Happy Monday from Up North! This last weekend I competed in my 2nd EVER triathlon, the GraniteMan Clearwater in Minnesota. You can read about my first tri experience from last year, here. Graniteman was my first triathlon this summer and a sprint distance. The swim was about twice as long as a nomral sprint tri, so while I love swimming, I was a bit nervous! I also was very unprepared training wise. However, I did finish and thought it would be fun to share a peek into my thoughts for the day. Enjoy!
Saturday, July 11th- Triathlon Actions and Accompanying Thoughts
5 am- Can i think of a respectable reason not to do this? **hits snooze button**
5:10 am- how long does it take me to get to the tri site? Could i just drive faster to sleep longer? **hits snooze button**
5:15- Ughhhh. Throw on my tri shorts, frisbee shorts and a sweatshirt. Throw a bagel in the toaster.
5:20 pack my bike & other gear in the trunk. I have a bike rack, but I forgot how to use it. Safety first with my child!
5:25- Attempt to poo, as I know this would be most unfortunate if it occurs during the race. Unsuccessful and I am slightly concerned.
5:40- On the road. I just downloaded Ryn Weaver’s CD. I blare “Pierre” and attempt to pump myself up. There is fog over the fields. Minnesota is so damn beautiful.
6:05- I arrive at the park. Holy shit these men are muscular.
6:10- Again, I ask myself, can I really do this? I’m not prepared AT ALL. Why didn’t I get my shit together?
6:20- I walk my stuff to the transition area. I select an area close to the bike out, which proves later to be a poor decision. How I make a decision on where to set up transition: Where can I put my bike so that I don’t bother any serious athletes out here? Ahhh, there’s some older bikes, lets go over there. I take a pic of my new pretty road bike, Sylvie, in her first triathlon transition! While Sylvie is technically a men’s bike because bike companies don’t understand how to make bikes for tall women, she still bears a feminine name.
6:30- Registration pick up. In and out in 30 seconds. I LOVE SMALL TOWN MINNESOTA.
6:40- Body marking. I don’t know what it is, but getting body marked makes me feel like a BAMF. Like, “here’s my undefined bicep with my bib number, RAWR”
6:45 – I should probably bike a couple miles. I notice that the “bike out” begins uphill. I cringe, because I haven’t mastered clipping into my pedals uphill. I try it once and have some problems. I envision this causing some problems and for the first time all day, I’m nervous.
7- I should probably run a bit. This turns out to be more of a jog.
7:15- chit chatting. There are so many older athletes here! They all look so buff!
7:30- Pre race meeting. I put my wetsuit on over my tri-suit and sports bra. Dammit, I’m actually going to have to do this.
7:50- walk to the start at the other side of the lake. Not a fan of this huge walk to the lake!
8:00 other waves start. I flood my wetsuit with water so I can pull it up over my thunder thighs. I chat with a friend I had met at a swim clinic earlier in the week. We are in the same heat, yes!
8:21 gun goes off. Showtime! I start at the back of the pack for the swim, because while I like swimming and am decent, I don’t like swimming in the congestion and getting kicked.
Adrenaline kicks in and I start off very strong in the swim, until I realize my heart rate is out of control! The swim is a straight across 0.44 mile swim…I was a little nervous because normally, sprint tri’s only have a 0.25 mile swim and I had never swam more than that consecutively. I slow down and try to regulate my heart rate.
I practice sighting– 4 front crawl strokes, 2 breast strokes, so every once and awhile i can see if I’m swimming straight. About 4-5 other peeps in my heat could have benefited from that tactic, as I got their feet in mah face as they swam crooked right in front of me.
Although my watch does my pace for the swim, I don’t look at it, because I know it will make me anxious. When I think I’m about halfway done, I side stroke the swim for a minute to give myself a break. For the last half of the swim, I try my hardest to pee, because I have the urge to go. But for some reason, I CANNOT PEE. I try embarrassingly hard, but no avail. I then become really interested in wondering what the scientific reason is for this and the rest of the swim FLIES BY. It’s ironic to me because my entire life I’ve tried so hard not to pee my pants in places when my small bladder is like WHY DID YOU DRINK ALL THAT, and now, the one time I want to pee I CAN’T. Next thing I know, I’m pulling up weeds on my stroke and its time to stand up. I am sad I couldn’t pee, but I quickly forget about it because the first couple steps of walking out of the water are a chore…think, my best friend’s 13 month old first steps wobbly kind of walking.
I pull down the top half of my wetsuit and walk through the chute. I don’t care that I’m walking, because I just fricking swam longer than I ever have and need a breather. I look down at my watch and see that I somehow cut 10 seconds off my 100 yd swim pace. HOLLA! I AM QUEEN OF THE WORLD. Or just swimming, whatevs. I get a huge smile on my face and some confidence!
This transition area was hella long and I was not a fan, but this was my own mistake. I realized coming to the transition area (which is a parking lot) that I have to walk across THE ENTIRE LOT to get to my bike by the bike out BAREFOOT. I have sensitive, wussy feet, and silently curse the entire time. I take my time in transition because biking has been my worst event in the past (in the past, i mean my one triathlon). I take two bites of banana, a swig of nasty gatorade (THOSE ELECTROLYTES THO), and get going. My transition time is slow, but given the heat, I’m fine with that.
My worst fears come true within 2 seconds of getting on my bike– that uphill that worried me before? yeah, I can’t clip in my pedals on it. To make things worse, all these spectators are yelling,” Its ok! You got it!” Which is so sweet, so supportive, but I am SO EMBARRASSED. I walk my bike about 200 feet up the hill to the flat highway where the course heads out and get on there.
Within a couple miles, I already notice a huge difference between my road bike and my hybrid bike I had used on the first triathlon a year ago. Hills are so much easier and while I’m getting passed by every 65 year old grandpa there is on the course, I am going much faster than I ever have! For not being a strong biker, my confidence builds. IM FLYING! I LOVE BIKING FINALLY!
Photo Credit: Phreelance Fotography
So many people cheer me on when they pass me, it’s so nice! I LOVE TRIATHLONS
Being new to biking and well, my bike, I still find turns very difficult and need a little extra space. While taking a turn around mile 6, a middle-aged very fit/experienced woman passes me on a turn and yells very meanly “STAY ON YOUR RIGHT”. honey please, this is a small triathlon in central Minnesota, not nationals. IS IT THAT HARD TO BE NICE?
This totally breaks my confidence for a couple miles. Like, I totally get that I need to stay to the right! I was trying to get there but curves are hard for newbies! PSA to everyone out there: let’s try to remember that we were all new at something once.
Mile 7-8 I pass my first person. I almost cry, because I don’t think I passed anyone in my first triathlon and I can’t believe it. I cheer her on as I pass, just as so many have done for me. I love this sport. I love this community.
Mile 12- My faculty mentor from work passes me and cheers me on. It was EXACTLY the support/push I need to get through the last 2 miles. I try to keep up with her…it lasts about 15 seconds, but i’m ok with that because she is so fast! It still pushes me to go hard the last 2 miles.
Transition 2– I look at my watch to check my bike pace- 15 mph. I almost cry again because that is so much faster than I have ever gone. Thank you flat bike course! Thank you beautiful Sylvie bike!
I grab my Ipod and head for the run. In all honesty, I knew my legs were completely dead going into the run. I try to do my run/walk method of running for 1 minute, walk 30 seconds and quickly realize this is going to be a “jog 30 seconds, walk 1 minute” run. The first part of the run is on a trail, where the shade is nice but I want to say eff this to the terrain. There is about a mile or so on the pavement, where I run most of it! I see people who look as miserable as I am, which instantly makes me feel better about myself.
I make sure to save a little energy to run a good pace into the finish chute, because hello! that’s where the peeps and the pics are! I finish in a not spectacular time, but am happy to have finished, especially in the heat and humidity. My ass is completely chaffed from my tri shorts and it hurts to pee, I cringe thinking about having to shower later. I grab a banana and monster cookies (HOLLA GRANITEMAN, ya made me a believer with those cookies) and sit with friends for the awards ceremony.
I win a SICK pair of racing sunglasses as a door prize. Super exciting, as I have been wearing my $3 American Flag sunglasses from target for training as of lately.
As I walk/waddle to my car, I can tell this tri has completely wrecked my digestive system due to being unprepared for the stress put on it. Note to self from the nutrition expert side of my brain- this is why we need to train! My drive home is glorious, as I am riding the endorphin high. I think the drive home might be my favorite part of the triathlon experience so far, just me, windows open, reflecting and being proud of myself while blaring whatever music I choose. I turn on some Ryn Weaver and jam.
Showering after this triathlon is horrible…so much chaffing and soreness. TMI: I use desitin, YES LIKE THE KIND YOUR MOM USES ON YOU WHEN YOU ARE 6 MONTHS OLD FOR DIAPER RASH, because I literally can’t sit in a chair 4-5 hours after my triathlon. Chaffing is God’s gift to bring you down from your high, lemme tell ya. But pro tip– use desitin, works like a charm!
And there you have it. Some good things and some things to work on for next time! Super excited to get started training for SuperiorMan in Duluth, MN!
Thoughts about triathlon?