I do not think you can ever be prepared fully for it! And that is just reality!
You do not know until you go through it.
Yes you can have the training under your belt. You can do the swimming, you can do the biking, you can do the running.
You know your pace, you know you can do this.
Well, yesterday was my first triathlon at the Rex Wellness Center triathlon in Knightdale, North Carolina. I had done a half marathon before but never a triathlon.
I was talked into it my 15 year-old, Jason. I came back from one of my trip and he said I was in better shape than ever.
Jason and I have been working out on a regular schedule now, since February as I needed the training to climb with the Durham Firefighters for my photo project. Jason has introduced me to weights and abs exercise. I introduced him to the elliptical machine and the treadmill.
I can hike 20 kilometers easily, I can run, I can bike..So why not!
I have wanted to do a triathlon for a longtime for never thought I could handle the swimming.
Well my son said to me: “Why don’t we do this together. You are in better shape than 75% of the kids at my school! I will be there and we will be the team Singletary.”
I decline as I thought it would not be fair to him, I was going to slow him down too much. He is an incredible biker. His response to me was very easy: “We are a team Maman, the Singletary team. Let me tell you what a team is: A team never let go of each other, you draft of each other to give another a break. Each team member is important. I will stay will you”
How can I say no to signing up for a triathlon with my son after that pep-talk?
So I said yes to yet another challenge!
We trained hard, we were fired up about doing this together!
The day of the triathlon,we had to get up very early. We were up at 4:45am to be on site at the REX Wellness Center in Knightdale by 6am. We arrived there, got our package with number, chips, and where to put our bike and set-up. A friend of mine the night before had told me to bring a bucket. You carried your stuff in the bucket and turn it around to sit on to put your shoes. Never thought I would have been so happy for that advice when the time came!
After been set up, we were ready. At 7am, we were told to all line up ready to go. That meant ready to go in the pool….in bathing suit. I love the cool weather, but yesterday morning was cold outside at 7am, to be in bathing s
So we listened to the rules, and about 15-20 mn later we entered in the pool facility.
You go from freezing for 20 mn to very warm pool environment!
Then the very fast swimmers go first. We were 25 people swimming on the same time…departing 15 second apart and going in serpentine. This is the part where you are not ready for ….the overwhelming part.
So many people, lining in the pool by number. We were asked to put our average time. Jason and I had put down 10 minutes for our 225 meters. You see this swimmers so fast and you are like….what am I doing here?
At one point Jason looked at me and said: these swimmers are going at our average pace, we should go now.
So we went inside the pool, lined up and waited for our starting time!
We entered the pool and were shivering, we were now back to be cold inside the water. Changes of temperature you are not used to. We had just spend one hour waiting.
After that it went so fast! Jason went a-front of me as he is faster.
One of my friend had told me after I asked him how was a race that he did, that he did not do as well as he thought! When I asked him why, he responded that no matter what your pace is you have a tendency to follow the pace of the crowd. He had called it ” It was testosterone” . Well I know what he meant.
I went way faster on my swim that my pace, because so many people in the front, and in the back!! You just can’t slow down! I finished my swim in just over 6 minutes…4 minutes less than my pace!
Then you have what you are not ready for and have not trained for: TRANSITION!!!!!!!
You get out of the pool, wet, and you have to run outside dripping to get to your bike and your clothes! Let me tell you: it is cold!!!
Then you have choices: you take the” TIME” to somewhat dry off but lose time on your entire race, or you just put clothes on your wet body. Well, I chose the latter, since I will be wet anyway. Anyway since this is the US I knew I was not allowed to take off my wet bathing suit , so drying off would mean drying some part, but your bathing suit is drenched anyway! So what good does that do?
So in this transition, you have to decide very quickly your clothing for biking. I knew I was going to be warm as the course was a lot of hills.
So I put my sport bra on top of my bathing suit and my short sleeve bike shirt. I put my bike shorts, sat on my bucket, put on my shoes, my camel backpack with 2 bars and full of 2 liters of water and I left on my bike.
The feeling of sitting on the bike saddle with a drenched bathing suit dripping is incomparable. I was wet everywhere now because of bathing suit and freezing to death. Not counting that I was tired because I had shaved off 4 minutes in the swimming. You are rushed with adrenaline and I wanted to make sure I was not making Jason wasting time neither.
I felt he was already waiting for me, so about 1 mile down the road I told him he had to go, and do the best he could. I told him he was not allowed to wait to wait for me. I knew I was going to struggle too much by keeping his pace as we were in a race now, not training anymore.
Now I was focusing on founding my pace.
In training I did not have people affront of me that would get down off their bike to go up the hill. That was a killer for me. Oh my gosh, it killed me. I had decided I was not going to get down from my bike. I was wet, cold and had to work extra hard to go up that hill!
It took me 6 miles to finally get in my grove! When I found it though, I went for it. I finished my 6 last miles being warmer, passing people and ready to run!
The transition from the bike to the run was interesting too. I took off my camel backpack and decided against it for the run. I took off my sport bra, drenched, and put the tee shirt with my number on top of my bathing suit.
The run was interesting, I was actually colder that what I had thought, so I did not want to push too hard. I was also a lot more tired that I thought I would be!
I finished in 1 hour, 28 minutes and 29 seconds, arriving 9th in my category of 40-44 years old .
Jason finished in 1 hour and 19 minutes and 44 second, arriving second in his category of 15-16 years old. He even got a prize because he ranked in the 3 first !!
I have learned so so much from this experience. I can not wait to do it again. Here what I would change:
-I would take the time to take off my bathing suit top and put on sport bra
-I am happy I had a 2 piece bathing suit. Everybody told me I should have a one piece: I would have been colder ,as more of my body would have stayed wet, and I surely would not be as cute. :-)( I was the only one with a 2 pieces)
-I would leave the 2 liters ( 4 pounds) camel backpack home!! I did not need the extra weight for 12 miles!
-I would have put a long sleeve bike top at transition.
-I will train with no music. It was hard not to have the beat of the music that day to keep my pace!!
I am glad I took 15 extra second to go off course to give a kiss to my littlest girl. I am glad my family came with Jason and I so early in the morning to support ,cheer us and taking photos.