NOTE: This is an old post – from 2011. I thought it was lost forever, and was pretty stoked to run across a Live Writer back-up of it, so here it is. (There is also a old follow up post to this one… coming soon!)
With (sprint distance) triathlon attempt #2 approaching at break-neck speed, I thought it appropriate to give my first Tri attempt a brief revisit, and then light it on fire and toss it into the get-over-it-already files for good.
So, it was about a year ago that my friend Jenn and I first decided we should do a triathlon together. Sounded like a fantastic idea, if not a sure-fire way to get super-fit and skinny (LOL!) So, we picked a really cool one near Denver, and then found various training plans online that we tried to more or less follow. What could possibly go wrong?
Here’s the breakdown:
SWIM. As soon as I entered the water — in the exact second my chest touched the really cold water — my breath left my body in a big hurry, not to return for hours later. After a few unsuccessful attempts to breathe, I decide to try to swim anyway. Here’s where I discover that I can’t see a damn thing, even with my goggles on! The water is choppy, and cloudy, and freaking cold. There are feet hitting me in the face. I look around, and people are swimming with their heads out of the water! (This is the back of the pack, mind you.) Well guess what? I didn’t practice swimming like that. I immediately forget everything I thought I knew about swimming (which is not that much anyway). Every time I put my head in the water and tried to swim the stroke, the fact that I can’t see a thing or catch a breath completely freaks me out. I ended up doing the backstroke, or some weird frog-style doggie paddle through most of it. A half mile never felt so long. The swim took me about 2 times longer than planned. At one point, I remember being really grateful that I had the super-dorky yellow swim cap on, in case I needed to be fished out of the water. Jenn actually circled back to find me just leaving the water after she had waited… and waited… and waited at the transition area. As we made it back to our bikes, I thought I heard her say something like, “what in the hell is wrong with her?” I could be wrong, though.
BIKE: This is the easy part, right? Save some legs for the run, right? Did I mention this is Colorado? Aurora, Colorado? It’s in the MOUNTAINS. When they say “rolling course”, or “fun, challenging hills”, they mean BIG FKING MOUNTAINS! Holy shit! I think there were 12 big-ass hills. I don’t know why we didn’t expect that, but we didn’t. (Side note: All my training and living up to this point happens to have occurred at sea-level. My “hill” in Houston is where the Braeswood bike trail goes underneath Stella Link.) About half-way up the first hill, I remember saying something like “I don’t think I can do this.” And I think I heard Jenn say something like “Don’t make me kill you”… I could be wrong, though.
We managed all the hills, but it was really hard. We’d get to the top up one f-bomb inducing hill, only to get a glimpse of the next 3 bigger, nastier hills in our very near future. My honest assessment: that segment really @&$%#$ sucked. About 3 hills to the end, I decided to try to save some leg muscle, and shifted into a (lower/higher/different?) gear, which was easier on my poor aching quads, but was basically as speedy as riding a stationary bike up the hill. I lost Jenn, so she kicked my ass on this leg, too.
RUN: Ok, this is my part. I’m a runner, right? Legs are shredded. Haven’t had a decent breath in what seems like days. I can’t find our playlist on my #@!&*$ ipod. Here, thankfully, we kind of sucked equally, at least in the beginning. At the first hill, we both decided that we were going to walk all hills. There were really way more hills than necessary. Just when we thought we were about 75 yards to the finish –- a quick trip through the transition area and then just a little further — we were instead pointed up yet another hill and around a corner (so maybe 120 yards to finish)… and that’s when I started hyper-ventilating! I mean, seriously wheezing and gasping for breath! This wheezing business was all new stuff for me, and it completely scared the crap out of me, which of course made me wheeze and gasp some more. There we both stood, finish line in sight, watching me die. Luckily, Jenn had her asthma inhaler on her, so she hit me with a puff off that thing, and soon we were on our way again. As we got close to the finish line, I thought I heard Jenn say something like “Outta my way, short stuff… you’re blocking my good side!” I could be wrong, though. (But you be the judge!)
(This is actually a picture of Jenn crossing the finish line. If you look closely, you can see me… or at least an arm… coming up behind. Left in the dust! )
We did have fun… but oh, it was hard! The next one has to go better, right?