Sunday, May 4, 2014

Triathlon Recap - by Hilary

Made it through the triathlon! Still alive. No drowning, no crashing.
It was a great time. 
My good friends and race buddies C and A came over Saturday and we loaded my car and headed down to Tempe. 

3 girls, 3 bikes.

We stopped and picked up a wetsuit for me to wear in the swim. In the bathroom, they had a huge poster with step-by-step instructions for trying on a wetsuit. Seriously, like 40 pictures. 
Add vegetable oil.

I can break it down into a 2-step process: slather yourself with vegetable oil and squirm your way in. 
Then we went to the bike check-in where the event was taking place - Tempe Beach Park - and attended the mandatory meeting where they talk about the race course and all that fun stuff. 
That's my bike - number 34!

It was super hot there, about 100 degrees, so C, A and I were sweating like crazy! It was fun to see a few other girls from our hometown there - 2 girls from my gym and another girl from A's gym. We checked our bikes in and then checked into our hotel, where we spent a few minutes in the A/C. We had dinner (Carb loading - pizza! Yeah!) and then went back to the hotel where we were all asleep by 8:30. I know. Party animals. 
We woke up at 5 am, had breakfast, and headed down to Tempe Beach Park. 
On our way!

We got there at about 6 am, set up our biking stuff and running stuff, and put on our wetsuits. 
The announcer guy told everyone to line up at the start and added, "Wetsuit strippers, get in position." I thought he was talking about spouses or boyfriends or friends who would help people remove their wetsuits after the swim (more on this later).
This is me getting my numbers written on - they write your bib number and your age, and your race distance.

In the starting area for the swim, I met a nice girl named Tara who warned me that I'd probably feel panicky when I got in the water. We walked down metal stairs into the water, jumped off, and swam to the start line a few yards away. I did feel panicky. It was cool, and of course deep. Swimming over to the start felt crowded, and people were bumping into each other. We swam towards the sun on the way out, and my goggles fogged up so it was hard to see where I was going. I stopped and wiped out my goggles at one point and that helped. I found myself going crooked several times, but got back on course. I did have to stop a few times to get my bearings, but it was easy to float in the wetsuit so I was able to tread water and catch my breath. 
My husband had told me there are probably dead bodies in the lake, so I kept thinking about that when I swallowed a teeny bit of water. A had told me to pee on the swim so I wouldn't waste time between sections, but I didn't really need to go. THEN I swam through a really smelly part of the water, and I SWEAR I was swimming through someone else's pee. I managed not to barf at that moment, and kept going. When I finally reached the turnaround, I felt much better because I knew I was on my way back.
When I got back to the stairs, I had a hard time getting my foot up onto the bottom one - it was pretty high up. Fortunately, there were helpers there. A small but muscle-y guy hauled me out - I was afraid he was going to go in head first since he was holding all my weight - and told me, "Okay, come over this way and get your lunch back in you." (You know, like don't lose your lunch?). I started walking and felt someone unzip my wetsuit. I thought, that's nice, it will be easier to get off. Then another guy grabbed me from behind, by the shoulders, and yanked my wetsuit off my shoulders and down to my waist. "Sit," he said. At this point, I am thinking, "Oh, I must really look bad. They must think I'm going to barf or pass out." Nope. This other big muscle-y guy grabs my wetsuit, yanks it all the way off, while the guy behind me hauls me back to my feet. The muscle-y guy - hereafter known as the wetsuit stripper - hands me my wetsuit and says, "GO!" 
I thought they were just joking about wetsuit strippers! I wish I had pictures of this, but alas. I do not.
A swimmer I met at the college pool where I practice swimming had advised me to put an energy gel in my biking shoes, so when I got back to where my stuff was I quickly ate the gel, drank water, and dried my feet before putting on my socks and shoes and helmet. I put on more sunscreen and headed out for the bike. Once I got out on the course, I cried! I was SO relieved the swim was over! 
The bike section was really fun because the course was closed to traffic - so I could just bike without worrying about getting hit by a car. I was worried about crashing but once I was out there, the athletes were so spread out that I wasn't really crammed in with a lot of people. 
Throughout the course, one girl and I kept passing each other, and by about the fifth or sixth time, we were saying "Hello again," and "See you in a few minutes." 
My legs felt really wobbly at the end of the bike section! I got back to my stuff, took another gel, drank more water, and changed shoes and hats. 
By this time it was probably close to 90 degrees, so the run felt really hot. I drank a lot of water, and poured cold water on my head, and just took it really slowly because it WAS so hot. I didn't want to pass out and have C and A have to deal with that nonsense! The aid stations were giving out ice, too, and I finally remembered what you're supposed to do with it: put it in your hat. So I did that and it really helped me feel cooler. At one aid station, there were a bunch of guys - one guy in a bright green bikini top! 
C had done the duathlon, and A had switched down to a shorter triathlon because of a knee injury, which meant they were done before me and able to be near the finish line. When I got near the end and heard them cheering for me, I was so happy! I knew I was almost done and it felt so good to have a little cheering section. 
They held the finishing ribbon for everyone, which I thought was cute! 

We got mimosas and snacks afterward, as well as chocolate milk and more water. 

I felt like barfing for a little while, but quickly recovered. I am pretty happy with my time, since it was my first triathlon. I just wanted to finish, so I am pleased! :) 

If any of you ladies ever get a chance to do an Athleta Esprit de She, take it! It was so well-organized, so much fun, and they made you feel so special. The athletes were all so supportive, telling each other great job and good work and keep it up! They even offered nail polishing, hair braiding and massages after the race. I was way to sweaty to let anyone touch me (besides those wetsuit strippers).

All in all, it was a great day aside from my panicky feeling on the swim. 

And, I know I'm gonna sleep good tonight! 


Amanda said...

YOU DID IT!!! So proud of you and so glad I was there to witness you cross that finish. Are you sucked into the sport yet? Hope so!

The Mommy Blog Chronicles said...

It was so nice to see your face at the finish, too, Amanda! Yep, I'm sucked in. ;)