My First (sort of) Triathlon
So I thought I needed to try something different today and run with a friend in her I am turning 36! Fun Triathlon event up near Perch Lake in Hudson. We would bike 31 miles (ended up being 32 miles!), run 4 miles and "float" at the end for our 1 mile swim. Go time was 8 am. I arrived early and got the bike out of the back of the Focus wagon. The group was small with 7 of us participating. Maps were handed out for the bike route and we found out it would be 32 miles instead of the planned 31 miles. And being in Wisconsin countryside was informed it would be hilly. Now why I did not think about this when I was signing up I have no idea. Hills? Oh no! And to think I was worried about a sore bum. We were told there would be one aid station/cheering section just shy of the half way point. After the Race Director gave us final instructions (happy Birthday Anna!) we were off on time as planned at 8 am. The morning temps were great at around 60 degrees and sunny. I was riding Terry’s bike as mine got a flat when we were testing it out this week to make sure it was good. These bikes are just old mountain style bikes as we really don’t ride enough to look at investing in newer bikes. I went with Terry’s bike as the frame is lighter and he thought it would be the better choice anyway. I had my new seat that I purchased last year put onto his bike in the hopes it would be more comfortable. Was it? I am really not sure as I expected any bike seat to start hurting considering this was the first bike ride this year. How stupid is that? Well I am about to tell you.
|Thrive Ladies (photo credit Mya)|
|Official markings. Just pick your number!|
We left the public boat launch parking lot and started out with an uphill. I should have tested out the height of my seat as I had to stop quickly and raise it higher. This ended up putting me last (which I really expected to be anyway as the other gals ride more than I do). I quickly realized that this route was going to be very hilly. I tried to enjoy the flats and down hills and endure the up hills. Lots of shifting gears to keep going. After about 5 to 8 miles in Linda, who was in front of me, stopped to remove her long sleeve shirt and I decided to remove a layer as well. We had a chaser car which was really nice knowing Mya was just behind us if anything were to go wrong. She grabbed my discarded layer and we were off once again.
|Did I mention there were hills? (photo credit: Mya)|
|Hills on a bike! (photo credit: Mya)|
More hills. Up and then down. At about 12 miles or so my phone started to ring. I had to stop to answer it (it was work) and boy was it hard to get started again. It felt like I had lost some of my momentum. In just a short mile or so was our aid station/cheering section. We were told that there would be donuts and Gatorade and water for us. I was excited about the donut!
|Amazing Aid Station and volunteers! (photo credit Mya)|
I downed an entire small Gatorade bottle and ate one very tasty chocolate donut and after a few additional minutes of rest and thanking our wonderful volunteers (Anna’s husband and kids and her sister and her children) we got back onto the bikes and took off with a little more than half left of the bike ride. I tried not to think about how stopping at 14.5 miles would have been a great distance to stop at. It seems as we changed direction we were all of a sudden riding into the wind. Oh great. Just make this ride a little harder. No problem if I can run 50 miles surely I can ride 32 miles! Things were really starting to hurt once we hit 20 miles. But hey, only 12 more miles to go! We got this. The hills were relentless. Cars were buzzing by but at this point I hardly noticed due to my strong desire to be done with the bike riding portion. Everything was starting to hurt. My quads, my shoulders, my behind and oh did I mention that my hands were going numb? I am sure it is a problem with my bike but whenever I ride my hands almost always go numb. We kept going. Just shy of 28 miles we did stop and Linda sent out a text message to her family to give them an update on how she was doing. The break was nice. Get off the bum and stretch the legs and back somewhat. But we still had 4 more miles to complete so back onto the bikes we went. We had been told that the last 3 miles was all uphill so I was dreading what that would feel like. We must have been about 3 hours into the ride and were estimating that we would finish around 3 ½ hours. At one point on an uphill Lynda stopped to stretch her back and because it was an uphill I decided to stretch and walk up the hill at the same time. Getting started again on an uphill section is tough, especially when your quads are screaming they are done. 30 miles, only 2 more to go! 31 miles, only 1 more to go! These last three miles turned out not to be one big uphill and actually there was some very nice downhills that felt great! Gain some speed on the downhill to then tackle the next uphill. Finally 32 miles! But wait, not quite finished yet! Luckily this last bit was downhill into the parking lot! We were finished with 32.25ish miles on the bike!
There was some cheering as we finished the bike section and now it was time to take off for the 4 mile run. Lynda decided to skip the run but I figured I at least needed to walk that 4 miles to say I had done it. I was on my own. But hey, what’s 4 miles when you just rode 32? Our 4 mile run would be an out and back. The other gals were way ahead of me and I knew that I would see them at some point on their way back. I got rid of the helmet (almost forgot to take it off!), donned my visor (I don’t like to run with sunglasses) and hit the road running? (well not really). I had to walk for a bit before I was able to muster up enough strength to start a very slow jog. My goal was to get at least 15 minute miles (or less) and I would only have to be out for an hour at the most. That would put me finishing up the bike and run by 12:30 pm. This run section was also hilly (gotta love Wisconsin topography).
|This running thing is hard after 32 miles on the bike!|
I walked the uphills and very slowly ran the downhills and flats. After the first few miles the running started to feel easier on the legs. Not sure if this was because I had hit the turnaround and knew I was running to the end or if that is how it normally is transitioning from the bike to the run in a triathlon. I arrived back to the car and parking lot and all the ladies were eating lunch! A nice surprise as I thought they would be in the lake already. I guess they had been in the lake but were hungry so were eating the wonderful lunch. So, I ate lunch first before heading to the lake for the swim/float part of the events for the day.
|Eating lunch and resting felt amazing! Finding the shade as being in the sun all morning can take its toll.|
When I registered for the triathlon they mentioned the swim would be very casual. Anna gifted me with a float so that I could float with everyone. Lori brought the air pump which was a amazing. My float was so big there was no way it could be inflated manually!
|My new floatie!|
After biking and running the water felt amazing! We floated for about an hour? Unfortunately in trying to turn over on my float to try to use my arms to paddle back to shore rather than my legs (they were really starting to get tired) I fell off! I couldn’t get back on so I had to swim back to shore. Luckily I could hold onto the float so I didn’t drown when the cramps hit.
So I registered for this event thinking it would be fun to try something different with a fun group of girls. I love adventuring with the Thrive ladies! Thanks for an awesome day. It was almost as much fun as running the trails!