I Have Tri’d

I don’t know why this post has been so hard for me to write. I have sat down many times…and nothing.

This “race” was different for me.

In the past, I have gone into races feeling prepared. Not always completely prepared, but I knew I would finish. At some point. I have been lucky in that running has come pretty easy. I have been able to set goals and meet them. This tri…

I set goals. I had a plan. And then, life got in the way. I went back to work. I lost my primetime training time. My bike broke. With all the challenges, I lost my confidence. I went into this race day, scared, nervous, and completely unsure. I had no idea what to expect. I feared the water. We received an e-mail the night before letting us know the swim portion may be cancelled all together due to questionable water test results. I later feared death as I inadvertently swallowed some of the lake water.

A bundle of nerves, I arrived much earlier than anticipated. I couldn’t sleep so I figured I would head on over. Luckily, I ended up parking right next to one of my partners in tri crime. We ventured over to the transition area. We had no idea what we were doing and followed the lead of others who looked to know what they were doing. We laid out our gear, hung up our bikes, and chatted.

As time passed, we prepared for the swim. Only to hear that the start would be delayed ten minutes. Okay. Time to use the restroom. And then another twenty-minute delay. And then another. And then another. ONE HOUR later, the first wave was finally preparing to hit the swim. Road work forced the race staff to re-route the bike route which caused an overall hour delay in the entire race.

As we finally set foot in the water, I was confronted with seaweed. It’s a texture thing. It’s slimy. And gross. And I just don’t like it. At all. I realize it won’t eat me. Or kill me. But it will touch me. And it did.

I wasn’t prepared for the swim. For the mass start. For the head kicks and body shoves. For the massive amounts of water I would swallow just trying to find a space to fully stroke forward. I simply did all I could to finish. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast.

But I finished. And learned that you should swim as far in as possible. I stood up too soon. And quickly realized just how hard it is to run in water. I was physically exhausted. And we had just started…I am so not a swimmer.

Off to the transition area. Running in tri swim gear: not so fun. Humbling. Jiggly.

Get to the transition area: dry feet, put on socks and shoes, helmet, and hop on the bike. A borrowed bike. A borrowed bike I had just picked up the night before. The location of the transition area posed us with a hill about twenty-five feet away. I hoped I would figure out the gears in time…

And off I biked. Despite the plethora of women that passed me, I was working HARD. I cursed the fancy road bikes passing me. And pedaled away. Finding a groove. Hoping I could recover some time on the run…I am so not a biker.

Finally back in the transition area, I hung up the bike. Grabbed my hat, threw on a skirt to cover the caboose, and ran off. In my head, this was all done gracefully and quickly. In reality, not so much. My legs were utter and complete jelly. I willed myself to run faster but it didn’t happen. I just tried to keep moving…and managed to do so. It took nearly two miles for my legs to find a groove. It was a three-mile run.

I have never been so happy to see a finish line.

All in all, I am excited to have finished. I can say that I have completed a triathlon.

I can also say that I have absolutely no desire to do another.

This tri showed me just how little you truly need to run and gave me a whole new appreciation for running. I wanted something new, and got it. It wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I am grateful for the lessons learned:

* Lake swims = nasty. No, thank you.

* I literally worried for days afterward that the kick to the head that forced me to swallow water might cost me a limb, or stomach virus. No third eye, yet.

* Tri gear is not photo friendly, the damn bike shorts cut right into your thighs for a remarkable and impressive sausage look (even more special when wet and sparkly).

* Training for three disciplines is a million times harder than training for one: finding a pool, finding a pool with kid care, finding a gym for spin or sitter for kids to bike, finding time to run…yada, yada, yada.

* Tri race photos take bad race photos to a whole new level, whoooooooole new level.

* The dog paddle is remarkably effective and keeps your face far away from said nasty lake water.

* I have amazing, supportive friends who take time out of their busy weekend…

* I have driven, remarkable, athletic women in my life who also completed this race with me.

I completed the swim. I finished the bike portion. I survived the run.

I have tri’d.

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Still TRI-ing…

When I signed up for the sprint tri in July, I had planned out the training months in advance: swim one day a week, run three days, and bike one or two…all while the boys were both in school three mornings a week. In my head, the plan was flawless. Then, as it always seems to happen, the plans changed and a part-time teaching position fell in my lap. As a result, I have officially traded in the yoga pants for work wear, my car/house office for a classroom, and…training for working.

The sight still makes me giddy. I absolutely love being back in the classroom and back in a school setting: teaching kids who LISTEN and having co-workers who love to talk about things other than Legos and Batman…

I survived my first full week back to work, Ty’s first full week of kindergarten, and Jake’s first week back at preschool. As we search for a new normal in our house, the first thing to go was my former workout/training routine. I desperately hope to get some of it back. And fear I will be the last person to cross the finish line in a few weeks. We now have FOUR entirely different school schedules, soccer, basketball, and swimming to keep track of. I realize there are phone apps that can do this, but I need to write things out, see them visually, and I love all paper products. Each person has a specific color. I have two boards that will be rotated and a small spiral calendar I keep nearby to plan further in advance. Items that need immediate attention, signatures, and/or checks are clipped to the board. Ty’s school picture form currently hangs, ready to be signed:

I wish we had a wall to devote to a family work station but we don’t. The calendar sits on our kitchen counter where it is clearly visible. On our fridge, I have one clip for Jake’s important papers/schedules/etc. and one for Tyson. Their morning routine/chore charts, which have proven invaluable hang below. For longer term papers/notes, each child has a folder in a standing organizer next to the big calendar on our kitchen calendar:

Thanks to Pinterest, our snack bin has evolved since this photo but it has made making lunches and packing a snack a breeze. For Tyson, I pack his snack in the front pocket of his backpack and leave his lunch separate in the big zipper portion of his backpack. That way, I don’t have to worry about him eating his lunch at snack time on the days he stays later at after school care:

And I have been getting used to being at the gym at different times. Different times = different classes. I am doing my best to squeeze in at least one spin class and a couple runs a week…I haven’t seen a pool in weeks. I am trying to adjust my overall outlook and approach for the tri. My goal is simply to finish. Have fun. Not drown. Complete the bike portion with my bike intact.

Searching for a new normal and hoping new routines fall into place. For now, still tri-ing…and wishing I had signed up for a fall half instead. I am determined to stick with the tri training but am already disappointed that I am not going to be anywhere near the kind of shape I had previously hoped.


TRI Training Check In: Humbling Lessons in Gear Vanity

It wasn’t until recently that I truly realized just how LITTLE you really need to run: good shoes, maybe a hat, maybe some music…and out you go. Swimming: not so much. Biking: not so much.

SWIMMING

Bare necessities: pool (I am assuming that filling my kid’s plastic pool, lying on my belly, and kicking won’t suffice), suit, swim cap, goggles. Finding a pool, not so easy. Braving the pool, not so easy. The swim portion will be the hardest part for me, in that I have had the least amount of practice. It has also pushed me waaaaay out of my comfort zone: parading around in a suit is not my cup of tea, but I am doing it. Reluctantly. Throw in the added bonus of doing so with a swim cap…I die a little each time.

First order of business, finding a lap swim suit. Apparently, they are made for the tall, hipless, booty-less types out there. Every.single.suit cuts into my behind: not flattering. Reason #245, 967 why I love running more: the pants make your booty look FABULOUS. Thighs compressed. No jiggle-age. The walk from the bench to pool in the suit: wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle…

Suit: on. Swim cap: on- I bite it and then pull over my head, almost suffocating. I am guessing there is a better way? Goggles: on.

I hop into the pool. COMPLETELY unsure of any “lap swim etiquette”…there are only two lanes open in this particular pool. Three others, next to the swim team practice. No thanks. Off I go, one lap, two laps…and I quickly learn that I am incapable of counting laps beyond four. I had every intention of keeping track, not so much. The ladies next to me appeared to have some sort of routine: freestyle, kick board, swim hand paddle thingies…I felt like a poser. No extra gear. Just got in and swam…my enthusiasm was obvious, no?

BIKING

Bare necessities: bike, helmet, bike shorts. I am guessing there won’t be many people racing the TRI with a mountain bike. From Target. I took it to have the flat wheels fixed and laughed at the fact that it cost half as much as the entire bike, not a good sign. Also, not a fan of the helmet. It jacks up my ponytail. And I tried wearing hat underneath but that didn’t work out so well.

Determined to train for this TRI, I headed out on my newly fixed tires. Helmet: check. “Fancy” bike: check. New tri shorts: check. Again, I felt immediately lost and missed the familiarity and comfort of running…the shorts fit all janky. The sticky band at the bottom doesn’t agree with my “athletic” thighs and makes more bulges in places where I don’t need any help. And I feel a twinge of anxiety when I have to pass someone, walking, biking or otherwise. I make a beep, beep noise with my mouth, I don’t have a bell, the people look at me like I am crazy. Maybe they are jealous of my awesome bike? I figure next time, I steal Jake’s “Cars” bugle horn and beep away…again, my enthusiasm radiates, no?

So, here I sit about a month out, woefully unprepared but determined to get it done. More worried about the jiggle-age: running from the swim to the bike, in a SUIT than the overall race. And realizing just how vain I really am. Thank you, compression capris for all that you have one for me and my booty and thighs. I have wondered for the last few months why I haven’t met many runners who have turned into triathletes- it seems to be mostly swimmers and bikers. From the ease of just getting up and going, to the butt flattering gear, running feels so much easier. Swimming and biking appear to need more time, commitment, money, and effort to get done…the one perk of biking so far, getting my biggest little man involved in the training:

T-minus two months til game day…


The Chronicles of a Non-Biker Non-Swimmer Attempting to Try a TRI

I’ve gone and done it now.

Officially registered for my first sprint tri. Nervous. Scared as hell that I’ll drown via seaweed contact on the swim. If anything remotely slimy or sea-weedy touches any part of me, I am done.

A TRI rests on my life long bucket list among the things that sound really cool to say you’ve done, but aren’t actually among the things you think you’ll really do. Right next to it is to finish a full marathon.

While on vacation last week, one of my goals was to make my way to the pool and swim real laps. For the first time in over twenty years. I thought I would dive in and automatically retain my ten year old swim team glory and form. Not so much. You see that lady there on the treadmill, I am certain she got her fill of free live entertainment watching me splash my way across the pool only to realize that was ONE length. I attempted a flip turn, thinking I could manage the way I did when I was ten, again, not so much. I nearly killed myself.

Yet, despite a less than stellar two days in the pool, I am confident I won’t drown. It won’t be pretty. But I am determined to cross this off my bucket list. Will they let me dog paddle?

And after conquering the swim portion, I am gifted with the bike leg.

Not sure what I am thinking…

Any tips for a total TRI newbie??!!