Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MY FIRST TRIATHLON

It's been quiet on my blog.  To bring you up-to-date, here is a run down of what I've been doing these past months:
  • I learned how to swim and have been fine tuning my strokes and improving my endurance
  • I bought my first road bike and have been cycling more
So you see, I've been suffering from an identity crisis.  Am I Running Girl, Cycling Girl, or Swimming Girl?

I am all THREE!

On September 22, 2012, I participated in my first triathlon.  I opted for a sprint tri- 400 yd. swim, 13 mi. bike, and 3 mi. run.  Here is how it went:

SWIM
Shadow Cliffs Regional Park
I felt confident going into the race.  I put in a lot of hours in the pool and I practiced swimming with a wet suit in open water...okay, just once.  It was the first time I've ever worn a wet suit. I was surprised by its buoyancy.  After practicing in it, I felt the swimming, which I feared, was going to be no problem.  The idea of the wet suit gave me a sense of confidence.  Well...

Nothing prepared me for the splashes, the swells, the crowd, and the vastness of my surroundings.  I freaked out, but didn't panic.  I tensed up, but managed to float.  But I could not get myself to perform a proper swim.  I'd catch myself gasping for air and losing my technique.  As a result, I developed a bad calf cramp- the kind that stiffens like a rock that you can't get rid of.  I ended up doing a back stroke with one leg.  Imagine the difficulty of swimming a straight line.  



The Life Boards I refused to get on even with a cramp
The swim was daunting.  I felt defeated.  But I refused to give up.  I backstroked the rest of the way.  After a while, It looked like I was the only one left in the water.  I was so relieved when I saw the end in sight.  I didn't experience the, "Yay! I did it!" kind of reaction.  It was more like, "Finally."  

The fact that I just learned how to swim 1-1/2 years ago wasn't enough to feel accomplished.  My competitive nature argued, "I could've done better.  I should've practiced harder." 



Lessons learned:
  • Practice in open water more than in the pool
  • Learn to breathe on my less dominant side (my left)
  • Learn the breast stroke too

CYCLING
There isn't much to say about the cycling event.  The roads were straight and mostly flat. The ride was fast and smooth.  I was relieved to be out of the water and on wheels.
That's me, #594!

In this leg, I passed quite a few cyclist.  I was determined to gain some time. Each cyclist I passed was a step up from being last.  

RUNNING
Of all the 3 legs, running is my strength.  But after having swam and cycled, I wasn't so sure.  

The run started with a hill.  I was not happy about that.  In fact, there were a couple of small inclines that felt like huge mountains.  By this time, I felt that I wasn't going to meet my expectations if an 8 minute mile.  So, I ran the best I could. Again, it felt good whenever I passed someone. 

In the end, it was bitter sweet.  I didn't experience the feeling I got the day I finished my first marathon or my first duathlon.  It was the swim that bothered me.  I had imagined a better performance.  But I am happy with my cycling and running.  It made up for my swimming.

My finish time:  1:15:01

I managed to pull ahead and finish in the middle of the pack (a tad better than average overall and in my age group).  

What I accomplished so far this year:

  • I learned how to swim and swam in open water for the first time
  • I picked up cycling
  • I completed my first triathlon
I TRI!  

~HAPPY RUNNING, BIKING, AND SWIMMING!

4 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm glad I found your alter ego! You're like superwoman, aren't you? I have been running casually for the last five years, running in 5ks and 8ks and I just signed up for my first 1/2 marathon in March. So I'll be checking this blog out for some inspiration!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sylvia. You'll be amazed by the number of writers from our online community who run! Wish we could all get together for a run. Have fun with your training!

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  2. Hey RG or CG or SG,

    Good job on the sprint tri. You showed good composure to keep swimming in spite of your inexperience and leg cramp. Good overall job! I've been a little quiet on the blog front also.

    Happy holidays.

    Ken

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  3. Ahead of schedule, be sure to plan your swim training. Triathlon events are highly seasonal. If you are entering winter, you will most likely cut down on the amount of running and cycling you can do, so now is the perfect time to start your swimming training for triathlon.

    training for a triathlon

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