August 27, 2012

Race Recap: Danskin Sprint Triathlon

Oh hi.  Remember when I said I'd recap my first week teaching 3/4 multi-grade at my new school?  Yeah, I never made it that far!  I will soon, I promise.  Just know that I am HAPPY and BUSY and STRESSED and TIRED all at once.  But mostly happy.  :)  Part of why I'm tired?  (Besides grad school?)  Oh, you know, I just did a TRIATHLON yesterday.  I am still not used to saying that.  Yes, pathetic me who milked asthma as an excuse to get out out of PE more times than I am proud to admit, is a triathlete.  X2.  BAM.

Yesterday morning I completed my second sprint triathlon, the Danskin Sprint Tri in Pleasant Prairie, WI.  When my alarm went off at 4:15, all I could think was, "Where am I?  Why am I awake?  Do I have school today?"  Thankfully, I figured it out soon enough and got my sleepy self out of bed and into my tri clothes.  I drove an hour in the dark to Pleasant Prairie, parked my car in the satellite lot because *surprise* the road was already closed off in the direction I was coming from, and rode my bike 2 miles to the race site.  Eh, we'll call it a nice easy warm up (although I did manage to get two bug bites on the way...).  Since I was super early, I was able to chat with the bike mechanics that were available, get a couple small adjustments made to my bike (since I was too lazy to bring it in for a much needed tune up...yay procrastinating!), and have my tires topped off with air.  Oh wait, I should know how to fill up my tires myself and not rely on my dad for this?  You don't say.  I should be able to change a flat too?  Huh.  Better get on that...
I set up my transition area and then proceeded to wander around, wait in bathroom lines, kill time playing on my phone, and blow my nose 100 times while waiting for my parents to show up.  (Damn allergies.)  A bunch of people were warming up in the lake, and while I knew it would PROBABLY have been a good idea to do that, I just couldn't get the motivation to get in the water before I absolutely had to.  Instead, I sat by the water watching other age groups start and visualizing myself successfully completing the swim course.  Since I've been struggling with open water swimming (read: hyperventilating any time I get in open water), I repeated my current swim mantra to myself over and over: STRONG. CALM. STRONG. CALM.  Short and sweet.
I'm straight up there in the middle closest to this side--one of the few without their arms out of the water!
Yeah breaststroke...
About an hour after the official race start, I made my way over to the lake to start with my wave.  STRONG, CALM, I thought over and over again.  I also made peace with the fact that I might hyperventilate at the beginning of the swim.  Instead of telling myself, "You won't hyperventilate!" I decided it was best to make my peace with the fact that it might happen, as well as the fact that I would breathe, calm down, keep swimming, and find my groove.  I told myself that I had had trouble catching my breath with each open water swim, but had never NOT caught it, had never NOT found my groove, and had definitely never come anywhere near drowning.  I got my head in the game, positioned myself at the BACK CORNER of my wave, and jumped into the water.

Guess what?  I DID NOT FREAK OUT, HYPERVENTILATE, PANIC, or DROWN!!!  At all.  Zero freaking out in the water.  I cannot even tell you how amazing this felt.  Seriously, once I started swimming (breast stroke, even though I've been training with freestyle, whatcha gonna do...a swim is a swim...), I just kept breathing, kept repeating STRONG, CALM, and kept moving forward.  When I had made a little progress and hadn't panicked yet, I realized that I wasn't GOING to panic!  And I unearthed a massive store of confidence in the process.  I knew I HAD this.  I knew I wasn't going to hyperventilate and that I was going to make it through the swim without ANY problems.  Women all around me were swimming side stroke, back stroke, and clutching noodles for swimming help (love women's tris), but me?  I was breaststroking my way around the lake with confidence and ease.  I finished the 1/2 mile swim in 21:13 according to my watch (possibly a tiny bit quicker, but for some reason my chip time is just a time for each leg and a total time--no separate times for transitions).
Thanks photographer Dad!
I even managed to run my way up the beach and into transition, got my shoes on and got on my bike, and made it back out of there in 2:06 accd to my watch.  (T-1 from my first tri was 4:46!)
The bike leg went well overall--a few killer hills, but mostly smooth sailing!  I ate about 3 clif shot blocks during the bike leg.  It was nice and cloudy/cool and I wasn't thirsty, but did my best to hydrate with water/G2 from my water bottles.  I finished the 12 mile bike ride in 40:25.
T-2 was nice and speedy too---I racked my bike, swapped my helmet for a hat, and adjusted my hair as I jogged outta there, simultaneously sucking on a peanut butter GU even though hunger was the LAST thing on my mind.  Made it outta transition and onto the run course in 1:48.  (Damn ITband straps slowin' me down!  I definitely needed them though; holy tightness.)  During my brick workouts, the bike --> run transition and running leg has always been my biggest struggle energy-wise, but I got a huge burst of energy during the run!  I was feeling awesome, even running through a few of the galloway walk break "beeps" my watch was giving me.  My IT bands were aching, but I knew the finish line was SO CLOSE.  I am normally an 11-ish minute miler, so I was shocked when I passed the first mile marker, looked down at my watch, and saw that I'd only left T-2 10 minutes beforehand!
Check me out rockin' the purple top and IT band straps ;)
I kept up the speedy pace, passed a few women (side note: only at a women's race will you hear, "oh no, YOU go ahead!" on a course when you are trying to squeeze past someone on a tight course!  LOVE IT), got passed by a few, and sped up the closer I got to the finish.  I couldn't believe it when I saw that I finished the run in 30:29!  My 5K PR has been 31:34 for the past year and a half, and after I ran a 30 something 5K at the SheRox sprint tri in June, I chalked it up to a short run course.  But finishing the second tri with ANOTHER fast 5K...I'm wondering...this HAS to be another short course, right?  There's NO WAY I can be faster running a 5K in the end of a tri than during a regular 5K, right???  Please weigh in.  :)
Wow, this is getting long.  Anyways, I finished fast, strong, and smiling.  My watch says my total time was 1:36:04, but my official chip time was 1:33:05.  I'll take it!  For SheRox, my first tri, I had one goal: FINISH.    After finishing that race strong, I decided my goals for #2 would be to speed up transitions and NOT PANIC during the swim.  I'd say I succeeded in both those goals!  Hooray! :)

All in all it was a wonderful race--I felt great the whole time and finished feeling overwhelming proud of myself and how far I've come.  One of the mantras I carried with me was, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," and I truly believe now more than ever that if you have faith, confidence, and courage, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.  Bring on the next challenge.  BRING IT ON.


  1. That looks weedy. Was it? One of my nightmares! I do the freestyle practice thing and then breaststroke and side stroke. I did more free style this time but I have a ways to go. Plus I don't think I kicked! Small thing, right? Sounds like it was great! And hey, I teach 3/4 too.

  2. Yay! You are awesome. I've been dreaming (daydreaming really) about doing a tri for a long time, but after my recent surgery, I feel like it's near impossible for a while. But you're a motivation! Way to go!

  3. I am that same way - when the pressure is taken off of a single race alone I seem to do better. I just ran Hood to Coast and it is 3 legs and my first two were super quick (for me). My second 5 mile leg pace was close to my 5k pace! Crazy how being excited can change what you do! You rocked it! Way to go!

  4. Oh, well done! I'm loving reading about this journey. So pleased your swim was better and that the transitions are ramping up. Go, girl!

  5. YAY for a good swim and no freak-outs! You're doing AMAZING, congrats!!

  6. Amy! YOU ROCK!!! I can imagine how amazing it felt for you to be able to settle in to your swim and not panic. All your hard training and mantras totally paid off! I've found that all the races I've done boils down to a mental game. I've done the physical training, but always being mentally tough is a struggle for me. You, girl, NAILED IT!!!! What a great way to start off your new school year!



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