Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Combat Triathlon Review

On May 25th, I participated in my first ever triathlon.  Being a runner, I thought maybe triathlon will help me cross train and be less stress and injury.  Our local triathlete club, LJFAT had a great contest, called IronMay.  The contest was to complete the ironman distance at swimming, biking, and running in the whole month of May and log your progress.  This was great for me, as I had never swam and biked so much in one month, and it's great training for the Combat Triathlon at the end of the month.  I was able to complete the contest, and felt ready for the triathlon.  Being my first triathlon, I was pretty nervous.  I've never been a strong swimmer, and had a drowning experience in the past.  I also get foot cramps in cold water so my anxiety level was pretty high.  Luckily I was starting the pool swim at the back of the pack and had time to watch all the fast swimmers go through.  The swim was at the College of the Mainland in Texas City, and if anything, the water was too warm.  I had people in front of me, behind me, and all around, I panicked.  I was really glad that the pool was only 4 feet deep throughout the entire length, as the anxiety was very strong and I was really glad I could touch bottom when needed.  I came out of the pool in 8:39 and very stressed.  The 300 yard pool swim was done, I could transition to the bike.  I remembered exactly where my bike was, and was still feeling the remnants of the anxiety from the poor swim.  I shook it off, got geared up, and headed out pushing my bike to the line.  The 15 mile bike ride was an out and bike along the feeder road of the highway.  I started out a little too fast, and finally found a good pace.  I didn't have my garmin on, so I rode by feel and tracked my time with my ironman watch.  I had another lady who kept about the same pace, and we took turns leading.  Then at an intercetion, a police officer put his hand out and I hit the brakes.  The lady flew past me, and I lost her from that point on.  I finished the bike in 50:42 and hit transition for the run.  In transition, I had my right calf and both feet cramp up while trying to change shoes.  These cramps were debilitating and I had no choice but to stretch them out and wait for them ease before I could move on.  I finally started my run with legs that felt like jello.  At this point, all I could think was I just have to finish.  The run went through a residential section and I was able to run all except the water breaks.  I saw a man in a yellow jersey ahead of me, so I decided to try and catch him.  When I finally got close enough to read his age on the back of his leg, I saw that he was 73.  I caught up and chatted with him for a mile, before he told me to go ahead and finish strong.  I finished the 3 mile run in 29:13.  As I came through the finish chute, I remarked that this was as hard as my first marathon.  Which even though my overall time was 1:32:25, I definately felt that the exertion level was significant.  It was a humbling experience for me to finish at the "back of the Pack."  I have plenty of progress to be made and am training for the next one. 

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