Sitting at work, the day after completing my first triathlon, feeling okay (mild lower back pain), I’m amazed that I was able to complete the half-mile swim.
Between hyperventilating 150 yards to the first buoy, treading water to rest, swimming on my back and a modified breast crawl with spurts of freestyle thrown in, I finished the first leg in almost an hour. It didn’t feel that long, oddly.
LA County lifeguards were their amazing, cheerful, professional, helpful selves, keeping an eye on me and helping me out of the water. It was a humbling experience. I struggled, but my desire to see this through was greater than any desire I had to quit. That thought didn’t cross my mind, actually. I recalled the friends I know who have done this before and asked myself, “How would [friend] handle this?” I also reminded myself that I did train in the pool, that I had the skill set to do this.
Even so, swimming in the ocean for the first time was the most foreign feeling I’ve experienced, and especially those first 150 yards. I was overwhelmed. But action paired with positive thinking worked.
My first transition was a wobbly-legged moment in slow motion. I didn’t remember my bib number, but luckily had no trouble finding my bike as it was one of the last ones remaining in the transition area. Everyone else was on the road. I’m here to finish, I kept telling myself, don’t beat yourself up too much, just keep going. That’s where the mental aspect of marathon training comes in handy. Just keep going.
After overcoming the swim, the rest of the race was almost anticlimactic. Running was more of jog, and I was able to pass a couple of people before the final, 90-degree turn to the finish line.
A day later, I’m left with a sunburn, a little pain, and a big desire to do better. Who knows, maybe a half ironman?
Just keep going.