Its true--I'm a triathlete. This morning I completed my first triathlon in Manassas, VA at the Tune-Up Tri, an itty, bitty tri, whose purpose was to help me gain confidence with my new swim skills.
Back in November, a guy I was sort of dating suggested that I should do a triathlon. I was all for it, but noted that the fact that I'd spent the last half of my life with my head purposely above water might hinder my performance. But with his and others help, I learned how to swim, decently.
For the past 5 months, I'd been in a regular routine of running in the mornings and lifting, ab work and swimming in the evenings and some limited cycling on the weekends. At most, I thought that I'd learn to swim and get toned for the upcoming spring cycling season, but the results surprised me. I have lost 15 pounds, dropped 3 sizes and developed a flat tummy. A very nice bonus to what I needed to do anyway to get ready for spring and this tri. As the guy and I parted ways, but I kept focused and leaned on others to help me tweak my stroke appropriately.
On Saturday, Nicole was kind enough to lend me her tri shorts and tri tank, so that I would be comfortable and show my Velo Bella colors with pride. She also gave me some helpful tri-tricks about number belts and where to lay my helmet and shoes, so that I'd transition efficiently. With her support and enthusiasm, I was excited to race!
The Tri would be raced in reverse. It consisted of a 1.5 mile run, 4 mile bike and a 250 yard snake swim, where I'd start in lane 1 and finish in lane 10.
This morning I arrived and went to work setting up my transition area. I warmed up with a nice run and took advantage of my rookie status and interviewed all those experienced triathletes around me. I learned a lot and took it all in.
I ran with my fellow 25-29 year old women competitors (my first race as a 29 year old, despite the fact that I won't be 28 until July!). The run went well. I paced myself alongside another woman, so it just seemed that I was with my morning running buddy and we had agreed to push the pace. From there, I got on the bike, with little difficulty maneuvering my running shoes off and cycling shoes on. We weren't allowed to get on our bikes until we crossed a designated mount line. While others ran alongside their bike, I threw my bike over my shoulder and got into cross mode and ran as best I could in road shoes!
Though I'd not been on my bike in a few weeks (or more!), it was just as I remembered. With such a short distance, I was focused on keeping a high cadence and it worked. I put the hammer down and picked off everyone in front of me and managed not to be overtaken by anyone the entire time.
From there, it was time for the swim. The run from the parking lot into the pool was surreal. Was it really almost over? It gone by so quickly and I was loving it. I'd not had anytime to fret over the swim.
I pulled on my swim cap and positioned my goggles and slid into the pool (no diving allowed, which was great, since I'd not yet learned that skill). It was hard. Not hard as in that I didn't think I could do it. Just hard in that it was entirely less graceful than I thought it would be. I had to instead settle for the splashing and chaos, but I managed. I swam strong, but took my time. I didn't want to panic myself and ruin the experience. It's very likely that all those that I passed on the bike, passed me in the swim, but I didn't mind.
I finished and I was sad that it was over. I wanted to savor it. So, suffice it to say, I'm hooked. I can't wait to do another one. It's exciting to think of myself outside the realm of cyclist. I will continue to improve my swimming and look forward to learning how to dive and do a flip turn. Until then, I will also race on the road as planned.
Thanks again for all your support. I look forward to racing with all the Bellas this spring. Go Bellas!