I was puke-worthy nervous about doing my first triathlon, Esprit de She Naperville. I’m always anxious about doing new things in new places, but this was especially terrifying to me. Now that I’ve gotten through the race I can honestly say it was no. big. deal. I wish my body and mind had believed this pre race, but it wasn’t until I completed the event that I gained the confidence necessary to get over my freakin’ anxiety.
This all women’s race was extremely newbie friendly. First, there was a detailed course talk at packet pick-up and there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions. They also offered a “Buddy Wave” so you could race with a friend or on your own in the company other green triathletes. Another service was their “swim angles,” experienced swimmers who if you request, swim along side of you and offer encouragement throughout the swim section of the race.
The race organizers and volunteers did everything necessary to make sure I had a good race. My job was to set up my transition and get out there and swim, bike, run.
At about 5:30 am my friend Nina and I parked our cars and met outside the parking garage. We walked a few blocks with our bikes to the transition area. After finding the place where we were supposed to rack our bikes, I noticed we were super far from the bike-out. Since we were in the buddy wave and not competing for any awards I can understand our placement. At 6:45 am we were kicked out of the transition area. We spent the next hour and a half watching swim wave after swim wave head out. In the midst of all of that I probably used the bathroom about 4 times.
Finally, it was our turn. We ditched our warm layers near the swim exit and headed to the start. After watching the previous waves I decided that I would need to swim out fast at first in hopes to get ahead of the clump of slower swimmers. However, in hindsight this may have been a bad idea. Since going out quickly caused me to get out of breath and I had a hard time getting it under control the rest of the swim. There were still several clumps of struggling swimmers that I had a hard time getting around. There was even one back stroker who was on a colliding path with mine. I tried to stay as close to the lane marker as possible so that I could get a good free style going. I was okay for a while and then I had to resort to my best breast stoke to catch my breath. To say the least the swim was a struggle. I made it out of the water in just over 15 minutes, which stunned me because days earlier I swam my practice half mile in 25 minutes.
I jogged to transition where Nina showed up a few seconds later. We prepared for the bike, grabbed some fuel and headed to the bike-out. Once we mounted our bikes I found myself surrounded by other riders who seemed to be on a leisurely bike ride, so I sped up and passed them. I found a comfortable yet productive cadence but not too much later the cross wind became seriously unbearable and I felt like I was biking in a wind tunnel. This is when I began to literally curse the wind. I dropped a couple of ef bombs at this point and others commiserated with me. I made it around the 2 laps with as much effort as I could give. I unclipped my feet from the pedals in anticipation of the dismount so that I could avoid a fall. We finished the bike in 51:29. I have no idea what this time means, but I put forth my best effort and isn’t that really what counts?
Again Nina was not too far behind me and we met in transition where we got ready for the run, fueled and headed out. As I entered the run I raised my hands up in the air and I proclaimed, “Finally! I’m running!” Less than a quarter mile in we both agreed to stop for a bathroom break. We continued on the run as we chatted, cursed and chatted some more. Including our bathroom break we kept a 9:11 min/mile pace. I was thrilled with that time since I would have guessed we had been running an 11 min/mile pace.
I was thrilled to cross the finish line and get the sweet medal. Nina and I finished together in 1:46:09. Again I have no idea what this time really means, but I do know that that we PRed! Go us.
I loved my first triathlon. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without Nina. She was a lifesaver. I have plenty of room to improve, which means I must sign up for another one of these babies soon. I don’t think I’ll be looking to do a distance farther than a sprint until I seriously improve my swimming, but another sprint is in my future.