That's how long it took me to complete the triathlon on Monday.
3 hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds
I think I'm still in awe of myself a little bit. A month or so ago I'd set a goal for myself of 3 hours and 30 minutes, and look what I did! I think it helped that there weren't any clocks out on the course, and I wasn't wearing a watch, so I had no idea how well I was doing until I caught up with one of my fellow TNTers. We ran/walked most of the last loop of the run together. She was wearing a watch, clocking her time, and mentioned that she was going to crush her goal of finishing in 3 hours and 15 minutes. I was surprised and excited to hear that since my goal was 3.5 hours.
Anyway...let's get to a race recap.
My alarm went off at 4:15am so I could get dressed, eat something, and double check that I had everything in my bag. We all met in the lobby at 5am for body marking. Coach Danielle had the task of writing everyone's bib numbers on each arm and each thigh, and their age and swim wave on their right calf. From there, we headed over to the transition area. It was still dark out and the birds were cackling nonstop. Once we got to the transition area, we had about an hour to set up our area at our bike. I laid out my sneakers, my hat, food, water, etc. And then I had to wait around until my swim wave at 7:50am. Mom, Dad and Craig came down around 7:30am and hung out for a while and gave me one last wish of good luck. I wasn't feeling any nervousness until they called my swim wave. Then my stomach got all twisted up in knots, until I had to jump off the dock.
The water made all my nerves go away...probably because there was no turning back now. We had to tread water for a minute or two, and just wait for the gun to go off. The water was slightly warmer than when I swam in the Chesapeake a couple weeks ago, and thankfully the water was fairly still. There were plenty of kayakers, surfboard lifeguards, and police boats in the water to keep us on course and help us if we needed it. And as it turns out...I needed it. On the straightaway, I started to stray off course, swimming towards the wrong buoy. It took 2 different kayaks to get me back on course because the first time I didn't think they were talking to me. Nonetheless, I finished my swim in about 28 minutes. I couldn't believe it when my Mom told me that after the race. It had taken me 37 minutes to swim a mile in the pool, and I expected to take about that long to do the .9 mile swim during the race since I'd be in open water, surrounded by about 100 people.
Coming out of the water, I had a hard time unzipping my wetsuit, but I finally got it unzipped when I was halfway to the transition area. Once at my bike, I stripped off my wetsuit, tried to wipe the dirt off my feet so I could put my socks and shoes on, and I tried to eat part of an orange. I strapped on my helmet, grabbed my bike off the rack and was headed out of the transition area in about 4.5 minutes. We had to run with our bikes a short distance before we could actually mount them, and then we were off on 4 loops around the city. The course was fairly flat, minus the 2 hills near the Capital building, but at least I knew what was coming on the subsequent loops. The two u-turns were a bit tricky too. We also had to dodge water bottles that had fallen off people's bikes and potholes. My biggest fear going into the race was getting a flat tire because I wouldn't be able to change it. But fortunately, both of my tires stayed inflated and my bike served me well for the race. It took me just under 1.5 hours to complete all 4 loops. I almost lost count and had to remember how many times I'd passed Mom and Dad to make sure I didn't do too many or too few.
Since I don't have the fancy bike shoes that clip into my pedals, I didn't have to spend much time in transition. I reracked my bike, took my helmet off, sprayed myself in sunscreen, and ran out. The first mile took us past a Taco Bell and a McDonald's, which just seemed evil to me, but we did have a water station with a sprinkler that I ran through. Unfortunately, the run course didn't provide much shade, so I think I drank a cup of water and poured a cup on my head at each water station. The run course was fairly flat too, minus the run over the Congress Ave. bridge. My legs were shot at this point, and I ended up running and walking the 2 loops. As I started my 2nd and final loop of the run, I met up with Lisa, a fellow TNTer. We stuck together for most of that loop, running and walking and talking, just to keep our minds off what we were actually doing. As we reached the Congress Ave. bridge to cross back towards the finish, she took off so she could run the rest of the way. I planned on doing the same, but simultaneously, both of my quads cramped up. I was able to keep moving forward and I walked until my legs stopped cramping. So as I passed the final water station, I started jogging, and as I got closer to the finish line, I picked up the pace as much as I could, to finish the run in about an hour and 10 minutes.
There were moments during the bike ride where I almost started crying...I just couldn't believe that I was actually competing in a triathlon and doing fairly well. There were about 12 other TNT chapters from across the country that were participating as well, and their coaches and staff were spread out throughout the course. So no matter where I was in the race, there was someone cheering for me. Mom made a nice orange banner for me, so it was easy to spot her and Dad on the course. She wasn't always prepared with the camera, and at one point, I had to slow down during my run to make sure she could snap the picture. Craig had his bright green Red Sox hat on, so he was fairly easy to spot too. They truly helped push me through the triathlon, and I couldn't have beat my goal without them.
I have to get all the pictures together from the race and the weekend, but here are the pictures from the professional photographers that were present throughout the race. I placed 920th out of 1327 people...not too shabby for my first triathlon. I can't thank you all enough for your donations and support throughout the last 6 months. You helped me not only surpass my fundraising goal, but you also helped me accomplish my personal goal of completing a triathlon, and faster than I thought I could.