The road to Ironman started this past Sunday, when I did my first triathlon. Cypress Triathlon was a sprint distance event held in a local neighborhood with about 1000 participants. It was a FUN event and I’m already planning on doing it again next year!
I’m not going into much technical detail here because no one really cares about splits and transition times instead I’ll just let you look at the pictures and talk about the pleathora of things I learned on Sunday.
Because when you do something for the first time it’s nothing, if not a learning experience. Right?
First of all, when they say sprint triathlon, they really mean SPRINT triathlon. There was panting. There was grunting. And expletives. And PAIN. Because me being me, I couldn’t just enjoy it and have a good time while figuring out how to do an entirely new sport, oh no. I had to give it an all out effort – because I don’t have an off button.
I was excited before the race. I met a friend and we ran a warm up mile and just prior to the start I climbed in the lake and did a little open water warm up. Everything felt good. The lake was warm and getting a chance to experience the water before the start helped ease my nerves, of which there were many.
I had done the practice swim the weekend prior so I had an idea of what open water swimming would be like but I’d never done it in a race before. The biggest lesson of the day was that open water swimming does not equal pool swimming. It really is a free for all. No rhyme or reason, no passing on your left, no organization of any kind. Every man for himself. There’s kicking, grabbing, and all sorts of blind inappropriate touching. Yeah.
It kinda resembles this:
It was HARD. I had a tough time finding a rhythm because people kept stopping in front of me. About 100 yards from the swim exit I started feeling tired, slightly claustrophobic, and a little panicky. All I wanted was to get out of the water and fast.
Transition #1 went well. I had practiced in the back yard the week before, so it was not unfamiliar. Wipe grass off feet, put on bike shoes, helmet, glasses, and gloves. Grab bike and go!
Things were better once I got on the bike. I’ve spent a lot of time on it lately and I’m getting used to it. I’m finally comfortable riding in aero, which honestly is terrifying. No lie.
Transition #2 was uneventful. Drop off bike. Take off helment. Put on running shoes. Done. Onto the run.
Those first few steps were exceptionally painful. Apparently, running after biking leaves me with the flexibility of a steel post. For the first time EVER I hit the magic 180 steps per minute on a run…because it was physically impossible to make my strides longer than two feet. But apparently, I can penguin waddle a 7:40/mile. Pretty impressive.
3.1 miles of torture later and finish! Not too bad for a first attempt! In four weeks, I get another shot. Town Lake Tri is on Labor Day! Until then, you can find me in the pool.