A word of advice

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

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4 thoughts on “A word of advice

  1. Oh, Nikki, I love your attitude and plan to do another one in 2 months. You advice is all spot on, and everyone can use to hear it. Keep up the training, and you'll do great!

  2. Remember today….because there WILL BE a race, years from now, that will leave you feeling this EXACT same way despite your prep and planning. In this sport, there are so many many unknowns and unforeseeable things that can and do happen. Somedays, even those of us that have half and full Ironmans under our belts have to resort back to the basics of survival and what you did this weekend…."never giving up" …..So never EVER forget how you made it through this day because it will pay off tenfold!!

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