Monday, September 12, 2011

Story of a first-time triathlete

I woke up around 6:30 a.m., pulled my hair back into a tight ponytail, ate Zoom for breakfast, put a little air in the front tire of my bike, and gathered my minimal equipment (goggles and a towel for the swim; running shoes,socks, shorts, and a shirt; and a bike and helmet for biking).  We loaded up around seven a.m., rolled our bikes to the transition area, got our numbers and digital ankle timer-thingies, and gathered around the pool.

Everyone lined up according to swim time for the 400 meter, and I kept moving up through the line until I reached about tenth from the front.  I should have tried this pool, though--it was outdoor, for one thing, and a 50-meter length rather than the 25-meter length I practice in.  Long story short, I had a bit of trouble slipping into my effortless freestyle mindset, and needed to do a few moments of sidestroke when I got too nervous.  I still managed the swim all right--the main thing, for me, was making certain I could finish, so when I finished the swim I walked over to the bike rack, changed, and jogged off with my yellow-flower Trek bike.

The nine-mile bike ride started on a mile-long hill, and since I started toward the front of the swim, I got passed by lots of good athletes.  Many waved while they passed, or said encouraging things like "Keep going!" and "You can do it!"  I wasn't too concerned about time at this point, and I'd wave back.  I saw my husband and two sons on the way up my second loop of Fun Mile Hill, and that made me happy.  My goal on the biking section was to stay on the bike the entire time.  I did, so yay.

My transition for the run was apparently super fast, ninth overall in the triathlon.  I guess being quick at changing clothes translates into good transition times--who knew?  Anyway, I started the run at a jog, then walked when I got out of the parking lot.  I didn't push myself too hard here: I'm not a runner, and anyway, there was this steep Death Hill (worse than the bike hill) that even gazelle-fast runners walked (well, the ones in the middle with me), so I didn't feel too bad.  I did run down the hill, and the second lap of the run I managed to jog most of it, because I didn't have to conserve much more energy.  I crossed the finish line to the cheers of my husband and my son, 1 hour and 36 minutes after I'd started.  I got a medal, and bagel piece, and orange, and Gatorade.  I'm not even that sore!  And I'll probably do it again.  Heaven help me, it hurt, and it was hard, and I think I liked it.

Hmm.  Kind of like writing novels, except I'm better at writing.

But if I do it again, I must remember three things: practice the swim course at the actual pool, put water in a bottle at the transition area, and mount water on your bike.

Water is necessary for life.  And for crazy mom-writer-teachers who try out triathlons.

This is some of the course, heading back to the transition area.  I would've got you a picture of The Hill, but there's not one readily available, and I'm too lazy to look.  Even though I'm not all that sore.  But I am thirsty, so I shall go seek out some of that delicious water I mentioned a few sentences ago...

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