The mere fact that you are reading this now, means that I am back home, safe and sound, and am not still floating around in Guelph Lake! Let me tell you the story of my first Sprint Tri.... I can remember watching tv footage of Ironman competitions in Hawaii, and as I would watch the exhausted but triumphant participants crossing the finish line, I always thought that it would be SO cool to do a triathalon....only one thing stood in my way. A long-standing fear of the water, and as a result, an inability to swim.
Not sure what finally pushed me to take swimming lessons, yet again, in the Fall. I had signed up before a few times, and had just as quickly dropped out, after deciding that it was still "not the right time" for me to learn to swim. Last Fall, I decided that enough was enough, and not only did I take lessons, I sort of learned how to swim, and took a follow-up course in the Spring of this year. One night at a BCC beer night, I got talking with QB and Wade, who were telling me about triathalons, and the fact that you could potentially do the swim all in backstroke. Well, this was very interesting, as I thought that even I could do that....and that is where my triathalon dream began.
I decided to go for it and sign up for the Guelph tri-a-tri and started to spend more time in the pool to work on my swimming. It was going well, and I actually decided to bump up my race length to the Sprint, as I was feeling good about my swim progress, and thought that the Sprint seemed more like it.
So I kept up the training, pestered QB with a milllion questions, and watched as the days passed and today arrived.
Race day started early...as most of my days do. Going over the final preparations, making sure that I had all of my gear and knew where I was heading, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was suprisingly calm and got to the conservation area early, got my registration sorted and headed to the bike transition where I set myself up and got into the wetsuit. After having it on twice last night (the first time on backwards), I was able to wriggle into it fairly easily and thought that I should head to the water to see just what 750m looked like. HOLY CRAP! The buoys seemed to be VERY far off shore and the enormity of what I was about to do started to dawn on me. With no real choice but to go ahead and continue on, into the water I went and after some somewhat panicked splashing around, I started to get comfortable in the wetsuit. The next 45 minutes passed by quickly, as more and more competitors arrived and paddled about. The vigor with which most of them warmed up just made me realize how out of my league I was. Oh well, not much I could do about that. On ticked the clock. They started to announce the waves and as the first two and then three went out, we were up. Fourth wave, away you go! Wishing I was taller, so I could walk out farther before I had to start to paddle, the swim was upon me. I must say that the idea of breast stroking for 750m is NOT a great one, and I quickly bailed to my back and began to head out that way. Now the only problem with swimming on your back is that it's awfully hard to sight the markers. I have managed to convince my boys that I have eyes in the back of my head, but in reality, I don't, which was quite evident with the random angles and directions I found myself swimming in. Yes, MY 750 was probably somewhere in the 825m distance, all in, but here I sit, so no harm no foul. I did make it out of the water, and as I plodded up the beach I thought of how happy I was to be on dry (well, somewhat dry) land and I started to peel off my wetsuit as I lumbered up the hill to transition.
Now I must say that being the last person in your age group wave to come out of the water has it's advantages...it's pretty easy to find your bike when it's the last one there. After fighting my wetsuit, I was finally dressed and ready to get on to the fun stuff, the bike section. I was happy to not be the last person on their bike, and was able to pick off some of the other riders as I made my way along the course. Trying to keep some energy in reserve for the run, I tried to maintain a good pace as I went.
Next up was the run, and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I don't mind running but haven't been doing much in the way of training for it, as I'd been concentrating on "swimming". As I started off on the run, the legs were a bit heavy, but I managed to settle into a good rhythm, and suprised myself at being able to pass a few other people on the way. I just kept telling myself that a 5k run was merely my house to Loblaws and back, which was no biggie, and I just needed to keep moving. Just keep moving. Before I knew it, I passed the 4k marker and felt a surge of energy, and my pace pick up. I saw the ASI photographer and flashed the biggest, and probably goofiest, smile that I could, and carried on. As I crossed the finish line, I saw my time 1:57! Holy Crap I not only did it, I did it in under 2 hours, which I'd pretty much figured was my likely finishing time.
I have just been online to the trisport site and found out the following info on my race times:
Total time to complete - 1:48:33
Swim time - 32:52 (that was a close one - as the swim time cut off was 35:00 - PHEW!)
Bike time - 40:46 (28 km/h avg. pace)
Run time - 29:21 (5.53 km)
So there you have it! Not bad for a chick who just learned how to "swim" last fall, huh? ;)
Thanks to EVERYONE for your support and encouragement - couldn't have done this without it!