Bitten by the bug  

Posted by Rachel

Well, I finally did it. It began as a "I'd like to do that before I die" thought in May of 2007. Then, May of 2008, I decided on a September 13th date with three friends, and June 1st began the training period. And this past Saturday, September 13th, I did it - I completed my very first triathlon.

And what I never wanted to happen has happened - I've been bitten by what I like to refer to as the "tri-bug". Training consumes so much of my time, and it is so hot and tiring that I was really hoping that I'd do this one and get it out of my system. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to put up with the heat, the knees, the bunions (don't ask - I'm old), the scary lake swims with potential alligators, the early morning workouts even on Saturdays, etc. I was looking forward to settling back into my routine of just going to the gym 3 or 4 days a week with a few runs thrown in the mix and feeling the freedom to miss days here or there. But, I am no longer satisfied with only the gym - I have to mix it in with all the other craziness. The feeling of finishing my triathlon was just too good to not experience it again. And, let's face it, the motivation to stay in shape is helpful. So, my friends have to know that I can't hang out until AFTER my bike ride or I have to get home early enough to go on a run before bed. That's just how it has to be.

Saturday started early. BEcause my other friends had backed out, it was just Crystal and I. I'm so thankful for her! We got up at 5:40 in order to eat some food and leave the house by 6. Trying to guess what would be good to eat for energy but not make me sick was tricky. We made it to race site around 6:30 with our bikes in tow and began laughing. Laughing at how ridiculous we looked in spandex, laughing at how inexperienced we were compared to everyone else, laughing at how we would probably finish hours after the people surrounding us, laughing at ourselves for ever thinking up this crazy idea, and laughing with others around us who seemed as new as we were...

But, we set up our bikes and tried to get ready. We got markered up and put our numbers on our bikes and helmets. We set up our transition area, making note of what those around us were doing. I honestly wasn't that nervous. I think this was because I knew I could finish it, I knew (hoped) I could make it in my time goal of 1hr 45 min, and I knew I didn't care if people beat me. That's freeing. This was for me and I was going to feel good about finishing whether I came in first or dead last. Ok, I'll be honest - I might not have been happy with dead last.

We were the fourth wave to get started, and the treading water while waiting on the start was long. We were all getting tired and frustrated. Plus, Lake Underhill has lots of seaweed that I was ready to swim away from. Except for that never happened. Contrary to the belief that seaweed is only near the shore, Lake Underhill has seaweed about 2 feet from water surface EVERYWHERE - even out in the middle of my swim I was struggling to free my ankle from pieces that were grabbing me. The bike could not come fast enough.

That first transition was a little slow, but once on my bike, I was happy. I love my bike, and even though my legs were burning as I pedaled faster than I ever have before, at least my breathing was a little more normal than in swimming or running. Muscular guys of all ages were flying past me, but I only cared if a girl my age passed me, and in my 11.7 mile bike, only 2 did. And they were still in sight when we reached the transition to run, so I felt OK about that. As a side note here, I did see one woman TOTALLY wipe out on her bike and I felt bad that I had to circle around her without stopping. I felt a little bit like the priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. Sorry - hope someone else played the part of the Samaritan.

Transition to the run was better, until I was leaving the transition area and a guy tells me - "you'll get disqualified for that iPod (which I had been wearing since I started biking - I like my tunes!)!" What?? I never heard that! Clearly, I'm a tri newbie. So I pretty much chuck my iPod at some boy I don't know who's over the fence, near my bike and ask him if he can throw it by bike 262. Whoever he was, I'm thankful, because he actually even took time to hide it under my bag and it was still there when I returned a couple of hours later after the race. But, the damage was already done. Athlete 262: Disqualified for "endangerment". Oops. Good thing I wasn't trying to qualify for an Ironman or something! Who cares if I am in the official rankings? But, I did learn a lesson and I will read the fine print on my waivers before signing them next time. I guess that has to be where that rule was listed. Anyways, it really doesn't bother me because my times are still online for me to check, and I finished. Finished well. I finished in 11.5 minutes under my goal time to be exact.

The run wasn't super fun, but the first 2 miles are the worst - after that, it gets easier - something about "hitting your stride". My legs were feeling the biking and telling me to stop and walk those first two miles especially. But I didn't. I ran 3.9 miles at a 10 minute mile pace, and that was just fine by me. It was hot and I was tired. Again, I believe only 1 girl my age passed me during the run, and that was at the very end. And, I passed one in front of me around mile 2, so I guess I made up for it.

I had a little moment of pride as I was running down Livingston, and a man yelled out that we only had 4 more blocks once we made the turn on Orange. At that point, I knew I had done it. I think I even smiled to myself, which likely looked ridiculous to any on-lookers.

Finishing was so great. My mom, dad, sister, BFF, roommate and her friend were all there to cheer Crystal and I on. I looked at the time and realized that I finished at 1hr 33.5 minutes and was ecstatic. 11.5 minutes under my goal time. Had my time counted, I would have finished 8 in my age group (20-24), out of 23 runners. In everyone under 30, I would have been around 27 out of 61. Right in the middle is fine by me.

I took two days to let my legs recover - they were a little sore - and I was back at it all yesterday evening. The craziness continues as I think about competing in this race on Valentine's Day.

Here's a couple of pictures for you to laugh at, but you are only getting two because I don't think anyone has done anything bad enough to have to relive that spandex.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at Wednesday, September 17, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 comments

YEAH RACHEL!!!! I'm so proud of you! :-) You look good biking and running....I totally need a road bike...my mountain bike KILLED my time! oh well, next time! Congrats again! Maybe we can do one together?

September 17, 2008 at 11:23 PM

Yes ma'am - I know the feeling! I am so proud of you! They are really fun, arent they? I loved it also because the training was so much variety... not too much of one thing. After my first one, we ended up doing two more that same year, I was so hooked. I am hoping that maybe next summer we can do another one... need to get back in bike shape!

Hope you have a great weekend!

September 19, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Rachel, so cool!!! I also love the feeling of the triathalon - what an achievement! Great pictures, too!

September 19, 2008 at 5:38 PM

Hey Rachel,

Good for you!!! That is incredible! You know how much I like to run...
I'm enjoying checking in with your blogs from time to time...keep up the great work!

September 22, 2008 at 10:22 PM

My dear Tiddlywinks,

I am imagining the feeling of completing a triathalon right now and I feel.....sore. But I am so proud of you!! Woohoo, breast friend!

I love you.

September 24, 2008 at 3:26 PM

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