In the winter of 2011 when I put my oldest in swim lessons for the first time, I realized I desperately wanted to do a triathlon. I had run two marathons at that point and several shorter races.
I wanted to try something different.
There were several problems. Number one I could hardly swim. If you threw me in the deep end of the pool, I could tread water or float on my back and do a sloppy freestyle. I did not know the breathing patters or proper form.
Number two I only owned the mountain bike I received for my thirteenth birthday–and it was in very bad shape.
I thought I would tackle the bike problem first. I felt like the little child who prays to God to give her a brand new bike. I shopped for bikes on Craig’s List and put money aside, but I had no idea what I was looking for. Then I discovered my friend Jim was starting a biking business. He knew way more about road bikes. I asked him to shop around for me and gave him a price range.
In the winter of 2012 he found my bike! He did extensive work and rebuilt parts of it. I have always loved the color orange and was thrilled my bike was orange!
The previous owner also turned in her biking shoes and helmet so I was able to acquire those too. I had no idea biking shoes existed and that you could actually clip into the pedals. This is something I am currently practicing…and not quite ready to tackle the road in clips.
I knew nothing about bike maintenance at that point. I did not even know how to pump up my tires. I did not even own a pump. Which became a problem. I got my first pinched flat this fall because I was riding on tires that were too low. After some instruction from Jim, buying a pump from him, and watching a bunch of You Tube videos, I am learning to fix flats, put chains back on, and pump up my tires with hopes to learn even more.
This previous fall I took swim lessons. I was in good shape and had endurance from running and biking. Once I got the form down, I could swim! I am still a slower swimmer and it is probably my weakest of the swim, bike and run combination. Recently I decided to swim with triathletes one morning a week and this has helped.
So this past Saturday morning I accomplished my goal and did my first ever sprint triathlon! My final time: 1:39.50.
Checking into a triathlon is quite different than a running race. There is gear to set up, numbers for the bike helmet and bike, body markings and figuring out your swim lane. I felt a bit disorganized, but was grateful for the gracious volunteers at the registration booth.
There was sprinkly rain when I checked in but was assured it was not going to rain hard during the race. The volunteers were right. I felt a slight sprinkle of rain during the biking portion, but nothing major.
The people in my swim lane were awesome. We all went about the same pace. If you want to pass someone you tap their foot. I was passed by both of my lane buddies the first lap, but then I passed one of them later on. The buoyancy made me dizzy at points. I am not used to swimming with so many people in the pool. However, I felt better and increased my speed halfway through.
I kept my spandex pants and shoes in the locker room. I changed into them right after the swim. I didn’t realize that counted towards my swim time. If I had to do it all over again, I would have left them by my bike outside. There were many people wearing flip flops or sandals into the pool. It did not cross my mind at all to bring those. A friend once told me to practice the transitions. It is a big part of the race. Good advice! Next time…
The husband did not get any pictures of the bike portion because he was enjoying a nice breakfast with the kids at Mc Donalds…which was along the bike course. I did not see him when I biked past.
The run portion was my best. It is completely different running after you have swam and biked. My abs and chest was sore. I had side stitch at the beginning, but not bad enough that I had to stop.
I was thrilled that my run time was only about 1 minute and a half more than my regular 5K time.
I was thrilled to have all three of my kids there. They all high fived me when I cross the finish line
They are my own little “triathlon” kids as my oldest loves to swim! She has loved the water since she was a baby. The second child spends hours on his bike. I am not sure about third but she was running laps around the park last week yelling, “Mommy, look at me run!”
I always say my medals partially belong to my husband. Running, swimming, biking–exercise in general is not possible without cooperation and teamwork with him. Tri training and running is important to me so it’s important to him. Just like his karate (he earned his brown belt in March) is something I have tried to always encourage him in.
What is next? Open water tri? Maybe. I did just buy a wet suit!