Sunday, July 26, 2009

Running, Biking, Swimming, Oh my!

I write this blog about my running and really try to keep it focused, but today I have to include my foray into the world of triathlons. Back in the dark and dismal days of my foot injury, I felt that I would never be able to run long distances again. Since we all know I'm not built for speed I choose to try my hand in a triathlon. Now at the time I decided to do this I was biking and swimming 5-6 days a week.

Fast forward to the present day. I am running long distances again and haven't been near the pool or on a bike in over 2 months. What the hell was I thinking?? And to make matters worse, my sister registered with me so I couldn't just back out and pretend I forgot. Today was the day of the Crabman Sprint Triathlon, 1/4 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike ride and a 5k. Oh God!

The swim was first and the most nerve wracking from my perspective. I had been having nightmares about it all week. When she inked my numbers onto my arm during check in I wanted to ask if I should also list my blood type for when I was dragged out of the water. We were in the hot pink swim cap wave and I anxiously watched 3 groups start swimming before me. No emergencies that I could see. We just had to swim straight out, take a left at the buoy, swim straight to the next buoy, take another left and swim till we hit sand. I can do this! The race director starts to count down to our start, I come close to peeing my pants. Before I know it we are in the water. Let me tell you how much it sucks to try to swim, breath and watch where you are going all while keeping an eye on the buoy and not get dragged under by the surf. I did what you shouldn't do and panicked. Had I been able to figure out how to flag a lifeguard I would have, but how could they tell I needed help with all of us in the water. I decided it was safer to stick it out. I couldn't tell how fast I was going, but every-time I looked up the buoy was no closer. Finally the straight away, well sort of. I have a hard time swimming straight in the pool with the lanes clearly established so the ocean completely messed me up. By the time I reached the 2d buoy I should have felt a sigh of relief, but I remembered how hard it was to get out this deep. Now I was tired. When you are tired on the road you can stop, in the water with no sight of the bottom, you do nothing but keep going. They had said to swim until you feel sand in your hands. Every stroke I was grasping for the sand and it felt like forever until I felt it. Finally I was climbing out of the water, I had not drown! No time to celebrate, this wasn't a swim race, I still had 2 more events.

Running to my bike I threw on my sneaks and shirt quickly and headed out. This was actually my favorite part of the day. We were tooting around the back roads of South Kingstown and I was on a high that my life had not ended. At this point I decided I just needed to enjoy myself. There were some bikers taking themselves really seriously and I would grin when they would pass me. I felt even better when I started to pass others. It was a two loop course so finishing one I knew what I was in for. Pulling into the beach parking lot I felt great! Come on now, a quarter mile swim followed by my longest outdoor bike ride this year, this was great!! I cheered for myself getting off the bike.

Then it hit me, or it hit my leg muscles, the pain! I had heard that the hardest transition is bike to run, but hadn't prepared myself for how awful it would feel. I ran by Joe and shouted "this hurts". My high was quickly faltering. I can't give up now, I'm a runner! I wasn't going to let this part do me in, so I dug in. I decided I would do what my body would let me and not walk. We hit the first mile marker and I was in shock, it can't only be a mile, I'm close to death again. They had to be wrong, it felt like 2 miles! Oh well and I kept going. Things started to loosen up after 1.5 miles and my mood was improving. I was going to finish this! We hit the final stretch, I was moving more quickly than when I had started. We turned the corner to the crowd and the most disappointing thing a runner can see, the crowd was silent. Screw them! Cheer for me!! I didn't die!! I'm finishing a triathlon!! I again was screaming and cheering for myself and having a great time. The crowd got into it and before I knew it we were done.

One more thing off my list!

Days till NYC: 87
Miles trained today: 3.2

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