Saturday, February 18, 2012

Triathlon marked off the bucket list

My facebook status read this on Sunday afternoon:  I swim. I bike. I run. I tri. Pregnant

Sunday morning I officially completed my very first triathlon.  Now, it was a sprint tri which means the distances were very low. It was a 400 yard swim, an 8 mile bike ride, and a 2.5 mile run.  This is compared to the Ironman 70.3 that Lance Armstrong competed in on Sunday. The distances for that one were a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run.   Everyone has to start somewhere though right?

I had decided I wanted to get into triathlon's last year.  At the point I did strength training and I ran. I have a pool in my yard but don't swim in it (who would when you could float around on a raft and nap?) and I don't own a bike.  So why would I think it would be a good idea to do a triathlon when it had been years since I did the other two sports?   I think it was because of the challenge.  Why would I think I could possible do a triathlon?  The more I thought about it the more I felt it was something I wanted to prove I could do.

giving Husband the thumbs up before I started
I talked to Husband about it and he didn't really want to spend the money on a bike when we own a pool and I don't even swim.  So we made a bet that if I could prove I could swim the distances for a sprint tri I could get a bike.  Not long after that I was able to join a gym that had a lap pool inside.  I slowly started to work on swimming and started to take spin class.  I could do the swim for a sprint tri but not very fast.   I couldn't ever get Husband to get to the gym to prove it though.  Still no bike.  I didn't push it though because by then I was training for my fall half marathon and I cut out swimming to focus on the running again.  

Then I was happy to find myself finally pregnant and kinda put doing a tri out of my head because I knew money would be spent on things getting ready for the baby and medical costs etc.  However I started to have Achilles issues and had to take time off from running, hello cross-training.  I started to build up the biking and swimming again.    I also realized that part of my depression was being upset I couldn't do any of the winter races I had planned on.  So I did a quick search and found an indoor triathlon.  This wouldn't required me to own a bike since it's all inside at a gym.   Now I had something to train for.

Proof I can do the swimming! Now when can I get that bike
You might think I'm crazy for deciding to do my very first triathlon while pregnant.  I'm sure many who found out I was training for it thought so.  I even felt crazy sometimes.  I waited until the last week in January to sign up for it, waiting as long as I could to make sure my body was ok and baby girl would approve.  I got worried the week leading up to the tri though because it was my worst week yet and I wasn't sure how I would feel that day.  That morning, though, I awoke excited and ready to go. Baby girl was cooperating.

While I was nervous, I wasn't too bad. I was more nervous about how it would work and what it would be like than anything else. I actually think it helped for me to do my first one while pregnant. I knew I had to watch my heart rate, which means I couldn't go as fast as I could or want to.  This means I had no placement goals, I couldn't try to be first in my age group.  I knew I didn't want to be last but also knew it was a strong possibility and told myself not to be upset if I was.  This was my first triathlon and I was completing it while 26 weeks pregnant.

During the swim portion I knew I was slower right away.  I was doing breaststroke while everyone else seemed to be doing freestyle, which is just naturally faster.  I kept it steady and did what I could.  Husband said that I was behind the first lap but after that I started to gain on people and finished before 2 others..although barely.

Just getting started on the bike
I was last getting to the bike area though due to a required restroom break. Shrug. It happens when pregnant. haha!    Normally I can keep my heart rate down and push it on a bike but due to doing the bike right after the swim I was at my max heart rate within 5 min of pedaling.  At times I would get it too high and have to back of but I tried to keep it at a steady pace, the fastest I could do.  I believe I was last off the bikes for those in my heat but not sure.

Then the run was next.  This is where I felt the most comfortable. After all, I rarely stop a run at 2.5 miles and that was all I had to do. My legs were very tired and fatigued from the swim and bike though, during the bike I was actually worried about the run portion.  However the minute I started to run that all went away.  My legs felt strong. My breath was even. I felt GOOD.  When my 2.5 miles was up I didn't want to stop. I wanted to run faster and I wanted to run further.   That was one of the best feelings.    It also felt good that I know I passed up two others on the run portion. I admit, since we were on treadmills I would sneak glances at the two ladies on either side of me and I could tell that my pace was faster and I slowly watched as I gained on them.  Man did that feel freaking good. I was doing a tad over an 11 min pace. My normal pace for my non-long runs is under a 9 min mile.  I can't even imagine how well I would have done had I been able to run a normal pace. Plus, knowing I only had 2.5 miles I would have pushed the pace and gone faster than normal.

Not a good picture but the best of the runs
I was putting on my ipod since running on
a TM is boring as heck
As for how I did in my very first sprint triathlon?  I wasn't last!  Woohoo!  I was 91 out of 108.  I am so freaking pumped about that. I wasn't even the bottom 10.  I came in 11 out of 15 for my age group. Another  happy surprise.  In my specific heat I was 5th out of 8.   I cannot believe how well I did.  I realize that the people who competed were, for the most part, just doing it for fun and first time triathletes.  However it was my first time too and I was 26 weeks pregnant, that has to count for something right?

I cannot wait to do this same triathlon next year.  I won't have to watch my heart rate so I know I can go faster and push pace.  After completing only one triathlon I know I want to do more and I realize that these distances aren't going to be the challenge I need.  I also feel that I want to do several more of the sprint tri's though just to get comfortable with the sport and to watch myself improve.  Of course, until I get a bike I also have to stick to indoor tri's and most of those are of a sprint distance.    

All finished!!!
 In fact, I'm signed up to do a triathlon at work in early March. It's their first one (I work for a University and we have a gym on campus where it will be held) and instead of having people do a distance it will be a time. It's a 15 min swim, 15 min bike ride, and a 15 min run.  Your place will be figured out based on the distance you can do in that time.  I have no idea if there will be more students than faculty/staff, so I have no idea what to expect as far as my placement.  However I'll be even further along at that point and figure just completing it will be awesome. Plus, if I'm not last, I'll feel on top of the world.


  1. That is so cool, you have me looking at my gyms indoor tri its a timed one like you were saying. Too bad I found out about it too late but maybe its for the best I need to work on the swimming part

  2. Thanks! The swimming is the hardest! I know I couldn't do all the distance freestyle so that's something I plan to work on once I'm able to. Until then, breaststroke is working just fine. I think indoor tri's are mostly for people like's new and we're beginners and still working on everything and learning.