After coming back from spring break, the first week actually flew by last week. That’s not to say that this weekend wasn’t much appreciated or enjoyed, because it definitely was. I had a couple of fun activities with girlfriends that I had lined up for this weekend, but instead of a weekend recap I’m just diving into each one as a separate blog post. First up: my first triathlon experience!
Don’t mind my backwards shirt…I threw it on wrong at transition
Tori emailed me last week mentioning that there was a mock triathlon being put on Saturday morning by a running store in the area. She did it last year with a friend who hadn’t done a tri before, and it seemed she was willing to help me out with tips and tricks of the triathlons trade this time. I have been slowly learning over time that the more I learn, the more I realize I still have to learn.
The “race” was very informal and was perfect for a first timer. There was a course talk at 7:45 and Tori and Patrick met me at 7:15 to help me setup and figure out the things I needed to know ahead of time. The plan was to swim half a mile, bike 10 miles, and run 3 miles. It was freezing when we got there. The 55* would have been perfect for a run, but to be there in a speedo and Nike Pro spandex shorts was another story. There was no hiding under arm warmers or a hat.
We walked the half mile down the beach to the place where we got into the water. We swam in the ocean; there weren’t waves because it was the sound between the barrier island and the mainland, but it was still murky and salty. I haven’t swam in open water since college when I played water polo and we did some open water swims on spring break training trips. I didn’t remember what to expect, so when I put my face down in the water and couldn’t see anything, it kind of freaked me our for half a second before I got over it and realized why I was going to need to spot the end of the course.
Tori and I had talked about doing the whole thing together, but somehow all those caps started to look alike, so I just decided to swim the whole way and then we could meet up at the end of the swim whenever we were both finished. Swimming in open water is different too because of the lack of walls. I was always slower on the walls when I swam in high school, and I guess it’s because I kind of viewed them as a break. Swimming one straight distance without little flip turn breaks was definitely a bit different. I was more tired by the end than I normally would be in the pool by that distance. My arms especially were tired. I need to get in the pool more and work on pulling! I finished the 1/2 mile in 14:56 and then we were off to transition.
When we were running to the start my ankle already started bugging me, but I ignored it for a second. Transition takes time! Between putting on the shoes to ride in, strapping on the helmet and sunglasses, and sticking all the stuff where it belongs, there’s so much to think about. I learned a couple of important tips from Tori: put my sunglasses in my helmet so I’d remember to put them on, and put my helmet upside down so I could just throw it on. Tori was also kind to wait for me to throw on a long sleeved shirt (hence the reason it’s backwards in my pictures). It was cold, and I needed it for all the wind on the bike!
I. love. biking. I still love running, and I’ve been a swimmer since I was 6 years old, but to finally own a bike and to experience riding on the road is the most freeing sensation. There were several bridges to ride over that were a bit tricky, but I learned a bit more about gear changing on hills and also got more comfortable with riding on the road when there are cars. The course was two loops of 5 miles each, and though it wasn’t the most thrilling, it was a straightaway besides the turn arounds and also included the perfect amount of hills to flat land.
I felt comfortable riding behind Tori and starting to learn about how far behind someone to stay and also how to ride with someone else. I was surprised to learn that you really can talk to someone when you’re riding together. For some reason I didn’t think it would be possible, but it turned out to be so! I got tired by the end, for sure. It appears that my lack of steadiness on the bike will keep me from fueling properly until I can get the hang of riding with one hand. I guess it will take time to learn. I know as I spend more time with it and learning how to get better at it I will improve.
We finished the 10 miles in 38 minutes.
This transition didn’t take as long because I don’t have clipped pedals. I didn’t change shoes and just threw my bike back up on the rack, took off my helmet, threw on a headband, and was ready to go! I know it will take more time once I transition to clips.
The run was supposed to be three miles and was similar to the bike course. I ran about 1/4-1/3 of a mile before I decided not to finish the run because my ankle was hurting. Because there was no official time and no finisher’s medal or even an official finish line I didn’t mind pulling up on the run. No one cared, and it served me better anyways. But I will say, that feeling of running after being on the bike is a strange on. It’s hard to explain. Tori said her friend last year suggested it was like running in sand. I would have to agree. I said I would like to see a video of myself running, because I swore I couldn’t possibly have looked normal at that time. Tori finished out strong, and then we met up at the transition area to pack up and head back to the cars.
I feel SO much more comfortable heading into IronGirl Clermont than I would have had I not participated in this event, and I’m so thankful that Tori told me about it and that she and Patrick (her fiance) walked me through it. I’m learning from the best!
How was your weekend?
Have you done a triathlon? Any additional tips for my next one in a few weeks?