We survived our first triathlon. More than that, we enjoyed our first triathlon. There were moments in the middle that I can’t say I enjoyed but that is what you do when you are trying to push yourself, right?

I did not sleep particularly well the nights leading up to the event. Although I knew consciously that I could do each event and that the distances were well within my capabilities I think my subconscious was nervous.

The Friday before we picked up our race packets and got to see a bit how things were going to be set up. Those crazy folks doing the half-Ironman distance and full-Ironman distance were racing the day before us and had the option of setting up their bikes and transition areas early. You could feel the energy all around and it was nice. There was a shared sense of excitement and people were very encouraging for each other friends and strangers alike. For those doing the long distances I think in part the happiness is knowing that the build up of training is over, right? Time to get the job done.

The night before we laid everything out and put on our temporary tattoos.

By we, I mean Ryan…I was studying while he was organizing. When he puts his mind to it he is so methodical in gear organization.

My participation was required to get the tats on. One on the leg and one on the arm.

We watched the water temps like a hawk the whole week leading up to the event. Cheering every time it crept up. [If you will recall the water was 68 deg F the week before and that is cold.] We elected to not get wetsuits because we hadn’t practiced in them and our race distances were fairly short. This race was meant to be a learning experience, not necessarily a competitive one. The day before our race the water temps were up to 70.5 deg F. Having no real experience for comparison we didn’t know if this would make a difference but we were happy nonetheless, I mean 2.5 degrees was better than no degree climb at all.

Race day, the water felt nearly balmy. It ended up being 71.8 deg F and maybe that’s a mind game or maybe that is a real difference but it was perfect for racing conditions.

My plan was to stay out of the swim pack so I lined up to be on the outside edge of the group. Apparently that need was unfounded in my condition as compared to the group I was a bit speedier. [Thank you 10+ years of competitive swimming, twice a day practices are still benefiting me years later.] When I ran out the water I was informed that I was the second woman out and mid pack with the men who had a 3 min head start. Not to shabby for a girl who entered the water at the back of the women’s pack. But my lead didn’t last long, in the 1/4 mile run from the beach to the bikes I got passed by 4-5 other girls. And I spent the rest of the day getting passed for the most part. My favorite, getting dropped on the bike by a women who was 78 y/o. She made me look like I was standing still…it was amazing. I hope that with another 40 years of training I can do the same. I’ve never claimed to be speedy on a bike nor on my feet and expected such results. I was happy to be happy out there doing the whole race and just living the experience.

[Ryan leaving the transition from bike to run. He was a beast!]

Ryan surprised himself. He swam faster than predicted, biked as expected, and ran faster than expected. I think the absence of having to stop at the pool wall to change direction lent him some speed by not breaking his momentum. He’s already planning his next event. I can’t, per se, but I’m hoping not to lose too much of my training momentum.

[Ryan coming into the final turn. Still looking strong.]

My sprint distance started 40 minutes before Ryan’s so I had a little while to toodle around and talk to folks while waiting for him to finish the bike and the run. [Hence the pictures.] Being the shy person that I am I talked to a lot of people there supporting their loved ones. There was a whole team-in-traing of 24 peeps competing from GA. They are in training for the GA Ironman.

A couple of ambulances were required at the event. One for a runner [logically I knew the odds were that it wasn’t Ryan, but I’ve seen too much so I was a little nervous until he rounded the corner…I love that man…heeby-jeebies until he was safe…irrational, I know…] and one for an elderly observer who probably just got dehydrated waiting for their loved one to cross.

Overall it was a great and fun time. I think, yes, I’d like to do another. But I really gotta work on my running….I’m slower than a snail.