Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tri this

For obvious reasons, I need to take a break from discussing baseball for a little bit. It's just making me grumpy and nobody wants that.

Back in November I decided to register for the New York City Triathlon. I've done sprint distance triathlons before, but the NYC Tri is Olympic distance and a whole different ballgame. Now that the weather is getting warmer, the reality of training has set in along with a significant amount of panic. As motivation, I've decided to post a diary I wrote after completing my first triathlon. Enjoy...

September 17, 2006...
So today I competed in my first triathlon, the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Sandy Hook. For those who aren't familiar with the sport, this one was a .75K open water swim, followed by a 20K bike, finishing with a 5K run. It's dirty, it's physically exhausting, and it's mentally taxing. But crossing the finish line was the most incredible moment of my life.

Competing along with me were 1,280 of the most courageous women I've ever met. Sisters, mothers, grandmothers, friends, and almost 100 cancer survivors. And most importantly my mom, who saw me training and decided she wanted to do it too. I had the privilege of placing her medal on her as she finished and I've never been prouder. She's a strong woman and a total inspiration.

To you girls out there, I highly recommend you do this. I crossed the finish line a different woman than when I started. Besides, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Just for added motivation, I decided to recap a diary of my day:

4:00 am – Alarm goes off. It's still dark out. Am I nuts?

5:00 am – Arrive at the race site. Still dark. And cold. And I've become a mosquito buffet. I'm definitely nuts.

5:15 am – Get to the transition area to set up my bike and gear. Wet suit, check. Shorts, check. Shirt, check. Complete and total fear, check check check.

5:35 am – I have to pee.

5:40 am - Spend 10 minutes cramming my ass into the bottom half of my wetsuit. This alone is a workout. And I've only got it up to my waist.

6:00 am – Realize that I've been walking around with my wetsuit on backwards. Spend the next 12 minutes wrestling myself out of and back into it.

6:12 am – Whew. Wetsuit's on again.

6:13 am – I have to pee.

6:20 am – Go down to the water to check the water temperature (cold), swim distance (far), and water conditions (choppy). This is going to be great.

6:25 am – Choke down my first Power Bar. Actually they're not so bad. If you like cardboard.

6:30 am – 30 minutes until the first wave of women hit the water. Which means I also have 30 minutes to chicken out, pack up, and go home.

6:32 am – I'm terrified

6:33 am – I'm excited

6:34 am – I'm terrified

6:35 am – I'm excited

6:36 am – I'm terrified and I have to pee

7:00 am – All athletes are called to the starting area for the National Anthem. We also find out the event is running 15 minutes behind for water safety reasons. Water safety reasons? Will the water be safer in 15 minutes? And why isn't it safe now? AAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!! Still terrified.

7:10 am – A backup singer for Springsteen sings the National Anthem. (well, it IS a Jersey event). The Anthem brings tears to my eyes. Partly because I'm patriotic. But mostly because I have to pee.

7:15 am – "3-2-1!!!!" The first wave of women enter the water. 45 minutes until my wave. Did I mention I'm in one of the last waves? Everyone will be home and napping by the time I cross the finish line.

7:40 am – I gather with my wave to prepare for our start. My dad says all of us together in our wetsuits make us look like a flock of penguins. Thanks dad.

7:45 am – It's finally my turn. "3-2-1" and we all hit the water. If you've never seen what this looks like, it's a 100 swimmer free-for-all with arms and legs flying. Like a flock of violent and panicky penguins.

7:46 am – I get kicked

7:47 am – I get kicked

7:48 am – I get kicked (see where this is going?)

7:50 am – I swallow my first gallon of salty sea water.

7:55 am – I pass a really cute lifeguard. I contemplate swimming over and getting his number, but then I realize I'm wearing a purple swim cap, dorky goggles, and I look like a penguin. Not my finest moment.

8:02 am – I come out of the water choking but glad the swim's over. I now have to run (run? really?) 200 yards to my bike, struggle out of my wetsuit, cram dirty sandy feet in my shoes, and hit the bike course.

8:09 am – I go the wrong way in the transition area and had to run my bike to the opposite end. This isn't so bad – my mom told me later that she put her helmet on backwards and the race volunteers had to stop her to fix it. And yes my dad has the pictures to prove it.

8:10 am – I'm on the bike course and feeling good. Until someone's Grandma blew by me from behind, ringing her bike bell. I make a mental note to have the race officials check her for HGH.

8:32 am – Halfway through the bike course. Can I die now?

9:08 am – Finished the bike after battling killer headwinds in the second half. I dump my helmet, grab my hat and set off for the run. Have you ever tried to run after biking 12 miles? It's like your legs are marshmallows. Painful, exhausted, marshmallow hell.

9:15 am – As I'm running, an annoyingly chipper volunteer yells "You're almost there!"

9:20 am – Annoyingly chipper volunteer #2 yells "You're almost there!"

9:25 am – Really annoyingly chipper volunteer #3 yells "You're almost there!" Ok screw you guys. I know you're lying.

9:35 am – I have to pee

9:45 am – OK, so it won't hurt if I walk a little. No sooner do I start to walk, than my female trainer (who is training for a body building competition) appears out of nowhere and yells "MOVE IT!!!". Fearing for my life, I start running again.

9:50 am – Finish line is in sight, people are yelling for me and I see my dad on the side cheering me on. Holy crap…I'm actually going to finish this thing

So roughly 2 hours after I started, I finished my first triathlon. I felt tired, I felt sweaty, I felt dirty – I felt great. And I can't wait to do it again.



Anonymous said...

way to go! i will keep you in mind as i train for the chicago marathon, my first ever long distance run.

SportsGirl365 said...

Thanks! There's no way I'd ever make it through a marathon. Good for you!