This weekend I competed in my first, but definitely not my last, triathlon. It was sooo great!!! I really had a great time and truly enjoyed it.

About a month ago, my friend Tanya and I decided we would do the upcoming sprint triathlon here in Highlands Ranch. It was an 800m pool swim (32 pool lengths), 13 mile bike ride and 3.5 run. So for the month of July I trained for it but up until race day I wasn't too convinced I had any business doing a triathlon - I was sure all the participants were certain to be real athletes and serious competitors.

The day before and especially the morning of the race I was SO nervous. Tanya and I kept asking each other to remind one another why we were doing it. However, once we arrived and surveyed the scenario, both of us felt much more at ease. There were participants of all ages, which I know because we had to have our age branded on our calf in permanent marker - so humiliating! Especially when people in their fifties were FLYING by me on their bike! There were also people of all shapes and sizes - some looking supremely fit and others - err, not so much. (Myself included in the latter category, of course!)

We arrived at about 6:15am, an hour before my swim. We were grouped in heats according to our estimated swim time, so because my est. swim time was 22 minutes I was in the 9th wave and started at 7:15 - the first wave started at 6:00am (est. swim time of 6 min!) and the last at 7:54am (est. swim time 45 min).

Upon arrival we were assaulted with permanent marker! We had our bib number written in big black letters across our right should and thigh, our age across our right calf and our swim wave, lane assignment and start time written our right hand.

We next checked into the transition area and found our bike rack assignment. We hung our bikes and laid out our towels with all our gear organized on our towels. Talk about a lot of stuff! Bike shorts, socks, helmet, sunglasses, camelback, race belt, Cliff shots, running shoes, hat, ipod, water bottle.....and so on.

Around 7:00 we made our way over the pool. How relieved were we when we saw swimmers, in faster heats than ours, doing side stroke, very leisurely-paced backstroke and even hanging on the wall taking a break. We instantly felt so much more relaxed as we both had been nervous about the swim portion. Who am I kidding, I was nervous about ALL 3 legs of the race!

At 7:14 I jumped in Lane 2 of the indoor pool, along with 3 others assigned to my lane. They did 4 swimmers to a lane and started us all 5 seconds apart. I got to go first in my lane so at 7:15:00 I pushed off and began. The first length I did front crawl but then because I was nervous and couldn't get my breathing under control I switched to breast stroke, which I used for most of the swim. After 17 lengths in the indoor pool we jumped out, ran up two flights of stairs and jumped in the outdoor pool for the last 15 lengths. How happy was I to be done!

We exited the pool area right into the transition area. I found my gear, dried off my feet, put on my biking gear and went off on my bike. I was a little nervous for the bike portion because I was borrowing a friend's bike and it was only my second time using clipless pedals. The first time, 3 days earlier, as I went to stop at a red light I couldn't get my shoe out fast enough and totally fell right over. HA! I felt like such a moron and probably looked even more so! Even I couldn't help but laughing about how ridiculous I must have looked. Especially because I was trying to unclip my left foot and tipped over to the right. How'd I do that??? I got some nice bruises and a road-rashed knee. Oh well, at least the bike was lighter than my mountain bike and not too many people were around.

Anyway, I didn't wipe out on the bike but this poor lady did. I was about 15 minutes into the bike portion when this woman, with a big, black 50 on her right calf, cruises by me. I could see her ahead a little and as we made our way up a hill the gap widened. Shortly after the top of the hill, the course turned downhill (yah!) As I came around a corner I could see a girl flagging down a vehicle and a second later saw several bikes laying on the road and about 5 people standing near someone sprawled out on the pavement. It was the lady that had passed me and she looked to be in pretty rough shape. She was face down on the pavement and her arm and shoulder looked pretty chewed up. It looked as though she had had a pretty bad fall. I stayed for a few minutes but the others that arrived ahead of me had everything under control and an ambulance was on the way, so I continued on. I was so happy that there were so many people decent enough to stop and help this poor woman. I really hope she's OK.

The remainder of the bike leg was without incident and I made sure to unclip my shoes before trying to get off my bike. I made my way back to the transition area for the last, and most dreaded, portion - the run! The course was a fairly challenging, hilly 3.5 miles. I knew it was going to be rough when the very first part of the run was downhill and I was still having a hard time getting my legs to move. I felt as though I had a 20 pound weight strapped to each of my ankles! Also, by this time it was REALLY hot outside. I had to make a conscious effort to move each leg but I was determined I was going to run the whole thing. I kept moving but SO slow that I was barely passing people walking (I'm not kidding!) The first 2 miles and 2 big hills were really tough but luckily my ipod and some great tunes got me through it. Right around the 2 mile mark I was able to pick up my pace and make it up the last, and toughest hill without stopping. After that it was mostly downhill to the parking lot and to the finish line. By this time I was feeling GREAT! I knew I was steps away from the finish line and that I had done it!

Sadly, Jeramy was in London and couldn't be there to cheer me on. But my very thoughtful friend, Brecken, came to cheer me and Tanya on. It was nice to have a supporter at the end! I saw her on the side and could hear her cheering me on as I finished the race. Thanks Brecken!

Crossing the finish line felt amazing! Not just because I had finished the race but because I really enjoyed the whole thing (OK, with the exception of the beginning of the run) and had so much fun doing it. I loved that I was able to do the race with Tanya. It was so nice to have someone to train with, stress with and celebrate with! I look forward to another one!

Pictures of me and Tanya getting ready to cross the finish line.
She looks so amazing and strong (because she is!)
and I look like a goof - but a goof that is very happy to be finishing!


JCL said...

Congrats to TCL! She finished a race over a distance that most sane people would drive in a car. I think i would have stopped at the end of the swim and then puked. You are my hero. Love JCL.

Maurita said...

thanks for inspiring me to hit the gym. WAY TO GO!! luv ya,

PS. didn't you just have a baby??? YOU LOOK HOT!!! :)

Marilee said...

YEEEAAAAHHHHH!! I'm SOOOOOOOO proud of you Tam!!! What an amazing accomplishment! You've both terrified and inspired me to do it with you next year! (The swim and the clipless part freak me out completely)! Both you and Tan are awesome and I'm proud of both of you! You BOTH look soooo strong crossing the finish line! I wish I'd been there to cross it with you (or at the very least watch you cross it :-) Love You Girl!

Gomez said...

You are my inspiration Tam. Hey count me in next year for sure.

Becca, Brad, Jacob said...

Great job finishing your race! I found your blog via Kim. This is Rebecca Smith-Jones! Looks like lots of hard work, but I'm sure you had a fun time!