I Survived my first Olympic Tri

The quick report is that I made it through my first Olympic Tri yesterday.  I achieved all my goals, although goal number 2 almost went down (details below).

I woke up at 4:20am, ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off.  Guess I was a little nervous and didn’t sleep all that well.  We stopped at McDonald’s on the hour long drive to Cochiti Lake to grab some breakfast.  Even though I have a hard time eating the morning of races (I usually don’t eat before my morning training workouts), I got an oatmeal because it was still about 2 hours until the start of the race.  I forced the oatmeal down on our drive and we got to the lake around 6am.

Rick helped me get everything set up in my transition spot and it was soon time to get my wetsuit on.  We wandered down to the lake and met up with my friend, Sherri, who was getting ready to do the Sprint Tri.

I got in the water to do a few warm up strokes, and it felt really good.  I was hoping to be able to stay relaxed during the swim and not panic at the start.  Having only done 3 open water swims and never having done 1500 meters straight, I was a bit apprehensive about how the swim was going to go.  I’d been told it is helpful to just stay calm and not go out to fast and get out of breath and panic, so that was my plan.

Here I am just before the start (I’m the one with my hands on my hips next to a girl in a faded red wetsuit).  I was in a wave with all women after the men had already taken off, which I was happy with.  There wasn’t too much thrashing, and quickly I got into my stroke and had a great time on the 2 loop swim.  I got out of the water around 35 minutes (definitely not fast, but not bad for my first time), and was really happy with that.  Up the beach I went to the transition area.  I had a little problem getting the wetsuit off over the big timing chip that was on my ankle, so that cost me a bit more time than I would have liked, but soon enough I was off on the bike.

I hopped on the bike and was immediately met with a long huge uphill climb.  I was having a hard time clipping my right bike shoe into my pedal (remember this for later), and was slowing down on the hill, so I decided to just pedal with my foot on top of my pedal until I got to the top of the hill and then tried again to get clipped in.  I struggled a while longer and finally got my shoe clipped in.  The bike was a 2 loop course and, while I’m not a great cyclist, I think it went well.  I consistently pedalled the entire time, got passed by people on nice tri bikes, but passed a few people on the hills.

As the bike was coming to an end I was getting concerned about unclipping my right foot.  This shoe has given me problems before, even in spin class I’ll sometimes struggle to clip in and out, but I never had trouble clipping in on my road bike, until today.  My fear of not being able to unclip, and hence my Goal #2 of not falling off the bike, was beginning to set in.  I started to try to unclip a bit before the transition area was coming up, just to ensure I had enough time, but I struggled and struggled and could not get my shoe out.  I attempted to remain calm, but thought for sure this was it, I was going to meet the pavement.  I was quickly approaching the area where you are to get off your bike and the nice volunteers were telling me to dismount, I called out to them and told them I could not unclip my right foot.  I unclipped my left and the guy reached out to catch me.  I landed upright on my left foot, continued to try to unclip my right and finally just pulled my foot out of my shoe.  I am so appreciative to him for helping me not bite it!

I ran through transition with one bare foot and one bike shoe on.  I guess it helped me make a faster transition because I only had to take one shoe off!  On with my running shoes and hat, off with the helmet, and off up the huge hill I went.  By now, the sun was beating down, it was getting really hot out and I was not feeling great.  I do not do well running in heat and had visions of the St. George Marathon in which I ended up in the medical tent with dehydration.  I knew I needed to take it easy as I was already feeling overheated.  So, I did what I never thought I’d do in a 10k, I walked up part of the hill.  The aid stations were giving out water and cold sponges, so I grabbed some sponges and they definitely helped to cool me down a bit.  I ran and walked off and on and just focused on not overheating.  It was probably a good thing that I didn’t have my Garmin on so I had no idea what my pace was.  Fortunately the last 3/4 mile was downhill, and Sherri, who rocked the Sprint Tri (taking second place in her age group!), ran with me for part of the way at the end.  Turns out my run time showed that I ran an 8:25 pace, which I am shocked since I walked so much.

Total time was 3:04:23.  I’m happy to have survived my first Olympic Tri and had a blast doing it.  Although running is still my first love, I can definitely see doing more triathlons in my future.

Thank you for all the well wishes I received and a special thank you to my wonderful husband for all his support!

Off to try a tri

Off to attempt my first Olympic distance triathlon!

Follow me on twitter @MilesAndTrials to see how the race goes.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

Featured on Pro Triathlete Kelly Williamson’s Blog

Pinch me, I am so honored to have my MS story featured on Kelly Williamson’s blog. Go check it out here.

For those of you that don’t know, Kelly is an amazing professional triathlete.  She has been a pro for 11 years and has many 1st place finishes, including 1st place just a few weeks ago at the Muncie 70.3.

What I find even more inspiring than her phenomenal athletic ability is that she gives back to many charitable causes, the main one being MS.  Kelly’s aunt was diagnosed with MS at the age of 28, and Kelly is a huge supporter of the MS community.  Her current goal is to raise $10,000 for Can do MS by the time she races the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on October 13.  If you want to read more about why Kelly is so passionate about MS, or to help her reach her goal before Kona, please go read her story here.

I will be trying to channel my inner Kelly Williamson at the Olympic Tri on Sunday.  I hope I don’t disappoint her!

Out of my comfort zone

It looks like I will be jumping in the lake and doing the Cochiti Lake Triathlon this weekend.  I don’t know if I’m excited or thoroughly nervous…probably a little bit of both.

Goals for Sunday’s Olympic Tri:

  1. Don’t drown on the swim.
  2. Don’t fall off the bike.
  3. Don’t get injured on the run.

There, pretty realistic goals, don’t you think?  I really don’t know what to expect having never done an open water tri or an Olympic distance tri, and only doing one sprint tri last summer.  Sounds a little crazy that I’m even attempting the Olympic, why not just do the Sprint distance, right?  Well, at the end of the day it’s all for fun and what’s the worst that could happen…(see above goals).

I just hope to NOT look like this on the swim:

Instead, I will envision looking like this:

I think it’s good to stretch ourselves from time to time and this will definitely be a stretch for me.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”   ~Brian Tracy~

Here’s hoping I don’t feel too awkward and uncomfortable this Sunday!

Tell me about something you have done or plan to do that is out of your comfort zone.

To Tri or not to Tri

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Mine flew by with an all day end of season swim meet for my son on Saturday, and Sunday was spent doing an open water swim, bike ride, and then getting my kids ready to leave for summer camp.

Sunday morning I left my house at 5:45am for the hour drive to Cochiti Lake.  Unfortunately, this is the closest lake to where I live in Albuquerque, but I’m thankful we at least have a lake somewhat nearby to do an open water swim.  I was meeting my training partner, Sherri, and some of our other friends to swim and then bike.  I’ve been on the fence about doing a triathlon July 29th which takes place at this lake, so I thought it’d be a good idea to get some time in the water and decide if I’m going to do the race or not.

Here we all are getting ready.  This is only my third time to open water swim and getting the wetsuit on is quite challenging!  But finally, we were all in our wetsuits and set out into the lake.  We were with a great group of guys that would tell us which buoys to swim to and then wait to check on us (to make sure we weren’t drowning!).  It was really helpful to have them all there supporting us.  Most of these guys are getting ready to race the Boulder 70.3 in two weeks.  Good luck to all of you!

After Sherri and I survived the swim, we got on our bikes to check out the course for next weekend.  We got in a nice 20 miles and then called it a day, it was getting really hot out by this time!  I can’t imagine heading out on a run after that, if I do the tri this weekend.  I have a few more days to decide and register, so we’ll see what the week holds.  Part of my hesitation is that I was supposed to start on some medication as part of the MS clinical trial I am a part of, but that keeps getting delayed, so I may end up being able to try this tri after all!

What did you do this weekend?