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…