Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why You Should Always Come In Second to Last in a Triathlon…

… and why I wished I had come in last ;)

Let me start by saying that I love my in-laws.  One of the reasons that I love my in-laws  is because they get me to do things that never in a million years would I even think about doing. Like two years ago when they had me run a 5k. The boys were a little more ambitious than us girls that year. They did the triple bypass and rode 120 miles on a bike over three pretty steep mountains. I know running three miles is nothing compared to that , but when you are as un-athletic and out of shape as I was at the time, running up that hill a mile into the race sure felt like it was the same ;)

This year we thought it was time, once again, to be united in an athletic goal, and for all of us-men and women- to be united in the same goal: to compete in a triathlon. Now I must admit, I may have thought of some excuses to get out of this. Like at one point the idea of pregnancy looked appealing as an option to get out of the race. One of my sisters-in-law did this race while 20 weeks pregnant(and she still beat me by at least an hour!) So not even pregnancy was a valid excuse for getting out of this one.

So I gave in and started training. I trained enough that I was confident that I could finish. I never really pushed myself in my training but I got comfortable in my ability to just finish the race, and that was enough for me. I have never been that competitive when it comes to sports, but it is not like it is a foreign concept to me. I grew up playing tennis but the competitiveness never really caught on. For this triathlon, there was never any goal of beating a certain time or beating a certain someone. Those thoughts never even crossed my mind- not in preparing for the race, or even during the race. To be honest, at one point during the triathlon I forgot that I was even in a race. I wish I had thought more about it. Then maybe I would have gotten more into my training, and then maybe my performance  would not have not been so pathetic. But hey, I finished right?

The race took place on Whidbey Island. It is a gorgeous island off the coast of Washington just north of Seattle. We flew up to Seattle on Wednesday and the race took place on Saturday. I just took things one day at a time, enjoying my time with the Hunts and all of the activities that they had planned for each day. I never got nervous until the morning of the race.

That morning (the morning of the race), I woke up in a panic. What did I get myself into? What if I don’t survive the race? I couldn’t think. I couldn’t eat. I could barely breathe.

By the time we got to the start of the swim I did calm down, but not completely. We made our way into the lake- this was going to be my first time swimming in open water. When they said to start I made it about 30 seconds into the swim before the the panic fully set in again. I looked up to the buoy that we were swimming to, and it seemed so far away. How was I ever going to get to it? Then, all of the sudden, I forgot how to swim and then, oh no, was I drowning? (by the way, I was not even close to drowning, I’m not even sure that is possible in a wet suit, but in my mind I was going down.) Finally, I made it to the first buoy and had calmed down enough that I swam straight to the second buoy with no problems. From the second buoy it was a straight shot to the end of phase 1 of the race. But that was just it, phase 1. All of the calm that was in me was gone. All I could think about was what was next. How was I going to ride a bike after this? And then run after that? I began swallowing water and splashing around. I don’t even know how I made it out of that lake. I just remember the glorious feeling of my hand touching the sand at the front of the lake. I had made it through the swim and I had survived.

I thought that I had been in the water for hours. In reality it had only been 30 minutes… the longest 30 minutes of my life. Ok, maybe I am being overly dramatic. But man that was tough.

Okay that is enough for today. I have written an essay and I am only done talking about the swim. Tomorrow I will finish up with the bike and the run. I promise they were less dramatic and a lot more fun, and I will explain why you will always want to come in last :) So stay tuned…

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Ichabod said...
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Christina said...

I love this post and love that you did a triathlon!