The results are in.
370 m swim: 9:27
Yes, this is a horrible picture of me. No one ever said tri-ing was pretty. I want to be honest - that is about how I felt. I was a bit disoriented and just wanted to find my bike.
T1 (transition): 1:26
9.5 mi bike: 33:04
3.1 mi run: 32:57
TOTAL TIME: 1: 18: 20
The experience was ...indescribable.
I started the swim far outside the group to avoid the inevitable kicks and realized quite early that I was much farther out than I thought. I started back "in", but felt as though I was getting nowhere. And suddenly...I was done.
I felt surprisingly comfortable on the bike. We rode through scenic areas where the fog was still lifting and, to be honest, I almost felt peaceful. That is - until I dropped my water bottle. (No 'littering' is allowed per USTA rules - intentional or not.) I had to stop, run back and search through a grassy embankment to find it. It probably cost me at least a minute.
And the run? I don't think I found my legs until the second mile. But as it was an out-and-back course, I got to pass my hubby and two friends who were also competing.
I will continue to assert, though, that (at least my) triathlon experience is not about a swim, a bike, or a run.
I have learned how to be with discomfort. When you are in the middle of a lake and your only options are forward or down, you don't have much of a choice. I focused on my breath (remembering that it is always there for me), the meditative flow of the water around me, and the clouds floating gently above me.
Honestly, I freaked out at certain points, did most of the swim as breaststroke and side stroke, and drank a bit of lake water. But in the end, the shore and I met one another...and something I didn't think was possible was suddenly already completed.
I have learned of the camaraderie of triathletes. During the swim, I heard my friend who was in the water with me cheering me on. I had someone apologize to me - and I apologized to others - for the accidental bumps and kicks. When I took in a mouthful of water and choked a bit, I heard someone to my right (who was also in the middle of their swim to the shore) ask if I was alright.
I started cheering on others that I passed on the bike and joked about a car that was slowing us down with another biker. I got chills at the support that was being offered during the run, passing it along as I ran alongside a complete stranger who was going through this journey with me.
I am convinced that when we acknowledge we are all in the midst of trying, we realize how similar we are. It is easy to love another person when you realize what they are going through.
I learned so much more, but I feel the words are beginning to trip over themselves.
I will do another.
I encourage you, even if you never step in the water or on a bike, or if your feet never go faster than a walk, to try. Try it all. Experience the stories that life has to offer.
We're all headed towards the finish line. Why not enjoy the journey?
And hey - I'm cheering you on.