Sunday, June 26, 2011

Olympic Distance Triathlon: Check!

I can’t say that today was the easiest of days – physically or mentally. But I can say that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and came out smiling. Today, I finished my first Olympic Distance Triathlon – a 0.9 mile open water swim, a 23.6 mile bike ride and a 6.2 mile run.

The past two weeks of my life have been pretty hectic and I brought a lot of additional ‘baggage’ to today’s race. Admittedly, I was a more than a little anxious about the distances of today’s event. I was super stressed about how I’d perform in water that wasn’t 74 degrees or warmer. I started to regret inviting my Dad and his wife, Mary, to an event that I wasn’t even certain I could complete. And to top it all off, I couldn’t poop.  It’s 5:46 pm and I STILL haven’t pooped.  No idea what is up with that.

While my only goal today was to FINISH the race – and I achieved that goal – I’m a little disappointed with my times.  I felt like my swim should have been about 6 minutes faster. That may not even be a realistic goal --this was my first ‘real’ open water swim of the season, and my first race where men twice my size were grabbing my ankles (WTF?) as we raced to the swim finish. I’ll need to work on sighting over the coming weeks – I zig zagged all over that course and probably added a full 1/4mile to my swim (so maybe 37 minutes wasn’t so bad after all!). Leaving the water, I was EXHAUSTED and unlike the triathlon two weeks before, where I sprinted out of the water and thru T1, this time, I walked.

My bike was just about what I anticipated it to be time wise – 1 hour  44 minutes and 30 seconds, and before the race, I thought I’d be on the bike for about 1:45.  Although my new ride was sweet and infinitely less effort than Lorelai (more on this in an upcoming blog post!), I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get into the right gears. This will be easy to correct over the next 5 weeks by getting out for group rides and spending a ton more time on an actual bike, not that damn crotch-beating stationary bike at the Y.  I've slacked on my bike training -- I need to change this.

My run was where things fell apart – I walked most of it. After the bike, my legs were rubber and I had NOTHING left to give. NOTHING. It never occurred to me in all the weeks I thought about this race that I might not run the run.  I came to terms with the possibility of running slowly, but never walking. And I think the reason I’m feeling a little blue about this is because it’s solely my fault. In the busyness that has become my life over the past two weeks, I’ve missed Thursday night run club and my long runs. My legs and lungs were able to carry me through a 5k at the end of the Sprint Tri two weeks ago, but they weren’t as forgiving today. I need to take them for a run as soon as possible and get on better terms with them again.  Perhaps I’ll buy them a glass of wine to smooth things over.

Best things about today:  Seeing my family … husband, kids, Dad and Mary … shouting and cheering for me at every transition.  Seeing Madison and Craig at various transition points cheering as well (funny thing: I hear Madison long before I see her and I see Craig long before I can hear him). Chatting with Amy and Pam before the swim (so calming!).  Chatting with Pam DURING the swim (that was just funny). Watching my coach take the podium (she took 3rd in her age group, and this was her first triathlon in three years!). Not freaking out during the run while I was walking instead of running; I told myself as long as I was moving forward, I was still in the game. I used this … ahem…’down time’… to think about what worked, what didn’t, and what I need to do be stronger for the next race.

I’ve resolved to sign up for that damn Crystal Lake open water swim challenge in two weeks. It’s a mile-long swim, but after the swim… all I have to do is get in my car and drive home. I’ve also resolved to sign up for a 30-mile bike race. Again…once I’m done with my 30 miles, all I have to do is get in my car and drive home.  I’m hoping these single event races, comprised with more group biking and more open water swim lessons, will make my 8/14 race a little easier on my brain and my body.

I wasn’t the last person to finish the race, although, I was damn close to last. I guess that just makes it easier to improve, right?

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