The day has finally come…I lost my Triathlon virginity.
So I decided to do the Woodstock Triathlon (750m swim, 30km bike, 7.5km run). Problem was I really couldn’t swim. I went to a pool last month and couldn’t even make it 25m without stopping. I shifted my focus from cycling and running to swimming. After a couple weeks, my swimming improved tremendously. I swam twice with my wetsuit, but never in open water.
Before I go through my experience, I need to thank my wife for all her support throughout my training and for coming and supporting me in today’s event.
I was really excited this morning and arrived at the transition area quite early to set up. It gave me the chance to watch what more experienced Triathletes do in preparation for the event. It really is amazing what kind of equipment people have and the amount of money that gets spent on this sport…we’re talking thousands of dollars.
After setting up my transition area, I proceeded to pick up my bib, swim cap, timing chip, t-shirt, goody bag and had my number marked on my arm and my age marked on my leg. I now had everything I needed and went to warm-up, stretch and visit the outhouses.
Looking out at the lake was calming yet disturbing as I was able to see the buoys out on the water…they looked so far away. How was I going to swim all the way out there and back? That’s what 750m looks like…I only knew what 30 laps in the pool looked like. Oh boy!
After getting my wetsuit on, I was hanging out at the edge of the water along with all the other athletes getting ready to take off. I was in the first wave with the elite athletes because they sent all men under 39 with them. I decided I’d let people go and just start at my own pace and try to stay relaxed. I was actually nervous because I’m not such a confident swimmer. The horn blew and we were off. I was in the water and swimming. Trying to stay relaxed and calm and doing my own thing in my own box, I got kicked in the face! It threw me off immediately. I swallowed some water and my goggles filled up. I had to regroup, but I was now fogged up and feeling claustrophobic with so many swimmers on top of me. I flipped onto my back and dip some back stroke to calm down. I kept pushing along and tried to get back into my front crawl, but I had difficulty finding my rhythm. I found myself doing a lot of back stroke. The next wave of athletes consumed me, but before I knew it I saw the shore and was almost out of the water…boy did that make me happy. I got out in under 20 minutes…not bad considering I was on my back for much of the swim! I ripped off my wetsuit, got my shoes, socks, helmet and glasses on, grabbed my bike and was off.
The bike was 30km and I’ve done that distance many times. This route was quite challenging with it’s rolling hills. I passed many cyclists and many cyclists passed me. It seemed that I may have been one of the only ones without aero bars on my bike…I’ll be getting those soon!
Coming back to transition, after finishing the bike in a bit slower time than I would’ve liked, I was excited for the run. I was very confident going into the run as I thought this to be my strength. Unfortunately after 2km of the 7.5km my quads started cramping and I needed to slow down quite a bit. Stop, quit…no way. I was going to finish this thing no matter what! The cramps went away and I pushed on until about the 6km mark where the cramps came back and once again I slowed. I ended up completing the race at 2:01. I wanted to finish around the 2hr mark…pretty close! Felt great coming through the finish line, knowing that I completed my first triathlon…am I now considered a Triathlete?
After the race, I was interviewed by Recharge with Milk TV (they are the major sponsor). They asked me what I do for nutrition and if I drink chocolate milk. Of course I told them I’m a Vegan and I don’t consume animal products…do you think my interview will get used? LOL
Triathlon is truly an amazing sport. Extremely challenging and full of inspiration. It’s really incredible to watch athletes in their 40s, 50s and 60s go by. I wonder how much training they’ve done and for how many years they’ve been competing. It was amazing seeing an 80 year old man on the podium receiving his medal!
Looking back on this experience, I am extremely happy to have competed and completed my first Triathlon. Although my time was slightly longer than I would’ve liked, I know this was just the beginning for me and I’ll only get stronger and better as time goes on.
What’s next for me? I’m doing the Ride To Conquer Cancer in a couple weeks (200km cycle from Toronto to Niagara Falls). I’m also planning on registering for an Olympic Triathlon September 1st in Ottawa and possibly the Toronto Sprint Triathlon the week before. Some people tell me I’m crazy…I like to call myself determined 🙂
~ Plant Trainers