Yesterday was my first Olympic distance triathlon. I picked this triathlon because it was later in the year and I would have plenty of time to train for it and get plenty of open water swimming practice in.
Well, before the race, I had only had 2 chances to go open water swimming. I wasn't feeling to confident about the swim. BJ, my personal trainer, had given me plenty of tips and told me about the race course, etc. I was about as prepared as I was going to be.
Transition opened at 6:30 a.m., so I wanted to be there bright and early to get a good transition spot. Little did I know is that they assigned you a transition spot, so hell, I could've slept a good extra 1 - 1 1/2 hrs. I was pretty bummed.
I had to actually bike from where we parked down to the transition area, which was about 4 miles. I got to go down a REALLY steep hill. Everybody was saying you can go upwards of 40-50 mph going down this hill, so I was kind of excited to see how fast I was going to be going down this hill on my way to transition to set everything up, but my computer on my bike wasn't working. :( Boo.
Finally 8:30 a.m. came and I ate my sports beans. I'm getting increasingly nervous because the event I was most scared of was the swim. I had to swim 1 mile. 8:55 a.m. came and I was in my wetsuit nice and good and decided to get in the water to warm up. I was surrounded by others that were doing their first Olympic distance so I was still panicing on the inside, but it was nice to know I wasn't in this alone.
Then...the gun went off. I started out slow on my swim and the first bouey was easy to spot. I felt like I was doing really good. I rounded the first bouey and started sighting for the 2nd bouey. That was more difficult because the sun was right in your face. I ended up just sighting with a big boat that was out there by the bouey 'cause I couldn't see the bouey. Then I finally got there and headed to the 3rd bouey to start my 2nd round of swimming. I had to do 2 laps of this swim to swim 1 mile. The first lap went really well and most of the 2nd lap went really well. When it finally came time to swim in to shore I thought I'd never get there! I kept sighting and it seemed like it was always the same distance away. You know those endless pools? I felt like I was swimming in one of those.
Finally I made it to the boat ramp and I saw people running up the boat ramp, well that just wasn't an option for me. My legs felt like jello, my arms hurt, I knew right then the bike was going to be rough.
So, I was in the transition area and I'm trying to go as fast as I can, but my body is just already tired. I'm screwed! I finally get my shoes on, helmet on, etc. and I'm heading out of transition to start a 25 mile bike ride.
The bike route is what they call a "false flat". It looks like it is flat, but it's a 1 - 2% uphill grade. The first half of the bike was dreadful. I was just praying I would get to the turn around point. I mean God and everybody was passing me on the bike. I was starting to have a panic attack on the bike because of how terrible I was doing on the bike, therefore I started hyperventilating on the bike. This wasn't good. Everybody passing me had kind words of encouragement, but it was still rough.
I think at one point on the bike I saw BJ stopped off at the side of the road cheering me on and that pushed me further. That made me dig a little deeper and push harder. Once I finally got to the turn around point, everything was good though. It was all downhill from here.
On the bike though, I made a stupid, very stupid, mistake. I didn't eat anything. I had a packet of sports beans taped to my bike, but I kept looking down at them and I saw was salt. They are very salty, which is good, which helps you drink more, etc., but all I wanted was water. So, I never ate them. I just sipped a little bit of my Powerade and drank all my water.
I finally got back to transition and there was at least 2 people behind me on the bike, so I knew I wasn't last, but I wasn't doing as well as I wanted.
I headed out on the run of 5.7 miles and I was just done. My legs were done. They felt like jello. I was really discouraged. The whole run was like a giant panic attack and I kept hyperventilating on the run too. I walked a good portion of the run just cause I couldn't do it.
I came walking/running in from my first lap and I'm bawling and my dad is there ringing the cowbell telling me not to give up. Then as I'm heading out, I'm thoroughly embarrassed because I'm one of the last people out on the course. I see my personal trainer and his wife there cheering me on telling me not to be embarrassed. This is my first Olympic distance tri, I can keep doing it.
I walked almost all of the 2nd lap of the run. I was so far behind from everyone else, I could have easily cheated. I mean, there wasn't anybody at the last water station. That's how far behind I was. BUT...I knew my conscious would get to me so I kept on with the whole 5.7 miles.
Somehow I managed to run the last 1/2 mile of the race and run in to the finish.
My personal trainer and my dad met me at the finish line. I stood and talked with my personal trainer for a little bit. We briefly talked about what I did well and what I didn't do well on the race. We're gonna get together in a few days and go over it in more detail.
I drank a TON of water on my run because it was hot and I was afraid of getting dehydrated. Well, shortly after this picture was taken, BJ and his wife left and I promptly walked over and barfed up every ounce of water I drank. It was rough. I wondered when I was going to stop barfing. I ended up seeing the medical tent people and took some electrolyte pills.
Finally I was feeling well enough to walk down to transition and grab my bike and walk back up to the bus to go up to the car.
Weird thing is...while I was sitting there taking the electroylte pills, I heard my name called over the loud speaker. I didn't find out until I got home that I placed 2nd in my division!!! Now...only 2 of us registered in that division, but I placed!!! My final time was 3:49:00 (I don't remember the seconds). I came in 123rd over all and there were I believe around 200 people who did the Olympic distance.
I know my biggest mistake was not eating anything on the bike. I needed to refuel on the bike to have energy to get through the run. I can't wait to do another Olympic distance triathlon to see how well I do when I eat something on the bike, you know? Looking back now, I find it interesting that my best event in this race was the one I was most scared of...the swim. I just can't express how STUPID I feel for not eating anything on the bike. I knew I should have and my gut was telling me I should, but I just didn't want to. It wasn't that I didn't want to consume calories, that wasn't bothering me, I just was craving water and nothing else.
Here's one last picture. My personal trainer on the run portion of the race. Yes, he took 1st place overall. He's a machine.