Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Wanted to Tri, but I'm Still a Du'er

Hello everyone! This past weekend was supposed to be my first ever triathlon. This non swimmer, biker and runner started training in January, so needless to say there was quite a bit of excitement and anxiety surrounding this event. Alas, the local river is highly volatile and thanks to a persnickety Mother Nature, the swim got cancelled. The event turned into a duathlon with a two mile run, seventeen mile bike, followed by a 5K run. Stupidly, I have never run more than 4 miles consecutively, so I wasn't sure how running five (even if it was broken up in two parts) was going to go down. I'll cut to the chase and tell you that I finished with control of all bodily functions. For the first time out, this was the only goal. After all of the anxiety over potential crashing and burning on my bike, getting dehydrated, or just discovering the hard way that I am incapable of being a multi-sport athlete...those never came to fruition. Here are the the snippets that made the event memorable and also forced me to laugh at myself.
1. Packet pick up the day prior in the rain. The place was a freakin swamp especially in the area in front of the port a potties. EVERYONE goes to the bathroom before the race. The thought of waiting in standing water (in the sneakers I'm supposed to race in) for port a potties is enough to make me break out in a rash. I'm thinking there's no way the area is going to be sufficiently dried up by race day. I come up with the brilliant idea that I'm bringing my wellies to navigate this marshland. The practicality of this was in the idea alone. Triathletes look pretty sleak and techy and there I am lugging a pair of wellies (which I never wore - ground was pretty dry after all). Hello stupid.
2. The transition area. This is where you come back to after each portion of the race to change out equipment for the next leg. It is not a spa. You want to get in and out of there as efficiently as possible. Some people bring balloons to mark the end of their rack so they can easily locate their bike. I did this, but probably didn't need to as I was the only one with a pair of wellies sitting with her bike. I was nervous about setting up my area correctly. It turned out to be no biggy, but a special shout out to the girl who showed up late, pushed the bikes over to fit hers in, and consequently knocked over my bag allowing ants to get in and attack my nutrition bar.
3. My bike. The only change I made to my entry level mountain bike was taking the child seat off the back. I didn't even take off the metal framing that supported it. Being a triathlete is not a cheap hobby. Seeing as it was my first time and I needed swim lessons, gym membership, tri clothes, etc., I decided that this was one area that I would cut my investment. When comparing my bike to the others in the race, I would say it was like Titanic vs. a speed boat. If I had to do it over, I would have left the child seat on, planted a doll in it and placed one of those "Baby on Board" signs on the back just so everyone else could be in on the joke. I will own up to stopping once in the race because I seriously thought something was caught and dragging in the back of my bike. Nope, the dang thing is just that heavy. I've already been to the bike shop to buy myself an early birthday present.
4. This was an all women's triathlon, but I didn't expect Mother Goose to show up. Nope, not the writer, the damn bird. One was crossing the road during my bike ride. There was another rider to my left and the curb to my right so my choices were few. Perhaps the bird saw that my bike weighed 500 lbs and could do serious damage and therefore decided to slow down and prevent a collision. I congratulated myself on saying, "Oh Damn!" instead of some other choice four letter word. Very lady like if I do say so myself. My fear of crashing is what prevents me from taking a hand off the handlebars to pat myself on the back.
5. I have tried several times to become a runner and failed. However, after pedalling a mac truck for seventeen miles, I have never been so happy to start running in my entire life. I actually felt energized knowing it was the last part of the race and started to enjoy myself (maybe it was because it was here I started passing a few people). I also enjoyed seeing the gals who chose to wear tiaras, a boa and even a tutu. Rock on ladies!
6. The finish! Wahoooooo! I did it! The husband came down with the two older kids who made a "Way to Go Mom - We Love You!" sign. It was a mental snapshot I will not soon forget. I am reminded that I started training when my youngest was three months and who is now nine months. I was able to do this nine months post partum...nothing to feel bad about there.
So, I have been renderred victorious in my first multi-sport event. I will cop to disappointment that it was not a triathlon. Still, I was extremely happy with my duathlon experience. I feel energized and more upbeat than I have in months. It has made me want to be overall healthier and work to improve. I came home and signed up for another triathlon taking place later this month. I really want to get in a tri...I did train for it. The bike shop just called saying my new bike is ready. Happy birthday to me! In conclusion, I have to say that all of the thinking and anxiety beforehand was erased as soon as the race was under way. It amazes me that sometimes doing something is easier than thinking about it. So if there is anyone out there who can't imagine doing a duathlon or triathlon, I assure you, I used to be that person. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and start doing. I am crazy happy that I did. Have a great day everyone and if you have a chance, make like Nikey and Just Do It!

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