|Go Holly go!|
This year we had a new member of our tri group, the Palm Harbor Tri Warriors and she just rocks. Holly did her first tri a couple weeks ago and for someone who hasn't "tri"ed before, it was a heck of a race! Thanks Holly for guest posting and giving people everywhere hope for their first tri! (And everyone reading, give Holly some love mkay????)That girl behind me looks fast. I should move over and try to draft off her. Wait, can I even keep up with her? I wonder if everyone will stand up and wade over the sandbar or will they swim over it? Maybe I should dolphin dive. Oh no, how many racks back is my bike again? One, two, three, four. Yes, it was four on the right. Yikes, what just touched my foot? Hum, feet. That reminds me - did I remember to put my socks inside my shoes? That girl next to me is making a funny face; I think she’s peeing in the water. Do I have to pee? Oh man, now I do. What did we decide? Will Marcus be waiting for me at the swim out, or will he be over by the transition area? Okay, it’s about to start. Remember, this is your hobby. You do this for fun…
That was the flood of thoughts just moments before the start of my first triathlon. It was a frenzy of excitement, nerves, self-reassurance, and self-doubt. And it was all packed into about a ten second window! Who would have guessed it’s possible to contemplate so much, so quickly? But there I was, standing in waist-deep water about to set off on my first three-sport adventure. I was committed to seeing it through.
Several weeks prior, I decided to approach the Dunedin Tri with three simple goals: (1) Finish. I was pretty sure I could do that. (2) Finish without any panic attacks, accidents, or injuries. Again, pretty sure that would be the case but other athletes and Fate can change those plans. (3) Finish feeling good. That was the iffy goal. Sure, I’d done mock tris and bricks with my training partners, but this was my first sprint tri. And although I think the world of my training partners and my family, they were so confident that I would do great. What if I let them down? What if I let myself down?
Before I had much time to dwell on it, the air horn sounded the swim portion of my first tri was underway. As our pack of 30-34 year old ladies headed around the first buoy for the main stretch, I realized I was swimming so hard that I needed to breathe every other stroke. I was amazed at how people were just whizzing by me. I did a quick body check and realized I was just working way too hard, so I slowed it down a touch and kept swimming for what felt like a combination of forever and a millisecond at the same time. After about eight or nine minutes, I was coming out of the water, dodging walkers on the way to transition. I remember thinking, “OK, there are people walking. Time to make up some ground here.”
I hustled into T1, grabbed my gear, and headed out with my bike. I had decided to skip trying the shoes-already-clipped-in approach for my first race, so I clomped over to the mount line and away I rode! Thinking about my #3 goal (finish feeling good), I had promised myself to not go faster than 19 mph on the bike to assure I had something in my tank for the run.
I have to admit, it was hard to stay at that speed as others flew by, but it was comfortable and I was still passing plenty of folks. After two bridge-filled bike loops (which included a tattooed guy yelling at me and observing a pretty nasty wipe out on a sharp turn), I was back at transition. I took a little more time through T2, letting my heart rate recover a bit before the run. But no rest for the weary!
Pretty soon I was back out of transition and running. Again, I reminded myself of goal #3: finish feeling good. I made a quick commitment not to look at my Garmin too much on the run; else I risked jeopardizing that goal. I knew myself on the run. I would try to keep a certain pace versus listening to my body.
The run was beautiful, a mostly hard-packed trail with a few sandy spots. I remember thinking, “Finally, something I am comfortable with. Good thing they save this for last.” I finally settled into a good stride after about a mile and half, which was the point when my legs finally decided to accept they weren’t cycling anymore.
About a mile later, I remember thinking, “Why in the world would I pick this as my hobby? I must be some kind of masochist. This is ridiculous.” I was starting to get tired and it was getting hot. Some of the men from the wave behind me were starting to pass. But then, I could faintly hear the announcer’s voice congratulate the triathletes that were finishing. I was close!
I did a quick check for goal #3. Yep, I was tired but I was feeling good. No weird pains, no nausea. About that same moment, a training partner passed me on his sprint to the finish. Then I realized that I could see it, too. It was right there! I realized that I was going to finish at this point, so goals #1 and #2 were achieved! And I had just checked in on goal #3. So off I went with a big push to the finish. As I neared the blue mat, I was fueled by seeing my friends and family cheering me on. I teared up the second I crossed the line and my husband hugged me. I did it! It was one of the best feelings of my life. I crossed the line 1:19 minutes after my adventure started, and although tried, I achieved goal #3 too – I felt fantastic! About an hour later following lots of hugs, high-fives, water, snacks, and cheers for other athletes, we left the race. You’d think that’s where the story ends. Well…
About thirty minutes later, I started getting messages and texts asking where I was, why I had not stayed to pick up my award. Award?! Are you kidding me? That thought had never even crossed my mind. I was just happy to have finished. But sure enough, I had come in fourth place in my age group. I was so proud of myself, but what made me even happier was the joy my success seemed to bring to my friends and family. I guess for my next triathlon adventure, I’ll need to set some new goals!
Holly seriously you rock! Thanks for sharing!* * *
What are your tri goals? Ever think about tri-ing, or do you already have the tri bug?