Let’s face it, I’m addicted to races. I love the community that it brings together, the rush of adrenaline and the feeling of accomplishment (as well as the finisher medals). I have some 5ks, a few 10ks and a couple half marathons under my belt from the past 5 years or so. I love challenging myself and while a full marathon is still daunting to me, I’ve been itching for something new. So last year after watching Rob participate in the Boston Triathlon, I decided that this was something I could do given enough time.
So the past year I have worked my butt off to get into shape for a tri. I JUST learned how to swim (well, swim properly and not doggie paddle) in 2014, so I have focused on becoming a better swimmer and a faster a runner. The bike kind of came along on it’s own (and it helps that I got a pretty new Cannondale that’s much lighter than my old bike!) While my swimming is SO much better, the idea of open water swimming still is daunting. I know I know, I have a wet suit on and it’s like wearing a flotation device, but it’s very different than swimming in a nice chlorinated pool that eventually comes to an end. A couple weeks before the race I went out with my coach and practiced, in the beginning I had some anxiety and was slow and didn’t do the course we had planned. But I eventually did a full mile which was the goal for distance that day. I felt good afterwards and felt like I could conquer the open water in the race.
I was wrong. Terribly wrong. I started out the day already nervous, I didn’t know what to expect how conditions would be, the swim pattern, the bike mount zone and not to mention a beach run. But then as we’re running out to the first bouy where we would start the swim anxiety hit me. I could barely do three strokes without having to stop to breathe. I started doing a weird head above water breast stroke, side stroke combo. Once I got to the turn around though I felt much better and was finally able to swim normally and zoomed past everyone to the shore!
The bike portion was easy peasy. I was flying on my new bike, the back roads we were on were pretty, quiet and very little traffic. Not too many hills and fairly flat and fast. I loved it. Then the run. The run is my favorite part and it started off badly.
First, I read the athlete’s guide before the race cover to cover. One of the rules was, if you forget your bib number for the run, you will be disqualified. What do I realize as soon as I left the transition area? I forgot my bib number. SO for 3 miles I’m running along a soft sandy beach, glutes on FIRE, worried that my time won’t count and all this work was for nothing. Then I’m upset because I’m going so slow and I’m not doing as well as I know I’m capable of doing and I’m just mentally beating myself up.
All in all, I did not cross that finish line in smiles like I hoped. It took all I could to not cry as I packed up all my gear. But hind sight is 20/20 and I actually was a lot faster then I thought I was. I’m looking at this tri as a practice one for the Nantasket Tri next month in September. I have exactly 6 weeks from Sunday to kill it and be proud of what I’ve accomplished.