The story of a runner’s first triathlon

[Note to reader: This was originally written a few hours after finishing the race. This entry was posted three days later.]

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I’m pretty darn excited right now.

It could be the adrenaline rushing through my veins — three hours after I crossed the finish line.

It could also be because I just did something I thought I could never do. 

(Moral of the story is we all need to listen to more Justin Bieber — and never say never).

I completed my first triathlon this morning.

I swam, biked and ran consecutively — and with no mishaps! I didn’t have to stop during the swim and hold onto a nearby paddle boarder or man-in-a-kayak that they had scattered all over the lake for our safety. I didn’t crash my bike during the second leg or have to walk my bike up the hill connecting to I-90. I didn’t get a flat tire. I didn’t mess up my transitions too horribly. I didn’t have to walk during the run.

I did cramp — a bit.

The open water swim was what I was fearful of the most. But, all those horror stories we hear about other participants swimming on top of you or kicking your goggles off … I didn’t experience. The water was pretty calm. It was overcast out. The water was warm. After I passed the last buoy and was on my way back to shore, my right foot however started to cramp. I was slightly alarmed and didn’t know what to do.

I hopped onto my back and backstroked the rest of the way. I even passed a number of people doing this! (But, that didn’t matter. I didn’t care about beating other women, I just wanted to get back to sweet land).

This is what I look like about eight seconds after swimming 1/2 mile.

Once I did, my heart was pounding extremely fast. I was worried about my foot. I yelled at Bryce that my foot had cramped. He said something back — what exactly, I can’t recall. My family was there cheering for me. My mom ran along side me with her iPad — trying to take photos (yes, she is one of those people) — as I walk-jogged over to the transition area.

Getting out of the wetsuit wasn’t as bad of an operation as I thought it would be, too! But, having seven family members – yeah, I had people fly in to watch me 🙂 — and Bryce on the other side of the fence cheering directly at me can be a bit intimidating. It was really nice to have all the support though.

Finally I was on my bike and had 12 miles ahead of me. And let me disclose that prior to the race, I had never biked a consecutive 12 miles. I always did an out-and-back ride during my training where I would stop and take a water break. What would 12 miles continuously feel like? It was fine.

Until the last two miles came and that darn right foot started cramping again.

This time it was worse than when it cramped in the water. And, since I was on a bike it wasn’t like I could just go on my back and let my arms do all the work …

I started applying less pressure with my right foot and pedaled vigorously with my left foot.

“I may not be able to run if this doesn’t stop,” I thought to myself, slightly defeated.

Everything was fine though.

Smiling because I am approaching the transition area — and see my family.

I was out of the transition area in a minute and it was game time. My body was ready for this leg of the race. Once a runner, always a runner.

A quick wave to my admirers as I start the 5K.

The three miles were a cake walk. (I did cramp — not in my foot but just above the knee on my right leg. Cramping seemed to be the theme for the morning).

No matter. I was passing everyone! OK, I’ll be honest. I passed everyone (mainly because a majority of the participants were either walking or jogging) with the exception of one woman. A few meters before the finish line another woman sprinted by me. (I’m not bitter).

Just like Bryce had said earlier in the morning, I was doing a running race — I just had to swim and bike first to get to it. And, I did.

Mad dash to the finish — can’t remember if this is before or after that woman passed me!

Many people are too scared of doing things not because they will fail at it, but because they tell themselves that they just cannot do it. Once I decided to do a triathlon, I knew that I wasn’t going to fail at it. I knew I would finish. I even surprised myself by finishing in under two hours! I can do a triathlon faster than I can run a half-marathon. My total time with transitions: 1:44:42.

The biggest challenge for me was to override the “I-can’t-do-this” thought. Because as cheesy as it sounds (and I sure know it does,) we can all do anything if we just decide to actually do it.

This runner, is now a triathlete. 

Danskin Triathlon Seattle 2012

(And, hey, I knocked off one of my New Years Resolutions!)

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