I completed the Disco Triathlon yesterday.
I had a great attitude going into it. Since it was a last minute decision to register, I was looking at it as more of a rehearsal tri rather than anything I needed to worry about.
I was relatively calm about the swim start. The few open water swim practices I’d done helped me to realize I need to get in the water BEFORE the triathlon start. Several others had the same idea. I went into the water, swam out a bit and swam back to shore. A little panic… and a reminder to practice my new mantra, “Calm”.
Because there were two other long course triathlons and several waves of athletes before my wave, the water was choppy. My newly learned bilateral breathing technique was thrown out the window rather quickly as I struggled to breathe in air rather than yet another wave of water. I did panic slightly and recovered by flipping to my back for backstroke. I swam freestyle mostly but did swim on my back about 5 times here and there. I never really gave up on freestyle. I just needed a break now and again.
Total swim: 500 yards.
Total swim time: 17:19.9
There was quite a path between the beach and the transition area. My legs weren’t exactly ready to run but I got there as quick as I could. There were race volunteers rinsing the sand off our feet. That was helpful.
T1 time: 5:07.8
As I expected, I enjoyed the time out on the bike. The ONLY thing I wish I’d done before getting on the bike was go to the bathroom. There were a few trees along the route that looked very enticing…
I tried to stay hydrated throughout the bike ride, consuming a whole bottle of Gatorade. I also ate my usual biking de-bonk treat, peanut butter crackers. I’d only had a few waffles and peanut butter about an hour before the swim and definitely wanted to make sure I continued refueling on calories, carbs and protein.
The bike route was on the shoulder of the road, which in previous experience, was never enjoyable for me. I loathe chip seal and the chance of broken glass. The route also consisted of a few hills… including one in particular that I refused to allow to defeat me. I saw others walk their bikes but I pedaled… my… way… slowly… up…. every… foot… of… that… monster. My bike computer wasn’t working, for some reason, but I imagine my average speed was about 14-15 mph.
Total bike distance: 17.6 miles
Total time: 1:15:55.1
I wasn’t moving too quickly into the second transition area. My legs were wobbly and I had to go to the restroom badly. After changing into running gear, I ran towards the port-o-potties with all the race volunteers shouting, “You’re going the wrong way! The run out is that way.” I shouted back, “I HAVE TO PEE!!!!”
T2 time: 3:46.0
The run was all cemented, mostly shaded trails through the park. I was very impressed! They had tables set up along the route handing out ice, water, Powerade, ice cold towels and one even had watermelon! There were also various sprinklers along the path to cool us down.
I know people were finished ahead of me but it seemed like everyone I encountered was worn plumb out. I noticed that I wasn’t running with my usual vigor either. I walked a few times but tried to keep a semi-steady pace. I know I wasn’t lifting my feet as high. I guess I was even shuffling instead of running in some places.
Like, for instance, when I came upon an area in the path that was marked with the sign “Dip”. There was even a race volunteer warning everyone of the dip. And the dip was marked with a big giant X. Knowing all of that, I still fell into the dip… misjudging how far across it was. I twisted my left ankle, lost my shoe and fell hands first into the concrete. The race volunteer kindly helped me to my feet and then admitted that I wasn’t the first to fall. My legs were very weak.
Finally, rounding a bend, I saw the lake. I knew the finish line was on the beach so that meant I was almost there. Then I heard the disco music and the sound of the announcer calling out names as they crossed the finish line. Almost there…
“Run the mile you’re in!”
I’d repeated that mantra to myself during the toughest times in the triathlon. Like when I wanted the swim to be over… “no, you can do this. Stay present. Calm.”
And when I was approaching that monster hill on the bike ride, after I taunted myself for not being as great a triathlete as others along the route, “You are doing something that most people don’t do! Don’t go negative! Remember, stay in the few feet ahead of you. Don’t look up at that looming hill. Don’t be in its shadow! You got this!”
And again, as I approached the sounds and sights of the final part of the run, “Don’t look ahead. Run where you are. Stay in this moment! Run the mile you’re in!!!”
It helped keep a smile on my face… even until the end.
Total run distance: 3.1 miles
Total time: 37:28.9
Plus… it never hurts to add another medal to my collection. 🙂
Total triathlon race finish time: 2:19:37.9
River Cities… here I come! 3 weeks!