Sorry for the long blogging absence. We were on vacation, then crazy catch-up at work, and of course, training for the triathlon!
And….I did it! It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty, but it was completed. So, here’s my race report of the first annual Kingston Triathlon.
First of all, kudos to the race planners and volunteers. The race was well planned, well-run, and overall a pleasure to participate in.
I arrived at the race at 6:30 AM. Now, I’m used to road races. You pretty much show up with your running shoes and go. No so with a triathlon. You need a lot of…stuff. A lot.
Obviously, you need your bike. And your helmet. Sunglasses. Sneakers. Biking shoes. A towel or two. Water. Snacks. Socks. Goggles (which I forgot and was lucky enough to borrow a pair). You get the picture. Then you have to arrange everything just so, for quick and easy transitions in between segments of the race.
Many triathaloners wear wetsuits for the swim. I didn’t wear one, thinking, “It’s August and the water is 72 degrees. What do I need a wetsuit for?” I was stupid. I forgot that wetsuits give you nice buoyancy in the water. So, basically, I had already handicapped myself for what was already going to be my weakest segment. No matter. I was excited and ready to go!
For the swim portion of the race, there were three start times. The first wave was men, the second was women, and the third was novices/slowpokes. Guess which wave I started in.
I was pretty relaxed until I actually walked out onto that dock. That’s when it started to sink in that I was actually going to have to swim in this lake, and that if I got tired I couldn’t just grab onto the side of the pool. My training leading up to the race mostly consisted of biking and running. I’m embarrassed to say that swimming took a back seat, partially due to the overall crummy weather, but mostly because I just really don’t enjoy swimming that much. I was about to get a lesson in the consequences of poor preparation. After all of us in the slowpoke wave had walked out onto the dock, we had to jump in and tread water. That sucked. I had hoped that we could dive in and start swimming, because I could use all the momentum I could get. No dice. We had to tread water for about a minute and then the gun went off, and we were off.
Slowly. I was quickly left in the metaphorical dust. All around me, people were gliding forward with a graceful freestyle. I settled into a tortoise-like pace with my trusty breast-stroke. After a minute or so, I looked behind me. I didn’t see anyone. There were a few swimmers even with me, but I was one of the slowest. This pissed me off, I won’t lie. When it comes down to it, I’m a competitive person. I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I wasn’t. And being last was pissing me off.
Now, I may be competitive, but I’m not stupid. I was tempted to pick up the pace to try to catch up to everyone else, but the rational part of my mind said to keep to my current pace, since drowning would really suck. I’d just try to make up time in the other parts of the race. I’m glad I listened to the rational part of my mind, because by the end of the swim I was tired. Really tired. And I cringe to think about what would have happened if I had tried to overextend myself.
As I dragged myself out of the lake and ran up the hill to the transition area, my legs felt like lead and my only thought was, “Crap. I’m only 1/3 of the way through.” The donut and coffee I’d had for breakfast were threatening to make an unwelcome reappearance.
Well, I had come this far. I wasn’t about to quit.
The bike ride was actually the easiest part of the race. It was hilly, but I had already done a practice run on the course and I knew what to expect. It went fast, and the competitive part of me was happy to pass a bunch of people.
Then it was another transition, and on to the run!
Now, it said on the website that it was a 5K trail run. I was expecting a run through the woods. I wasn’t expecting to have to scale boulders, climb over downed tree trunks, and splash through mud pits. Needless to say, it was not my best 5K time. Not even close. I actually fell three times. Luckily, the ground was soft. I stopped being embarrassed after the first fall.
And that’s it! I was headed to the finish line.
So, that’s my race report. Will I do another triathlon? You bet! But next time, I’m actually going to practice the swim (and wear a wetsuit!).