So this post is long over due, and to many people will be very entertaining. Now keep in mind I am writing this almost 3 months after the fact, so looking back now I have a much nicer memory of the whole event. I also have no memory of specific stats, because well even I don't have that great of a memory.
The morning started out very nice, the upsides to getting up at 5 am, after not sleeping at all the night before, is definitely the view you get when you wake up.
We drove to the site, got set up and were ready to go. I had no wetsuit which I figured was fine because the water was warm. Paul and I walked in the water for a little while, it was a lake so nothing too exciting. Paul went out further than I did and told me how nice it was cause you could still stand pretty far out there. I started in the second wave and felt oddly calm about the whole thing. I was comfortable with my swim and my bike and figured I would just hang in there for the run. The gun went off and we all ran into the water. This is when the entire race fell apart...
I should mention that the only swim training I did for this was in a pool, with nobody else around me, where I could see in front of me the whole time. The second I put my head in the water and tried to start swimming I completely panicked. I couldn't swim, I couldn't do anything. I remembered Paul saying he could stand pretty far out so I tried to stand and breathe for a second, huge mistake. I couldn't touch the bottom at all which completely freaked me out. At that point my main focus was do not drown! Looking back I believe it was the combination of not being able to see and the splashing going on around me that got me nervous. I couldn't even put my head back down in the water to continue swimming full strokes. I have never been scared of water in my life, I always have loved swimming, so I didn't know where this fear came from. I apparently was not the only nervous one however, as one girl pulled out her inhaler in the middle of the swim and another one asked the lifeguard to come take her in. I did the side stroke for the first 1/2 of the swim. All the guys that started after me went way past me. I kept pace with one girl directly in front of me and made sure not to let her out of my reach. Finally I rounded the corner and only had the second half left. I had calmed myself down and was able to swim like a normal person the second half. I don't remember exactly my time but I do know that my last two goals were to finish the swim in under 30 minutes, which I did, and to not drown, which I also made sure not to do!
One would think after the swim course I had the bike couldn't be any worse. That person would be in correct. The bike was 15 miles and I was ready for it. I was confident about my biking skills for the first 5 miles. We were going down a HUGE hill, that had signs on it saying things like "caution steep road slow down". I realized at one point, these signs are for cars, I'm on a bike with no protection if I hurt myself coming down one of these hills. Paul's pace for the bike was around 51 mph, and mine was probably around 47 mph. I did nothing but look straight ahead for fear that if I made any sudden moves I would go flying off the bike and cause serious injury to myself. As I was flying down the huge hill I noticed people coming up the hill on the other side, and they were all walking. These were the people in the front of the pack and they were walking their bike up the hill. That did not make me feel any better about my ability to get up the hill. I finally got to the bottom and had to make a complete 180 degree turn. Going from 47 mph to making that drastic of a turn without warning is incredibly dangerous and I am again shocked I did not injure myself here by falling off. I made it up the huge scary hill (walking most of it with everyone else) and made it to the run. Overall the bike part was not fun...at all. I again don't remember my exact time but it was absolutely longer than an hour and 5 minutes, so I again made my goal d of not falling off the bike and making it to the run.
The run was actually the nicest part of the whole thing. I know after all my worries with the run that was the only nice part. It was a straight out and back, the only thing was it was a trail run. This was fine, even though I had no idea it was coming. On my way back in from the 5k a baby deer went sprinting directly in front of me. I didn't have enough time to take out my phone to get a picture or anything but it is still one of the coolest things I have ever seen running. Right after that an incredibly in shape man went running by me mentioning how cool that was, he had bike trouble and walked his bike the whole way which was why he was with me at that point even though he was so in shape. I was incredibly impressed with this guy an seriously considered asking for a piggy-back-ride back to the finish line, but he sprinted past me before I could. Then finally I rounded the finish and it was done!
Paul was anxiously waiting for me at the finish, pretty sure that I had died somewhere on the course. I was not last, thankfully, but was pretty close. It was my first triathlon though and I was quite proud of myself. Little did I know I would have a triathlon that ended even worse than that (you have to come back for another post about that one)! I got my medal, had some water, and headed back to my house with Paul. The medal is awesome and I love the shirt!
I know, how cool are we with matching shirts haha. So that is the story of my first triathlon. Complete panic on the swim, insane hill on the bike, and a deer running with me for the run. Always something interesting at these races and the fun part is you never know what you will expect!