below: about to start the swim top right: running towards the finish line middle: before the race trying to calm down my nerves--I'm in the middle of the group of people smiling.
I did it! This was my fourth triathlon but I found myself very nervous a few days before the race and the intensity of this feeling only grew as I found myself walking into the ocean Saturday morning to start the swim. Would I be able to swim in the open water? I had only been training in a pool. Would I have to stop and take a break during the swim?The recent reports of shark attacks in triathlons had me wondering why I had signed up to do this. Before I started I prayed that I wouldn't be bitten by a shark, stung by a jellyfish, or stung by a stingray (after the race they announced that out of the 900+ people who participated--5 had been stung by a stingray. Luckily I wasn't one of them). I didn't have to stop during the swim and felt good about how I did. I made my way up the sand hill to the bikes and headed off on the trail. I felt really good--averaging a pace that was faster than during my training. At mile 7, I felt something hit my leg, I looked down and saw that my water bottle holder was coming off. I grabbed the bottle before it fell, took one last chug and chucked it to the side of the road. I was coming to a downhill section that had a huge speed bump on it that I had to slow down for. There was no way I could hit the brakes with the water bottle in my hand too. I finished the biking (so I thought!) and dismounted as I saw the girl in front of me dismount. Big mistake---I was not quite to the point where I should have dismounted. It would've taken too long to get back on my bike, clip my shoes in, and get going again, so I just grabbed my bike and started running. Now it was time for the run. And boy was it hard--lots of hills. But I had my GPS watch (this was the first time I was able to use this in a race) and I had it set to show me what my pace was. I wanted to stay below a 9 minute mile. I did just that. I slowed down a little on the uphills but was able to make up for that going down. The last part of the race was in the sand to cross the finish line. I pushed as hard as I could but felt like I couldn't move in the sand. I was so happy when I finished and felt great. My goal was to be under 2 hours (I really thought I was going to get messed up by swimming in the ocean). I was ecstatic when I saw my time was 1:15:45. Not only was I way under the 2 hours but this was also a PR for me from my last tri where I got 1:19:43. I shaved off 4 minutes!! Not only that, later I found out I got 4th place in my age bracket (out of 42). Very excited. Then I found out that the person who got 3rd place only beat me by 9 seconds!! Can you believe that!?! 9 seconds! I'll get her next year...now onto the next triathlon: July 12th in Sierra Vista, AZ.