Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My first race, aka how *not* to tri #linkup

I'm so excited to join MCM Mama in her Tuesday #linkup on "first races" this week. Check it out at www.mcmmamaruns.com. 
I have always been a fan of Ironman races.

I can recall many a lazy Saturday afternoon spent glued to the TV, long before they had Internet, to find out who had won the race, even two months after the race had been completed, when they finally aired the reduced version.

I couldn't believe people could race for an ENTIRE day.

And I just loved the way they edited it down, and told the main players' backstories, it was better than any Superbowl or World Series to me.

So I kinda knew I'd want to do one of those races some day. Probably not an Ironman, but yes, a triathlon. So I made it one of those "before I'm 30" goals. And lo and behold, six months before my 30th, I still had not completed one!

So I signed up for Virginia Run Sprint by Fins Wheels Feet Racing, that took place two weeks before my 30th birthday. A sprint. With only 12 miles of neighborhood biking. Seemed daunting at the time, now would be a piece o' cake.

Nothing like the last minute, eh?

And I [spoiler alert] sucked. SUCKED HARD-CORE!

Like, the man with one leg and the thirteen year old girl beat me.

Even though I had 'trained' for six months.

Let me explain: 

I truly enjoy swimming. This was a no-brainer. "I'm from Florida", I always reassure people, including myself. I printed out my little training sheet, which I think had listed most of the swim workouts from 30 to 60 minutes, and knocked those off one by one. Oh, and the 12 week training plan, I started 6 months out....So naturally, I burned out on the swimming pretty early. That was great.

Buuuuuuut didn't really matter, because there was only 250 yards of swimming! So what the hell was I doing 60 minute workouts for? I was on the swim team in high school (ok, dive team, but we did the warm-ups and cool-downs), so I could have done that in my sleep. I listed my time, and when we got there, they lined me up in the front with the guys. I listed my best swimming time, which wasn't inaccurate, but when I got in the water I panicked and it was actually very cold (a non-heated pool, early May, Northern Virginia.) So I lost my breath and had to stop at one of the sides and let someone pass me. Amateur!! And this was supposed to be my best event. Ah well. I still did fare better than most ... of the ladies, mind you....not the men that I was actually supposed to be swimming with...

Maybe it was the fact that I didn't get a real bike until two weeks before the race. My husband decided it would be a good birthday present. It wasn't until he took me to the shop that he realized I had never ridden with gears before.

So for the previous five months I had been enjoying a leisurely workout on the inclined stationary bike in our condo. FAIL.

By the time I got to two weeks before the race and started playing with my new toy, it was too late. I thought you were supposed to down-shift for the hills, like in a stick-shift car. I was hating on those 'hill's in the subdivision where the triathlon took place, but thought that traction oughta do me right eventually. 12 miles. 50 minutes later....and my husband saw me loop around at the half and said I looked like the Wicked Witch of the West, sitting upright so that I might as well have had a basket up in front. LOL. That image has stuck with me ever since. I aspire always to never look like the Wicket Witch again!!

I had not practiced any bricks, so that's 10 miles beside the point. I had not RUN a MILE CONTINUOUSLY for like, 10 years. So that was no bueno.

I started in the New Year to build up my strength on the treadmill and I eventually got to a continous mile after about, 3 weeks. Um, it's not like I was obese or anything (I was skinnier than I am now), I just had NO CLUE what I was doing.

Around April (yes, 4 months later lol) I started to run 3 miles continuously, but absolutely stopped there every time. I figured the last .1 they could front me. Especially after the bike and the swim. My husband, having run cross country in high school, tried to tell me I should be running more than the race distance to train, but this didn't make any sense to me at the time.

Boy how I've learned!!

So now, I didn't come in last, but I also didn't realize how poorly I had done. That has come in waves of embarrassment since that time, usually with every new race (and faster time) I complete. I am always such a positive perso
n, I was just super proud to have finished. I accomplished my goal, two whole weeks before my 30th birthday! And I had a new bike to play with. And an excuse to binge on a cheeseburger.

Life is good. And luckily, I was hooked [see my tri habit page.] And I can't believe I am in the middle of my first summer (outside of pregnancy and breastfeeding) that I haven't signed up for a tri! I usually complete one every summer. But after the half-ironman last Fall, I've been weak. I think if I do another I'm afraid it will give me some kind of false confidence that I could go ahead and sign up for the full. Na gana da it. NO SIR. Not now. Shhhhhhhhh. Quiet, crazy lady.

[covers mouth] 

Don't forget I'll be headed to the Philadelphia Freedoms tonight! 
I'll let you know how it goes ASAP so you can use code MOMBLOG2014 to get $10 off your adult tix for the rest of the series this week & into the weekend.


  1. LOl love your stories. I had a few less than stellar tri races myself over the years. Live and learn right?

    1. Totally! There's hardly any way to teach people what they are actually going to end up doing in their first tri!! It's hilarious.

  2. You are hilarious! I totally ride a bike the same way (yes, there's a reason I don't do tri's. Ok, maybe that's because I don't like to get my face wet in the pool LOL)

    Thanks for linking up with us! Wish you still lived in NoVa. I'm going to have to get up to meet you one of these days!

    1. I know it!! Well I've definitely got a '40th bday reunion' at IronGirl Columbia 2016!! LOL! Hopefully I'll hit another DC race sometime before then...

  3. I've been avoiding the tri because open water swimming freaks me out (and I'm from Florida too), but maybe a sprint tri with the swim in a pool... Thanks for linking up with us!

    1. Definitely! A lot of sprints are easy swims - I like a lake, too - and they'll rope off the area so it doesn't seem so daunting. And sooo many tri's let you practice sometimes throughout the summers! :) Thanks for having me!

  4. Haha ... so funny!
    My first tri - I got my husband's mountain bike fitted with hybrid tires and took it out for the first time ever - just one weekend of a bike ride practice! And never ridden one with gears either!
    Now I love tris.


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