Yesterday was my 2nd Sprint Triathlon; this one was held in the town where I grew up.
I had a great support team in Gentleman Jack, Gem, and both of my daughters. We had a GLORIOUS day too! It had rained the entire day before but on triathlon day?
Sunny and 75-80 degrees.
Perfect! (Also unheard of in August in Louisiana!)
I drove out to the course before the rest of my group and got settled into the transition area early. This triathlon wasn't nearly as large as the previous tri that I did. Still, there were at least 1000 entrants and their families and friends.
With every event that I do, I get goodies like t-shirts and such. This one has some impressive swag:
Stainless steel water bottle
I love souvenirs! Yay!
As I walked on the beach to check out the course, I ran into my Gentleman and the rest of my cheering section. The girls were having fun in the sand and water. I enjoyed seeing my children play on the very same beach where I once played as a child.
Jack was psyched! He had never been to an event like this. He also decided to take some pictures to capture the mood.
We were all assigned "waves" to start. My wave was women ages 40-44 (since I will be turning 40 in December) and we were all given powder blue swim caps.
Unfortunately, I haven't been swimming as much as I should have. Open water, like the lake here, also tends to.... how shall I put this?
Freak me out.
I'm considering only doing triathlons that have pool swims next year.
I specifically waited to go last in my group because I am not the strongest of swimmers. What I didn't anticipate was that I would panic so much that even the next wave of swimmers would overtake me.
Finally after the first half of the swim course, I fell into a rhythm and finished strong. Still my swim time was 13 minutes longer than my previous triathlon.
Room for improvement!
My transition from swim to bike was much faster than previous. The transition timing starts from the time you exit the water until you cross the timing mat with your bike outside of the transition area.
In that time, you have to remove your swim gear and get into your cycling gear. Thankfully, I bought a wonderful triathlon outfit that works for all three disciplines.
The biking is my favorite part of a triathlon. In the previous tri, the course was hilly and 12 miles long. This course was much flatter but longer, at 18 miles. My pace was faster and I actually finished the bike portion quicker than I expected.
My group was parked along the running route so I got an extra boost of adrenaline when I rounded a bend and heard Gentleman Jack's booming voice yelling,
"GO T GO!!!"
My daughters were all waving and yelling for me. It was the coolest. thing. ever.
All through the race, I was convincing my body that it could do it. I'm not even kidding. It was like I was cheering on someone else.
"You can do this! Half the swim is over. Relax. Breathe."
"Ok, only 8 more miles on this bike route. Then 3 mile run? Oh, come on! You've got this!"
"1 more mile to go. You can do one mile in your sleep! Think of all the rest you'll be getting after this!! A nice hot shower too. You CAN do it!"
I came around the last curve and passed other triathletes who had completed the event and were heading back to their cars. They and their families cheered me on during that last 1/4 mile. I couldn't help but smile and kick it up a notch.
I was running the last 100 yards before the finish line. I heard the announcer say my name and there he was:
He fell into pace in those last 50 yards with me. He ran with me, right outside the fence, yelling the whole way, "You did it! You did it!!!"
I crossed the finish line and fell, exhausted, right into his arms.
I honestly think he was more proud of me than I was. My kids came running and wrapped their arms around me. Everyone was happy and I was POOPED!
GJ is still talking about the tri. He has told me about his emotional roller coaster while waiting for me to exit the lake. How he strategically placed everyone so they could cheer me on. How his stomach was in knots all during the event. How he had his son take the finish line shot of me.
He's so inspired that HE TOO wants to try a tri.
I love it!
Oh and no, I didn't break the course record for the triathlon. The course record is held by Lance Armstrong himself from 1988 - 1:07.
I thought I'd finish in 2:30. I actually finished it in 2:28.