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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tri That!

It's been a couple months since my last triathlon and I can't wait for February/March to roll around so the racing can start all over again. I've been kept quite busy with Flag football, Outdoor Soccer, Indoor Soccer and not to mention OSCE, practical, and written exams for school. Both football and outdoor soccer came to a close this weekend with great results. 2 championships and great teamwork all around. I do really enjoy team sports, how could I not, I put my heart and soul into teamwork and soccer for 18 years. While training this weekend it really hit me why I enjoy triathlon and the individual aspect of the sport. I don't have to compete with anybody. When I go out and train I don't have to compete with the person next to me for playing time or worry that a mistake means I won't start the next game. I have to opportunity to compete with others when it's time to race, which is great and one of the reasons I absolutely love the racing aspect of it, but I also have the opportunity to compete with myself and prove to myself the efforts I have put forth leading up to the race were worth while. One thing that can easily discourage me is seeing people finish before or close to my time who have not trained nearly as much as I have. It does work out that these people are young men, so I guess naturally they will have a little bit faster times than me. But I do enjoy reveling in the fruits of my labor post-race. Not to be too discouraged though because most importantly is that the training has provided me with greater strength, endurance, mental toughness, and perseverance to perform better and build on the foundation I have laid.

Since completing the Nation's Triathlon in September I have set my sights toward a Half-Ironman for next year. I can't wait! I have continued to train through the wind, rain, and pretty awesome weather we've had so far in DC. I do foresee an Ironman in the relative near future, most likely post-graduation. It is a bit more difficult to train the way I prefer as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. I keep reminding myself that it's ok to cross train, actually good to cross train, and this is a good time to focus on nutrition. For me this time of year is very important to focus on nutrition, without the burning fire of having a race the next weekend or a Brick that starts at 7am on Saturday it's easier to allow myself to have that piece of pie or cake and ice cream. All things in moderation and allowing the body to rest is just as important as the 7am bricks and pushing your body past a point you never imagined.

This fall has given me some great opportunities to rest and cross-train! I had the opportunity to go to the APTA's National Student Conclave the last weekend in October. I was able to listen to lectures by top clinicians in their specialty areas and find out great information about post-graduate opportunities such as certifications, mentorships, fellowships, and resume writing/successful interviewing skills! The weekend was spent with 3 fellow DPT students from GWU and we had a great relaxing, no
n-strenuous weekend. A was a good recovery for my legs, my heart, and my mind. The first weekend in November sent me hiking Old Rag in VA with some awesome friends. An 8.8 mile hike with rock scrambles, steep uphills, and mountain dog was more taxing on the legs than I could have imagined. I resumed my Saturday Bricks yesterday and the weather was just wonderful for it. I enjoyed every second on the bike and breezed through the run faster than I ever have (24 mile ride, 6 mile run).

As the year comes to a close and triathlon season is over I am looking forward to running in a few 10k's. The first is coming up in just over about 1o days, the Detroit Turkey Trot! I am very proud to say the Finneren 4 will all be participating this year! On
e of the reason's I went into PT school was to promote health and wellness. I love it so much, it means so much to me, and it has helped shape my life in so many ways that I want to sha
re with others. I want them to enjoy just as much as I do. I know this isn't going to be true for everyone but it is great to share in people success's and watch them surpass their
own expectations. Shortly after is the Jingle All the Way 10k in DC. What an awesome opportunity to relieve stress before finals with some classmates all in holiday spirit! My focus for these races will be improving my own 10k time provided the crowds are under contro

Soon to come will be a final wrap-up of the 3 Triathlons I competed in this year along wi
th an outlook for next year's racing calendar! I am so eager to set it that Set-up Events and 3d have not even released their schedules yet I keep looking. Swim, Bike, Run...Tri That!