would be fine, but I decided to say a few prayers just to be safe.
The 5 or so minutes after the first wave took off seemed to take forever but finally it was 3-2-1-GO!  And we were off!  At first I was a wreck, I forgot all about form and I was breathing hard and zig-zagging everywhere.  But about halfway out to the turn-around, I got into my rhythm and was breathing steadily and just went.  It was much easier from there!  The rest of the swim went off without a hitch and was actually easier than I had imagined.  Next I was out of the water and running up the beach to the transition to bike.
The biking portion, unlike the swim, was not as easy as I had hoped.  We first had about 4 miles of biking to the back entrance to the trails, and there were a lot of steep hills!  Then you get to the trails which are even worse, with sharp turns and hills!  Sometimes I was just hanging out to my handle bars for dear life!  Many times during the bike, I didn't think I was going to make it.  I had to use several tricks to keep myself going including singing to myself--"She's as pretty as a picture, every bit as funny as she is smart. Got a smile that will hold you together, and a touch that will tear you apart....She's heaven on the eyes, but boy she's hell on the heart" (Eric Church's Hell on the Heart) and the Iowa Fight Song.  I also talked to myself a lot and asked God to help me.  The people that passed me (which was quite a few) were also wonderful and encouraging!  Thank you!  So yeah the biking was definitely the hardest part.
Then into transition and out on the jello legs.  At this point I thought it would be a good idea to "gel" or swallow some disgusting goo.  It was just that-disgusting-and I definitely gagged, but it did help my legs.  I was dragging after 3 hours of working my body, but I kept running!  At this point the volunteers were really cheering me on, which was extremely helpful!  One guy even said something that made me break into a smile to which he replied, "Hey there's a smile, see it can't be that bad!"  So to all you volunteers, a big thank you, you were awesome!  I had to walk a lot on the run because the hills were huge, but with the help of some Gatorade and water I kept going.
The end of the run was all downhill (yes!!) and as I was approaching the finish line, I had this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and got the goosebumps!  It was AWESOME to say the least!  I finished in 4:05:40!  You can check out the full results at http://www.pigmantri.com/jmsracing/results10/xsugar10b.html. Overall the experience was wonderful!  And I now know why people say triathlons are addicting because I am already looking for more races to do!  Hopefully soon!

Cyclocross hill.  It looks nice now, but by the time I got there it was a pit of mud.


I can now call myself a TRIATHLETE!
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