Thursday, December 17, 2009

My First Triathlon

It had been raining in Philadelphia the week prior to my first triathlon. The swim was to take place in the Schuylkill River near Fairmount Park. The water quality was officially rated as ‘RED’ for most of the week – meaning the water was not suitable for swimming.

I was kinda scared about the whole thing but deep down I didn’t want the swim part to be cancelled because it wouldn’t be a triathlon without the swim. Eventually the water cleared up enough for the swim but the current was very swift. From what I understand, the current is usually not a factor at all.

For the 900M sprint swim, the course was the shape of a rectangle. I first swam against the current, then across and against the current, then with the current, and lastly, across and against the current. So, 3 of the four legs were against the current. I was exhausted! I got cramps in both legs and was in so much pain I couldn’t move. I almost quit twice. But I didn’t put all this time and effort into training, spending mine and others money, and drag my family 8 hours in a car for me to quit a tenth of a mile into the race. So I just kept going until I was done. I knew the swim wouldn’t last forever.

One thing that was interesting to me was that we started the swim in waves. I was in the ‘old lady’ swim wave. Officially it is known as the ‘age 40 and over female’ wave, but that is just semantics. They started a new wave every few minutes. The wave behind me was the men’s masters group – meaning a bunch of very strong male swimmers. I thought to myself ‘who thought this was a good idea?’

Within a short time, many of the powerful swimmers were right by me. I got punched in the head at least 3 times and my goggles knocked off twice. Granted, they all apologized, as a friend of mine said: if I got hit that hard by a man on dry land, I’d be calling the cops.

I finally finished the swim and as soon as I did I knew I could finish the race. I had pretty much used up all of my energy but I didn’t care. I knew I could do it. I got up on my bike and finished the 15 miles without any issues and started the run.

I can’t exactly say what I was doing was running, but it was moving in a forward motion resembling running at times. I was tired. I ran when I could. I did high five a co-worker who was doing the race too. He looked as exhausted too. At the last half mile, my husband, Lou, ran with me. I thought that was great! He kept me going a little faster that I would have without him.

I crossed the finish line and I was ecstatic and overjoyed! I did it! I felt so amazing and had a huge sense of accomplishment. Woo hoo!

My times were awful, but after the swim, I’m glad I just crossed the finish line.

Quick joke – What do they call the person who crosses the finish line last? A triathlete!

S: 39:30 T1: 5:25 B: 1:14:12 T2: 3:03 R: 49:45
Final: 2:51:58 1374 of 1440

I met all three of my goals. I finished, I was not last and I was not last in my age group. Success!

Of course I could not walk hardly at all for days after that. I can assure you that did not make my family happy because they had to wait on me. Sorry guys!

Please stay tuned. My times do improve. :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My decision to do triathlons

After I found a new position, I found the company I worked for supported triathlons and sponsored them as well. They even encourage their employees to work out at lunch. So I thought the natural progression to running would be triathlons... right?

I suppose you should also keep in mind that I only learned to swim when I was 40. So to progress to triathlons after only two years of knowing how to swim is pretty good. The one thing that I didn't know until I got to my first triathlon was that open water swimming is nothing like swimming laps in a pool. The biggest difference is the lack of a wall to push off of every 25 meters. The next biggest is there are no lines at the bottom of rivers and lakes to guide you and keep you straight. Next would be that I don't usually encounter masters swimmers coming up behind me and knocking me in the face full force in my lane at the pool.

I started training last March for my first triathlon at the end of June. The triathlon was a sprint distance and had a 900M swim, a 15 mile bike, and a 5K. During training I was swimming a mile in the pool no problem, riding my mountain bike for 15 miles no problem, and a 5K - no worries at all. I even took a course on transitions thru the local park system. I was all set.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start...

It is best to just start at the beginning. Last year when I was looking for a new job, I wanted a way for prospective employers to find positive information about me if they Googled me. I could either pay someone $2,000 to do this for me by planting info on the internet or I could figure a way to do this my self. Not one to pay $$$ like that for that kind of service I decided the best and fastest way to get my name out there was to run in local road races. They are published on the internet all the time.

So I ran… and I ran… and I ran. Then something funny happened. I started to feel really good. I liked the way I felt when I was running. I especially liked it when I was done. I felt like a million bucks! I met so many new people. Several encouraged me to join the local running club, Northeast Running Club ( and I kept on running. I made improvements and got better and stronger the more I ran. (I hesitate to use the word faster because although I did get faster, it is all relative. Faster for me is still a turtle’s pace for the overwhelming majority of runners)

I set my sights first on 5K’s, then 10K’s and then finally half marathons. My first year out I did 4 half marathons in a 3 month period. I love half marathons. They are long enough to sound impressive to someone who doesn’t run, but short enough that it doesn’t have as long a recovery time as a marathon.

More later…trust me this is the shortened version.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tara from The Biggest Loser will be there too...

I just found out that Tara Costa from ‘The Biggest Loser’ Season 8 is competing in the full iron distance triathlon at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH at the same Rev3 race and at the same time as I am doing the half iron distance. She is a machine. She was so awesome and inspirational on The Biggest Loser. She pulled a car for goodness sakes! I hope I see her at the race.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All this happened, more or less.

After only one year of doing triathlons, I have been inspired by my friends Aimee and Eric ( to compete in the first REV3 half-iron distance triathlon ( on September 12, 2010. I wanted a way to document my experience and thought this would be the easiest. I have asked a handful of people if they think I’m ready – I’ve only done 3 sprint distance triathlons – but they all have been giving me the same answer. Yeah you’re ready! You’ll do great! - Yikes, I hope they are right.

For the most part, any event I compete in I usually have 3 goals:

1. Finish.
2. Not finish dead ass last.
3. Not finish dead ass last in my age group.

So far, I have met my first goal 100% of the time. Short of dying, bleeding or losing a limb, I plan to finish what I start. My only fear with this event is that I’ll miss cutoff times for any of the three events.

I have met my second goal at least 98% of the time. I have come in last before, but to be fair, they were at really small races. In fact, one was so small that even though I finished last, I was first in my age group. Go figure. It is my only first place age group finish.

I have met the third goal probably 85% of the time. I’m not fast at all. I never professed to be. I only profess to do these races. However, for the most part, when I’ve been last in my age group, I wasn’t last in the race.

I hope you enjoy reading about my half ironman adventure.

So it goes.