Part II: A Braveheart’s Journey – My First Tri

author : mars
comments : 4

Remeber why we do this, we all have our reasons. I had trained for six months, and it was now time to actually do my first sprint triathlon.

I had trained for six months, and it was now time to actually do my first sprint triathlon. What was going through my mind probably has gone through the minds of many before me. I got caught up in the performance factor. I focused on what my time should be, whether I would be top in my age group, and how I would set my sights on a future half IM. What I needed was a reality check. I totally forgot the journey and why I was here in the first place:


I wanted to lose weight, and I did…30lbs!
I wanted to be a fit dad and husband …..I’m on my way there!
I wanted to face my fear of this sport and prove to myself that I could actually do it….and I was about to!
I wanted to honor God for the body he has given me and take care of my health….I am healthier!!!

You see, I forgot that I was about to become a triathlete in the final weeks and days leading up to the big day. I’m glad to have had that reality check as you will soon see...

Pre Race Times:
Swim – In the pool I swam 550 yards in 14:30 seconds
Bike - I biked 10 miles in 35 minutes
Run – I averaged 30-35 minutes for a 5K (leg injury in January hindered my training).
Mentally: Felt good and prepared.
Actual Race Times:
Swim – 18+ minutes
Bike – 45+ minutes
Run - 29:30

Pre-Race:
I felt nervous but ready to go. I drank a lot of liquids too early and spent most of my time visiting people near the portable restrooms.

Swim:
I took in a practice swim in the lake and immediately noticed the difference of open water vs. the pool. I also felt weird in my wetsuit that I rented. I felt restricted.

I entered the water and immediately I felt disoriented and scared. People were kicking and pushing me around. I thought to myself, ”What the heck am I doing here?” I actually thought maybe I should just go back.   I kept on going because I knew my kids were watching and I didn’t want to let them down. We drove two hours from our hometown to be there and I wasn’t going to let them down. I prayed to God to give me the strength and courage to get through the swim. I finally made it and I realized I was a back of the packer (BOP'er)…I made a mental note to never be a BOP'er again! My swim time was over 18 minutes!!!!

 

 


Bike:
As I took off my wetsuit I got a massive cramp in my calf. It hurt so bad I had to lie down and try to rub it out. I managed to get up and head out to my bike, and again I thought I wasn’t going to make it. As I passed my wife, she immediately knew something was wrong by the look on my face. Her smile warmed me up, and I knew she was thinking, “You’re going to be fine.”

I jumped on my bike and as I was heading out, I felt like I could do it. The first hill was a beast! I climbed and climbed and climbed. No one was behind me and a couple of people were walking their bikes up the hill. I refused to walk, and I just kept pushing, knowing this was the worst hill on the course.

After the hill I just found a nice cadence and enjoyed the race. I did get passed by people on nice fancy bikes. I was on an old Trek 330 from the old-school days when the gears were on the down tube, but that’s ok. I kept on and even passed a couple of people on nice bikes. That felt great, but I kept telling myself to stay humble and remember the race is against myself, not them.

 
Run

I dismounted my bike at T2 and tried to make up ground with a 55 sec T2 time. It was hard to get my legs running at a normal pace. I had to stop once to tie my shoes better before continuing. I also over-hydrated, so I didn’t drink from any of the water stations. About five minutes into my run, I finally kicked it up a notch and hit my pace.

There were a lot of people stopping and walking, which made me want to do the same, but I just remembered the journey I took to get here and refused the urge to walk. I remembered my fracture and how frustrating it was not to run, so I kept on running at my pace. I didn’t slow down and I didn’t push harder when someone passed me. This was my race, my battle, my first tri to complete.

 

The Finish Line:
One thing crossed my mind when I crossed the finish line: I was already a winner! I was a winner to myself, to my family, and to God above.

I remember people at work saying to me, “Oh yeah, we’ll see how long this triathlon thing lasts. You’ll be back to eating fast food for lunch in no time”. That did hurt. I used that kind of negativity as fuel to keep on training. Now they ask, “So, when are you going to do your next one?”

I hope more people that are like me take on this sport. It’s an amazing journey and challenge to take on. My life has definitely changed because of this sport, and I hope I can encourage people to tri it.

To anyone who is new to this, just remember that it takes a Braveheart to take on this sport. If it were easy, more people would be doing it. If you’re willing to take a step, then you will find that there are people in this community of multisport that will inspire you, encourage you, and push you when you feel like quitting.
 
“Every man dies, not every man really lives.”
Live to Tri!

 

Rating

Click on star to vote
9682 Total Views  |  33 Views last 30 days  |  6 Views last 7 days
date: August 17, 2007

mars

I'm back after a long break off. So what have I been doing? I've managed to continue to run a couple of times a week, I've discovered mountain biking and that's been a blast!!! I love it. My kids are my world and they have kept me busy to say the least and probably the reason I don't train as ofter as I like.

avatarmars

I'm back after a long break off. So what have I been doing? I've managed to continue to run a couple of times a week, I've discovered mountain biking and that's been a blast!!! I love it. My kids are my world and they have kept me busy to say the least and probably the reason I don't train as ofter as I like.

View all 2 articles