I completed my first triathlon last summer, sprint distance, and I have convinced a few crazy friends to do a couple with me this summer. I was only able to convince one of them to do the Tri Bella Sprint Tri with me a couple of weekends ago (the other two are holding out for the Divas Tri in August).
I’ll be totally honest. I’m not a great swimmer. I’m not that good on my bike, and I’m not real fast running either. Why would I decide to do a crazy triathlon, even if it is only a sprint distance (1/2 mile swim, 12 mile ride, 5K run). Well, I am a bit crazy, but also its provided a nice change in pace from my normal running. And actually the spring distance is one that totally works for me. Between chasing 2 crazy little boys around, working shifts in the ED, getting ready for an international adoption and starting homeschooling my time is limited. Granted I am totally impressed with those women that run 10+ miles a day, bike over 50 miles and swim like dolphins, but I’m not one of them. And I don’t ever plan on coming in first (well at least not until I’m in the 65-70 year old age group, then you’d better watch out, I’m headed for the podium), but I enjoy the exercise and then challenge and working it in when I can. It means I swim or bike a few times a week and run once or twice if I can, and if not, then oh well, my family comes first. My goal each time is to just get to the finish.
We picked Bekah up early that Saturday and both of us were a bit nervous. Once we got our bikes situated we went to pick up our timing chips and get “body marked”. For those of you not aware, getting “body marked” is when you stand in line so that someone can use a large permanent marker and write your race number on both your upper arms and then your age on your calf. It’s clearly something that makes the best fashion statements. Have I mentioned that my race number was number 13? I went into work the following two days still with 13 written on my arms. I’m not sure how my patients felt, how would you feel if your ER doctor had 13 written on them….Oh well.
We got our transition area all set up and then spent a lot of time staring at the water. The swim is where I struggle the most. It is one thing to swim a number of laps in a pool, but somehow when I get to the open water I panic. Bekah was most scared of the swim too, she was doing the “super sprint” which meant that she swam ¼ mile, 8 mile ride, and 2 mile run. After staring at the water long enough and still not feeling any more confident we went and got our wet suits and caps and goggles and just waited for the race to start.
Speaking of the swim caps, each wave was color coded based on age. I got put in the first group, basically everyone under the age of 34. Which meant that I was swimming with people ½ my age (there were 13 and 17 year olds in my start wave…I’ll let you figure out which one was ½ my age). Someone decided that the first wave should be black…so I had a black swim cap with the number 13 written on my arms. It was comforting to know that if I did drown, there was probably no one going to rescue me with that combination of number and color….
Before long the race started and I was off. And before long I finished. Time seemed to move slow during those two incidences. I did do some swimming on my back and all, but I made it. As I was finishing and coming out of the water, Bekah was just getting in the water for her swim, we both waved and cheered each other on.
The biking went smoothly. There were a couple of decent size hills, but it was a good ride. It was fun to cheer others on as they were headed the other direction (course was an out and back). The race was all women which made it more fun, women of all sizes and shapes and abilities and we all cheered each other on each step of the way.
I got in from the ride and was out on the run before I knew it. Just as I was starting my run, some of the first competitors were coming in for their finishes. They were running really fast, I was not running that fast. As it turned out Bekah was just a little behind me, since she had a shorter swim and ride. Again everyone was cheering each other on. Coming back on the run we could hear and see the finish line but the path kept taking us a different direction. There were plenty of grumbles during that section about “where is the silly thing, enough already!”. As it turned out Bekah finished about 30 seconds before me, since she only had the 2 mile run we finished pretty close. We gave each other big hugs and then got in line for the free massages.
We had a great time. Granted there were plenty of areas that I could work on (ie swim harder, bike faster, run ever faster), but all in all I was proud of what I did and I’m already looking forward to the one in August with Bekah and 2 of our other friends!