*I actually started writing this post over a week ago, but had not brought myself to finish it until now. Honestly, I do not feel like I completed a triathlon. Okay, that is sort of a lie. My knees and below still feel like I have, but mentally I do not. It is kind of the same feeling for the half-marathons I have done. I do not feel like I can call myself a runner or half-marathoner because of how slow I completed the events and how I feel inside. Saying all that, I do want to share my experience at the RocketMan Florida Triathlon.
My first triathlon has come and gone and I survived to tell the tale! It was a great event, with wonderful volunteers! I cannot say enough about the volunteers! They did a lot insuring that all participants were safe and taken care off. For that, I am hugely grateful! The morning of the race started with four different alarms set. Thankfully, I had a moment of panic that night before and double checked my alarms because I had set them to PM and not AM.
I had packed everything the night before so the only things I needed to do was get dressed, pack the car, and get the remaining bike on the rack. I left the hotel around 5 and still had time to stop for gas and coffee. I was slightly concerned because I saw storm clouds and lightening in the direction of the ocean, but things cleared off a little later. I arrived to Space Park and set up my transition area. I must say, I loved where my transition area was. It was next to the railing and I was able to grab a spot at the end. I decided to keep my jacket, shorts, and shoes on while I waited until my wave started. I had planned on putting my things right under the railing when it was time and this plan worked great! Before heading over to watch the Half-Iron and International+ waves, I met up with Daniel and we grabbed our timing devices.
After the National Anthem and prayer, the first waves were off at 6:30. Waves started every few minutes after that and then they took a little break before the Classic+ waves started. After putting my clothes away and hitting the bathrooms, I went over and tried not to puke while waiting for my wave to start. I’m not lying about this. I was so nervous that I was sure if I wanted to cry or puke, probably both. A little before 8:30, they lead our wave down to the dock and let us get into the water. Deciding to only wear my bathing suit, I was concerned about water temperatures. Thankfully, the water was not too bad! Right at 8:30, our wave was off.
Time for 1/4 mile Swim: 15:43 Side note: This part of the triathlon is what I am most proud of. Yes, it was a slow swim, but I had never gotten any open water time and it was in salt water.
I took my time during transition 1. I dried my feet, threw some clothes on, put my shoes on, and focused on starting to hydrate.
Time for Transition 1: 7:31 (Oops!)
Oh the bike…. This was suppose to be the best part, in my opinion, with getting to ride on Kennedy Space Center and get super close to the Vehicle Assembly Building and one of the Shuttle Launch Pads. Unfortunately, this was my lowest and least favorite part. I did not put in the time I should have during training and I really paid for it. I underestimated what 33 (I think they have changed it to 36) miles on a bike feels like. Yes, it was cool seeing the VAB and launch pad up close, but I did not enjoy it like I thought is would. The first and last 6 miles were on the Wildlife Refuge and we BORING! It was windy, hot, and I would have stopped to walk a little, but I saw a rogue baby alligator. Seeing the rogue baby alligator quickly changed my mind.
Mentally, the last 3 miles or so were the toughest mentally. I had already spent an hour longer on the bike course than I anticipated, my hips and knees were killing me, and I was ready to be done. I had resigned myself to just finishing the bike portion and calling it quits. I am not sure what kept me going, but I am glad I did. A HUGE thank you to the amazing biking volunteers and police on the bike course!! They did an amazing job not only ensuring our safety, but encouraging and making sure we were OKAY.
Time for 33 (36?) Mile Bike: 3:47:45
When I finally got back into the transition area to put my bike up, I found that someone had put their bike in my spot and was somewhat blocking my things. I am not sure what proper triathlon protocol is, but I found this very frustrating because some of my things were knocked over. I grabbed my phone and took a few moments to get my legs back and then I was on my way.
Time for Transition 2: 4:57
I called my FABULOUS friend, Kate, from the course. If I remember correctly, I was somewhat crying and still wanting to quit. She was fantastic and encouraged me. I cannot say how thankful I was that she was there! Overall, the 5K was a straight forward, out and back, course. I was surprised when I hit the turn around point and headed back. From the beginning, there was more walking than running. All I was focusing on was putting one foot in front of the other. It was the slowest, fastest 5K I have ever done. I guess spending almost 4 hours on a bike will do that to you.
Time for 5K Run: 48:44
Overall Time: 5:04:39
And THAT is the story of my first triathlon. Almost 2 weeks later and my lower legs still hurt and my skin looks awful because of the lovely sunburn and peeling it has gone through, but things are looking up. I took last week easy and have done 4 workouts, including 3 runs, this week. The jury is still out on whether I’ll do another triathlon. There was a lot of stuff that went into it. Call me lazy, but it’s nice just worrying about your running shoes and fuel for races.
Thank you for all your support! I really do appreciate it!!