(I started writing this post a few weeks ago, but am just getting around to finishing it.)
This summer I set some crazy goals for myself. At the time, they didn’t seem that crazy (to me), I just wanted goals for physical fitness. The problem with that is I had no baseline to really understand what my goals meant. I just started mountain biking and 70 miles didn’t seem like an impossible distance if I trained. But then, you start training and your 30 mile rides take forever. Then you think, if it take all the energy I have to ride 30 miles, how am I going to ride more than double that in less than a month? I still don’t have an answer for that, but August 1 is coming up quick. The good side about all of this training is that it prepares you for less crazy endeavors, like the all women’s TriBella Triathlon.
I’d like to keep blaming my friend Kate for talking me into deciding to a super sprint triathlon (in a week), but really it didn’t take much convincing. I’m not a great swimmer, so that was a concern. The 9 mile road bike ride was going to be breeze. And the run, well, if all else fails you walk.
The week leading up to the event, I spent a good amount of time searching the internet for tips and tricks about “competing in your first tri” and came up with some good information. Some of it was really important, like there are actually RULES. The one I’m really glad I read was that you there is a mount/dismount line for your bike. Makes sense, I guess, but I had no idea. I read about equipment and transition technique. All valuable information and I’m glad I had a better understand of what I was getting myself into, however, completing the tri was really about having fun with friends and some of the tips were geared towards WINNING your first tri.
I wasn’t particularly worried on race day. I was so unprepared it was hard to know what to be worried about. We arrived a Cherry Creek Reservoir not quite deer in the headlights. We found an open rack to hang our bikes and organized our gear for each leg. As we got closer to the time the transition area closed the more antsy I got. In my experience there is always that awkward time between when you are ready to start and when you actually start, and this race was no exception. We had registered for the first timers division in the super sprint race, which meant we were the last heat to go. It felt like we were never going to get going!
Once we started the swim, there was a little bit of panic. I wore a wetsuit to help with buoyancy, but my swimming fitness level is less than stellar. I started with a crawl stroke and quickly wore myself down, so then my goal became just keep moving. The hardest part about the swim was that there were a number of woman who were really not good swimmers. When you have a group of not great swimmers who are all over the place it makes it hard to go straight and keep focused in your zone. At some point I had lost Kate, but she ended up right next to me as we reached the beach to head to the bike. We were not the last out the water, so there was hope!
Our transition from the swim to the bike was slow. Really slow. Like 7 minutes slow. My impatient personality was definitely impatient, but knowing that it was going to be more fun for me to complete the race with my friends kept me there. I am pretty sure we were last out of the bike transition, but we quickly started passing people on the bike. To be totally honest, it felt so good to be passing people on the bike. Training for mountain biking has had me lacking in confidence because I ride with some incredibly strong and fit people, so it was exciting to see that I actually have a solid bike fitness. At the same time, it was incredibly exciting for me to see women on cruiser bikes who were out there doing it! In a place where there is always a race to have the best and newest gear, its refreshing to see people going out with what they have.
Again, we regrouped in the transition area to start the run. We got off to a slow start, but once we started our slow jog, there was no stopping us! I have never been, and never will be, a fast runner. I have always hated running because growing up playing soccer our coaches always made us keep up with the fastest girls on the team. That’s why I love running with Kate. She has a consistent pace that strangely enough makes running more enjoyable. We reached the 1 mile turn around before we knew it! The last mile back was full of smiles and giggles. WE DID IT! We survived our first triathlon!
Finishing was such a good feeling! I was at a point with mountain biking where I was feeling completely burned out and not having fun. Completing this race was a huge confidence booster. There were women of all shapes and size, new to triathlons and seasoned veterans. I am sure there was a competitive vibe for some people, but for us it was just about getting some exercise on a Saturday morning doing something we had never done before. It was awesome!
Kate and Beth were signed up for another women’s triathlon August 9, and I decided to do it with them. I have swam a few times, but really I am as unprepared as the last time. In my defense, the Laramie Enduro is this Saturday and I’m sort of freaking out!