I’m a Triathlete!
I hope everyone had a great weekend.
This Sunday I completed my first triathlon! Jeff and I both participated in the Nation’s triathlon in Washington, DC.
The weekend started out with Jeff, his parents (who were kind enough to drive us), and I driving down to DC from NYC around 5:30 am so that we would make it to DC in time to watch the University of Michigan football game at noon (priorities!). We arrived in DC around 10:30, picked up our race packets and met up with my parents (who were amazing enough to drive up to DC and bring our bikes along). At this point Jeff went with my parents to rack our bikes for the race the next day while I attended the pre-race meeting to make sure we weren’t missing any important information.
Then it was time for some Michigan football! We met up with some of our DC friends to watch the game nearby and had a great time getting to see everyone (I need to work on this whole taking a ton of photos thing). We also got to meet our friends’ new baby for this first time which was wonderful!
After the (very stressful – come on Michigan get it together!) game we headed back to where the bikes were set up so I could do a run through of the transitions for the race. I found my bike, made sure I knew which way to enter and exit for each part of the course, and found some other Michigan fans who were also racing on Sunday.
We had a great pre-race dinner at Founding Farmers and wandered around to check out some of the monuments before heading to bed early for a good night’s rest!
We woke up on race day around 4:45 am, made our bagels, dropped off our luggage with my parents, and headed out to the race. The hotel we stayed at was super close to the starting line so we had a nice, quick — but very cold — stroll over to the start.
Both Jeff and I set out everything we would need for the transitions to go as smoothly as possible and then headed over to our corrals to get set up for the start of the race!
Swim – Before the tri I thought I would do just fine on the swim, I wasn’t really worried about it at all. I should have known better! 8 people started per wave and each wave was about 15 seconds apart. I jumped in on the sound of the whistle and it was insane! I kept trying to do a normal freestyle but every time I went to breathe I ended up with a mouth full of the Potomac. At this point I was about 200 meters in and knew I would never get anywhere if this kept up, so I switched to backstroke. Maybe not the best idea, I ended up swimming way more than the .93 miles I was supposed to do because I couldn’t stay in a straight line, but, hey, I finished and only ran into 1 person. There was a little confusion around the 400/500 meter mark because the course curved and no one (or at least all the racers around me) was aware. I finished the swim in 43:39 (longer than I had hoped but at least it was over!)
Transition 1 – I was so happy to be out of the water I sprinted out and through my transition in just over 3:00 minutes. I had set up my shoes (with my socks already in them), right under my bike, laid my towel and shirt over my bike, and set my helmet and sunglasses on my handle bars.
Bike – This was the part I had been nervous about, but it ended up being my favorite part of the whole tri. I recently bought a new bike when I was visiting my parents but hadn’t really had time to ride it yet so this was my first longer ride. The bike was great, the course was nice, and Jeff (who started after me) didn’t pass me until I was on my second lap so that’s a win. I also had plenty of time to figure out a name, so let me officially introduce you to Wind-sheer (don’t judge, it made the time go by on the stretches of highway)! By the end of the course I was really excited to be off my bike and had started to get uncomfortable but nothing crazy. I finished the 24.8 miles in 1:32:41 (way better than I thought I would do; I thought it would have taken me much closer to 2 hours to do the bike ride).
Transition 2 – Was a little faster than 1 (closer to 2 minutes) but I had less to do, I just dropped my helmet, tossed on my hat, grabbed my gel to help refuel, and hit the road for the run.
Run – The run went as smooth as I thought it would after being on a bike for 25 miles, I averaged about 1o minute miles and walked through all the water stations and a few other points throughout the 6.2 miles but felt pretty good and finished in 1:02:34.
My total time was 3:24:08, which was way better than I thought it would be. I honestly just wanted to finish my first triathlon and though I would have been closer to 4 hours. I’m not really sure I will do another one; I loved the biking and the running but the swimming might just be a little too intense for me. I might look into doing a duathlon (run, bike, run) at some point in the future.
I learned two very important things about myself during this triathlon:
- It does not matter how tired I am or how out of breath I am if someone yells Go Blue at me I yell it back
- It doesn’t matter if I’m crawling through the Sahara desert if a buckeye tries to hand me water I just can’t make myself take it from them (thanks guy at the water station at mile 4 of the run who yelled Go Buckeyes at me and forced me to skip that water stop)
After the race we swung by our friends’ place to use their shower (thanks Sarah and Patrick!) before we all headed to brunch. While I should have been starving I couldn’t actually eat that much. After saying goodbye to our parents, and making sure the bikes were all good to go on the back of my parents’ car, we headed back to NYC.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped us make this weekend possible and who cheered us on both at the race and from afar!