But, I did it anyway!
About 6 weeks ago, I was taking a Spin class with my friend Cate, who is a superstar athlete, and she said, "Amanda, you should consider doing a triathlon. I think you'd like it."
I responded by laughing, "I hate running, and I'm not trained swimmer. No way." That night, she sent me the link for the CapTexTri in Austin scheduled on Memorial Day. I told my friend Michelle Ellis (also an athlete) that I was considering it, and she said she was planning on it too and
bullied encouraged me into doing it too. The next day, I signed up for the "First Tri" and told Facebook:
The "First Tri" in this particular race was a 400m swim, 10K bike, and 5k run. I knew I was ready for the bike portion, and had just done a 5k (very slowly), but the swim in a LAKE (even just 400 lousy meters) was gonna be a problem.
I did some research, bought my first bathing suit for actual swimming (versus the normal boobalicious bikini's I wear just for lookin' cute on the beach), some goggles, swim cap, and got my butt in the pool at my gym. It was hard at first, but I quickly built my endurance and could swim 400m in the pool without stopping in about 10 minutes. I was training for much longer swims, but was happy with my 10 minute time.
I'm convinced that all the Spin classes I take really helped decrease the amount of training I was going to need. I have built cardio endurance from spinning and that directly translated to running and swimming. The problem with the running is the um, bouncing and the problem with the swimming is I can't breath underwater (who knew!?) and have poor technique.
I trained and trained on the bike, treadmill and bike. I basically stopped weight training, but would sneak in a few sessions as time allowed. Towards the end of my training, I would do two things during the same workout...so, I'd swim & cycle or cycle & run or run & swim...etc. Then the week before, I did the full Tri at my gym (indoors!) to see what I could expect from endurance and transition:
Swim 400m: 10:45
Bike 10k: 18:45
Ran 5k: 29:45
Total time (including closely located transitions): 1:13
These times were done in PERFECT conditions, warm pool, 70 degrees, no hills, no people in my way, and no potholes! I knew this wasn't a realistic expectation for the actual race, but wanted to see what I could really do.
Then Memorial Day weekend finally arrived.... Cate, and my new friend, Jen, and I drove up on Sunday afternoon with our bikes loaded in Zak's truck to check in and attend the Expo and a course walk-thru.
After that, we went to dinner, and they only let me drink one beer. :-( Meanies! After dinner, we checked into the Hyatt on Town Lake. The hotel upgraded us to a balcony room over looking the infamous "bat bridge" (bats were not hungry that night and didn't leave for dinner).
The balcony also overlooked the tail end of the Olympic distance course. When I woke up the next morning, I could actually see the real athletes (who take off waaaay before the rest of the yahoo's do) swimming around the red buoys as I was getting ready to leave.
I pretended that was Cate, Mandie and Jen down there! ;)
Here is Jen and Cate just as they were leaving at the butt crack 'o dawn. I got to go back to sleep! lol My race didn't start until 10:02 and I didn't need to be there until 9:00!!!
(total badasses with those tats! Cate is hiding her six pack under that white tank!!)
I'm just gonna stop right here and put my little race into perspective. I did the BABY triathlon and just to prove my point, let's review the results of my friends who raced the Olympic/International distance (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run):
Cate was one of the fastest female swimmers in the ENTIRE triathlon. She swam 1.5k in 23 minutes! FASTER than most of the professional Olympic athletes that competed (most of whom are 10-12 years younger and not the mother of three children!). She was the 7th fastest of the women who competed and ranked 22nd among men and women. She's the Michael Phelps of my world, my subdivision, and apparently of all the Triathletes in the USA. I honestly had no idea the level at which she could compete. I'm going to ask her to be my relay partner for the next triathlon and totally sandbag the whole thing just so I can stand on the winner's podium next to her. ;) Cate, I'm in awe. Seriously. I am so proud.
Oh, yea, just for fun...she also ran a 10k in 52 minutes and cycled 40k in 1:21. Amazing!
Jen is my new friend (and neighbor!) and she didn't train for this Tri and signed up THE WEEK before! LOL. I'd love to have those numbers and not have to train! She's the mother of four (all under 8 years old) and tells me she runs just so she can have a moment alone to think. :)
Mandie is another rock star friend. She has three kids. The oldest just turned six the day before the triathlon. Her son is still in diapers. She is a physician in her spare time, and the ultimate multi-tasker. She thinks she's not that studly of an athlete because her husband, Rob, runs in Ultra Marathons (50-100 miles!) and she can "only" run marathons. In fact, she kept running during all three pregnancies in the Texas summers. Strangers would stop her and ask if she was okay because why in the world would someone want to run when they were 9 months preggers unless they were being chased by bears!
(This is Mandie and Rob and I at the last Bob Schneider concert--which just makes me love them even more. The concert was more fun than the Tri, just in case you're wondering.)
I saw Mandie after the race (but I forgot to take her pic!) drinking a beer with her family, while I was barely able to walk to find mine. Congrats, Mandie, on another successful Tri!
Michelle and I did the same race, First Tri, and hung out in the morning as we prepped our transition area. Michelle has done many races before, but opted for the First Tri with me. She helped me get my stuff in the right order, loaned me some ear plugs, and encouraged me at the starting line. We actually high five'd each other in the water just before horn sounded the start of the swim. She beat me on the swim and was waiting for me at transition so we could cycle away together. For the entire race, I expected her to catch me on the bike and then on the run, and now I feel terrible I didn't wait for her! Sorry, Michelle!
My kids went to the same child care center as Michelle's three kiddos, but we just started to hang out more recently. She's an AMAZING cheerleader and I love to be around positive people like Michelle. She just lights up the room and some people may need sunglasses to be near her, but I just take all the sunshine she dishes out. See the pic below to see her permanent smile:
So, here are my race times. I did about what I expect to do, except for the swim. I sorta freaked out when I was in the water and had a minor panic attack.
Rookie Tri Mistake #1--not training in open water. I am a pool kinda girl...I am not a fan of swimming in oceans or lakes. I knew this, but didn't think it would bother me that much during the race. I was wrong. As soon as I put my face in the water to begin my freestyle stroke, I panicked because it was sooo dark green. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I did a few terrible strokes and flipped to my back in an attempt to control my heart rate and breathing. I was in the water for 13:49, and it felt like 30 minutes. There were times when I didn't think I was going to finish or survive! I treaded water, I did the breast stroke, I kicked on my back, I doggie paddled, and self talked my way to semi-calm. I was a mess, but I did it. I finished and climbed out of the water DIZZY and mentally fucked up. I remember the volunteers, who pulled the swimmers out of the water, were very loud and yelling directions. "Take your goggles off, watch your step, whoa! are you ok?, you're fine, drink water, run, run to your bike. Go! Goo! Gooooo!"
I walked to my bike trying to convince myself that the worst of it was over, and that I was fine and could do this. I took a crazy long time of 6 minutes at transition, and found Michelle waiting for me with her gorgeous smile on, and off we went. As we were exiting transition (running our bikes to the starting line), I saw Rob, Zak, Madison and Brooke. I was SHOCKED to see them there, and turns it it was just random luck that they were there at the right time. They were a breath of fresh air, and made my heart sing to see them. It was the boost I needed after the tough swim.
The bike course was very easy, and I thank my Spin teachers (Shannon! and DiDi!) for getting me ready to tackle the hills. I did one loop, or 10k in 23:16. I expected the route up Congress to be harder than it was, and the right turn and return hill at the Capital was tough, but I was passing people right and left! The rest of the ride after that was very easy and I got a shot of confidence that I could actually do this. I could have actually gone much faster than I did but was a bit scared of the speed! I purposefully slowed down on some fast sections of the course because I was worried how bad a potential crash could be. I'm also an inexperienced outdoor cyclist (and didn't know the full power of my gears), and that's just a dangerous combination Next time (and there will be a next time!) I'm going all out on the bike course and clip in because the bike section is definitely my strength. Who wants to buy me a Tri bike? ;)
I got off my bike and had to run it to my transition area (which wasn't very close! 50 yards?), and I had a respectable (for a rookie) under 3 minute transition time. I strapped on a better sports bra, chugged some water, and didn't need to change my shoes. I ran out of transition and onto the run course. My legs weren't working properly. I had what I later found out were "bike legs" and it took a good 10 minutes for them to function. While I was running out, I remember saying to the woman jogging next to me, "And now we have to run a 5k?!? After all that?!? I'm tired!"
Rookie Mistake #2--not training for the run outside. Did you know there are pesky things like hills, slanted roads, potholes, heat, and curbs outside? :) I don't have to deal with any of those things on my perfect little treadmill in the air conditioned gym. I also really, really missed my music (headphones and music were not allowed).
Once I got my act together, I was able to finish the 5k run in 33:36. I was actually surprised I did it that fast considering I did walk portions of the course. Screw the hills! Ugh.
During the run, I saw Zak and the girls twice. I stopped once for hugs and kisses to which Brooke said, "Ew! Gross! You are so sweaty!" which made me laugh. My family made signs for me! :)
Brooke's pink sign said "Go Mom Go! Love Brooke"
Madison's sign said, "My mom always says to TRI your best!"
Zak's sign said, "Go Amanda! You so got this! My wife doesn't just TRI, she does kick booty!"
After I crossed the finish line (1:19 total time), Zak and the girls met me in transition where I was picking up my bike. Zak has always been so incredibly supportive and encouraging during our 14 years of marriage. He was especially so during my Tri and the training that led up to it. He trained with me on the weekends and is also in the best shape of his life. I can't wait for his first Tri! I love you, Zak. Thank you for your support and love.
After I gathered my stuff, I found them at their little camp site and got a post race massage from the girls.
We went back to the hotel where I showered (and found seaweed in my bra) and packed up, then headed to lunch before the drive home back to San Antonio.
Thank you to all my friends and family who raced with me, texted me, trained with me, encouraged me over Facebook, and cheered for me. I love you and thank you for your support!