Holy bejeezus! I can’t even believe that Sunday really happened.

I completed the Jersey Girl Triathalon and managed to live to tell. Here’s how the day went.

3:40am Alarm clock goes off
I popped up and got myself together. I had packed all my gear the night before. I even put the bike in the car the night prior as well. My gear was all put into a backpack with 2 separate clear bags. 1 containing what I needed for my bike and 1 with my running gear plus a towel in each bag as well. Unfortunately I was too nervous to eat so I just put a few teaspoons of sugar in my coffee figuring at least I’d get some calories.

5:45am Arrive at race destination
I sat in the car waiting for Jane watching the pouring rain and wondering what the heck I was getting myself into.

bikes on a bike rack before dawn in the pouring rain...yup, they must be headed to the triathalon too

bikes on a bike rack before dawn in the pouring rain…yup, they must be headed to the triathalon too

5:55am Jane and her posse arrive
We start to unpack the cars and make our way to set up our transition area. I had planned on wearing flip flops to the transition area but I must have been half asleep and packed 2 right feet! (I have 2 of the same pair). Luckily this was the worst thing that happened all day. =)

two right feet

two right feet

6:00am-6:40am pre-race stuff
We first made a pit-stop to the ladies room and then took the time to set up our bikes and gear in the transition area and then went to get marked. I just assumed that they used wax crayons or something but they used sharpie markers! I still have some residual marker left on my skin 2 days later! Then it was time to grab a bunch of pictures since we all looked so sexy in our swim getup.

IMG_4500

 

I feel like a prisoner...but it's nice to be 29 for the day instead of 40 =)

I feel like a prisoner…but it’s nice to be 29 for the day instead of 40 =)

6:40am-6:53am Heats line up
We were the second heat and lined up waiting to go into the ocean. Not gonna lie, I was shitting a brick.

don't let the smile fool ya.. I was freaking out!

don’t let the smile fool ya.. I was freaking out!

The water was choppy I’m guessing due to the rainy weather we were having. The swim angels were all waiting to to buddy up with whoever needed assistance. As soon as they gave us the go I buddied up with Paul, my “angel”. He said to wait for the bulk of the girls to get in the water so we would have some clear space and then said we should wait for 3 big waves to come in before starting to swim past the break. I was so disoriented. The swim cap was squishing my head and the goggles had already become foggy and covered with rain drops and I think I just misjudged the waves and started into the water as a wave came crashing in. I panicked and of course opened my mouth and gasped in fear as I swallowed the wave (and this is not like eating hills for breakfast). After it passed over me I started hyperventilating (yep, keeping it real.) I almost made an about face until I heard Paul talking to me. He just kept easing my mind and instructing me on my breathing and told me to just point my arms toward the buoy. I told him I could only do the doggie paddle. Poor guy, probably had no idea what he was in for. I actually found myself enjoying the water somewhere around the 1/2 way point. Things were under control and I could see the second buoy was so close. Once I reached it I just had to make a turn and head toward the shore. Here’s where I really found myself chipping away at my fears. I now knew that the waves were out of my sight and I was freaking out that one would just come and knock me down. But I realized that you actually get a little warning as the water level drops a smidge just beforehand (oceanographist I am not. and no oceanographist isn’t a word but you get what I’m saying). Paul told me when I felt that to just let the wave push me forward. Before I knew it I could stand….almost done….but of course in the very last minute when I stood up and tried to walk gracefully out of the ocean a wave came and knocked me down to my knees. I laughed at this point. I was SOOOO freaking pumped that I made it through the scariest part of this triathalon and the rest would get easier. A volunteer grabbed my hand and helped me out of the water and I slowly trotted through the sand and up onto the boardwak where they hosed off my feet and I grabbed a cup of water. This was mostly to clear the salt water out of my throat. I wasn’t really thirst yet. =) The swim took me just over 10 minutes.

7:04am-7:08am T1
I spent 4 minutes here swapping swim cap for bike helmet, goggles for sunglasses, drying off my feet and shoving on socks and sneakers. I don’t have a road bike with clipped in style pedal/shoes so I just put my running sneakers on. One less thing to do in the next transition. I grabbed a couple of energy chews and a swig of water from my water bottle and then walked the bike out of the tranisiton and to the bike mount/start. The ins and outs of the transition was fairly foolproof and alleviated my fears of potentially being disqualified for missing a mat or mounting bike too soon etc.

7:08-8:09am Bike
The bike was fairly relaxing for me. It was along the same route as the NJ Marathon and I knew the ins and outs. Most of it was an out-and-back along Ocean Ave (parallel to the ocean). The roads were slick and it was still lightly raining but I tried to keep my mind off of that and just sang songs out loud (Sara Bareilles’ Brave and One Republic’s I Lived to be exact) as I heard the constant “on your left” coming from behind me. I averaged just under 11mph which was about 2 mph slower than I expected I’d ride. But honestly I’m still happy with my bike time. I wasn’t in competitive mode at all. I was euphoric about my swim completion and just processing the whole experience over and over.

sally-bike

Just cruisin’. Smiling and I didn’t even know I was being photographed so that’s a genuine smile

8:09-8:12am T2
This transition was much faster and easier for me (less than 3 minutes). I swapped the bike helmet for a baseball cap and pulled on a running skirt. Ate 2 more energy chews and grabbed another swig of water from my water bottle.

Photo courtesy of my surprise spectator Greg

Photo courtesy of my surprise spectator Greg

8:12-8:42am Run
Now the 3 mile home stretch was upon me. Just 1 1/2 miles out and then back. I was SO pumped for this. Just as I crossed the mat to officially start the run, I heard someone call out my name. I looked up and saw it was a surprise spectator…my friend Greg. I was so happy to see his friendly face. I felt like my legs were heavy but I finally had the chance to pass people. I was in my element and ironically the finish line for this is exactly the same as the NJ Marathon. And I FELT exactly like I was at mile 25 of the marathon. Exhausted, spent but exhilarated and so friggen happy!

closing in on the finish!

closing in on the finish!

annnnd DONE!

Happy Runner Girl (who swam and biked first)

Happy Runner Girl (who swam and biked first)

I was the last of Jane’s posse to finish and they were all enjoying massages and snacks at the post race festivities. Once everyone was refueled and relaxed we took some obligatory bling pics. Jane finished 3rd in her age group with a time of 1:11 (the overall winner finished in 1:02). And Jane’s mom finished in 1:27! Not too shabby for a 54 year old woman. She even had to stop to get one of her pedals repaired. I finished in 1:47 which is 13 minutes faster than I predicted. I know i can shave 15 minutes off my time easily if I just learn how to swim properly and get a little more confident on the bike (and maybe upgrade to a real road bike). But who knows what lies in my future as far as sprint TRIs go.

IMG_4610 Photo Aug 03, 9 28 45 AMThe entire event was just awesome. There were so many first time triathletes and so many supportive volunteers. It was the most inspiring and uplifting event I’ve done in a while. Girl power!!! I’d highly recommend this event for anyone who is curious about triathalons.

Do you know how to swim? Did you learn as a kid or an adult? Ever done a TRI? How about bikes? Do you own a road bike?

 

 

8 Comments

  1. first things first…that calf! boom! that’s a serious muscle right there. When I did my first tri, the swim part…the best way to describe it is, “ass and feet” in my face! =). so proud of you! I know how to swim =). Hawaii born better no how to swim. My dad said he threw me in when I was 2 years old and let me swim in. I’ve done 2 sprint tris. One of them was a reverse sprint tri…so run, bike, and then swim…no bueno =). I own a trek 1000…I sheeeet myself going over 35 on such skinny tires!

  2. Wow! Great job.
    I would have to learn to swim–AGAIN. (I have a phobia…) I have completed an Olympic triathlon–before kids, and when I was MUCH younger.
    I have a road bike–I use it to cross train 1x/wk. It REALLY is different than a regular bike–you could shave some serious time off there…
    I was a “jersey girl” once…lived near Point Pleasant with the grandparents during the summers in college…tough gig!

  3. I’ve got my first duathlon in September and this post got me so very excited for it! Great job!

  4. CONGRATS JERSEY GIRL!!!!!! You rocked this race, as I knew you would!

    I love this race and the triathlon race in general. I’d love to add more to my calendar next year. The swim is my weakness too, so I need to improve. I LOVE my road bike though. I watched some youtube videos last night on a road vs tri back and how to improve form on the bike. I’m going to need to make some adjustments so I can get into the top 10 next year. 😉

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