Friday, July 11, 2008


Fridays are good. Who doesn't like Fridays. It is a beautiful day out and it is almost quitting time. The weekend is on it's way and I am one happy camper.

I want to send out my love and support to all those racing this weekend, you know who you are! Especially those who will be racing their first ever triathlon this weekend - talk about exciting! Ahhh.. the fond memories of my first triathlon.

It was a cold, dark, morning at the Bulter YMCA Triathlon. Ok, so it wasn't cold, but it just sounded better. It was June so I'm sure was similar to this weekend's forecast, 70-80 degrees and sunny! I didn't pre-register because:

A. back then, you didn't have to registered 4 years in advance & promise your first child before registering


B. I didn't even know until that morning if I was going to do the race

At some point I had convinced myself that I wanted to do a triathlon, despite the fact that I couldn't really swim (no biggie right?). Well, I take that back, I could breast stroke with the best of them and I could also side stroke (aka pick apples from the tree & put in the basket), and I could even float if necessary. So, I was all good if I got into a problem.

Just think of it, what if you swam past someone who was side stroking or floating today while in a triathlon. I might do a double take, say, "yep, I was there once" and keep on trucking! Anyway, Kyle did drive to the race with me and the entire way I kept saying, "well, if I just get up there and decide not to do it, you won't be mad will you? It's no big deal if I change my mind, this isn't my thing anyway right?" I was looking for some kind of confirmation that no matter what happened, it was cool. We had just gotten engaged a few months before, but Kyle knew me very well none the less. He politely agreed, as the purple grape juice and toast (triathlon breakfast of champions I know!) stirred around and churned in my stomach. We both knew better though, and if we were making the drive, I was doing the race, whatever stroke it was I chose to use!

I signed up apprehensive and confused about where to go, where to put my items & generally overwhelmed by the experience. I kept thinking "watch what the other people do, that will tell you the answer - where to put what etc." Great, that really helped. Remember, this is the local YMCA sprint, people were wearing wetsuits and not wearing wetsuits, spraying themselves with cooking oil (ok, so now you smell like a buttery roll, now what & more importantly, why?), loading there areas up with small packages that looked like space food (gels I'm sure) and there was every bike imaginable, from road bikes to mountain bikes! It was a mecca of craziness, and there I was confused, burping up grape juice, and ready to take on this sport of triathlon. I didn't swim any warm up (I didn't want to give away my secret, which was, that there was no secret, I couldn't freestyle but 20 yards!). Instead, I just waited until the gun went off and was amazed to see people swimming all over one another. I wasn't remotely interested in partaking in that insanity! I just stayed back and then once the road was clear, I started breast stroking ferociously. Without any thought to form, I just hammered out the strokes as fast as I could. It was great for sighting, terrible for energy conservation...but at least I could breath which was my issue during freestyle.

Ten minutes later (400 yard or so swim), I emerged victorious (who cares how the rest goes, I just made it out, alive!!). I ran to my trek road bike, and of course, changed into my bike shorts first, before heading out for 7 miles. Once again, I road with reckless abandon and couldn't believe how many people were both in front of me (I must have been almost dead last), and how many people I was passing. I wasn't saving anything for the run, heck, that was my strong point so whatever happens, happens on that part! I saw Kyle a couple of times, and he would say things like "you look strong" and I would think, "compared to what??" We had no point of reference! It was still nice though.

A picture of my second triathlon, YMCA Sprint at Moraine State Park July 20, 2005 - Look I learned in one months time to ride in my bathing suit (which was embarrasing, but people said that was what you just did!) I almost wrecked getting my bike to stop (you had those dang lines they wanted you to stop before crossing, weird?) and then I racked it and tried to figure out what I would need to run. Race number, check, hat, check, just wear the bike shorts, check, shoes, check, ok.. that's good enough, I'm off! I sped out of T2 like my shorts were on fire. This 3.1 mile run was going down. I didn't see many people so I started wondering if I was still on the right course. I asked one guy and he said yes, as we huffed & puffed up this hill. It was definitely a hilly run, and my legs were tired, very tired from just not being trained for this type of activity, but I was so used to running hard, I didn't think much about it. I passed a few women but wasn't sure where I was place-wise, nor did I care! It was my first triathlon and it seemed to be going well! Splits, no idea what I ran (probably around 21 minutes). I saw Kyle and I really started sprinting it in, and when I ran by, he yelled, "you're first, push it all the way in!!!" I was excited and surprised but most of all, I was elated to see the finish line, this triathlon stuff was tougher than just running.

After the awards, Kyle and I went to Sears & the Bon Ton (department store in a small Macy's here people), to register for our wedding. On my arm still remained my number written in black sharpie. At one point, since I was wearing a tank top thrown on my sweaty body after the race, a store employee asked "WHY I had that number on my arm??" I said, I did my first triathlon today. He said, "how'd ya do?" I just smiled and said, "pretty well." Right then and there I knew that day would not be my last tri, but the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Two Friends in 2005, second triathlon and the beginning of something they both grew to love!

Beth & Kim
So, here's to firsts, however scary or challenging. Firsts are always fun and exciting because they are just that. Go get em this weekend if it is your first, or your 117th. It's your day!! Have Fun!

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