For over a year now the idea of being a multi sport athlete has frightened me. In my head I can’t begin to imagine how Ironman athletes can build themselves up to tackle a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, then run a marathon. I learned in May of 2012 that the swim leg of the triathlon was one of my biggest fears. Here’s my triathlon experience story.
In early May of 2012 I wanted to run a local 5k. When I sent the link to one of my friends his response was “why don’t we do the Soak Up the Sun Sprint Tri instead?” His rationale was that the entry cost was the same as the 5k and the race provided a better shirt. Fair enough. This conversation took place on a Tuesday, the race was Saturday. My mindset was “I’m in good enough shape”. So I borrowed a friend’s bike on Thursday, bought a pair of goggles on Friday, a d awoke Saturday morning ready to race.
I stood on the dock of Lake Caroline in Madison, MS staring down the 200 yard swim ready to go. My turn came, I jumped into the water, and immediately realized that I had never swam in anything other than a pool in my life & I had never trained a day to swim in a race. This was when I had an anxiety attack and lost control of my breathing and felt lost in the water. I struggled the entire time I was in the water, “swimming” from 1 kayak to the next to regain composure. There were 201 competitors in the race & I was the 201st person to come out of the water. The 200 yard swim had taken me just over 16 minutes.
I came into the transition area and jumped on “my” bike. A few friends were there cheering for me coming out of the water and I was thankful for that. I was not thankful for the chain coming off my bike within the first mile and having to stop to fix it. I finished 161st in the 8 mile bike with a time of 32:19 then finished out my brick finishing 30th in the 2 mile run with a time 16:22.
After the race I felt defeated and had little intention of competing again. I put all of my focus into running. Here I am 6 marathons later. I recently moved to a new town and found that there is a natatorium here. I’m putting forth the effort to figure out the swimming issues and train up for the Mighty Magnolia Triathlon on October 12 in Hattiesburg, MS. The race is a 1/3 mile swim, 16.5 mile bike, & 3 mile run. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with 6 weeks to actually train for a swim.