I’m not one to go around giving advice, especially in this world of athletes that I have somehow infiltrated. BUT, the least I can do is give some to those triathlete wannabes out there. Bah, where to begin? I am happy that I finished…but that is about all that I am happy with about this, my first, triathlon.
|Where it all began…
Piece of advice #1: RESPECT THE SWIM
As I have learned many triathletes don’t really concentrate on the swim part of the race. They kind of feel like that is just a warm-up for the bike and run. I, on the other hand, have been taking Master Swim for over 2 months and know just how hard it is to swim. This is the reason I almost backed out on the tri about a week ago. In some ways, I wish I had. As I said I had been taking swim class…so I should know how to swim, right? Well, maybe if I could have put that knowledge to use in the 800 meters I had to swim
in a lake it would have been useful. When they set us off and all I could see was green water and no buoy, my brain stopped functioning…kind of the way it does every time I have a teaching interview. All I was thinking was – backstroke so you can breathe. I panicked, plain and simple. I know dang well that I could have swam that in 25-26 minutes, at the most, had I been actually swimming, rather than back kicking or whatever I was doing out there. It was frustrating and morale-crushing. By the time I reached shore, I was done (in tears). Over it. I told my friends who were there patiently waiting for me that I wasn’t going to finish. They had ran the half-marathon the day before. I, in hindsight, probably should have just done that instead. They talked me into finishing. They told me that I would be mad if I didn’t finish. I would have been. I’m not a quitter and I’m not sure if I actually would have quit or not. Which brings me to #2.
Piece of advice #2: TRAIN AND PREPARE
Don’t depend on your sheer “athleticism” to get you through this kind of race. Running, I could do allllll day, therefore, I expected to be able to complete a triathlon in a decent amount of time with very little training and preparation. I had never swam in open water and had only had my bike for 2 1/2 weeks (with only 3 road rides under my belt) before Saturday. What tha crap was I thinking?? I am a planner. Period. I knew the morning of the race that I was in for it. I had no training to trust. You live and learn. Here’s my advice on this point. Don’t sign up for a triathlon that takes place in 2 weeks. Make a plan way ahead of time…like a few months at least. If it’s an open water swim, swim in open water before the day of. I signed up because it was put in front of me and “everyone else was doing it”. Ha! These people I went with are Ironmen and Ironwomen. I’m an idiot.
Piece of advice #3: ENJOY THE RACE
I was so embarrassed by my swim and bike that I couldn’t even enjoy the run and the finish. I was just happy it was over with. I was in over my head, literally, and I knew it. I want to climb under a rock and forget it ever happened but all I can hope for is to improve from here. Up is really the only way to go.
I plan on doing another one in about 2 months. I’m going to follow a plan and do as it says. I am also going to open water swim and take part in a skills clinic for my bike. I knew better than to do this but I did it anyway. I finished out of sheer stubbornness. I wasn’t exhausted or incredibly sore. No, I was hurt. Mad at myself. Frustrated and humbled. But, most of all, humiliated.
So, as we all must do, I will pick myself up from this and move forward. I didn’t fall over on my bike and I successfully got unclipped at transition. That made me happy.
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
– Japanese Proverb