Last year I did my first Triathlon, the Nautica Malibu triathlon, International Distance.
I had originally wanted to sign up for the Sunday “Classic” race, it’s a sprint triathlon. I didn’t realize that it sells out the day it opens up to register. The only other option was the Saturday “International”, otherwise known as the Olympic Distance race. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that much for my first triathlon. But a few friends of mine (who by the way had done a few sprints, but never the Olympics) nudged me into signing up for it with them.
Having done my share of races and marathons, I knew I had to stick to my training plan and train hard to prepare for my first (and Olympic distance) triathlon.
The biggest thing I hear from people that think about doing Triathlons is their fear of the open water swim. I was (am) no exception. I did a lot of ocean swims last year in preparation and a lot more pool swims, in the morning, on my lunch break at work and after work as well. I was a nice change to train and not just be running. But despite the training I was still left with anxiety and nervousness over the 1.5K swim portion of the tri.
This is not a race report for my Triathlon from last year, so that’s not what I want to write about. But I did want to touch on how hard it was for me still to get my face in the water. It’s very different then swimming in a pool. The major thing for me is the lack of sight, it’s muddy in the ocean and you can’t see where you are going or what’s around you. Needless to say, I spent the entire mile swim last year with my head out of the water like a dog. And 40 minutes later when I got out of the water, and rinsed off, I could feel the raw skin on the back of my neck from moving my head side to side to keep it above water and still swim. Not fun.
I was so happy to be done with the swim that the bike and run were a relive and so fun. There was no real soreness in my muscles, or pain walking, like when you finish a marathon. It was great, just a real pure sense of accomplishment and joy. Overall, I had so much fun doing it, that I jumped at the chance to sign up for it again, despite the hefty price tag and being the week of my birthday.
The last race I did was the Seattle marathon back in late June. I took a bit of time off of that to help my knee recover. Then I took a bit more time off cause, well, I could. Then it’s was 6 weeks before the Malibu triathlon and I hadn’t really don’t anything. So, I quickly started back up again and was sad to find out that my knee never really repaired, good think this is only a 10K run. I think my knee and I can handle that.
And 4 weeks ago I ought my first new race bike. It’s a Trek. And it’s beautiful. It definitely makes riding so much more enjoyable. My 1980 Peugeot, lent to me by my mom was fine for a year of learning, but it was time to step it up.
And up until about 2-3 weeks ago, I started to get that sinking anxiety-ridden feeling inside about my swimming. I had not been in the pool much, nor in the ocean more than once. So I started going a bit more and that amazingly slid away. On top of it, this last weekend, the Race director did his annual swim clinic. I went last year as well, but this year they did things a little differently. They split the 100 or so of us that decided we needed this up into 3 groups, beginner, intermediate and advanced. I thought I was a solid intermediate, despite my fear of putting my head in the water. After a few minutes out there I slowly faced my fear of sticking my head into the salt water. And when I was done with the swim I realized I was in the first 10% of the group to finish. I was ecstatic!
So, with all that, race day is TOMORROW! It will be my second annual and I have a feeling despite my lax in training up until a few weeks ago, I think I am going to kill it And PR! Fingers crossed. I will let you know how it goes.
Ever done any triathlons? Or have recommendations of ones to do, especially in the West Coast?