SP Premium


I tri....ed! My first attempt at the triathlon!

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Monday, December 21, 2009

On Sunday, December 13, 2009, I became a triathlete!!! Now, mind you, I am no Iron woman....yet! I did overcome a fear though and that is what this journey is all about. I am excited to share this experience with you and document it so that one day I can look back and see all the success, challenges, good times, bad times, easy times, tough times, that I have encountered on this journey towards health, fitness and balance!

Last year in October I had set my sights on completing a triathlon. I picked out a training plan and started to put it into motion. After about 3-4 weeks of training, I had cut out the application form from Race Place magazine, written the check, put it in an envelope with a stamp and everything. I was almost on my way to the mailbox when I realized that my daughter's very first swim meet would be on that very same day. I realized that this was going to be a very important event for her and that I couldn't be selfish. I didn't want this to stop me though. As you all know, I am very determined and when I set my mind to something, I do it! So, this aggravated me but I knew it was the right thing to do. So, I did the next best thing. I attempted to find another triathlon on another weekend and wouldn't you know, there were none! At least none that fit my needs/experience level/traveling range, etc. So, unfortunately, I let it go...but not forever! Just for the time being!

So, for the past year I have been doing other things! I ran a couple of half marathons, my first full marathon and did some work with a trainer in small group sessions to work on strength training. Somehow, it got brought up that the Tinsel Triathlon was coming up. A few of my fellow sparks and I talked about it and the next thing you know, we have decided to do it! I remember being on a spark outing and discussing this event with Mary (marythepac) and she was interested in the details. I sent her the link and she said she was going to do it and start training. I love it when sparks try new things and if I can, in any way, be a catalyst for that, then I am a very happy camper!!!! (smiles)

So, Kelly (happy92003) and I decided we had better start training. We don't have tons of time and getting to the pool or outside on the bike was difficult at best. The time change didn't help the situation either. We both knew we would be good to go for the three mile run but not so sure about the 12 mile bike ride (Kelly was more confident than I) and the 150 meter swim (which is very short for a tri). So, we tried to get creative. We started taking spin classes in the morning and then would leave a little bit early to jump in the pool and swim a few laps. Then, about a week or so before the tri we got to the gym at around 5am, ran 3 miles on the treadmill, went and took the 545am spin class and then jumped in the pool and swam our 150 meters. This was the closest we got to the real deal!

So, the morning came and it was D-Day! It was raining like cats and dogs the night before and it wasn't looking very hopeful. Dark gloomy clouds and rain. Wet ground and everything. All I kept thinking is how miserable the weather was going to be. If I hadn't already registered I would have considered canceling.

This is what it looked like outside:

Since I had already paid, I was gonna go out there and give it my all. So, off we went! Luckily, I found some proper clothes and some coolio gloves to wear!!

Check out my mitts! Also, notice the hat! It is a Harley Davidson hat that used to be my pops. I figured I would include him in this venture in a sentimental way cuz if he was here, he would have been rooting me on!!!

My honey was a trooper and helped me get my bike ready, woke up super early, and supported me.

Here is the proof:

My daughter was excited to be on camera duty! This is what happens when I give her the camera:

Once we got there it was time to unload our bikes, take our gear and go get our race numbers. Kelly followed us to Hemet and so we both went over to check in. We got our numbers and were ushered into the transition area. I was slightly annoyed because there were so many numbers to keep track of (one for your bib, one for your bike, and another for your bathing suit) and then safety pins were falling everywhere and my hands were full with my bike and a bag full of gear. Errrrrrrr!!!! They only let the participants into the transition area which meant that Ty couldn't help me with the numbers. Finding a place to put my bike was tough but I found a spot on the end right near some balloons so I could remember where I put that thing. That would be bad to lose a lot of time not being able to locate your gear!

I set up my little spot with my water, towel, flip flops, Shot Blokx, goggles and swim cap. This is what my transition spot looked like:

Then, I went back out of the transition center and had Ty help me with all the numbers:

Kelly and I chatted and were pretty relaxed and excited. By this time the weather was looking better. The threatening clouds had subsided some and it was cool. Perfect running weather! We met up with Ty and Tay again and found our way to the starting line. We waited around for a little bit, they sang the national anthem and then it was time to get the party started!!!

And off we went....Kelly and I started off our run at a good pace (for slow pokes!) around 9:30/mile. The weather was cool and I felt good. I was relaxed and really wanted to enjoy the experience. I love doing new things for the first time. You go into the events with few expectations. I wanted to complete it. That was the goal. So, for the first two miles, Kelly and I ran together. There were quite a few turn around points and the family liked it because they got to see me quite a few times throughout the race...which usually isn't the case during my longer runs. So, around mile 2 Kelly slowed down just a tad and I was keeping a pretty steady pace. Just about that time, a fellow runner, yelled out, "Anyone know how far we are?" and I said, "yea, almost 2 miles" and he asked how I knew....ummmm, hello! I don't have this big brick on my wrist for nothing (aka Garmin 305!) and he said, "I am gonna run with you!!!" So, this guy, his name is Sol, starts running with me. He is chattin my ear off, which I don't mind because it takes my mind off the fact I am getting a tad tired and yet we have a long ways to go! He tells me about his running partner and how she is on vacation in Hawaii but was supposed to do this race with him. He told me his wife's name is Leah (ummm, that is my name foo!!!) and then I put two and two together. Come to find out, his running buddy is a sparkfriend of mine, Tammy aka marathonmom26.2)!!!! What are the chances of that???? I was super excited and told him I knew his running buddy and it was cool! I think he might even be on spark, too! Tammy will have to leave me a comment on that!

Around the 2.75 mile mark, I saw Debbie (S318830) and she was hurtin. I remember reading on her status update that she was having some calf troubles but she did not look happy, I tried to smile and wave but she was pointing to her leg and it didn't look good. She was still running though, so I took that as a good sign.

This was right about the time that the run was coming to an end and it was time to hit the bikes! I ran into the transition area, got my bike and helmet and off I went. It was great to see my daughter and honey on the sidelines supporting me. I have a mountain bike and it is not ideal for this type of sport. Many, many people passed me on the biking portion (which sorta pissed me off!!!) with good road bikes. It isn't like they were workin harder than me! That is what urked me! I decided I was going to enjoy the ride and I prayed for some flat terrain! Luckily, there were only a couple of very small inclines, although all inclines seem intense when you aren't an experienced biker! I have to say that I enjoyed the bike ride and I wondered why I didn't ride more. It was peaceful on the road. Just me, the bike and some other riders. They had blocked off one side of a highway for the race and the City of Hemet police department was representin!!!! I think the swat team was there...I'm just sayin! Not sure of too many "incidents" at tri events but ya neva know. LOL!

Once again, the proof:

Back to the bike, I was enjoying it. Then some idiot on a road bike tried to pass me on the right...which would have been fine if I wouldn't have been pretty far to the right already. Basically, in order to pass me on the right, he had to go off the road (remember, this dude is on a ROAD bike, not a "dirt" bike) in order to pass me. He came sooooo close to wiping out and taking me with him. Mind you, there was PLENTY of room on the left hand side for him to pass. Um, not a good choice. Thank the man upstairs that he didn't bif it and take me with him. About 15 minutes later, I saw this guy get off his bike and ask to be given a ride back because he cramped up. I did feel ever so bad for him but it was safer for everyone else that he wasn't on the course anymore.

Toward the 11 mile mark, I was ready to be done with the bike. My bootay was starting to scream and some womanly parts weren't too happy either. (Does this part of the anatomy get "tougher"? Calloused? um, kinda hope not but you get my drift). By this time I could see the school and knew the transition area was closing in. I started to mentally prepare for the transition. I tried to go through it in my head. Think about what items I needed to take off (my long sleeve top, my running pants, shoes, socks, helmet) and what I needed to put on (swim cap, goggles, flip flops) and what I needed to take with me (towel) to the pool.

Here I am coming into the transition center from the bike ride:

Outside the transition center, my number one cheerleader yelled, "Mom, hurry up, this isn't a coffee break!!!" Yeaaaaaaahhhh, that is what I thought it was! haha. So, off I ran to the pool.

I got slightly confused about where I needed to go but found my way to the front of the transition center, and over to the pool. I dropped my towel and my flip flops and proceeded to jump in. No diving allowed...not that I dive but figured you might want to know that. I started to swim but got nervous that someone would run into me. I thought we were going down and back and down for the three laps since it was an Olympic size pool. This freaked me out. I thought someone was going to swim, (head first, into me. Also, looking down..........it was V-E-R-Y deep. This is when I started to struggle. I couldn't seem to get into a groove and I kept looking out for fear of getting hit. I was almost done with my first lap when I realized that the had it set up so that you would swim down in one zone, go underneath the lane barrier to swim down the middle "lane" and then under the barrier to swim down the final stretch, which landed you in the shallow end with the steps to exit. Very cool. Never, during the swim did I feel comfortable or find a rhythm. I have to say that during the final lap, I paniced. Somehow, I kept swallowing water. Ty was right on the side of the pool on that final lap, yelling encouraging things. I knew I had to do this. I couldn't give up now. I kept floundering but hearing his voice helped me through. Right when I didn't think I could do it any more, my feet touched the bottom and out I came. Bam! Pose for the camera and out I went. Kelly had finished about 5 minutes before me (she breezed by me around the half way point, makin that bikin thang look easy peasy!) and we got our medals and took some photos!

Wow, I felt freakin fantastic when I were done. It was FANTASTIC!!! A TOTAL FREAKIN HIGH!!! THE NATURAL KIND!!! Even thinking back on the event, I get excited. I can't remember finishing a race feeling that great. Mind you, a few brief seconds before, I was like a fish outta water....or more like a non-fish in water! I thought I might drown or not be able to finish for a brief second but I never let those thoughts rule me. I did leave the race feeling like I need more experience in the water, which is true. You can't be good at things you rarely do. So, this will lead to more swimming and possibly even a few lessons. I can't wait for the next one! Already thinking February might be the right time because there are a couple of similar events in Los Alamitos and Irvine.

Anyhoo, after the race was over, I saw Debbie (S318830) for the second time at the finish. We took a quick photo and went about our business to collect our things from the transition area. Kelly and I couldn't get over how great the event was and how much we loved it!! So relaxing after all this exercise then a swim in a warm pool. Great!

(I would post the photo here but it is on Ty's camera and I would need Debbie's permission first...you ALWAYS need permission when posting pics of peeps in their bathin suits...word to your momma!)

Here is another one of me:

We snapped some more photos as we packed up our things and then mosied back to the truck.

Kelly and I ended up doing some undercover changing in the parking lot because they still had the lot blocked in due to the race event course still being open. So, we waited and shimmied out of our wet clothes. I found some lovely photos that my DD took while I was changing...uh, I won't be postin those! LOL! NOT CUTE!

Finally, we were able to leave the race location. We had plans to meet up at Richie's Diner in Temecula on our way back home. Mary and two of her friends showed up, Debbie came with her hubby and 2 kids (hubby and son went to Rubios to eat instead) and my squad (Ty and Tay) and Kelly ate a great meal.

We talked about the event and I felt bad for Debbie and her injury! Heal quickly pumpkin! She blogged about the event so I encourage you to read her account, as well! Jackie (Terrificlyfit) we missed you out there!!! NEXT TIME FOR SHO'!

All in all this was a fantastic event and I have now entered the world of tri!!! I hope everyone who has ever considered this will give it a try, I can't tell you how nervous I was or scared that I would fail during the process. Second guessing myself and all that but I never give that too much of my time. The thoughts are there, I push the aside and overcome. We can do this!!! ALL OF US! If these experiences have taught me one thing, it is that with hard work, discipline and dedication...I can do things I never dreamed of!!! With the man upstairs by my side, nothing is impossible!!! Cheers to your dreams! Honor them, make them happen! YOU GOT THIS!

One last thing, I wanted to post this pic cuz I think it's cute!

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ISOS23
    What an experience! Running is pretty new to me. I just ran my first 5K race this past Saturday and have another one on Valentine's Day! But I LOVE swimming and biking, and I have been itching for about a year now to sign up for a sprint or super sprint and see if I can do it. It seems though, that there are always dozens of little things that make me put it off. I have a mountain bike too, and I'm glad to see that yours held up well for the race.

    But you know what! I think I am going to do it! I know that I want to, and I know that I am young and pretty fit and can do all of the events individually. So why can't I put them together?

    You are DEFINITELY an inspiration and I just found your page, but I love reading your stories already.

    3795 days ago
    Great job! Wish I were there... but at least you thought of me during the run LOL!
    3824 days ago
    Congratulations for finishing your first tri! I finished my first tri in sept. I have 2 planned for next summer!

    Welcome to the addiction of tri!
    :) Jeanne
    3833 days ago
    Very encouraging journey. Congratulations :)
    3833 days ago
  • GR8LIFE2009
    Wow that was so awesome. I love the whole play by play!! great job. I am going to plan on doing a 5k or half marathon this year...a far cry from a triathlon...but I would like to maybe make that next year's goal.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!
    3833 days ago
  • MOM23JS
    Thank you for sharing yoru experience! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience. Makes me want to do this too!
    3835 days ago
    Bounced here via The Daily Spark (and I saw you in The Spark briefly as I perused this morning pre-work time) and, all I can say is "WOW". Well, not all I can say, but that was my initial jaw-dropped reaction. Amazing & Inspiring would be next. SUCH a killer first hand account! Felt like I was there! (vicariously in my fitness dreams) Awesome! NO FEAR attitude and execution! What sweet support you have. What an awesome share! Thank YOU for this... big time. emoticon
    3838 days ago
    Congrats Leah! I was having a good ole time reading this blog. You are too cute. That's awesome that you finished a tri and even swam 150 meters. You go girl! emoticon
    3842 days ago
  • CAROLYN1213
    Excellent race report! I felt like I was there with you! I'm planning to do a mini triathlon in 2011. Reading about your experience makes me really want to make it happen!
    3844 days ago
    Thanks again for getting me involved!!! I had an awesome time as well. Looking forward to new challenges/events.
    3846 days ago
  • no profile photo CD522362
    Thanks for the great race report! I'm looking forward to my first tri next summer if all goes as planned!
    3847 days ago
    Great report! I love that last photo! This is the first tri I have ever read about where the swim was last! I bet that worked out better in terms of weather! Congratulations!!
    3847 days ago
    Thanks for sharing Leah!!! I'm going to be doing my first Tri on March 20th in Pasadena!!! Yesterday was my 2nd time in the pool...I still have a lot of work to do on the swimming as well!!! Funny about meeting Sol...Tammy introduced us to him and his wife in San Francisco!!! I think everyone knows Tammy!!! LOL!!! Jackie!!!
    3847 days ago
    (wow, i loved loved loved reading your race report. thank you so much for taking the time to write this up so we could all experience it for you.

    i LOVE your positive attitude and i love that you did it on your mountain bike. you are so awesome, girl!

    i'm sorry you panicked a bit during the swim but it sounds like everything else went beautifully!

    and hello, who doesn't know tammy? we ran into some people this weekend that know her, too! she's one popular girl, that's for sure!)
    3847 days ago
    Congratulations. I want to do one of those.

    Not yet though.
    3847 days ago
    Great race report and thanks for including pictures. It really adds a lot. Glad you had a great experience and I am sure you will have many more tris ahead of you. Well Done!
    3847 days ago
    Great job! Love the pics and your account of the event. You make it sound so exciting that I want to do one now! LOL - probably not, but I am glad it was such a great experience for you. Wish I could have been there to cheer you on. Thanks for sharing.

    3847 days ago
    Love the pics of you two, very cute. Congrats on doing and completing the Tri: You are a Super Woman indeed. Too cool for me and to be able to say '' Your a Triathlete'' that is so awesome!! Not many people can say that, you inspire me to keep going.
    3847 days ago
    That last pic IS so cute! AWWW! I love your hair color! Darker? redder? Or is it just wet? Either way - rock on. CONGRATULATIONS on doing the tri thing! :D I am SOOOOOOOO doing that someday. First - need a bike. Second - gotta learn to swim. But I WILL do that. (I CAN actually kinda swim, it's not like a drown, but I'm definitely a "non-fish in water" as well!) :) WOOHOO!
    3847 days ago
    wow Leah!! I love your blog and congratulations on finishing your first Tri !!!

    The pictures are great...at least your daughter was a good sport in taking them. I have two boys and I have to beg them....

    Are you doing the Surf City half in February?


    3847 days ago
    What an AWESOME experience your TRI must have been!

    How cool for Deb to catch up with you too!

    Beautiful early Christmas gift to yourself...woo hoo! :-)

    3847 days ago
    emoticon Leah, for doing the tri and for posting a great blog about it! The photos really help us see what it's like. (Kudos to your DD for the great photos!)

    Keep up the good work! emoticon

    - Karen
    3847 days ago
  • SCOUT1222
    Wonderful job! Thanks for sharing the experience with us.
    3847 days ago
    Leah, Wow I am impressed - sounds like you had a great time. Maybe some day I will try a tri. This next year I have 4 halfs and of course HTC. I felt like I was there! great blog and look forward to running HTC with you it will be so much fun. It will be a Sparking good time. Keep up the hard work! You are doing great! thanks for the inspiration.!

    3847 days ago
  • HAPPY92003
    Ms. Triathlete! Awesome blog as always...you captured the excitement and the moment. You rocked this race...I cannot wait for the next one....WOOHOO!

    3847 days ago
    OMG I looooved this blog! All of your blogs are so inspirational. You make me feel like I can do anything too!!!

    I loved all the pictures...and the last one WAS cute! :) I don't know how to swim but MAN doing a tri sounds fun! I guess I'll have to first learn how to swim huh? haha!!

    Great blog!

    3847 days ago
    That pictures is very cute :)! Welcome to the triathlete club, woo hoo! It feels GREAT doesn't it?

    I'm sorry that you had a rough time in the pool. Swimming was definitely the hardest part for me. Though I have to say, until reading this I thought it was always swim, bike then run. I didn't realize the order could shift, is it because of the time of year or something do you know?

    That coffee break comment is hilarious! We all need your daughter at races :)!
    3847 days ago
  • S318830
    Very cool! I love all the extra shots like the weather, the bike in its rack, etc. And yes, that last shot is very cute! And tell your daughter the one she took of herself is awesome! LOL!

    If I look good in the post-swim shot, feel free to post it. If my post-baby stomach is hanging out really badly.... LOL! No thank you! With the two pro shots as I got out of the pool, one of them isn't bad. The other one is horrible! Amazing that two shots taken 1 second apart can be so different.

    It was fun reading your account and experiences with the tri. I'm looking forward to doing it next year. I expect we can get a pretty good showing from Sparkers next year if we work it.

    And my calf is doing better (thank you!). I'll be getting on the treadmill tonight for the first time to do an incline walk. I don't think I'll be able to run the Holiday Bowl 5K next week. I think it's too soon. It's still tight, but all limping is gone. I got a massage on Friday which really helped.
    3847 days ago
    I'm exhausted just reading your Blog! What an incredible, awesome and inspiring addition to your life's journey. You just keep bumpin it up girl! ..Is there Nothing my BFF cannot do!?!?!+ Your dad is smilin' proud of you...loved the photo of you in his hat! Brought a tear. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3847 days ago
    Awesome, yo! You are a terrific writer!! And I love the pics of the experience. What a great event and I'm so glad you met your goal to complete it. Way to go!!
    3847 days ago
    Wow, Leah, now that's a story! Thanks so much for sharing all the details from large to small. It was almost like I was right there with you! I tried to imagine what everything would be like, especially the transition parts, and you described it all so perfectly and vividly. Thanks for that! And I appreciate the shout out. Let me tell you, it still hurts my heart that I couldn't make it, but the joy I find in reading your blog really makes it all better. Can't wait to do a tri with you come 2010! TERRIFIC JOB, LEAH!!!
    3848 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.