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.
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.
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…