Cranberry Sprint Tri–Race Report

Well, I did it. Here’s the race report–warts and all.

On Saturday August 28 I did the Cranberry Sprint Triathlon. I started, and I finished. As this was my first tri, that was as far as my goals went, though I did want to try and come in under 2.5 hours. Still not sure of my time. (UPDATE, I finished in 2:16).

Like everything that pushes you past your comfort zone, I learned a great deal about myself during this process, and especially on Saturday. My biggest “a ha”? I feel like a fraud as an athlete. It has only been a little over a year since I decided to seriously try to push myself athletically. This summer I have been stregnth training, and tri training. I haven’t lost a pound, but I have lost inches and gained muscle. I have a ways to go, but I am on a path. All of that said, as I stood waiting to be in the last wave of the swim (!), doubts crept in. I have a lot more work to do on my mental game.

The swim was ½ mile. And it sucked. I swam for a bit, sighted the buoy, saw how far it was and I started to hyperventilate. So I went to my back. Since I was in the last wave, there weren’t a lot of swimmers around. Towards the end, there were just three of us. I won’t lie—I almost quit, but I didn’t. There was a surfboard guy who stuck by me, and literally talked me through it. Made a huge difference. I was the last one out of the water. I was met by a weeping friend, who said “I’m so proud of you.” Can’t even say what that meant.

On my way back to the transition area I decided to just finish the race. even though I was last. I didn’t have to wrestle with anyone else to get out, so I just focused, went through my routine and took the bike off the rack. A BostonFit friend found me, and reminded me to breathe use the bike to relax. Easier said than done, but I tried. I wore my camelback, thankfully (the bottle thing
while riding still isn’t happening). I didn’t refuel in transition, and that was a mistake. The ride wasn’t bad—it was a two loop course, and I didn’t see anyone on my second loop. I got more zen about being last.

I am always a slow runner, and I was tired, but I had come so far. Though when I saw the one mile marker I screamed—probably aloud. Damn that first mile sucks. The next two weren’t much better, but I did them, with two one minute walk breaks.

As I was running the rest of the course alone people were driving by, on their way home. Most of them opened their windows to cheer me on. Every cop, every volunteer, everyone just kept encouraging me. So even though I was the only person running that final bit, I felt good. And I saw my entire BostonFit posse cheering me on. And then my family, and my BFF David were waiting at the finish line.

Will I do it again. Yes. Next season. After I train my body and mind this winter.

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

I learned how to swim when I was a kid. You couldn’t keep me out of the water. My grandfather used to make me “dry out for a bit” on the dock at Lake Winnipesaukee until he got so sick of me pestering him that he let me back in the water. He sat for hours on the deck, playing solitaire and watching me in the water.

Thanks to proximity to the ocean (I grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts) my swimming wasn’t limited to lakes. I could body surf with the best of them.

But here’s the deal. I am trying for a triathlon. And my swimming wasn’t, shall we say, efficient. In fact, I could barely get yardage in. I tried to improve my own form, to no avail. And then I read that it was a good idea to have someone check your swimming for efficiency. So I joined the Master’s Class at the Y, and signed up for a couple of lessons. And I swallowed my pride (which is pro forma these days) and relearned how to float. And kick. And how to be streamlined. And how to breathe.

Learning (or relearning) as an adult is challenging because I think to much. And worry. I worry about hurting myself while running. Or traffic while on my bike. Or drowning while swimming. All legitimate concerns, but they overshadow the joy. And there is joy.

I have a long way to go before I am a strong triathlon swimmer. But I am better than I was last week. And for now, I’ll just keep swimming.