So it’s been 4 weeks since I completed my very first triathlon. And for some reason it has taken me 4 weeks to write about it. Weird. But we all know I am weird, so no reason to go into that…instead here are the sweaty and red-faced details (plus a few photos as proof)!
The swim - .5 miles: I was in the 12th wave to start the swim which was the 30-34 age group, which had dark green swim caps (Hello, could they have picked a color that looked any more like the dark cold ocean that I could potentially be floating face down in? Meh! What happened to hot pink??). As I walked to get in line with all the other crazies that do this kind of thing willingly, I heard my name and I was so thrilled to see my dad’s wife Susan!!! They drove over 2 hours to come cheer me on – they are amazing!! I lined up on the beach with thousands of others waiting for my time to run at the sound of the start gun. As the group before me went, I knew that I had 5 minutes….5 minutes before I had to swim a half mile in the 58 degree ocean. U2’s beautiful day was blaring over the speakers (of course, because my life has a soundtrack, duh), the gun goes off, I start running, enter water…I dive under the first wave and come up to another that crashes in my face, causing me to inhale a large amount of salt water, at which time I begin to cough and then FREAK OUT! It is freezing, there are people every where, I am being kicked, I can barely see the final buoy, my lungs are burning, the first 2 life guards I pass ask me if I am ok – at this point I realize that I am froggie swimming and breathing as if I am in a Lamaze class and I have only been in the ocean for about 3 minutes, this is not a good sign...
The long and the not-so-short of it is that I froggie swam the entire way (as in: I did not put my face in the water once), my breathing sounded like I was birthing triplets and every single lifeguard that I passed looked at me with concerned eyes (2 of which I had to stop and make friends with due to a stabbing pain in my side that I did not anticipate). But I made it. I survived the swim. As I exited the ocean, I caught the eye of a lifeguard and with out thinking yelled “ OMG, I CANT BELIEVE THAT I JUST DID THAT!” and he yelled back, “I can, you look great!” and pulled the zipper on my wetsuit for me. What a peach.
This is me stumbling up the beach to the transition area. Just so you know, wetsuits are the least flattering piece of clothing that anyone could wear. Ever. Seriously, I saw Teri Hatcher in hers and she looked like a cow – ok, maybe more like a starving cow in India, but a cow nonetheless.
Total Swim time: 29:19
Transition #1: My first transition was 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Which in the triathlon world may as well have been 8 hours and 42 minutes. Who even knows what I was doing for that long…Tai Chi? Mani/pedi? Getting my palm read? I mean, honestly?!?! Clearly, I was delirious, but I managed to get out of my wet suit, sand off my feet, socks, tennis shoes, Pablove helmet on – grabbed my bike and off I went…
The Bike - 18 miles: Some might say that once the swim is done, the rest is easy. In many ways this is true, mostly in the way that you cannot die an awful death of drowning on a bike. That being said there is a mount and dismount situation involved and that proved to be yet another source of anxiety for me. Lets be honest, not one wants to be the girl who gets on the bike and then crashes before even moving, thus causing others to crash….oh the anxiety!!! Due to this I took my sweet time getting on (and off) the bike. The good part of this is that I got to see my wonderful boss cheering me on right at the bike start (she, too, got up really early and drove forever away Malibu to come cheer me on…I am a lucky lady to have so much love and support!!) – so that was a nice boost of encouragement as I got started.
So, before this ride I had only been on a bike 4 times in over 15 years (all of which happened in the 2 weeks leading up to the race), but 2 of those 4 times were on the course that I was about to ride and there was some comfort in that. The first few miles were hard…I was still feeling really beat down by the swim and questioning if I would actually finish. But as I got in my groove and thought about why I was there and the cause I raised money for (which was $1,000 for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, seriously, my friends and family are amazing!! Thank you!!!) and the pain and trials that those families endure, I felt strong. After all, I was wearing my team Pablove helmet and with that comes and extra dose of “I can do anything!!!” [Side note: read more about Pablove here and here, more on this subject later.]
Here are 2 photos of my hardcore biking in action! I was sharp and focused during the first 9 miles out and the 9 miles back I was just thrilled that I was heading ‘home’. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get off the bike and then run and then BRUNCH….mmmmmmm, brunch! And yes, that is me smiling for the photo. I may have been sweaty, but that does not mean I won’t pose for a photo. Obvs.
Total Bike time: 1:22:44
Transition #2: As I ran my bike back into the transition area, I see that my love had already finished the race and he was waiting by my stuff to give me a pre-run kiss and cheer me on as shimmied on my way. Drop the bike off, grab my bib number, one energy gummy, sip of water and a quick kiss, 2 minutes and 29 seconds…then I was off…
The Run - 4 miles: I was quite pleased with the fact that I actually started the run actually running. As I left the transition area I saw my sweet cousin and her friend cheering me on (I’m so LOVED) and that was the best! Quickly my legs reminded me that I had just in fact, ridden a bike for 18 miles and they were angry. At this point I decide that my best option was to do intervals: run as long as I can and then jog-walk for a minute and repeat. I won’t lie, the first 2 miles were the longest 2 miles of my life. It was never-ending. People kept passing me on the way back and saying “Hang in there! You are almost there!” and all I could think was “LIES!! You say that because you are almost done!”, but instead I smiled and exhaled something like “Thanks!! You too! Good job!!”
The third mile was bearable because at least I was headed in the direction of brunch and the last mile was in slow motion. I kept closing my eyes and telling myself to keep it together (as seen here) and soon enough I could hear the crowd, the end was near and I could not stop now….
Total Run time: 53:11
The Finish: The clapping and cheering gradually became louder, and I began to run faster (lets be honest, everyone loves a strong sprint in the end) and finally I crossed the finish line. I did it. And I was still standing.
It was a blurr – chest heaving, water, medal, give the timing chip back, photographer, pose, hand on hip (hey, a girl has to be aware of her best angle, even while gasping for breath), ecstatic smile, see D, he snaps another photo, big sweaty hug, cry a little, Dad and Susan, cousin and friend, OMG! I DID IT!!! I FINISHED!
Now, where are we eating brunch?!?!?!
*End note: This past weekend, I finished my second triathlon. The swim was shorter, but equally awful. The rest was fun. I am ready for a break now and I get to cheer my love on in his first half-ironman next month. My last one for the year will be in December. All I can say about that is the swim is in a heated pool. I couldn’t say no.*