As I mentioned in a previous post, I registered for the Fall Creek Falls Triathlon, and I was not sure how I would do with the new triathlon distances.
Well...I DID IT! Yes sir ree. I won't say with flying colors because I was mighty slow on the bike ride, but I will say it was a successful first Olympic distance triathlon.
The swim was nothing like what I had imagined, which is good because I wasn't imagining anything pleasant. We started in 3 minute waves and I started with the females under 40. I know this does not apply to all females who participate in triathlons, but I found my fellow swimmers to be quite polite. There was very little touching and bumping into one another, however, when we did heads popped up for a quick apology. I laughed to myself as I heard the occasional "sorry" spoken during the swim.
As I swam I focused only on the next buoy I had to reach. In no time, I was passing the last buoy and was thrilled to see the shore. I pushed harder to reach it, running the 300 yards to the transition area. I finished the swim in 26:40, which was significantly faster than what I'd predicted.
I hopped on my bike and grinned as I flew down the first hill. I had done it! I had completed the swim! I was excited about my recent triumph and ready to focus on what I thought would be a quick ride. Wrong. There were a ton of hills and I managed to lose momentum on most of them. It took my legs a while to quit burning and get used to the motion of pedaling. Around mile 15 I was bored, ready to run, and I felt like I'd been passed by just about everyone else in the race.
I have no idea why I get bored riding and I don't get bored running, but I was so ready to get off that bike. I thought the transition area would never show up, but of course, it did. I finished the ride in 1:32. Finally.
I quickly got out of my cycling gear and into my racing flats and visor, taking a drink from my water bottle before I took off. I hadn't taken the time to drink much during the ride because I was so impatient to finish. I realized I was getting a very late start to my run and I wasn't sure, even with 6.2 miles, that I'd be able to catch all the people who passed me on the ride. I sure meant to try, though.
Just as I left the transition area, I saw Jason running up to his finish. He looked strong and we slapped hands as we passed each other. I had also seen him on the bike ride, but he flew by at such a speed I did not have time to cheer.
The run was my favorite part (shocker). It was mostly in shade along a bike path through the woods. At first it felt strange, but it wasn't long before I found my rhythm and ran strong. I began to slowly catch other runners, especially on the hills. At each water station, I grabbed a cup, took a sip and threw the rest in my face. It was so cold and refreshing. I was pretty excited about feeling so strong, and I think this excitement pushed me to run even harder.
Around mile 4 I saw Jason running toward me. When he saw me he stopped in his tracks and yelled at the top of his lungs, "There's my girlfriend!" He said something else but I don't remember what it was. I laughed as he got closer and said, "You nut! What are you doing?" He said he'd been called a showoff by some of the people he passed on his way to find me. He told them he was looking for his girlfriend but they did not believe him.
I told him I was passing every runner I could see. He said not to let him slow me down (hilarious) and that if I needed to leave him, I should (sure). We caught more and more runners the further along we got. We passed the guys who had called him a showoff and they said, "So you do have a girlfriend." The girlfriend left them in her dust.
Once we got out of the shade and onto the bridge that would lead us to the final climb to the finish, Jason pointed out a girl in pink who was already starting the climb. "That is your huckleberry," he said. "She's WAY up there!" I replied. I was focusing on the two girls in blue who had just reached the bridge. "She's going to burn out on the hill," he said.
Sure enough, as I started my own climb, there she was walking slowly up the hill. I passed every single person I could see until there was no one between myself and the finish line. I may have gotten smoked on the swim and the ride, but no one passed me on the run. There was just not enough time to catch all of those people with only 6.2 miles of running. Still, I was pleased with how good I felt during it, with a finish time of 54:31 for my run.
My overall time with transitions and everything was 2:59:39, which was much better than what I had estimated. There is a ton of room for improvement, of course, but that is what keeps it interesting. My husband, on the other hand totally rocked it. He was 3rd in his age group with an overall time of 2:12, which put him a mere 7 seconds behind 2nd place and 2 minutes behind 1st. He was 11th over all with the 3rd fastest run. He won a small banjo for his efforts and I was so very proud of him.
So my first foray into the Olympic distance was a good one with some wonderful memories made along the way. That, I believe, is how it should be.