Saturday, August 4, 2012

I did it! Bountiful Triathlon Race Report

This morning was the Bountiful Triathlon. And guess what? I didn't drown!!

The short of it:

Run: 5k, 30:18 Began at 8:11am.
Transition: 1:58
Bike: 11 miles. 53:59
Transition 2: 1:41
Swim: 350 yards. 10:49 minutes

Total time: 1:38:45. Not too bad, not too bad.

 (We are so cute in swimming goggles, aren't we?)

The long of it:

This was a perfect triathlon to do for a first-timer. The cap of participants was set at 400, and I don't think they had even that many. We arrived at the South Davis Rec center at about 7:30. We got our packets, numbers, and shirts (was again thwarted at getting the large women's shirt that I wanted. But they had an extra large, so I took it. Running shirts are impossible!!) We had a few minutes to rack our bikes (which means that you prop the front part of your seat up on a rail so your bike balances on the rail and on the front tire.) I opened my bag, set my goggles and swim cap where I could find them quickly, and stowed my helmet on the handlebars of my bike. Shane and I had our bikes next to this bike that had a white monster fur padded granny bike seat. It was a good landmark to help us find our bikes until the race started. We took a few pictures then went to listen to the pre-race instructions.

Body marking is tuff.

But wait!! I forgot to mention the cool part - the body marking (Lucy - I know you liked this part too, and it made me excited about it!) I'm used to running with a number, but I was super excited to get the body marking. True, it's just your number on your left arm and right leg in addition to your age on your left leg, but it was cool. It felt tough, a badge of sorts. I was equally impressed with the double sided number that folded over the rail of my bike. Every new discovery about the world of triathlons was made them seem a little cooler. Plus, with the age of each participant, it gave a whole new meaning to the process of kills: you knew how old the person you were passing/who was passing you was. Awesome.

I admit I wasn't looking forward to the run. I was nervous for the bike, and anxiously excited for the swim so the run was something I just wanted to get over with as soon as possible. I found that the hilly course I usually run gives me strengths, but also weakness: I didn't realize that I rely on the downhill that is at the start of most of my runs. I doubt I have ever run such a flat course as the one from today. I stayed with Shane for until after I passed the 3k mark, and then my side ache and tired legs forced me to slow down. I kept thinking about how much I wanted to finish strong, but legs and lungs combined to make me unable to run as fast as I wanted to run. I also was mad that I let a 17 year old pass me after I passed her - twice - in the end. And her shoe was untied. Oh well.

One redeeming moment during the run came during the first mile. I had picked my Ragnar night run playlist as the music for the run. The song that made me remember my dad so much during Ragnar came on. I smiled a little bit and then felt Shane nudging me to listen to his iPod. Ring of Fire by Johnnie Cash was coming out of his headphone. I've told him of how Johnny Cash reminds me of my dad, and he admits that he can imagine my dad singing Johnny Cash songs as easily as I can. He was smiling and I was smiling and I'm pretty sure that my dad was smiling with us, too.

I saw Shane at the transition between run and bike, but before I could say more than a few words to him he was off. I grabbed my helmet after throwing my hat in the general direction of my bag. I tried to set off, but I knew my hat was sitting on the ground, out of the general path but not as close to my possessions as I wanted. I debated for 5 seconds - knowing that getting the hat would take precious time, but also knowing that I was stupid to try to throw it in the first place and would have been better to just have set it down to begin with. The hat won, and I did a funky leaning/propping thing with my bike while I reached for the wayward hat and set it in my bag. Stupid stupid stupid.

The bike was hard. Hard, I say!! When I bought my bike last year, I just knew it was a bike. It had gears and wheels and brakes. I didn't know that the fact that it's a mountain bike would be such a liability. Riding a mountain bike in a road race is stupid. They don't go anywhere near as fast as the road bikes. I was peddling as fast as I could but I watched person after person pass me. I passed one girl on the only hill of the race (which was really an overpass near the Legacy Highway), only to watch her pass me 20 seconds later. Ah well. The course, however, was beautiful. We were out in the fields of West Bountiful and on the Legacy Highway for about 3 miles. The view of the mountains was gorgeous. Riding through the rushes and grasses along the highway was so peaceful and almost took my mind off of the discomfort of pedaling. I had a moment where I remembered a comment Amy had made during a run we did together last spring in the mountains: There were rapture moments, when I had to take my eyes off the road and view the beauty around me. That being said, my legs were dying by the end of the bike portion. My brain (and backside) was done with being on the bike and it was relief that I turned into the rec center.

My legs weren't super happy to be walking after getting off the bike. I racked my bike and started getting ready for the swim. iPod, helmet, headphones, shoes, socks, and running skirt all came off. I ran/walked on my shaky legs toward the pool. It was amazing to jump in the pool! I had watched an old man jump in before me and so I followed suit. I started swimming and I finally felt it: joy. The rhythm of swimming was the only activity that day that clicked. Most of our training had been in a 50 meter long-course pool, which meant I was used to swimming more than twice the distance of the l lane without stopping. I had the benefit of pushing off the wall in less than half the distance I was used it. It was awesome! I checked off each lane methodically. I felt super strong and confident in the water - I never would have imagined feeling that way 2 months ago. Amazing! I passed 2 or 3 other swimmers, but was lucky to have almost every lane I swam in to myself. There are benefits to being a slow biker in the end, friends! I reached the end of the swim in what I know was a personal record (but still unsure of my exact time. I want tomorrow to come so bad so I can know my swim time!). I climbed out of the pool, looked at my time with excitement, and found my husband at the end of the pool waiting for me. He hugged me and I hugged him and reveled in knowing that I'd just finished my first triathlon.

We did it. I couldn't be happier and I can't wait to do it again next year. I think part of what made it so enjoyable is that it was a little Ragnar-esque: 3 different events to get you to the finish line. Without trying to sound snotty - 5k's just aren't enough anymore. If I'm going to pay for the race, get up early, and drive for any amount of time, I need at least an hour or more of effort to feel satisfied. I think that the triathlon fits this bill nicely. I took about 2 months to train for it, and I know what I need to work on (it has 2 wheels and gears.) For me, it ranks pretty close to the excitement of finishing a half marathon. Most I am just excited that I tried something new. Eight years ago I did that when I ran my marathon. Two years ago I did that with my first Ragnar. I like that even though I'm perilously close to 40 (as evinced by the "37" on my left calf), I'm still pushing myself to grow in new ways.


Britt said...

Great job, Becky! You are amazing!

Amy Sorensen said...

Oh, I am soooo, soooo proud of you! Yay! I'm most impressed that you found your moment in the pool. That is amazing to me. I thought about you all day (I was at work or I would have called in the afternoon!) and I am happy you blogged about it so quickly. Yay you!!!

Isabel said...

Oh Becky (& Shane)...amazing. I love that you did this and found the joy during it. Good job. So impressed.

heidikins said...

So awesome!!! Congrats to you both!


Lucy said...

Woo-hoo! I think this backwards format sounds amazing. I would love to end in the pool instead of doing the bike and run with wet clothes and hair. Yes, the body marking is the best but we didn't have to mark our age. How bizarre. I wonder why they made you do that????

I had a mountain bike as well and I think I only counted 2 others. They are so slow!!! I still think about buying a road bike but I figure I actually need to prove to myself that I will get out the door...every day...before I could justify the cost.

I am so proud of you, Becky! I think it is so cool that you do this with Shane and push yourself harder and harder in your goals. Very inspiring!!! Congratulations.