Well I did it.
I complained for a few months. Wrote some posts about it. But I did it. I completed a triathlon 4 months after giving birth. Here’s the scoop:
Why do these things need to start so damn early? Transition closes at 6:15, so you have to set up all your stuff before that. I was up at 4:45, ate a whole wheat bagel and banana, ahem, pumped my boobs, loaded up the car when Julie showed up and we were off.
This tri is HUGE. 1,500 people scampering around before the sun rises. It’s nuts. The port-o-potty lines are the stuff of legends. Everything was set up and Julie, Kevin and I made our way across the street, got our numbers written on our bodies in Sharpies and waited on the shore. Standing in sand in nothing but a swimsuit as the sun tries to rise, it was COLD. We reluctantly decided to get in the water to get used to it. It was warmer than the air, but that’s not saying much. The race started and we waited patiently for Wave 17. Finally it was time.
Sometimes before starting these, I feel like a kid on a trip to an amusement park with my class. As we wait in line for the huuuuuge roller coaster, it’s all fun and games, and seems like a good idea. As we creep closer to the front of the line, doubt sets in and I second guess myself and think I’m insane. So as we waited for our wave, I asked Kevin and Julie to each hold one of my hands during the swim portion. Have I mentioned I hate the swim and am actually afraid of it?
But no, the gun went off and in we went. I waded in until I could no longer, timing be damned! I just want to survive this thing. I started swimming the front crawl and kept telling myself to relax. I actually did. It was a miracle. By the time I got to about the second buoy in the quarter-mile swim, I needed a rest. I held on to a lifeguard’s kayak for a minute or two and decided to continue on. When he saw how much farther he still needed to go, the other guy hanging onto the kayak said, “Fuck this! Can you take me in?” The lifeguard obliged. When there are hundreds of people in the water at one time, it is no joke. Sadly, a man died during the swim portion of Pewaukee this year. I had no clue until I came home that night and watched the news. I just keep thinking of his poor family, there to cheer him on, having to clean up his transition area afterwards. So sad…
By the time I made the second turn heading back to shore, I knew I was going to do it. Finally, I felt sand beneath my feet. I sprang to my legs, to have them feel like jelly, but I was out of the water. I heard Craig, Julie’s fiance, call my name and snap I picture. I answered with, “I did it!” and kept on going.
At the transition, I got dressed, ahem, put my breast pads into my sports bra (didn’t want to leak), snapped my helmet, took a bite of a power bar, and hurried out of transition with my new bike. It’s a mountain bike, so yes, I’m working harder than everyone on their 3 pound fancy schmancy road bikes, but that’s ok. This bike seemed to last FOREVER. I don’t remember it being this long last time, but I persevered. Saw a girl’s tire blow around mile 14. Without missing a beat, she hopped off her bike and started running with her bike in her little clip on bike shoes. That girl is badass.
Finally the 15 miles were over and I clumsily dismounted my bike, let out a “Yay!” and ran my bike into transition.
Took another bite of my power bar, slapped my hat on and started running. I was scanning the crowd for any of my friends or family, but didn’t see them. Thought about how nice it would be to have cheerleaders by this point, but trudged on. And I mean trudged. Uphill. Felt like uphill both ways. In the snow, shoeless. Ok, maybe not that bad. Note to people who cheer on runners: Thanks! You have no idea how much it helps to have random people being like, “Yeah 811! Good job! Keep going!” By the time I reached the two mile marker, I had realized I was neck and neck with another girl. We started talking in short, winded sentences. It was her first tri. She said I was helping her to not walk. I told her we were almost there and we had to keep going. She said an ice cream sundae would taste good right about now. I said I wanted pizza. Finally, we rounded the last corner together, her mom called out to her. I told her we had to give it all we had down the final straightway. I saw Derek, Riley, my mom, Kevin, Julie and Craig. They all cheered and yelled, and I gunned it. Gave it all I had. Heard them announce my name as I crossed the finish line.
Total time: 2:20
The competitive part of me is incredibly disappointed in that time. 25 minutes slower than any other tri I’ve done. The rational side of me reminds me that I just had a baby and my goal was to finish, not set a PR. The bike really kicked my ass this time. Maybe it was the new bike and I don’t have all the gears worked out yet. We’re still getting to know each other. The run time is actually embarrassing. I usually do the run in well under 30 minutes. My best time was 26. But oh well. I was fighting a huge headache during the run and really just wanted to walk the whole damn thing. So that’s it! I finished, I survived, I felt accomplished, and afterwards, I ate pizza! Yay!