Two days after, actually. Yes, I did it. I surprised myself with the accomplishment, actually.
Finished mid-pack in my age group, no injuries, flat bike tires or other incidents. My transitions could have been better, and I hated the (trail) run portion of the event, but aside from that, I enjoyed the hard work of it all. I did not get a spectacular time out of the event, but it’s done. And that’s the point.
A triathlon means you’re willing to take three sports you do pretty well (or two you do pretty well and one you’d rather not do at all) and put them together in a single competition. It means spending more time that you’d like off the comfy couch, away from the TV and computer. It means regulating your eating habits, your bedtime, your fluid intake and most of the crazy fun stuff you like to do. It means scheduling workouts so that the bike, the run and the swim each get something akin to equal time.
That’s me (in the pink shirt) crossing the finish line. Photo courtesy of Tri Bike Run, Juno Beach FL.
But mostly it means that if you cannot be brave, you can at least become less afraid. My first ever practice ocean swim was three weeks before the triathlon. I hated that practice; I thought about turning back to shore halfway through it. But there was no way to turn back during the triathlon, so why consider it in practice? I got past the fear, like I got past the choppy surf that day – by finding a different way through it. I didn’t cut through the waves, but rather used a butterfly stroke to go under them, until the ocean smoothed out.
As for the trail running: my triathlon camp coach says everyone has a “red zone,” a place they hate to be and makes them miserable when it comes to training. I’m afraid trail running will be my eternal red zone.
So, what’s next? Another new challenge – a one-mile ocean swim. Then a month of training without competition. Oh, and I think I found my next triathlon – it’s a sprint-length race. But I really need to get a bike rack first; I’m getting too old to haul that bike in and out of my compact car. And then there’s that nice triathlon top I wanted…