TINMAN TRIATHLON 70.3
June 24, 2017
Two weeks ago I completed my first half iron distance triathlon 70.3 which consist of 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. It has taken me about 2 weeks to acknowledge and celebrate what I have done. I still have the tan lines of the numbers on my legs and from my shorts to remind me what I accomplished but I was still left disappointed in myself. I didn’t finish with the victory I had wanted, I didn’t have so much of a time goal but I had an idea of when I would finish from how I have swam in the past, how fast I am on the bike and run.
I started training for Tinman back in November/December, I knew I wanted to do a half distance triathlon after completing my first 2 triathlons back in 2016. I am not a good swimmer or a great cyclist but I knew what I wanted so worked towards that goal. When I was laid off in December from my job, I hit the pool more and worked on my form and endurance and was able to do an hour with limited stopping which was a great improvement when I first started swimming I could barely complete 2 laps without stopping. I put in my miles on the bike and the run well I was consistent with my running until I sprained my ankle and took a few weeks off. I competed in an open water swim in NJ a month before Tinman to gauge how I will do in my swim, I actually did pretty well, I finished my 1.2 mile swim in an hour and 44 seconds and pretty much stood on course the entire time. This gave me the boost and confidence I needed for my swim for Tinman.
Race Day- 1.2 mile Swim
I woke up for my race ready to go, feeling confident the nerves didn’t hit me yet. I suited up for the swim and still felt relaxed and at ease. Took a few steps into the start of the lake and waited for the horn to sound. I started to swim and right away I felt the choppiness of the water, the lake had waves due to the wind. It took me a while to get into a rhythm, I wasn’t the only one having a hard time. I started to get nervous, and so many thoughts went through my head, can I downgrade to a shorter distance, do I quit now, keep going you trained for this. My goal was just to make it to each buoy, I swallowed tons of water and felt as I was just fighting the whole way. As I reached the last buoy going out, I thought to myself the waves will help me going back into shore. As I swam back to shore the waves gave me a push, I was blinded by the sun and had a hard time seeing the buoys but kept going, I was at the home stretch. More than half way there and I caught a cramp in my calf, I signaled a kayaker and grabbed onto it so I can massage my calf and then continued to swim. I still had a hard time seeing the finish so the kayakers guided me towards the end. I see my coach standing there and he tells me you just did the hardest thing in your life, which he was right and I cried. I’m not a strong swimmer at all and I fought through those waves and didn’t quit.
Race Day-56 mile Bike
After my swim I was still a bit emotional and get to my bike, had to stop and use the bathroom grab some fuel and head out for my 56 mile ride. I started pretty good and comfortable on the bike my stomach was feeling a bit bloated and upset but figured it would pass. Once I left the little Town of Tupper Lake I felt the winds pick up, there was side wind and head wind throughout my ride. I saw 2 of my teammates on the side of the road, one had problems with her bike and the other was checking on her. I told them I had stomach issues and they gave me a potato, it helped settle my stomach temporarily and I took off. The ride was long and lonely, but pushed through the wind and 2 miles in the rain. I thought I can catch up on time on the down hills, the wind was blowing I barely had any speed, didn’t even use my breaks on the downhill which is usually scary for me.
Race Day- 13.1 mile Run
Finally finished my bike after over 4 hours riding, my coach grabbed my bike and he said you’re ready for this run and to catch up to everyone. The run is my best of all my 3 legs and I was so ready to finish in at least 2 hours. I started off slow, made myself slow down and made sure I got my legs back after the long bike ride. By mile 2 my stomach started to act up again and was feeling bloated and sloshy, didn’t want to drink anymore because I felt so full but I know I needed to. Mile 3 I find a porta potty, thank goodness because I was ready to go into someone’s front yard haha. I used the bathroom, had a coke to see if it settled my stomach and it didn’t. Throughout the 13.1 miles I ran/walked the course. This became totally frustrating for me because my legs felt fine but every time I started to run again my stomach would feel it. I figured maybe I need food, so I had pretzels, oranges, and watermelon and still nothing helped. The last 2 miles I was so disappointed in myself, how I didn’t do well in swim, the bike and the run, I felt as I failed myself and thought maybe I wasn’t ready for this distance.
I saw 2 of my teammates at the last mile and said we are running to the finish line, we are almost there. I crossed the finish line with them and saw the rest of my team at the finish line cheering, was an awesome finish to a long physically and mentally draining day but the end was epic and brought me to tears. Felt honored to race with amazing athletes and have an amazing coach cheering for us at the end.
Now I somewhat celebrated, I rested and yet something just feels … off. I’ve spent the last several months training and living a this lifestyle in anticipation of a giant life moment. Suddenly it’s over. I have lots of free time, I definitely have the off-season blues. I am thinking what is next for me. I would like to do another Triathlon but right now the funds are right for me to sign up for anything else, perhaps a full marathon is in my fall future.