I once heard Jillian Michaels say that you should never give your power away. She went on to explain that people would write to her all the time and say, "Jillian, you saved my life" or "Jillian, you made me healthy", etc. She said something like, "It drives me crazy when people say that. *I* didn't do it. *THEY* did it. *THEY* were the ones that put in the hours in the gym or at home. *THEY* were the ones that made the healthy choices. All I did was point them in the right direction, give them some tools." So with that in mind, I don't want to say that Sparkpeople made me complete my first triathlon on Sunday, but boy, oh boy, did I ever get the tools and the guidance here! Five years ago, at 250 pounds, it would have been unthinkable to me to do even one leg of a tri, let alone the whole thing. But I did it! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
It all started a few years ago when my friend Molly started training for her first triathlon. I kept thinking to myself, wow I wish I could do that. And maybe you're sitting here reading this, thinking the same thing. Well, stop wishing and DO it! You will not regret it! There are tri's of every size. I did a Sprint tri, which, for mine, consisted of a 250 yard swim, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run.
Now, let me tell you. I was never a swimmer. I've always enjoyed splashing around in the water, and could mostly get myself from point A to point B. However, swimming laps? Um, maybe once or twice like twenty years ago. So that was a big hurdle for me. In fact, my first time swimming laps at our aquatic center, I was only able to make it one lap (50 yards) before I had to stop.
Yikes. I had a LOT of work to do.
Oh, and have I mentioned that it had been about twenty years since the last time I was on a real (read: not spin or other stationary type) bike? Um, yeah, that was a whole other hurdle to overcome. I fell numerous times, still have the scar to show for it.
Fortunately, I have really good friends. One of them, Mel, I met here on Spark. I convinced her to do her first tri about the same time as me. She is such a rock star because she was just as nervous as me, but she went first and finished her tri a couple of weeks before me. The other one is someone I know in "real" life and she actually competed alongside me. These 2 ladies pushed, inspired and encouraged me more than they'll ever know!
The morning of the race was cool, especially since we arrived at the site at 6:30 AM. But our nerves helped warm us up. :)
They divided us into waves for the swim, based on our predicted swim finish times. I was in group 5, my friend, Mary in group 3. The 10's were the super speedy people so they started first. It was a bit daunting when the first RUNNER came by before I even got in the water, but I just put that out of my head as best I could and focused on MY race.
Finally, it was time to get in the water. I was on the side of the pool with the platform dives, so the water was 11.5 feet deep. Yikes. That messed with my head just a bit, but once I started swimming, all of the nerves and worries floated away. I finished my swim, happy to do the whole thing using a freestyle stroke and headed to the transition area. My bike was pretty easy to find because they had us lined up by our numbers and because I had a bright, neon pink bucket that my kids and hubby helped me decorate next to my bike. This was to hold my towel, shoes, etc. and then you flip it over and sit on it to put your shoes and socks on. So helpful!
Biking was next. This was the part I was the most concerned about. I know everyone says the biking is the easiest part, but for me, it was the hardest. I didn't realize how worried I was about falling again until I was walking my bike out of the transition area. I had a moment where I wasn't sure I could get on. But then I realized that I had worked way too hard to let fear stand in my way, so I put on my big girl pants and started on the bike. The course was VERY hilly, but not once did I have to get off my bike and walk it up the hills. I was very pleased about that because quite a few folks had to.
After the bike portion, the run was up. And then down. And then up. Lol. But amazingly, I still had legs left and the volunteers cheering us all on were absolutely amazing. After I finished, I went over to the running trail to wait for my friend, Mary. Soon enough she came by. She was running like a champ and cheering her on was so special. Perhaps the sweetest part, a mutual friend of ours came to cheer us both on. I don't often have anyone looking for me at the finish--someone has to stay home with the kiddos, so it was a treat to hear my friend rooting for me.
I told everyone that I was HOPING to finish in under 1:40, but my secret goal was to finish sub 1:30. My official time is 1:09:45!!! WHAT? I thought it was a typo. I thought I was looking at the wrong line. I triple checked it. That's really my time. I am beside myself. Of course, I tell the hubster, and his response is, "Alright! That means sub-60 next year, right?" "Yeah, right," is my sarcastic reply. And then I think, wait, why not? So my goal for next year is sub 60! WHOO HOO! I can hardly wait!