I am so very thankful for endorphins.
My life is nothing if not an emotional rollercoaster lately and I immediately finished my tri Saturday only to find out my mom was in the hospital yet again. But for a few hours that day, I got to ride an adrenaline and endorphin high.
But before that…
It had been nearly two years since I’d done a tri, and, well, a lot has changed in that two years, so on some level, I did welcome the lack of general pre-race freakout that always happens. Plus, it was Mal and her friend’s first tri, so it was super fun being the “expert” to them. (Please note: I am no tri expert, I’ve just done a few. As I told them, just because I’ve done these things does not actually mean I know what I’m doing.)
This one was pretty similar to the Iron Girl tri — bay swim, short bike (11 miles), 5K, boom.
So, when we left the hotel…it was about 50 degrees. I’d been checking the water temperature all week, and I kept seeing 59 degrees. WTF?! WHAT AM I DOING?
Well, at least it’s pretty.
We got to the race right around 6. The field was only 189 people total, and our wave was to go off at 6:53. Only 189 people means no traffic, no massive transition area to navigate, no long lines getting body marked. And — this is not related to the size of the race, but — there was no long walk to the transition area either. (At Iron Girl Sandy Hook, it feels like close to a mile, a pain to walk with your bike.)
Wait, we’re going to do WHAT? And can I wear my sparkly Birks and Yes Way Rose sweatshirt?
We got to transition, wiggled into our wetsuits and were off to the water. Typically before a tri, I’ll get into the water to warm up and acclimate to the water temperature a bit so it’s not as shocking, but I was not feeling that in 59 degree weather! Still, I figured I should try, so I walked down to the water and dipped my toes in.
How is my wetsuit not bringing all the boys to the yard?!
OH! It’s not that cold. (That’s how you know it’s cold outside!)
Caveat that I’ve only done a few tris before this. In the Franklin Lakes and the Iron Girl tris, you run into the water with your wave; here, you all walked into the water maybe 30-45 seconds before your wave went off, and they encouraged you to float as you could before you started swimming. I tried to get in up to my shoulders so I could be as submerged and acclimated to the water as possible. The horn went off to send us off and I let everyone go a bit ahead of me before starting in.
I have straight up panicked in the water before, and I was hoping to avoid that just from experience…even though it had been a while since I did an open water swim. (I researched these tips for work during the time open water swims scared the crap out of me.) I started swimming and …started panicking. “Why AM I doing this? I haven’t done this in years. CAN I do this?” My breath started getting more and more shallow, and I knew I had to do my best to recover it ASAP or else I just wouldn’t. It didn’t matter how fast that I swam, just that I felt strong. And once I calmed down, I DID!! The course was basically a giant square, and I just kept swimming and attempting to sight the buoys (I first typed boys, so…) through my fogged-up goggles. Despite the sun in my eyes, turning back to swim towards the beach was magical. You know, once I stopped being kicked by the men from the wave behind me.
Swim: .4 miles/18:36
My jelly legs and I ran up to transition. Mal and Christine had asked if we’d stay together. Since I knew I wasn’t trying for anything other than finishing, I was totally down for that and waited for them for the bike. I really do enjoy triathlons — I like the idea of finishing 3 sports in one race — but I just cannot get into cycling. (No, I haven’t tried in a while, but I did give it a solid try a few years ago.) I either find cycling really boring, really hard or really scary.
For this race, I just found it boring. You know, once I got over my quick panic clipping in to my bike, since it had been a while for that too. The race rode through the lovely town of Islip. It was fine. The beginning and end were close to the bay, at least keeping things slightly interesting there.
At one point, I became discouraged that I’d fallen behind Mal and Christine, and I started going to a dark place. I thought of things that gave me strength: my amazing friends and family, a super supportive wonderful FB group I’m in, and the positive thoughts brightened my mood a bit, and I was able to pick up speed. Then, I saw a sweet little old lady who warmed my heart.
Bike: 11 miles/46:55 << also, last in my AG. Let it never be said I’m a strong cyclist.
Finally! Finally! We were on to my favorite part.
Despite what my face says.
The three of us started off together, and I got such a boost from being excited to run. My legs felt like jelly a bit, but I knew from experience that feeling would wear off — and that I had less than 30 minutes to go doing my favorite thing. Christine fell back a bit, but Mal and I ran the entire part together.
With the same form, apparently, too. (Now, Mal is not a tall girl, but I am not a foot taller than her like this photo makes it look!)
We ended up running 26:55 for 3.1, an 8:40 pace that felt pretty easy to me the entire time.
Running by the water with friends makes me real happy.
^^ You need to watch this! It was fun to get a shoutout…but Mal’s shoutout is amazing. Apparently the woman behind us at packet pickup heard me say it was her first tri AND her 30th birthday and she made note of Mal’s bib number and told the announcer to announce it was her birthday and first tri! <3
We did it!
Here’s how my results ended up shaking out. Not awesome, but I don’t care — and I mean that. I had a really fun time doing something that, honestly, I didn’t train much for, but got to watch one of my friends complete her first.
Tell me about a race where someone else’s time/finish meant so much more to you than your own.