It's taken longer than expected to get this down, but here goes!
I can't believe I'm actually a triathlete. I remember I dated a triathlete in college and I thought, while it was super cool to date one, why on EARTH would someone want to do that? Three sports? One right after the other? Yeah, I'll pass. And now...well, now I love it!!
It was a beautiful morning. We were lucky with weather - well, I wish it had been colder...that way it would have been cooler for the run, but anyway - and our triathlon group got super lucky and our reserved bike rack was the first one next to the transition exit, so we knew we'd have a quick jump out of transition. We all got our stuff together, and then lined up for the start of our waves. Mine was the last one, since I was racing in the Athena group, so I had a little while to wait...which was fine. :)
(waiting for my wave...saying hi to my family)
I wasn't horribly nervous about the swim. I'm a decently strong swimmer, and I had my coach/trainer/dearest friend in my wave with me, so I figured if I could keep her in my sight then I'd be good. Of course, the closer our wave got...the more nerves kicked in.
(And we're off!)
The swim went really well. I felt strong and didn't get too freaked out by people bumping into me or the one lady who tried to backstroke over me. (Sorry for kicking you ma'am...but my fight or flight instinct kicked in, and well...it was fight.) I stayed with my coach the whole way. She was on my breathing side, so I just kept an eye on her bright pink sports bra when I breathed and let her deal with sighting for the most part. We actually caught the wave that started before us, and were out of the water in 18 minutes. My legs were a bit like jello coming out of the water and in the run to transition, which I didn't expect, but I just kept going. I'll train for that part a little better next time, and try to toughen my feet up a little for the run over the rocks, because that sucked! lol!
Thank goodess for whichever of the girls brought this little cooler...there was no way I could have stood up and put my shoes on at the same time. Transition took about 3-ish minutes, which I'd like to shorten in the future, but I think it was pretty decent for my first time. I didn't dally or waste time....just kept plugging along. It was really nice to be so close to the exit of transition so I didn't have to run with the bike very far. I did almost get crashed into by another lady who didn't quite have control of her bike right after she mounted it, so that was a little heart-attack causing, but fortunately she got it under control right at the last second. Phew!
My husband and I had driven the bike course beforehand, and I'm really glad we did so I knew what to expect on the bike. It was an out-and-back with rolling hills on a two lane highway, so we dealt with some traffic. I'm glad I did some rides out on our main roads instead of just on the trail, because I think I'd have been spooked with semis passing me if I hadn't. One poor girl got spooked by a semi (which was actually being really cool, giving us a wide berth) and she actually fell and broke the chain on her bike. I felt really bad for her.
The bike itself was kind of a blur...I know I passed a bunch of people, even on hills, which was pretty cool, and a few people passed me - but they weren't in my division, so I didn't care too much.
The most exciting part of the bike was in the last two miles. I was cruising the last downhill when all of a sudden I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my abdomen. I looked down to see that I'd hit a bee and it had stung me....while going 35 mph. Holy crap that hurt!! The bee either disintegrated or bounced right off me, because just the stinger was sticking in my shirt, and while I was trying to figure out how badly I'd been stung (I'm mildly allergic - but have never been stung while exercising, so I was nervous) I ended up almost crashing on the shoulder. I pulled myself back together just in time though and got back on the road. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful after that, and I finished the 20 mile bike in 1:16.
Transition took about another 3 minutes and then I was out on the run. The run actually almost did me in. I was NOT expecting the course to be as hilly as it was, nor did I expect there to be absolutely no shade on the course. It was a warm day and we were out on dirt trails and fire roads, so it was dry and sticky. I was pouring water on me at every aid station, of which there were three. The run just sucked. I need to prep better with heat training and more hills next year. My hopes for a 40-45 minute 4 miles were quickly dashed, but I felt better toward the end - or just had the intense, burning desire to be DONE - and ended up finishing the 4 miles in I think 50 minutes? Honestly there were moments on that run where I just wanted to stop and quit, so I'll take whatever finish time I could get.
I was never so happy to see a finish line! My family and friends were waiting there for me, so I got a ton of hugs and then had to steal my finisher's medal back from my 6 year old, then we waited for the awards ceremony for the Athena division because my coach had finished second! I cheered when they called her name, and then was quite surprised to hear that with a finish time of 2:35 I had finished strong enough for 4th place! I absolutely couldn't believe it!! I very proudly went up to get my award, all endorphin rush and cheesy grin.
(My coach and I just after the ceremony.)
Afterward I grabbed some food and waited for the rest of our team to finish and then got my free post race massage, which was AMAZING! Gosh, those massages are totally worth it, because I didn't have any soreness the next day.
So now my award is up on my medal wall as another motivator for me to get up and run in the morning. I'm still surprised and so pleased I placed. It was such an adventure though, and I'm so glad I did it! Next year's goals include an olympic distance triathlon for sure....after that, we will see how it goes.
Thanks for listening sparkies!!