750 meter swim, 12.4 meter bike, 3.1 mile run. No big deal. So I’m not the strongest swimmer, personally own a single speed, and am a seasonally, semi-dedicated runner. This race kicked my butt. But it also invigorated, challenged, and motivated me to push myself beyond my limits of comfort, ease, and laziness. It ended up being a beautiful weekend and perfect weather for a race. Although despite the perfect conditions, I was completely freaked out and panicking the last hours before the race. Thankfully, I’ve trained consistently and for long enough that I’m ready for things like this. HITS Triathlon Sprint, here I come!
PREP – Make sure you have everything you need at each transition spot and give yourself plenty of time. Don’t rent a bike at the last minute (6 PM the day before the race), try on parts of your wardrobe for the first time (my tri shorts and borrowed wetsuit), and forget to put on your chip timer. I also parked illegally and went around road blocks at 5:35 am to get my bike to the transition spot on time. I blame my erratic work schedule). SWIM – 750 meters 750 meters @ 72 degrees – I borrowed a wetsuit from an awesome friend, but didn’t realize the challenges that lie with open water swimming. I suggest testing each piece of equipment (i.e. goggles) and making sure they work well (and don’t fog up every 5 seconds). Or you might be irritated and focused on wardrobe malfunctions instead of breathing, pacing, and form. [I loved the wetsuit (I’m a giant weenie in cold water) but didn’t love the goggles. And the fact that I hadn’t practiced in open water and wasn’t used to waves splashing in my mouth every time I came up for air] TRANSITION 1 – Have everything you need for the bike prepped and ready to go. Start unzipping wetsuit as soon as you’re clear of the water, get to the strippers (yeah there are strippers!) and get it off. Jog to your spot, get your helmet and shoes on, take a swig of water and get out of there. The only shoes I had were running shoes so I didn’t have to worry about clip-ins. [Remember Towelie from South Park? He was right. Don’t forget to bring a towel. Or water. ] BIKE – 12.4 miles So I have a single speed and only ride on social cruises involving alcohol, lots of stops, and a leisurely pace. This was a longer distance with rolling hills… beautiful Texas country with all the spring blossoms, perfect unseasonably cool weather, and a bike with gears (rented from the Bike Farm) that was light and easy to maneuver. [I could’ve gone without the Osprey hydration pack (that I managed to forget the mouthpiece for) that halfway through the bike started spouting out water uncontrollably until the pack was empty. At least I was already wet. Definitely should have gotten some more distance rides before the race! TRANSITION 2 – So I didn’t get a chance to go to my second transition site before the race. I suggest doing this. I left my bike, my shirt (kept the tri shorts and sports bra), and my hydration pack and took off for the run. RUN – 3.1 miles Fortunately, my gym has been focusing more on running in the past 3 months and I have been pushing myself to get faster. My previous 10:30 mile has shifted to 9 minutes, and I have learned through Atomic to save some gas in the tank to finish strong. On the last mile, I overtook some of the people in my lead and I sprinted the last quarter-mile to the finish. [Fortunately, I’ve been riding my bike the 5 miles to the gym and riding home after workouts, so my legs are used to being brutalized then having to keep going. I finished the run in record time – for me… record time for me…. I kept my New Balance Minimus trail running shoes for the run and found the hills comforting.] FINISH – SATISFYING! There were supporters, a medal, plenty of water and snacks, and the happiness of knowing I pushed through one more obstacle and overcame one more challenge. Even though I’ve just scratched the itch again… and there’s another hard, strenuous activity out there to push me even more. I’m just waiting for the opportunity… HITS Triathlon 2014 My cousin and I kept the same pace on the ride, and her confidence pushed me to finish the race strong. All throughout the race people were positive and encouraging, calling out in support of each other. The volunteers and athletes cheered at each transition to motivate a strong finish. I crossed the finish line at 2 hours 8 minutes and felt great. A challenging but totally worthwhile experience. What a supportive group! I’m thankful for my family that came in town and encouraged me to do this because I wouldn’t have signed up otherwise (thanks Billy@Pacman Wellness & Crystal). Sometimes all you need is an accountability partner and you find the motivation to challenge yourself to something new. What was your first Triathlon experience? Any wardrobe mishaps? Upcoming posts: Descriptions of equipment and gear used during events.