I knew signing up for a tri two weeks after I moved to Georgia might be a bad choice, so I compromised and signed up for a sprint reasoning I could suffer through it if nothing else and told myself it would give me a good baseline for the rest of the season. Well, yes.
I consider myself a pretty good swimmer not really because of technique, which I don’t have much of, but just overall confidence. I wasn’t able to do any swim training in Alaska or traveling because of a lack of a pool and then when I showed up in Georgia, the pool was closed for renovations. Womp womp.
That’s okay, I told myself, I can still work on the bike and the run.
Have you ever moved from a cold, dry place to a hot, humid place? And then run outside? Because that’s what I did and let me tell you, it’s tough. Running still feels like the way it does in my dreams, a lot of effort and still going in slow motion. Sometimes I swear I can actually feel the air’s thickness around me like running through a pool.
Cycling has been about the only thing that’s been mostly okay for me or even improved since I got my bike fit. It really is so amazing at what a difference in comfort it’s made. I really thought lower back pain was just a sign of how weak I was and not, you know, a sign of my body being pushed into a weird alignment.
With all that, I have nice low goals going into the race.
Goal A: Finish
Goal B: Don’t injure anything
Goal C: Don’t die
Even with reasonable, achievable goals, I still felt those doubts creeping back in and worry that I wasn’t ready for this, that this was a bad idea, that I should just wait until I’m better trained. Well, yeah, I could definitely be fitter, but it’s my first tri in four years (does that mean I can still claim novice status? Because I really feel like I should be able to) and it’s always going to be scary doing something new.
With that, I made sure I set aside time for the packet pick up and the race briefing because nothing calms (or sometimes inflames) my fears like knowing what I’m getting into. Knowledge is power.
I got up around 0530, let my dogs and cat outside, made some coffee and a bagel, let the dogs back in and had to chase the cat back in, fed them, and then I made sure I had everything. Last night I had a sudden fear I left my swim cap out somewhere, but I had it in my bag. I wanted to get there early since it was a first come first served transition area so I could get a good spot.
There were a pretty good number of people there and I admired the fast-looking bikes and some of the people who looked like they really knew what they were doing. I racked my bike and set up my area and that’s when I realized I left my goggles at home in my closet. Seriously. I could have asked to borrow a pair but I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to return them and also I was so annoyed with myself for forgetting them that I thought I should go without to really make sure I’ll never forget them again.
After I set up my area I went to the bathroom (which had flushing toilets and that was nice) and just walked around petting as many friendly dogs as I could until it was time for the start.
The swim was a mass start so I hung back until it cleared up. The water was so warm so it wasn’t bad at all. I think the last time I swam may have been four years ago at my last tri. I tried not to think about that. I was really uncomfortable with no goggles and I felt like the swim took forever so I was surprised to see it was over in less than twenty minutes.
I sort of jogged/stumbled back to the transition area where I got all my cycling gear on and headed out on the road. The course was nice with not too many hills at all and wove throughout the park and the turnaround was a gas station just on the outside of the park. I like cycling so this was probably my favorite bit, especially after the turnaround.
The run felt so slow but I managed to keep my pace about 9:30 which I was happy with. It took me a while to settle in and not walk but I just did my best to zone out. Towards the end I developed a blister on the back of my heel which then popped and was really uncomfortable and I just tried not to think about it since I was almost to the end.
In all, I took second place in the novice category (YAY!), met some new people, and pet some cute dogs. I will probably never forget my goggles again, and had a pretty decent time. I love being able to race locally so I can come right back home afterwards.
T2: 1:08 (surprised this was shorter since I also stopped to spray myself with sunscreen before heading out, but in T1 I fiddled with my headband to get it to lay flat so I guess that took some time)
There are definitely a few things I’ll adjust before my next race from this one. The best part is I actually improved over 10 minutes from my last/first triathlon four years ago. I can’t wait to see how much I’ll improve these times over the course of the summer and how much lake water I’ll get to drink as well. For now, I’ve got my Panaway nearby and ready for the next week of training.