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Hope Floats

Posted by brooklynrunz on Jul 11, 2010 10:32:15 AM
I entered my second triathlon today in Vincentown, NJ. It was an impromptu race meant to help prepare me for my premiere event: The NY Nautica Triathlon. You see it’s a shorter distance than the Nautica Triathlon so...you could call it a test run of upcoming attractions.

 

However, I haven't been as diligent in my training as I should have been. I didn't train during the 7 days while I was in Haiti. I also didn't have apartment to move into when I came back into the states. Sure, these sound like excuses, but they really did have a great impact on my training schedule. Needless to say the past two weeks prior to this second race was spent trying to catch up to and exceed the level of conditioning that I had before my life became so hectic. 26 mile bike rides, brick workouts (ride the bike hard for 10-15 minutes, sprint 1/4 mile, repeat as needed) to get my legs accustomed to feeling tired, swim workouts, 5 mile runs. I was intent of putting up a decent performance during the Nautica triathlon.
Somehow my goal for this triathlon was to survive. Despite all this time and effort I had placed into training for an event twice as long as the Jersey triathlon...I was focused on just being able to cross the finish line. It started with the swim. The water temperature was roughly 80 degrees, which meant that swimmers had the option of swimming without their wet-suits. This wasn't an option for me, however, because the wetsuit adds buoyancy. I NEEDED to be buoyant. I played with the idea of swimming without the wetsuit because it can be restricting at times and can tire me out quicker than if I didn't wear it. I opted to wear the suit because I realized that I didn't have the mental fortitude to know that if I got tired and developed a poor swimming technique..I'd be at the bottom of that Jersey lake! Needless to say, I wasn't confident enough in my swimming abilities.lol
I was set to go in the third wave of swimmers. This was a great because this position allowed me to see how the other swimmers fared prior to my own entry into the dark and murky water. I was relieved to find that some of the men were actually able to stand up in the water. When it was my turn to swim I stayed calm and went with the crowd. I eventually got tired and decided to stand up, catch my breath and commence my swimming stroke. Again, I got tired and decided to stand up. You have no idea how it felt to realize that my feet could not touch the lake floor. Right in the middle of the water, I started to freak out. Air came in quick gasps as my throat started to constrict. I knew I needed to move or I would be in trouble. I swam for a few more yards before testing to see if I could stand up in another section of the lake. When I found that it was safe to stand I stood there for a good minute to catch my breath and to calm myself down. I was shaken and I was only half way done! I eventually made my way to the shoreline, but in my head I knew. I knew that this race that was supposed to somewhat of a breeze just revealed that I would not be able to handle the Nautica Triathlon and its 0.9 mile swim. I was frustrated at my performance but I had to focus on the 15 mile bike ride ahead of me.
15miles goes by slowly when you realize that the majority of the other racers are almost finished just as you are about to start. Riders with more experience and better bikes just whizzed past me as if the churning of my legs and sweat coming off my brow were all for show. Sure, I’ve ran road races where faster runners have passed me, but there was something more to this triathlon thing that made me frustratingly hungry. I was starving for a better outcome for the time, effort, and money I put into training. I’m a novice to this whole triathlon business… but when I crossed that finish line after having a great 5k run I knew I could have done better. I wanted more. I wanted to train while having a goal that exceeded survival. I was left in want. So much so that I stayed for the award ceremony. I wanted to be among those who were able to conquer this sport. I can only hope that it will be me some day!

 

In the end, I will defer my entry to the Nautica Triathlon so that I can race next year. The next triathlon race I enter will find me racing as a better, more confident swimmer, with a quicker bike, and a stellar run (as usual
Final words: I swear, I’ve entered races where I THOUGHT I was going to die, (shortness of breath, chest pain, and killer charley horses) but never have I entered a race where death looked like an actual possibility. Triathlons are not for the feeble of heart

 

Results
Swim (1/4mile):13 min 28 sec
Bike (15miles) 1hr 2min
Run (3.1 miles): 28 min 20 sec
Overall time: 1hr 46min 44 sec
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