July 25th 2010 is the date of the last Triathlon I completed and my finish time was 1:58:30. Before that I had done 2 others both resulting in finishing times of 2+ Hours.
Since Dennis and I declared 2016 the Year of Cardio, I was semi pressured into signing up for a Triathlon. I was very on the fence about this because even though Sprint Triathlons are fun, there is a certain type of feeling I have about the swim portion. After being told to "Suck it Up, Buttercup" I bit the bullet and myself and a friend Leah decided to pull the trigger and sign up for the North East Sprint Triathlon in Maryland. My 4th, Leah's 1st.
Immediately we needed to find a place to train for the swim. Luckily the Reston YMCA, a facility very close to my work was willing to give Leah and I a fantastic 2 month deal which would allow us to use the pool to train. This couldn't have worked out better.
I was able to get in a 1,000 meter swim twice a week for about 2 months to prepare for the 750 meter swim that I was expected to do on August 28th. Swimming laps in a pool are way different than open water, but it was my only option and my thought was that since I was over training the distance, I would be fine.
Since the O'Donnell's weekends are pretty intense, finding time to do long family bike rides was not an option. Despite scheduling, Dennis being away for travel, and 100 million other excuses, I typically rode my bike into/from work about two times week for about 2 months. The distance for the Tri was 13 miles, just 1 mile more than what I had been putting in each ride here in Herndon.
As far as the running goes....well..... I convinced myself that WODing 2-3 times a week would carry me over without having to practice "running." I stopped training for runs the day I crossed the finish line at the Baltimore 10 Miler and to be honest, it was glorious. Anybody that knows me knows that I don't like running but I know myself and this would be a HUGE mental block for me come run time. The distance I was expected to run on Race Day was a 5k.
Finally the weekend was here and Leah and I so eagerly/not eagerly started the ride up to North East Maryland to get our packets early and take a practice swim in the water.
We stood through the 1st timers meeting where most of our questions were answered and then we were invited to test out the water for the swim. Leah and I were SO excited to do this, but then immediately after we were not super confident about tomorrow's swim.
The water was super warm (82 degrees) but it was murky and we couldn't touch the bottom and for whatever reason I was super panicky. I wasn't able to regulate my breathing at all. The sun glare was challenging and everything that I thought would be ok, was not! I got out of the water and was mentally wrecked. Crappppppp.
After collecting ourselves, Leah and I decided to go get a late lunch/early dinner. The town that the Tri was being hosted at was adorable and we over indulged with some amazing seafood and a good luck local brew.
The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful. We got to the hotel, showered, relaxed and then watched Mean Girls and White Chicks to get us pumped up for the next morning LOL. We also ignored Adam trying to scare us with shark stories and scenrios in which ended with Lean and/or I not making it to the shore. As soon as we closed our eyes to get to sleep, it was 5am and time to get our game faces on!
We got to the site at about 6am (after our mile long walk from the parking area) and went right to work setting up our stations. At 7am we were as ready as we were going to be!
|Pre Race Selfie|
The Race with a Buddy wave went last, so that gave me exactly 15 minutes of pure anxiety before I had to swim to the shore and hopefully not my death. The in start water was a bit annoying (I was treading water for at least 3 minutes before it was go time) and then just like that we were off. The 2nd buoy that we had to swim too looked so so so so so far away, but I needed to change my attitude. I started swimming and found my pace. I was keeping an eye out on another swimmer on the side of me, using them as a guide, and by some miracle, I was calm and my breathing was on point.
Every so often I would stretch my neck out to see where I was in relation of the next buoy that I had to get to, and it all seemed so manageable. My only challenge was when we were coming into the final stretch, the sun was directly on the side I was looking which made it a bit difficult to see, but luckily I stayed on course and when I finally reached the shore, I stood up and saw Dennis and our kids waiting/cheering for me. My heart was full!!
The distance between the shore and the transition area was not short. at all. So I tried to hustle as fast as I could without elevating my breath too much. I got to my spot and started my process. Dipped my feet into the bucket to get the sand off, shorts, socks and shoes, shirt then helmet. My phone was set to track my bike and off I went.
Once I mounted my bike and was about a mile into it, I was able to reestablish my breath and think about what I just did! I glanced at the time and saw that I was about 30 minutes into the race which meant that I did the swim in possibly under 20 minutes, which was one of my goals.
The bike ride was surprisingly hilly and in fact there was one hill right after the U turn that I had to get off and walk for a few feet. No shame in that game, I kept moving and knew that I was going a decent pace where it wouldn't matter too much. Having my phone helped me keep on eye on my speed and when I was about 8.5 miles into the bike, I saw Leah zip past me going the other direction! I was so happy to see that she made it out of the water successfully and was well into the bike.
I was feeling good besides a slight cramp in one of my calves and a little fatigue in my legs, but overall my breath was calm and regulated and my mental state was very positive. I knew that my worst event was around the corner, but with the attitude I currently had I would be able to pull through.
I pulled into the transition area and re-racked the bike, tossed off my helmet, stole a kiss from Dennis and the kids and I began the run. My strategy? Run slow, but run. I started off by running at a comfortable pace behind 2 guys, but then they quickly started walking, so I passed them. I would then just go as long as I could, trying to find somebody to pace with. When I needed a break I would quickly walk, and only allowing myself to walk to a certain point and then start running again. Before I knew it I was at the turn around, and then quickly after that, at the finish line!!
I was pumped. I was so proud of myself, and I knew that I did really really well. Leah wasn't too far behind me and we all got to watch her run to the finish line where she was super happy to have completed her 1st Triathlon.
I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day. Again my overall "feeling" was tired, but generally ok. Oddly enough I wasn't super hungry aftewards, but I definitely fell asleep on the car ride home. A slight headache set in a few hours later, but I believe that was do to hydration.
I couldn't have asked for a better day or better people to have there supporting me. And I can't explain how proud I am of Leah who knocked a Triathlon off her bucket list!
2016 Year of Cardio continues and my official BEST Sprint Triathlon time is now 1:43:10 placing 176/247 overall.