Sprint Triathlon

Background information:
I signed up for the Sprint Triathlon about a month and a half in advance. The sprint consisted of a ½ mile swim, 16 mile bike and 5k run. I had every intention of training that entire month and a half, however that never actually happened. If you've read my first post you know that I began this blog both as a motivational tool and to keep me focused on my purpose of serving and honoring God through all that I do. I am embarrassed/disappointed in myself to admit for the three weeks leading up to the Sprint I slacked off big time. I guesstimated I ran/biked about a total of ten days (10 days MAX) and never once got into a pool. To say I was unprepared is an understatement but I knew that my situation was my own fault, so I decided to suck it up and compete anyway.

Saturday (The night before the race):
The Triathlon was about two hours from my home whereas my sister only lives 40 minutes away. So I, along with my support team (Mom, Dad, Christina, and Hayley) drove down to my sister’s after dinner. The night started off ruff with my Dad insisting on watching football while I tried sleeping on the couch. After insisting he mute the T.V. I passed out. About 2am I woke up to use the restroom (yes this is necessary for me to share). Than at about 3am I woke up to my sister coming home from work and my Mom running down the stairs. Apparently my car was towed in the middle of the night. So after a phone call or two they found out where it was towed and left to go get it.  I was woken up again close to 4 when they returned. Finally I was woken up at 5:30 by my alarm clock. Safe to say it was rough night.

Sunday (Race day):
We got to Smallwood State park about 7am (along with 260 other participants). After I picked up my number and swimming cap I was able to go to the transition area and set up my station. In my area I had my bike, helmet, glasses, towel, shoes and socks and a shirt. All the things I would need after finishing the swim. After setting up we had some downtime so my support team decided to nap while I warmed up and stretched. The time went by quickly so before I knew it I was standing in my wet suite, goggles and cap in hand, staring at the lake. The course seemed a bit confusing and as I eavesdropped on other peoples conversations, the fact that I had not swam prior began to slowly feel like a bigger deal.
Everyone was broken up into three groups. The first group consisted of all men, the next was all women, and finally the third group, my group, consisted of newbie’s (also known as “novice”), athenas, and clydesdales. Each group was separated by 4 minutes so I was able to watch the first two groups and get a feel for what I was about to do. While for some people this may have calmed the nerves it only intensified mine. As I slowly began making my way down the dock the nerves got the best of me and I had to go to the bathroom, which I held the entire race. (Not prepared and a full bladder are two of the worst conditions to be in during a race, ask anyone.) I jumped in the lake and the shock hit me right away. I was reminded of a scene from the Titanic.

Rose: You're distracting me! Go away!
Jack: I can't. I'm involved now. You let go, and I'm, I'm 'onna have to jump in there after you.
Rose: Don't be absurd. You'd be killed!
Jack: I'm a good swimmer.
Rose: The fall alone would kill you.
Jack: It would hurt. I'm not saying it wouldn't. Tell you the truth, I'm a lot more concerned about that water being so cold.
[pause. She looks down at the water. Jack is slowly removing his boots]
Rose: How cold?
Jack: Freezing. Maybe a couple degrees over. You ever, uh, you ever been to Wisconsin?
Rose: What?
Jack: Well, they have some of the coldest winters around. I grew up there, near Chippewa Falls. I remember when I was a kid, me and my father, we went ice fishing out on Lake Wissota. Ice fishing is, you know, where you...
Rose: I know what ice fishing is!
Jack: Sorry. You just seem like, you know, kind of an indoor girl. Anyway, I, uh, I fell through some thin ice; and I'm telling you, water that cold, like right down there...
[He gestures with his chin down toward the Atlantic Ocean]
Jack: ... it hits you like a thousand knives stabbing you all over your body. You can't breathe. You can't think. At least, not about anything but the pain. Which is why I'm not looking forward to jumping in there after you.

So despite my wet suite, the water was freezing. After a minute or two treading water the whistle blew and my group was off. The beginning was a little rough. I got kicked and hit and I’m sure I hit and kicked others but soon the group was separated and other people were no longer my concern. Instead I became concerned about the slimy tangly weeds (I don’t know exactly what they were). Once again I was reminded of another movie, Harry Potter. If you do not wish to enjoy 6 minutes of Harry Potter skip to 5:05. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIQPoRc5Pd0
I got these “weeds” stuck on my hands legs and even face throughout the entire ½ mile swim. I got tired at first but quickly pushed through and finished the swim at 17 minutes. I ran about 200 meters from the lake to the transition area. Getting off the wet suite was a task within itself. My parents both told me I was taking too long as I was changing but I figured they were exaggerating. I took 4:36 which was entirely too long (wish I would’ve remembered to start my watch).
My 16-mile bike ride wasn’t too difficult. Most of the hills were what I call “endurance hills”, not too step but long. Honestly the biking was pretty relaxing (which it probably shouldn’t have been, but hey it was my first time) and I was able to enjoy the views and marvel and God’s creation. I finished the bike ride after 1 hour. I hoped off my bike and was out of the transition section after 55 seconds.
The first mile of my run was again, rough. My calf’s were extremely tight and I was afraid of getting a charlie-horse. As I climbed the first two hills I had a mental battle convincing myself to keep moving and not stop to walk. The other people around me walking made it even more difficult but I fought and soon my legs felt fresh and I was ready to catch some people. I finished the run at 26 minutes with a total time of 1:49.
After grabbing my knees for a couple of seconds, drinking some water and finally using the restroom I felt pretty good. I finished 3rd in the novice group, 8th in my age group, and overall 31st (seconds separated me from placing 27th).  I had the fastest running time in the novice group and the second fastest running time in my age group. 
For not training I was proud of myself but it also made me realize if I had trained I could have done even better. I have learned my lesson.  And I would like to emphasize that without God I know for a fact I would have never finished let alone done as well as I did. "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26 I am so thankful for my God as well as my amazing support team.
This was my first triathlon and will definitely not be my last.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

All photo credit to Christina Nielson and Hayley Nielson!

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