Blalock Lake Sprint Tri 2013 Race Report

Well I officially completed my first triathlon and I learned a lot in the process!

1. Pack everything the night before
Since we were going to be leaving at 5:55AM it was critical for me to make sure I had everything ready the night before - especially since I'm not a morning person. I triple checked this list and felt pretty confident that I had everything I needed. I had already picked up my race pack on Thursday afternoon so I only had to get my timing chip the morning of the race. 

2. Leave all negative thoughts at home
All Friday night I was in minor panic mode. I was worried about drowning in the water, crashing my bike, and/or finishing in last place. By the time we went to bed that night I really tried to leave all of the worry/negative thoughts behind me. I had read how bad these negative thoughts can affect you especially on the swim so I was bound to think as positively as possible. 

3. Remember your race day game plan
As I arrived at transition my nervous started kicking up again. I started seeing all of the other participants and my type-A want to kick some butt personality started to kick in. I wanted to do well but I had to remind myself, time was not the goal of this race! The goal of this race was to successfully complete the race, gain some confidence, and learn some stuff along the way to better prepare me for Augusta.

4. Don't let race day be your first open water swim
Despite all of the articles/blogs I read about not letting a race be your first open water swim...I simply just didn't listen. I didn't have the time before the race and I thought I could handle it. It was "only" 600 yards and I had swam that in the pool many times. I had even swam a 1000 two or three weeks prior so this shouldn't have been an issue at all. I got in the 82 degree water to do a warm up swim and it was gross. The muddy slime on my feet, the ugly brown water, it was all so gross and not like the swimming pool!

5. Avoid panic attacks on race day!
Well 8:09AM came and wave four of all women under 40 years old were off. I started towards the far right of the pack and tried to stay back because I didn't want to people to "swim over me". I started my first few strokes and it was as if all the drills/swim technique I had been practicing went out the window. I quickly ditched the idea of breathing every three or four strokes and immediately switched to breathing every other. I wasn't looking at the bottom of the lake because I couldn't see it and I wanted some idea of what was in front of me. Within 75 yards I went into a panic. I hadn't even made it to the first of six buoys and I was freaking out. I rolled to my back, noticed there were still four girls behind me and that was comforting. I alternated between my "sweet spot" and freestyle swimming. I started to get better until I started to hear the kayaker yelling "lady to the right, lady to the right". The wave five purple capped women were quickly approaching! I needed to get myself out of the way of them or else that whole fear of being swam over would have come true. I tried swimming but was still in panic mode. The purple caps came and I continued my downward spiral. They could tell I was panicking as many of them stopped their swim to make sure I was okay. Within another minute I finally signaled for the kayaker lifeguard. I was honestly debating dropping out of the race. I still had about 500 yards to go and I simply didn't think I could finish it. Lifeguard man and I had a great chat for a solid three or four minutes while I calmed down and we altered my strategy to just swimming buoy to buoy/kayaker to kayaker. Overall I was concerned that my legs would give out on me at some point and at the point there would be no lifeguard around and I would drown. Making small targets along the way really started to help me and keep me focused. I really needed to just get out of my own head because whenever I'd start thinking/I'd freakout switch to my back and just kick. I couldn't wait for this piece to be over. 

6. Wear a non-pool pair of googles
The night before the swim Adam told me I wasn't going to be wearing my normal swim goggles, rather this other pair that he had, the "race" goggles. He explained that they had never been exposed to chlorine so the anti-fog protection stuff hadn't been warn off. Sure enough my goggles didn't fog up once. I heard numerous people during the swim complaining about how much theirs were fogging up. Mine were actually crystal clear even though the water was completely brown and gross!

7. Keep an extra water bottle in transition 
Twenty-three long minutes later I had finally finished the most daunting experience ever and I was EXHAUSTED! How could I run a marathon but not swim 600 yards in a lake?! I was frustrated with myself but also overwhelmed with the whole experience. All I wanted was some water to drink and of course I had left my water bottle with Adam. I had every intention of setting it up in transition with me but I had forgotten. I knew I wasn't going to put it on the bike because I hadn't master the whole ride and drink thing. I needed it but, toughed it out and hopped on the bike ready for 14.7 miles in 82+ degree weather. I knew the bike couldn't be nearly as bad as what I had just experienced in the water!

8. Don't let a poor swim ruin the rest of your race
All I could think about on the bike was how awful of an experience the swim was and how much I wanted a glass of water. I think I was still so preoccupied with the swim that I honesty didn't think twice about clipping in and wasn't too bothered by the bike. I managed to pass a few people, but obviously was passed by many others. There was no one in my age range biking with me which was a little discouraging but my legs/quads were getting tired on the many hills. I should have pushed harder but my legs were so exhausted from the swim that I just didn't know if I had it in me. I had mentally checked myself out of getting a respectable time so at points I don't think I pushed as hard as I should/could have. Once again all lessons learned to help me in the future :)

9. Don't underestimate brick workouts
After almost all of my bike rides I had practiced running afterwards. I was actually starting to enjoy this type of workout. Unfortunately on race day by the time it came to the run my legs truly felt like bricks. I finally understood why they are called bricks! The run was hilly and my legs just felt like they couldn't move. It took probably two miles to really get my legs under me to survive the last mile. Now I see why run/biking on tired legs is so helpful in training and something that I will be more conscious about.

10. Have Fun!
Despite all of the hiccups, at the end of the day I had completed a triathlon! It wasn't easy - honestly I think a marathon was mentally easier than this sprint triathlon - but I had accomplished something big! I didn't quit and I think it'll be a fun thing in the future now that I've gotten the butterflies out of the way. It was also so comforting to hear all of the encouraging words from the other participants around me. Each and every one of them was supportive of one another and something I did enjoy being a part of!


Here were my final {not so pretty} splits:

As always thank you so much to those who have supported me along the way to include my husband, my family/friends, D3 MultisportPodium Multisport, and Team in Training
Couldn't have made it this far without you guys!


Happy Eight Year {dating} Anniversary!

On June 1, 2005 I began dating my best friend! 
We've had eight years of amazingness together 
and I can't wait for many more adventures to come!

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