The Triathlon – A Recap

Well, I can officially say that I am a triathlete.  My family and I participated in the Camp Whitcomb/Mason triathlon yesterday.  It was hot and muggy but overall, it was a good experience.

We arrived around 6:20 am.  We were lucky in the respect that this triathlon started a little later than the other triathlons.  We had to register and get all of our things together.  Because I was in the “Athena” category (females over 150 pounds), I had to get weighed in before the race.  Apparently, they couldn’t just take my word for it.  🙂  Regardless, I think I might have been the heaviest female there.  Oh well – my only goal was to not come in last and finish the entire race.

We set up our transitions after getting our timing chips and numbers.  The Camp Whitcomb triathlon is a bit different in that they have two different transitions.  This made it a little stressful because we had to make sure that we had everything in the right place.

Prior to the race, my sister made some T-shirts and tank tops for our team.  In the spring, my grandfather was diagnosed with ALS.  We had decided to do the triathlon for him.  ALS has a motto for their charity walks that says, “We walk because we can”.  In a way, we “Tri Because we Can”.  The T-shirts looked great!  We were called the A-team by the volunteers.  Unfortunately, she forgot my T-shirt and I couldn’t wear it during the race.  But, my mom brought it a bit later and I was able to wear it when I was finished.  But, both of my sisters, my dad and my sister’s boyfriend wore them throughout the race.

After finishing our set up, it was time for a warmup.  I decided to get into the water.  Ew, ew ew!  It was a bit disgusting.  The start/finish line of the swim was next to a swamp.  So, the muck was intense for the first 15 yards or so.  Completely black and just gross.  But, after you swam past it, it was okay.  A few weeds here and there, but not bad.  I swam about 200 yards being careful not to do too much.  My stroke felt good and the water was a good temperature (about 76 degrees).  After warmup, I had about 20 minutes until my wave started.  The nerves were definitely there.

A view of the beach area before my sister's wave started

A view of the beach area before my sister's wave started

When it was time for my wave to get on the beach, I decided to go right up to the front because my swim was my strongest.  Everyone was in good spirits and I had my husband right next to me.  I wasn’t sure why I decided to go, but when they started us, it was a little to late!  🙂  It took awhile to get out of the group of people.  There were a few that attempted to keep up with me and screwed up my rhythm.  But, I was able to break away from them pretty quickly.  Overall, the swim went well.  My stroke felt pretty good, but I was nervous about going off course.  I did a lot of breastroke in order to see where I was going.  Ultimately, it slowed me down a bit, but it probably saved me some time in the long run!  I was the second or third person out of the water in my wave of 50.  It was a good start to the race.

Transition one took me a pretty long time – compared to other athletes.  We hadn’t practiced our transitions but I did manage to get everything on pretty quickly.  I was ready to go on to the 22 mile bike ride.  At the start of the bike leg, I was already starting to feel the heat.  It was going to be a really long leg.  The first three miles or so were good.  They almost gave me a false sense of the remainder of the race.  Then came the hills.  And boy, were there some killer hills!  I had to get off my bike a few times and walk up.  This was okay because my asthma effected me going up – I was carrying a lot of extra weight too!  Walking my bike gave me the opportunity to catch my breath and rest my legs a little bit.  It did slow me down, but it’s okay.  About 15 miles in, I ran into my husband on the side of the road – his bike broke.  He couldn’t fix it.  I felt terrible!  He was looking forward to the race ever since we signed up.  I continued on because there was nothing I could do for him and he told me to go ahead.  As I was on the final 5 miles, he went past me in a van – cheering me on the whole way.   It took me an 1:48 to finish the bike portion.  That seems like such a long time…

Transition two was pretty easy – minus the steep hill we had to walk our bikes down.  I opted not to use bike shoes, so I already had my running shoes on.  I just needed to put my bike up and grab some gatorade.  It was time for the run, a 5K – the obvious weakness in my triathlon regime.  I hate running.  I hated training for running, but I tried to do the best I could.  The first 3/4 of a mile or so was a trail run.  It was nice in the sense that it was shaded and the ground was pretty soft.  I couldn’t catch my breath so I decided to walk until I could.  It took about a 1/2 mile to do so.  After the trail run, we headed into a subdivision.  And boy, it was hot!  It was black asphalt with little to no shade.  I was walking and running – trying to do half and half as much as I could.  Following the subdivision, it was the end of the race, but the end of the race (about a 3/4 mile) was hilly.  Right before the finish, there was a pretty steep hill.  What got me through that was everyone telling me that I was almost there.  It was truly inspiring!  I actually finished running – it was a great moment.  My entire family was there cheering me on.  I felt extremely accomplished!

After the race, I felt pretty good.  Tired and a bit dehydrated, but pretty good.  I immediately drank water and vitaminwater that the race officials provided.  We took a few pictures before heading into the lodge for some post-race food.  Sitting in the dining hall knowing that you earned that meal was a pretty great feeling.

The A-Team after we all finished...

The "A-Team" after we all finished...

Overall, the triathlon was a success.  I finished it completely and I finished under three hours – which is what I hoped for.  I think it is a great time to try to beat next year.  And, I didn’t come in last!  There were about twelve people that finished behind me.  I did finish last in the Athena division, but that’s okay.  I had the second fastest swim time in the division!  That’s something to be proud of!

We celebrated with a meal at a local southern food restaurant (one of my favorites).  And, we have a lot to be proud of!  Next year will be a lot different.  We’ll see what happens!  I have my metabolic testing and meeting with the dietician today.  It is truly the start of a new portion of my life.  More about that meeting later…

The Anticipation is Killing Me!

Well, it’s the day before the triathlon.  I can’t believe that it was last year that we actually decided to train for a triathlon.  It was crazy then, and it’s still crazy now!  Unfortunately, the weather has decided to no cooperate.  For the past 20 hours or so, it has been raining – pretty substantially after midnight.  This means that there will be a lot of water run-off into the lake, making it a little bit cooler.

However, that’s the least of our troubles.  After an extremely mild summer (70’s and even 60’s) tomorrow’s forecast is hot and humid.  Low to mid 90’s.  Eek!  So, rather than worry about the things I can’t change (I never said I wasn’t complaining…), I’ve decided to prepare myself to the best of my ability.

I have been attempting to hydrate all week.  I’ve been carrying a water bottle with me at all times.  And, today’s menu will hopefully make up for a disastrous eating day yesterday.  I went out to eat with my grandparents for lunch and take-out with my family for dinner.

This morning we made poached eggs with Arnold’s sandwich thins (I love these!) and some sharp cheddar cheese.  Lunch is still up in the air, but dinner will most likely consist of a salad with chicken and some pasta.

I certainly hope the weather holds up because I’m supposed to park cars for the State Fair as a fundraiser for the high school team that I coach for.  I hope I don’t have to do too much running around.  After all, I have a triathlon to complete tomorrow!  🙂

Enjoy the weekend!

Snacking Frustration

Okay, I will take full responsibility for this.  I didn’t prepare nearly enough.  However, I need to vent a little bit at the same time.

This morning I had two swim practices in two different places.  I went from 6:45-11:00 with a venue change at 8:30.  Before I left the house, I grabbed a string cheese and a granola bar along with my Nalgene filled with water.  I was good breakfast and I thought it was going to hold me over for longer than it did.  I was starving by the time I left the first swim practice.  And, because time didn’t allow me to do much, I stopped at the local gas station.

I figured that I could pick up a Slim-Fast meal replacement bar.  (Not my favorite and not the best choice, but they normally hold me over for a good amount of time)

However, I was amazed by the amount of absolute crap available in the store.  Pre-packaged sandwiches, some fried taco things, hot dogs (I wonder if they were there from last night!), king size candy bars (for a few of the bars, they didn’t even stock the regular size bars!) – basically aisle after aisle of processed sugar and fat.  Sure – it would be easy for me to just grab a king size Reeses (yum!), but I knew that I needed to set the tone for the rest of the day.  I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to find anything.

I settled on a Nature Valley granola bar.  It didn’t fill me up as much as I wanted, but I considered it one of the better choices.  I was tempted to grab a protein bar – but I noticed that they average about 300-400 calories – and they don’t even taste that good!

For next time, I know that I either need to eat a better breakfast, keep some healthy snacks in my car/purse or both.

And a word to those icky gas stations – get some healthy food!  Please!

(Although, I feel another blog post coming on.  Maybe I’ll take a closer look at just what you can find in a gas station that won’t ruin your diet.)

And it begins…

August always has it’s challenges.  And this August isn’t any different.  Just like every other year for the past seven (eek!), school starts at the end of the month, high school swim starts at the beginning, and a strange mental craziness begins.  Why do I say this?  Well, for the past six years, I have gained 10-15 pounds every fall.  I’m not sure what it is and why it’s only in the fall.  But, it happens.  Last year I was lucky, I was able to figure out how to lose the weight in the spring.  However, I quickly gained it all back in – you guessed it – the fall.  It is a strange phenomenon that I can’t quite figure out.  I could easily attribute it to stress, but I have school in the spring as well.  My husband believes that high school swim is the culprit, but I still gained the weight when I missed a season because of graduate school.

Regardless of the cause, this fall is going to be different.  I’m not going to gain that weight – ever again.  And, while I understand that I’ve said this every year, I am vowing to change my “traditions” this year.  Through triathlon training and a proper diet plan, I know that I will change my life – I have to!

Sunday is my first triathlon.  It isn’t going to be easy – I’m pretty overweight.  While I have been training for months, there is only so much training you can do before your weight becomes a huge factor.  I decided to do a triathlon last year and thought it would be the answer for my weight problem.  It wasn’t – I quickly fell back into the “I’m exercising all the time, I can eat whatever I want!”  Well, that back fired on me.  I have lot a pound, and I’m still extremely frustrated.

I’m still going to do the tri – I’m determined to finish even if I have to walk the entire 5K.  I know I can do it – but maybe I can’t do it well.  Hopefully, I’ll change that for next year.  Next year I want to be able to be a competitor – a threat to other triathletes instead of being the poor fat girl who is attempting to do something athletic.  (I know that I’ll surprise a lot of people, but I can only imagine their inner monologues)

Following the tri, I am going to be meeting with the local athletic club’s dietician.  We are going to have a consultation and do a metabolic test to find out how many calories I am actually burning (I’m not sure that I want to know!).  Hopefully, I can create a plan that works with my schedule, my needs and is a plan that will work for me.

I know that isn’t a miracle cure.  I will have to work at it.  And, my blog will document that challenge.  Hopefully, by the same time next year, I will be prepared – 100% – for the triathlon.

I guess only time will tell.