I feel like this was most certainly my strength, although I can REALLY shave off more time in the future. I swam all through my childhood and on my High School team. I was SO competitive when I was younger, I raced with a CAST on my foot, AND placed second. I know, second, not first, but man, was I determined! I think having that kind of mindset is what got me to train for a triathlon in the first place.
They started us treading water, I wasn't crazy about that because it expends energy, and you want your adrenaline to KICK IN, but I felt good anyway. The airhorn sounded and we were off. I got a good place in the middle left of the pack and tried to keep my line straight up towards the bridge.
We turned around at the HUGE marker (photo from Pauline's husband Mark) and headed back to the floating dock, I passed some people in the TWO swim waves before me which made me feel great, but you have NO idea how fast you're going, so you just GO.
Running out of the water I felt GREAT. I saw Matias, who snapped this pic of me with my "game face on" running up to my transition area.
I dried off my feet, rolled on my socks (a GREAT tip b/c they're hard to put on when you're wet) jumped into my shoes, pre-set with lace locks (for those of you who run, these are the BEST 6 bucks we ever spent!) snapped on my hemlet, grabbed my gloves and my bike and was off.
The course was fantastic! I never thought I'd say I LOVED the bike! We rode through up the Mall, passed the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, White House and rode up and back Rock Creek Parkway, up and back Whitehurst Freeway and over Memorial Bridge. Biking was something VERY new to me when I started training (in March). Greg is a great cyclist and was a wonderful coach and motivator. My first ride I thought I'd die. My second ride I went 20 miles and was drinking out of my water bottle while riding and singing "Let it Burn" while climbing hills. This was a 12 mile course, a lot of flats, but one steady incline of a hill. I found a girl from Delaware (shout out to Carol) to keep pace with and we pushed each other along the way. I did take a few pulls on my gel and drank almost my entire bottle of 1/2 gatorade 1/2 water, we were movin!
**Side note, I did see Greg on the course on Whitehurst Freeway, he got a FLAT TIRE-ugh, what a bummer. We met eyes and by the time I got to where he was he was LONG gone, but that messed his time up and I think threw him off. At least he'll be able to beat his time on the next race!**
(photo from Pauline's husband Mark)
I felt GREAT getting off the bike and was happy my transition was quick. Could have been faster if I hadn't chugged some gatorade before I started, but it was H O T and I knew I'd need all the hydration I could get. Got my race belt and was OFF.
Annndd here's where it all went down...I am NOT a runner. Being 5'9" and a decent amount of long legs and muscle does NOT help. Having thrown out my pelvis and saccrum 2 summers ago and re-injuring it last summer does not help either. So this was my weakness and something I need to spend more time on. By the time we got to the run it was even hotter. There were a few people I saw get pulled off the course and hooked up to IV's (scary). I drank water at EVERY aid station, although I felt there could have been even more than there were. Next race, I'll take my own bottle so I can drink when I want, not just when there's an aid station.
They did have misters at one station, and I LOVED that, thought about running through twice-hah, no time for that though. I met up with another girl from DC who kept pace with me on the run, legs felt like jello/spaghetti/lead for the first 1/2 mile and then things got working better miles 1-3. Once I hit Capitol Hill (they don't call it that for nothing) I had to walk up the hill. I was bummed about that, but it was so hot, my hip was hurting and I was ready to be done. I managed to run the downhill and push through to the finish line.
They had ICE cold towels (my new favorite thing) and water, AND our finisher medal!! They took off our timing chip and I looked up and saw Greg beyond the rails. Ran over to hug him and burst into tears. I think the adrenaline, heat and dehydration got the best of me.
We got some water, powerade and a banana and then met up with Marian to wait for Pauline and Max (in photo below taken by her awesome husband Mark) to finish the Olympic Distance race.
My overall time was 1:57:57, under 2 hours, with NO injuries, not bad for my first triathlon.
All in all it was an AMAZING experience, and a HUGE sense of accomplishment. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. And I never thought I'd be able to say "I am a Triathlete!" Now for a few days of rest and time to start thinking...when's the next race??
Have any of you completed a triathlon? Have you done something you didn't think you could do??