First the good news – I finished!
The bad news – the swim was really hard. Like, this-close-to-giving-up hard.
Let me walk you through…
I was totally nervous throughout the day. Major butterflies in my stomach. It was 100 degrees out so I made sure to do my best to eat and drink appropriately for the 7:00 pm start time.
I was picked up by our friend Tom (not his real name, trying to protect the innocent here). Tom has done this duathlon and numerous other races many times, and he is a great athlete. In fact, he won his age group and came in 21st overall last night! Big props to Tom! How lucky was I to be driving with him and getting his advice??!!?
We go get there and go to the registration table. I’m pulling my wallet out of my purse and look what I found…
Is my daughter awesome, or what?!?!? What a great surprise!
So the 1/4 mile swim was point-to-point in a lake in New Jersey. The men were set to go first, followed two minutes later by the women. You had to wade about chest high into the water to start. At 5’3″, most people’s chests are at my eyeball level so I had to hang back instead instead of wasting energy treading water. In fact, Tom advised me, as it was my first time, to completely hang back and count to 10 after they blew the horn for the women to go so I would be free and clear, highly unlikely to be whacked or kicked my anyone. Great advice. (In hindsight, I realize that I swam further than I had to, but I digress.)
The water was really warm, like a bath tub, which was fine with me as I’m always chilly. So the horn blew for the women’s start. I delayed (I didn’t count to 10, maybe got to five, before I felt like I had a clear shot) then off I went.
The water was really murky and brown. I could hardly see anything, which oddly enough did not upset me. I planned to start of slowly, at my own pace, and I did. But after about 20 or so strokes, my arms started to fatigue/hurt. Crap! So I went to my plan b of breaststroking and mixed that in with my freestyle.
Have you ever seen that movie where I think it’s a child is running down a hallway and no matter how fast they run, due to movie magic, the hallway actually gets longer and not only does the child not appear to be going forward but are in fact losing ground? That is how I felt. The finish ahead of me looked SO far away, but I was determined not to throw in the towel.
So I flipped between freestyle and breast to try to get past the fatigue in my arms and move forward. I tried to look behind me and saw pretty much no-one. I hated the fact that I was last. (Yes, I am competitive!) Even the lifeguard in the kayak was paddling along parallel to me outside the swim area. This did not bode well, but I was determined to keep forging ahead. On another quick turnaround, I did see a few other women behind me, which made me feel a little better. I have only been swimming for six weeks, so I was ok with this.
About 2/3 of the way through, I stopped. I just had to. I had to catch my breath and take a rest. It was a big help as the rest enabled me to finally make it to the end of the lake. I would have kissed the sand but didn’t have the strength to bend over, and feared that if I did, I wouldn’t get back up again.
Of course at that point, one of the race photographers snapped a photo. I don’t know if I was grimacing in fatigue and disappointment about how hard it was, or if I was deliriously smiling because I was done that portion of the race.
So I went to the transition area and did a pretty decent job of taking off my swim cap and goggles while putting my wet feet into my socks and sneakers, grabbed my hair band and race belt and off I went. When I started the run, I saw 18 minutes and change on the time clock and thought how crappy it was that it took over 18 minutes to swim when I was hoping to not be more than 15 minutes. Ugh!
It took a mile or so to get into my running groove, but I did and was able to run pretty strong. There were people pretty far ahead of me and I was able to pick off about six of them at some point during this 5K portion, which made me feel good.
When I crossed the finish line, the time clock read 47 minutes and change. I was hoping to finish the race in 45-50 minutes, so 47+ was great. Tom was standing right there to congratulate me on finishing. He reminded me that the women started at least two minutes later so I really did finish in 45 minutes. I was excited. When I went online this morning to see the results and the photos, it turns out I did the swim in 14:06 and the entire thing in 44:15. Woohoo! Photos aren’t available yet. When they do get posted, if I look semi-human in them, I may post them on another day.
Unfortunately, in terms of the race, I did lousy, I came in 93 out of 104 participants. But you know what, I’m fine with that. It was such a great experience and I was really happy with how I did.
As for why my arms fatigued so quickly, there are a couple of
excuses reasons why that may have happened. 1) I NEVER work out at night, always in the mornings, so that may have thrown me off some. 2) while waiting for the start, I was standing in chest high water using my arms to keep me upright, so perhaps in those five minutes, I was using up some of my arm strength. 3) I started a good 20 feet behind the starting line, so I swam further than I needed to. 4) because I am only six weeks into my training, while I tried to taper before the race, it’s quite possible that my body was still pretty tired from my weekend workout as I did not do a full taper, which I will do for the tri next month. Lastly, it just might not have been my night.
But you know what, whatever the case may be, I have only been swimming for six weeks (did I perhaps mention that already?), and I COMPLETED MY FIRST DUATHLON!!!!
One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body