I did it! I completed my first triathlon. Signing up was a last-minute decision but an opportunity to see how my training was coming along. What drew me to the event was the shorter swim, my weakness and the children’s event following the adults. 3 of my four kids were signed up and ready to go, practicing all week. The Penn Trafford Triathlon took place at Penn Trafford High School and the surrounding area. My Garmin shows 1:20 for my finish, completing a 200-yard swim, 11-mile bike ride, and 3-mile run. That time includes just about 5 minutes trying to get my chain fixed on my bike. I couldn’t be happier; my goal was 1:45. I am still waiting for the official time from the Race Officials.
I woke up at 5:00 am sharp with little sleep throughout the night. I am one of those (I am sure you know of one or are one) that causes themselves to suffer from anxiety. Any big event or even early morning meeting I struggle sleeping well, worried mostly that I won’t get up the next day. I also find myself thinking through every little detail of the event over and over again in preparation. I believe many people are like me, especially when they train hard and hold themselves accountable for desired results.
I began my morning with my typical daily nutrition consisting of shakeology mixed with Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 and V8 Fusion Lite. Great breakfast. I mixed up my Infinit Nutrition for the race and packed a cooler with some water and banana’s. Off we went with a bit of a late start as we packed up all the kids gear as well. We arrived at 7:00 am, and my heat was scheduled for 7:30 am. I was placed in Heat 1 because I was one of the parents with children competing later that morning. My son Zane, who is seven was scheduled in the 9:00 am heat, followed by Kat and Matt. With my goal of 1:45 I would miss his event which just gave me a little pressure…a lot. I learned very quickly to arrive much earlier as no rack space was left to hold my baby (my Cervelo bike). I laid it gently on a towel propped up on my bag and made my last-minute preparations, laying out each item for each transition in order. I was off to the registration desk to be assigned bib 426 and then tattooed. Carly (my husband) was awesome helping with my bike bottle fills and pairing my Bluetooth headset. Him just being there to support me meant the world to me. He is always the one who pushes me to do better, not to be afraid to go faster and to stop being a wimp over little things.
With my ankle strap timer chip attached I was ready to go. I grabbed my goggles and swimcap and into the steamy pool area I went. People quickly poured in, and before I knew it, I thought 400+ people were ready to watch my heat of 12. I picked my lane partner as I saw a woman approach the far lane right by the T1 exit door. I jumped right in and met Cathy who was wonderful. We were chatting up a storm as I promised to try not to kick her when I swam. The great thing about being in Heat 1 was getting it over with; the bad thing was all the attention and the opportunity for so many to pass you along the way. I hate being passed. I even hate passing people; I feel bad. The race director made a few announcements and before I knew it the buzzer sounded and we were off. Surprisingly I felt great and wasn’t even nervous. I quickly hit the start button on my Garmin watch and started my strokes. Instead of having long beautiful extensions I found myself rushing and working very hard instead of lengthening and extending with fewer strokes. By the 6th length, I had to do a few strokes backstroke to catch my breath. Every part of that swim was painful for me; I never got a rhythm. I just wanted to get out of that pool as fast as I could. I was out of the pool and at T1 at 4:38 although it felt like an eternity. I know I have a lot of work to do in the water, I was completely out of breath and frustrated with how I felt.
I quickly troweled off drying my feet as best as I could so I could pull on my bike/run socks. Sunglasses, jaybird bluetooth, helmet, snap into bike shoes and bike check…. I ran towards the cones to be clocked in for the bike portion of the race. My T1 time, showed 2:48. Down the hill and out of the school parking lot I went. I felt great on the bike, as a matter of fact only a handful were in front of me and by the 5th mile I had passed 4. From my pre-race map my ride drawing I knew the first five miles were the hardest. I came out of the saddle and rode the aero bars as much as I could. Reminding myself to drink, drink, drink, so I didn’t get dehydrated. Any time I reached a tough hill or a tough moment that I needed to push through I thought of the initials on my ankle and the battles each of them has faced or will face in their lives. This race was nothing compared to what my mom endured fighting cancer, my niece Abby’s battle as she fought MLD and a little boy named Jacob we recently met facing DMD.
As I pushed through the tough parts I was feeling great and just knew it was going to be a good ride. I crested a hill and started at a quick descent hitting a bunch of rough patches as I felt something wrong, looked down and saw my chain hanging. I was so upset not sure what to do. I coasted until I found a safe place to stop right at Dutch Hollow Road. I pulled on the chain, and it didn’t budge. With no bike maintenance training, I was pretty much stuck. A few people stopped to ask if I was okay and offer help and I was very persistent with telling them I was fine and to keep going although I was extremely disappointed and worried I might not be able to finish. I called Carly, and he asked for help back at the school, but Pro Bikes was not allowed to assist on the road. The next person to stop was Cathy (my swim lane partner), she told me she wasn’t leaving without me. She was serious. Together we were lifting pulling, twisting and trying just about everything to loosen the tension on the chain. Another guy pulled up, jumped off his bike and with one quick snap had the chain back in place. Just amazing. Loosing about 5 minutes which could have been a lot more without the help of Cathy and the mystery man, I was so gratefully on my way and covered in grease. Both of them gave up precious minutes of their race to help me and me words cannot thank them enough. I finished in 49 minutes which included my T2 to the run cones and chain fixing time.
My asics felt great and just knowing I made it this far I was thrilled and knew I could finish if I just continued at a good pace. The run course was a bit odd as I went through some neighborhoods looped back around the school and finished with four laps on the track. My Bluetooth was great as I turned up the tunes and tried to focus on the moment, the initials and a few prayers. I started swimming and running about a month ago, and each gives me different pains. Running is just plain hard for me, and with my competitive endurance kicking in I finished my 3 miles in 23 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. That was a shocker for me. But I recall after my second lap around the track my desire to get done. I was so happy to finish and better yet, to run up the bleachers from the track to the school…before my son started his race. YES!
It was a great day and great experience. I will update www.kimcarlkids.com with a post on the kids first triathlon sometime this week.