Life is too short to let fear and doubt stand in the way of feeling awesome. I’ve always loved the saying “everything you want is on the other side of fear” because it’s the absolute truth! Yesterday I was a bundle of nerves waking up at 4:45am to prepare for the Marshman Triathlon. For months I’ve said to myself “Self, it’s only a .25 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 2 mile run- no big deal- you’ve got this.” But with every approaching day I started to think nope, you sure don’t got this. Sunday morning arrived whether I was ready or not….
We arrived at Marsh Creek State Park around 6am and in the pitch black darkness of the night. While everyone unpacked their fancy bikes and took them off their fancy bike racks on their cars. Smartly wearing headlamps, these prepared folks worked deftly and unphased by the lack of light. Jane and I simply popped open the back of the minivan and let our stuff spill out.
We then quickly decided we should hit the bathroom first not knowing that there wasn’t any electricity. We made do with the light of an iPhone 6 and actually enjoyed the peace of pre race pooping in quiet dark solitude.
As we started the path down to the lake, the sun started rising despite the cloud coverage. The sleepy world began to wake up.
We had no idea what we were doing and I am thankful that it was a small race and organized in a way that the flow of packet and race chip pick up went smoothly. After looking around at other racers we figured out what to d with all of our stickers. I remembered that one had to go on the bike but completely forgot about the one for the helmet. It’s been a while. We made our way into the transition area wondering what we were doing there. Were we really capable of doing this?
We set up our bikes on the racks and carefully laid out all of our necessary items: a towel, socks, shoes, hat, helmet, sunglasses, hydration pack, tank top, and GU.
We undressed, grabbed our goggles, cap, and ear plugs and made our way to the start of the swim area. After a short pre-race meeting explaining some things I can’t remember and the national anthem, we were ready to go. Well, not quite. The duathlon participants started off as wave 1, followed by the men’s group of triathletes, followed by the women’s group of triathletes, followed by our wave 4 (friends group) at 7:45am.
It was an in water start so we all swam out to the starting buoy. The water was a warm 80 degrees and it was very comfortable once you got your whole body in. Overall I thought the swim was great. It went fast and it was only complicated by weird lake grass that was literally all over you and felt like it was grabbing onto your legs to tug you down. It was super strange. All in all, I felt so much better on the swim than I expected.
We transitioned and jumped onto our bikes. The first 4 miles were a struggle for me. My legs burned, my mind was unfocused and I quickly started with the negative talk – you didn’t prepare for this, you didn’t even ride on one hill. This is what you get. Mile 5 was an absolute bitch and I wound up walking up half of a giant hill. I was really mad at myself, but you can only grind out what you can until you just need a break or a change or something. Anything. Halfway through the race I ate a GU. I definitely needed it (didn’t eat breakfast – BIG MISTAKE) because I felt so much better shortly after that. The 2nd half of the bike was actually enjoyable and was somehow so much easier than the first half despite it being an out and back course. I was going either 8 mph going so slow uphill or going 23-29mph going downhill. There was no flat.
Transitioning to the run was simple. Starting the run was okay because I refused to walk in front of a lot of people. Once I was far enough away though, I stopped and stretched my aching calves for a few moments. I walked so much more than I wanted to during the run, especially the first mile which was uphill. Luckily it was also an out and back course and the second half was much easier. I stared to feel good and warmed up at mile 1.3 then promptly got a side stitch at mile 1.45. I walked until 1.5 miles and then finally decided to push through whatever else happened to get this thing over with. The finish line felt sooooo good.
While I wish I would’ve gotten under 1:30hrs, but I’ll take my 1 hour 35 min time. That was really hard and I made it.
Overall, the weather was perfect, the bike course was a great challenge for me and the run was just enough. I had a great time and felt great. Today I feel strong and badass and that’s all that matters! I’m definitely looking forward to our next triathlon. I will be better prepared, that’s for sure. I would really like to pick up my speed on the bike and the run. I say that now and I’ll probably do the same exact “training plan”: go to crossfit with friends, run at track night with friends, and trail run with friends; swim once or twice a month and start riding the bike 3 weeks before the race. That outta do it!
The real reason we did this race…..a nearby cafe….
Blaze your trail today!
– Mama K