Hello everyone! I hope you have had a great week! This morning, I have reached another milestone in my running career: I completed my first triathlon! Allow me to share my experience with you.
When I completed my second half marathon this past April, some of my seasoned Run For God friends encouraged me to participate in the Run For God Triathlon. At first, I was reluctant because there is one sport I despise: SWIMMING. The last time I have been swimming is when I took a beginners swim class in my freshman year in high school (1989). Since then, I have been in the pool but just for fun and not swimming laps. I thought about it for a while and I was like sure why not?
Between April – July, I trained the best I could. I didn’t start my marathon training till the second week of July so I made up my own running plan on the fly; I averaged about 20 miles a week. In June, I went to Walmart and purchased a mountain bike for $139. When I started riding, I noticed how tiring it was because the bike had all-terrain tires. My average speed was about 10.5 mph. I did some research and I discovered that I could put slick tires to gain some speed so I went to a local bike shop to transform my bike. After that , I noticed a difference and was able to increase my speed with no difficulty. I also incorporated brick workouts by riding my bike then going for a run after. But the one part I didn’t work on was my swimming. Part of it was the time/location to swim. I could run/bike anytime I want but pools have limited locations and hours.For the time I did swim, I felt so discouraged because I haven’t swam in so long that it was tiring and I had a fear of drowning in the deep end. I was also self conscious of myself and nervous in public because of my inability to swim. I was so close to giving up by my Run For God friends encouraged me to do the best I can and that my strengths are in running and biking. After 181 miles of running, 195 miles of biking, and very little time invested in swimming, the big day arrived. My primary goal: FINISH IT. I didn’t care about my time of if I was to be the last person to cross the finish line, I just wanted to claim that I did it.
I arrived at the Dalton Parks and Recreation at 5:30 this morning. I checked in and got my race packet. I unloaded my bike/gear and got set up in the transition area. I hooked up with the rest of the Run For God Warner Robins team, took a few photos and waited. After the opening ceremonies and the National Anthem, the adults lined up at the pool ready to start. This triathlon consisted of a 300 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. Before the start of the swimming, they asked us to go by ability (fast up front, slow in the rear). Well I knew where I was going to stand. At 7 am, the race began. Before I knew it, it was my turn to begin. The volunteer told me to go so I jumped in and started to swim. I started to swim but when I started hitting where the pool was 5 feet deep, I started to have a panic attack. Some of the swimmers encouraged me to hang in there. To make a long story short, I spent time hanging on to the rope or walking the bottom but I tried to swim when I can. I was tired and wore out. But I kept going. It seem like to take forever to get to the end of lap 6 but before I knew it I was finished, even though I was the last person out of the pool. That’s okay because I overcame my greatest fear! I got out of the pool and headed to the transition area where I dried myself, changed shirts, and put my shoes and helmet on. I unmounted my bike, walked it outside the transition area and started on my 12 mile bike ride.
The course was a 4 mile loop that we went around 3 times. It was a mixture of flat and hills. I was still recovering from the swim portion however I started to get into my groove. Before I knew it, I started to pass people that finished their swim before I did. I passed by my teammates, so we shouted words of encouragement to each other as we passed by. In addition, the volunteers and spectators that lined the course encouraged and motivated us along the way. Like the swim, the bike ride seem to take forever but in no time, I completed 3 laps and headed back to transition. I mounted my bike, took off my gloves/helmet, put on my running hat and headed to the run portion of the course.
The run portion didn’t seem that bad. I maintained what I thought was a slow comfortable pace. Again, the amount of encouragement and support on the course was phenomenal. I was getting tired but I hung in there. I kept running and didn’t stop to walk. All of the sudden, the finish line was in sight. With an extra burst of energy, I made a made dash for the finish. Right before I crossed the finish line, I could hear some of my teammates that finished before I did cheering me on. I crossed the finish line and got the Hope finishers medal. I couldn’t believe it. Despite my rocky start with the swimming: I FINISHED MY FIRST TRIATHLON!!!!
I found my friends and we celebrated our victory plus talked about our accomplishments. We took some photos but the fun part was the ICE BATH. We managed to step in and get the entire team in there (standing up) for a group photo. Now when I got in, it was FREEZING COLD. After the group photo, I was like – Well I if I can do a triathlon, I can sit in an ice bath. So I got in it!! And it wasn’t that bad!!
Here is a breakdown of my results:
- 300 Meter Swim: 13:04
- 12 Mile Bike Rude: 51:14 (Average Speed 14.1 mph) NOTE: This was faster than when I was training!
- 2 Mile Run: 19:02 (9:31 Average Pace)
- Total Time: 1:25:31
So I may have done bad in the swimming but I made it up where I was strongest at which was the biking and running.
I still can’t believe on what I accomplished today. To date, this has been biggest challenge however I emerged victorious. I thank my Run For God friends for their encouragement and motivation. If it wasn’t for them, I would have quit a long time ago. But most of all I give God the credit. Phil 4;13 states I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST. I wouldn’t have been able to do this with out HIM. Also, I give credit to my running buddy Hunter. Thinking about him and that he is not able to do what I do pushes me to go above and beyond. I am blessed that I was able to secure an extra medal for him, because he deserves it for being my inspiration.
So, will I be doing a triathlon again? Due to the awesome first time experience and the positive atmosphere, I will probably return to this one next year and do it again. I am going to try and take some swimming classes to help me fine tune that area. Now that I have my first triathlon under my belt, I can concentrate training for my first marathon this November.
Thanks for allowing me to share with you my first triathlon experience! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and happy running!