2016 Triathlon Recap

WOW. It has been a long ass time since I have written! I keep thinking about doing it but then I end up online shopping or eating instead! My last blog post was before I HAD EVER DONE A TRIATHLON in early June. I am seriously the worst I know.

So. I decided I will do a little recap of my 2016 summer AKA the summer of finding out what kind of crazy things my body can do AKA the best summer EVER. So yes, the first triathlon was in June. That was an Olympic distance so a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run. I was so young and naïve back then, it makes me chuckle. I’ll do a quick recap and spare the details of this race because it wasn’t my best.

I was the first person out of the water for men and women. As I ran from the water to my bike, everyone was screaming things like “you go girl!” and man, I felt like a shining star. I hopped on the bike and was immediately passed by some super triathletes on their fancy $5,000 bikes and with their fancy aero helmets. I just kept getting passed, but that was ok! The bike is not my strongest leg and my main goal of this triathlon was not to die.

I almost didn’t achieve that goal.

I’m not sure if I didn’t drink or eat enough on the bike (I ate nothing), or if it was very hot that day, but I almost died on the run. I started out the run way too fast. My legs felt weird as hell after that long bike but my adrenaline was pumping so when I first started the run, I looked down at my watch and realized my pace was like 7:30!!!!!!!!!? Maybe that doesn’t seem really fast, but I was expecting to run a 9:30 pace!! I then panicked and had some sort of asthma attack even though I don’t have asthma and had to stop to catch my breath. So embarrassing. The rest of the “run” (it was mostly a walk/limp/half-jog) went horribly and I could not wait to be done. I remember thinking how screwed I was that I had signed up for a goddamn Half Ironman that was coming up in just 2 short months.

The Half Ironman: I learned my lesson about not eating on the bike. I am absolutely sure that was what caused me to run the slowest 10K ever recorded in history during the first triathlon. I also made sure to train more “brick workouts” which is simply where you go for a run right after a bike ride, so my legs could get used to the feeling.

Again, I will spare you the details of everything that happened on race day.

A Half Ironman is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run LOL REMEMBER HOW HARD THE 6.2 MILE RUN WAS ON MY LAST TRI? Anyway, the swim was a little more crowded than the first triathlon. We started in waves based on our gender and age group. My wave was 18-24 year old women and 55+ women, they combined the two because we are the smallest age groups. We started in the fourth wave which was 5 minutes behind a wave of 45-50 year old men. I knew I could get ahead of everyone in my wave and I also thought the 5 minute difference would be enough so I wouldn’t catch up to the men before me and could just swim peacefully alone. That was not the case. Within maybe 500 meters, I had already caught up to some of the men in the groups before me. I really had no other choice than to run some of them over. I mean they were in my way! What else was I supposed to do!? They are grown ass men, they can handle a 23 year old girl swimming really close to them.

I say “I ran them over” but in reality, I just mean I swam very close to get around them and maybe accidentally kicked them in the face BUT NOT A BIG DEAL. But the swim course was shaped like a triangle with big buoys marking the route. One of the buoys was one of the tips of the triangle, so everyone was turning around that buoy. I was crowded by the slow men and trying to plow my way through while staying as close to the buoy as possible. I swam very close in between some guy and a buoy and my arm hit his as I swam past but I didn’t think much of it. Right after I passed him, he grabbed me by my ankle so I obviously kicked as hard as I could to get him off of me and he screamed “FUCKING ASSHOLE!” at me. LIKE OKAY CALM DOWN I DIDN’T SWIM ON TOP OF YOU THEN DUNK YOU UNDER THE WATER. AND he is the one who GRABBED ME BY MY ANKLE SOOOOOOO. I was so pissed. I wish I had kicked him harder, I am a delicate flower…NOT AN ASSHOLE.

ANYWAYYYYYY I think I was the first or second woman out of the water since my wave was the first wave of women. I ran to my bike and hopped on and left transition. I was definitely the first woman out on the bike and again, everyone so excited that I was the first woman! I was a strong independent woman who don’t need no man (well I mean I do have a man but still) for like the first 2 miles on the bike then other women started to pass me. The bike was fine but 56 miles is a lot! I ate 2 Honey Stinger waffles and a pack of Honey Stinger gummies, drank 2 24oz water bottles and another 24 oz bottle of Infinit which is like Gatorade except it has more salt and also doesn’t have so much syrup in it that I choke on my spit. More and more people passed me and if they were women, I would always try to get a look at their age written on the back of their calf. At that point, two women in my age group had passed me so I was in third.

Now the run part. I was obviously afraid of death during this half marathon. I mean I knew I could do a half marathon, I had run one before! I was just scarred from the horrible mess of a run on my first triathlon. I was literally having PTSD  flashbacks to that run.

The first mile or so of the 13.1 mile run was a tragedy, my ankles were really tight and I was just kinda tired, ya know? But something clicked around mile 3, I was HYPE. I took off and felt pretty great through mile 7 or 8 when I started to get hot and hungry. LUCKILY, somehow it was not a typical Ohio August day and the high was only in the mid-70s so I guess I shouldn’t bitch too much. I ate another waffle on the run (which honestly I was afraid to eat because I didn’t want to poop myself, but I did not poop myself) and started to feel better! The run aid stations had quite a spread. Normally, they just have water and Gatorade and maybe some gels. But these aid stations had Water, Gatorade, Coke, REDBULL!! (which seems like a horrible idea), pretzels, potato chips, etc. it was weird. It was like a damn picnic. Everyone had said that Coke is actually great during the run because of the caffeine boost. I was pretty much falling asleep whilst running, so I decided to try some (maybe a bad idea because everyone says not to try anything new on race day) and it was lovely! I could definitely feel a caffeine boost! The last few miles of the run were a weird hunchbacked run/waddle. I definitely ran the entire 13.1 miles besides when I stopped at aid station, I usually walked while I drank. My mile paces went from around 9 minutes in the beginning to about 11 minutes at the end. Towards the end of the run, I was still in third place in my age group, as far as I knew. But around mile 11, I saw two girls with “23” and “24” written on their calves sprint by me, I tried to put in a good fight to hold my position but I was just too damn tired. I ended up fifth in my age group out of about 30 girls. Not bad.

I almost cried when I crossed the finish line. It was so amazing I just did a HALF IRONMAN WHAT. I remember last summer when I ran my first 10K (6.2 miles) and wasn’t even sure how a person could run a half marathon, I simply couldn’t even fathom the idea of a HALF IRONMAN. It’s insane to see what your body is capable of.

After the half, I became super addicted to triathlons. I wanted to turn triathlons into powder and snort them. I loved everything about them! Sadly, the Ironman was at the end of August which is pretty much the end of triathlon season here in Ohio. But I did find one just outside of Columbus on September 25th. Obviously I signed up.

It was an Olympic distance just like the first one but I felt way stronger and more confident than ever. On the swim, I was the fastest woman, second person overall, and went two minutes faster than my swim during the first triathlon. On the bike, I went pretty much the same exact time as the first triathlon and still had people passing me constantly, but I had gained such a great lead during the swim that not a lot of women passed me. The run was incredible. It was 6.2 miles, so a 10K, my pace was around 8:42 which was faster than my standalone 10K time! I ended up being the 5th woman overall, 1st in my age group, and beat my first tri time by about 16 minutes. I LOVE TRIATHLONS.

I just ran a half marathon this past Saturday and went my best time by 20 minutes in that. It was my last race of the season (for running and triathlons) pretty much until next spring. Honestly it makes me V sad. I can’t wait to come back next summer even stronger! So far I have signed up for the Flying Pig full marathon on May 7 (AHHH), Ironman 70.3 Muncie on July 8th, and will definitely be signing up for Ohio 70.3 (date is still TBD) once registration opens. There is a possibility of Florida 70.3 in April (help me I’m poor) and perhaps a full 140.6 Ironman in 2018??

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