Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tri-ing Times!

Well, I did it again…I found another addiction.  After my duathlon in June, I just couldn’t help myself and signed up for my first TRI in July.  It was too much temptation to bear, I tell ya!

I spent a few weeks training in the pool and a couple more in a local pond, and decided to literally take the plunge.  I signed up for a try-it length sprint tri (1/4 mile swim, as opposed to 1/2) at the same venue where I did my inaugural duathlon – that way I knew I’d be comfortable with the bike & run courses, and really only had one new thing to tackle.

Adjusting to pond swimming was not nearly as scary as I’d anticipated.  I’ve never been afraid of not being able – it’s just the creepie-crawlies IN the pond that got to me.  But, my first few swims were all on warm, sunny days and it made the transition bearable.  A few “oogies” from the plants attacking my ankles and I was over it J

I took the advice of several well-knowing friends, and rented a wetsuit for my event, though there were LOTS of folks without them.  I’m so glad I did, though, as it gave me a sense of security & support.  And, honestly, when I got home with it, I decided I looked a bit like Mrs. Incredible!  (A bit, I said!)

A dear online friend (Heather) decided she wanted to go along and see what it was all about, so I had my own cheer squad/personal photographer for the event – which was SO FUN!  She, too, is a Starbucks junkie, so we started off our day there.  A short drive to the venue, and it was all of the excitement of the previous event. 

After body marking, I found my rack with a bunch of others who were first-timer-try-its.  This happened to be an all-women’s event, though there were plenty of men there as support – including the hunky island boys in skirts playing the drums!  (It was a Hawaiian-themed event.)  I suited up (effortlessly!) and found Heather to head to the water.

Surprisingly, it was WARM!  A friend later told me it just “feels” warm, because the morning air temperature is cold.  Whatever – it was warm!  I got in the water with the other gals to get acclimated before the waves started heading out.  “Waves” are typically done by cap-color age groups (and gender in a co-ed event), and this was no exception.  However, we “try-its” were the last two waves to go – since our course was shorter, and we had the potential to drown when being run over by those who knew what they were doing!  Fortunately, because I haven’t hit 40 yet, I wasn’t in the LAST wave – but the next-to-last.

Finally, it was time for the gold-caps (me) to line up with pink-caps behind us (the 40 & overs).  We were all vying to be at the back of the pack, but it’s virtually impossible when none of us wanted to be out front.  However, someone had to go out front, and after all of the jockeying was said and done, I did find myself at the front of the pack.  Oh well – I’ll swim the best I can. 

I actually felt STRONG heading to the first (of two) buoy.  I was using a freestyle (crawl) stoke, but really feeling winded.  When I made it to the buoy, I rolled to my back, as I’d seen MANY others do.  I was able to catch my breath, check out the gals behind me, and “rest.”  However, I had a heck of a time keeping “straight” – and found myself really frustrated to be going somewhat perpendicular to the course I needed to be on.  I rolled back to my belly, for better sighting of buoy #2 – but couldn’t breathe.  So, I decided to alternate between side stroke & breast stroke.  It worked – but it seemed miles to the second turn.  Finally making the second turn, I again rolled to my back, for more rest.  What I didn’t consider, however, is that the full-length swimmers joined us at this point.  Lots of foot-grabbing, side-jabbing, etc. ensued – and I just had to swim the best I could.  I had NO IDEA how long I’d been in the water – I didn’t want to stop swimming to look at my watch.  Finally, I sighted the “stand up” buoy…and was there.  I felt no dizziness (as I had in practice after standing after swimming), and felt fortunate to make it out of the water quickly.  I checked my watch and it read 14:47!  WOW! I’d truly expected it to be 30-45 minutes – no wonder I was tired!

Transition 1 was easy…my wetsuit came off easily, and the only challenge was bending over to dry my feet, causing light-headedness.  But, before I knew it, I was off.  I was now in familiar territory, as I knew the course & knew how to manage the mount/dismount area, what my nutritional intake should be, etc. 

On my way to the mount area, I heard someone holler, “Go Chanda!”  I was SHOCKED to see a friend from high school.  In fact, I doubted it was really her, as I thought she lived in Utah.  Come to find out, it WAS her, and she lives in Florida – but was here visiting family, and some of them were in the event.  That was so AWESOME!

The bike course was a breeze –and I felt like a rock star to be passing rider after rider!  (The bike is definitely my strong leg.)

Heading back in toward transition 2, I spotted Heather, camera in hand, and felt so wonderful to have my own cheer team there.  Quick change to my running shoes, a quick swig of water, and I was off.  However, I quickly realized that I was NOT going to be able to run – my bladder was FULL!  (This surprisingly wasn’t a problem at my last event.)  There were no porta-potties in the transition area, and I wasn’t sure I’d find one along the course.  However, we were running through a park, and just steps off the running path was a REAL bathroom just steps away.  I decided that I’d more than make up the time if I were able to run, so I made a dash for it.  Much relieved, I was back on the course in no time.  I ran/walked the whole route, and I think I probably ran more than I walked.  I was passed by many other athletes, but knew I was no where near last, this time, and was just really pleased with this event.

Heather was at the finish with me, of course, and let me cry on her shoulder as the emotions hit!  I enjoyed a plate of food, a hula show, and we were headed home.

Results were posted this week.  I cut nearly 4 minutes off my previous bike time, and 18 seconds off my run (COUNTING the bathroom break…so it was probably closer to 2 minutes).  Not bad work for 7 short weeks!  I came in 74th out of 81 people in my bracket!  I’ll take it.

This week, I realized that my knees never once hurt on the run course!  That is PROGRESS!

For the remainder of the summer, I really start strength-training & speed work.  Next event is Warrior Dash in September (for fun), followed by the beginning of formal training for my marathon beginning in October, with a few short running events during the holidays.  My marathon is only 6 ½ months away – I can’t believe it!  This life is so very exciting – each day brings new strength-finding hope!

Yep – I’m still counting my blessings & living my fit dreams!