Swimming in the open water is an entirely different story. In the open water, I can only make it about 50 yards before I feel like I'm about to die. So, leading up to the race, I was incredibly nervous. I had to swim 300 yards in water over my head. The triathlon didn't start until 6:30 p.m., so I had all day long to think about it.
What if I sink? What if I make a fool out of myself? I'm going to be surrounded by some experienced triathletes. What if they think I'm crazy for attempting a swim when I'm clearly not qualified? These were the questions running through my head.
The race that I was completing is a part of the Portofino Sunset Tri Series that is hosted by Team MPI and Infinity Bicycles. When I arrived at Portofino, I was still a bit nervous, but not nearly as bad as I had been earlier in the day. All of the volunteers and Team MPI staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and they certainly helped to ease my fears a bit.
Me & My Cheering SquadWhen we arrived, we had about an hour and a half to spare, so I had plenty of time to set up my bike, walk down to the beach, and soak up all of the positive energy.
Wearing: Pearl Izumi Tri Jersey & Shorts via ZulilyI had been training for the race with my friend Charity. It was her first triathlon, too, and we were so excited to be there together!
After we had set everything up in transition, we walked down to the water and waited for the horn that signaled my impending death... Or something like that.
As the horn blew, everyone dove into the water and took off swimming. I stayed to the back of the pack and timidly began swimming. I bumped into a few people as I got started (I believe one of them was Charity) and that kind of messed up my game a bit. Trust me, I don't have much game when it comes to swimming. I made it about 30 yards before I had to switch to the side stroke. As I approached the first buoy, I knew I'd never make it another 200 yards without a break, so I signaled the kayak guy, and held on for dear life for a few seconds while I caught my breath. Yes, I felt like an idiot. But at least I wasn't drowning. I took off again and had the hardest time finding my rhythm, so I ended up using the side stroke all the way to the next buoy, where I again clutched onto the kayak. I put on a brave face, let go of the kayak, rounded the last buoy and headed for the shore.
I didn't realize how slowly I was walking until I saw the video. Ha! You can hear my husband in the background saying, "Let's GO!"
You guys. I was literally the last person out of the water. My biggest fear was that I'd finish last and it seemed like that was a possibility at this point. I walked/stumbled/jogged to transition. My legs felt like jello! I took a gulp of cold water, threw on my shoes and my bib belt, slipped on my Garmin, grabbed my bike and I was off!
As I got started, I realized that I forgot to start my Garmin. Well, I wasn't going to worry about it. I was simply too wobbly on the bike to try to turn it while I was biking, so I just kept on going. After a few minutes, I started to feel really great and hit my groove. I began to pass one, then two, then several more athletes. I mean, I wasn't trying to win any medals, but it made me feel better that I was making up for some of the time I lost on the swim. During the swim, I had swallowed a bit of salt water and it felt like I had a salty film in my mouth. I desperately wanted to stop the bike and get a drink, but I pushed myself and managed to wait until my next transition. Next came the run.
Accessorizing with: My trusty Garmin, Road ID wrist band, Road ID hat and New Balance running shoes
After pushing myself so hard on the bike, I felt sluggish when it came time to run. I had a shoulder cramp that I sometimes get when I'm worn out and it was tough to keep on going. I can usually run a 9-minute mile pace, especially when I push myself, but this time I ran closer to a 10-minute mile. I still feel like I pushed myself hard enough that I finished strong and was elated to be finished with my first triathlon!
I finished 36th out of 45 athletes with an official time of 53:41. We can finally call ourselves triathletes!
I couldn't have done any of it without this guy. My very own Ironman. He's the one who inspired me to give triathlons a try and he's the one who encouraged me every step of the way. He even met me at the pool several days a week on his lunch break so that I could swim laps while he watched the kids. What can I say? He's the best.
If you're interested in trying a triathlon, you should check out this series hosted by Team MPI. They are a qualified group that includes several coaches. They offer camps and clinics that will help to train you for events. They're a fantastic group! They're hosting a Women's Only Tri on August 1st. I'm trying to decide if I want to have another go at it.
I'm linking up today with Monday Mingle, Still Being Molly, Monday Bloom, Dear Abby Leigh, and I Feel Pretty.