Sunday, November 21, 2010

Humble Beginnings: The First Triathlon

My first triathlon, was what I would now call, low key. The setting was Statesboro, GA (Georgia Southern University to be exact), February 28, 2009. The swim would take place in the same pool I swam in every few mornings for training, the bike course took place right by our soccer field, and the run was a simple loop I'd run at least once a week since my 2nd semester at GSU! I was eager, excited, full of anticipation and nervous to boot before this first triathlon. I was able to get my hands on a nice WSD Trek 1000 from my coach for a couple weeks to practice on and use in the race. I headed out to Walmart to purchase an extraordinarily huge one size-fits-all helmet and pretty much felt ready to rock. My brother had previously bought my a nice pair of tri shorts while I was in DC visiting GWU. I simply paired those with a nice salmon colored sports bra and had a great race outfit for Tri #1. My experience with triathlons leading up to this event was slim to none, I had watched my brother at the Culpeper Sprint Triathlon during the prior summer. My training leading up to race day consisted of running, swimming, and minimal biking. I was swimming to complete 500m, in a decent time with enough energy to bike and run well. I had never thought of doing a "Brick Workout" (which are now a regular weekly occurance) or the fact that it might be cold at 7am in February! I took the liberty of training when the weather was perfectly sunny and warm, or closest to it. As race day came along I attended the course briefing the night before and picked up some tips, such as setting up your transition area for success and having enough water, etc. I headed home and tried to get as much sleep as possible. The next morning came early! And of course it was raining, so I borrowed my roommates rain jacket, grabbed a long-sleeve dri-fit top and loaded the bike on the car to head out. Now the race start was maybe 1 mile from my apartment, not even, but I felt the need to drive. I was a nervous wreck, shaking as I was body marked and feeling the anticipation build as I watched people set their TA's and prepare to swim. I nervously set up my transition area in the cold rain and then headed inside toward the pool to fall into line according to my number. The swim started as what I believe is known as a time trial start, so swimmers were staggered one by one every 15 seconds. I started about 8 minutes into the race I believe, so plenty of time to watch people navigate the pool waters.

As my start time approached and I was on deck, and then the starting line, I knew there was no turning back, I was about to do my first triathlon. The pool was pretty uneventful with the exception of a guy in front of me trying to pass someone else and coming into my lane and whacking me in the jaw. I completed the swim just a little faster than my predicted time thanks to the adrenaline of race day and jogged out to my transition area. I wiped off my feet, pulled on my socks, shoes, and shirt and headed out on the bike. I felt great on the bike, with toe straps and all. I was passing people and enjoying the thrill of the race. 12 miles later I was pulling back into the TA and grabbing a power gel for the 5k run! What I didn't know is that my legs would feel like concrete, or bricks! I had never experienced a feeling like that in my legs when trying to run before, how was I going to get through 3.1 miles of this? I focused on people in front of my and catching them 1 by 1, as people from behind me also passed me, 1 by 1. Finally lap 3/3 and I was nearing the finish line! I finished strong, just under my goal time of 1:20:00, at 1:19:58. I was exhausted, I thought being a fit D1 soccer player would make a completing a sprint tri, easy. Well I quickly learned that I was wrong, but I was rewarded with a 2nd place medal for my age group!

The best thing to come of this tri was my love for the multi-sport scene! It took me over a year to do another tri, but I can say I was much better prepared for the next one. During the time between I trained all aspects, purchased my own WSD Trek 1000 and read a bit about triathlons. I also considered and still do consider joining the DC Tri Club. Obviously, I have yet to join, but I have joined USAT, yahoo for no more 1 day memberships! What is that keeps me from joining the DC Tri Club? I'm not sure, the money maybe, or perhaps the fact that I enjoy training on my own a whole lot. It wouldn't hurt to learn from some people who have been successful at the exact places I want to go. The GSU Sprint Tri introduced me to the fun, competition, glory, thrill, and adventure of multi-sport and has really given me another passion to put my efforts into. I hope you all will join me as our efforts will continue to grow and culminate into something great.

GSU Sprint Tri Results: 500 m swim, 12 mile bike, 5 k run: 1:19:58

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