I am SO tired.
It feels GREAT.
Today I finished my 2nd Olympic triathlon (1500m swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) and I SMASHED it.
I only started doing triathlons last spring. I never would have even considered doing them had I not watched my husband do one the year before. Before that, I thought people who did triathlons must be MAD. When I saw my husband do one, I thought, “That looks like so much fun!” I was very anxious before my first sprint triathlon last spring (400m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run). But the moment I got out of the water (it was a pool swim), I was absolutely loving it! It was like I had finally found my sport.
I did a few sprints last spring/summer and then another sprint at the beginning of June this year. That June one was when I did my first open water (lake) swim. I cried on the way there because I was so anxious about swimming in a lake and not having a pool wall to touch every 30-50 meters (depending on the pool size). It wasn’t easy at all and I had to breaststroke through much of it. But since then I joined the local triathlon club and started going to their weekly lake swims. I hate the cold water but I’m now perfectly fine with the continuous swim. It can still be a bit of a mind-fuck. I get REALLY bored. I don’t always see the buoys. The sun sometimes blinds me and I have no idea if I’m going in the right direction. But I get it done without crying.
I did my first Olympic triathlon this past July, almost immediately after Ramadan. I only signed up for it about a week before the race. I trained throughout Ramadan despite the fasting, but not with a triathlon in mind. I was training only to maintain fitness. Luckily, the distances I was trying to maintain for swimming and running were close to Olympic triathlon distances. I was only doing half the cycle distances while fasting because more than 20km while fasting is too much of a challenge. I did everything possible to take in enough calories and fluids when I broke my fast every day. But by the end of the month, I’ll have to admit I was a bit depleted. I still did my first Olympic triathlon very shortly after. And I did really really well compared to my abilities.
But today, TODAY, dude, I completely smashed through all my own expectations.
Taking into consideration my time from the July triathlon, I gave myself the goal of trying to inch towards a particular time. I did not expect at all to get to that time. But I wanted to get closer to it.
Guess what I did?
GUESS WHAT I DID!
I surpassed the time I wanted to merely edge towards by a whole four minutes!
Do you have ANY idea how proud I am of myself?
My absolutely amazing time is only amazing compared to me, by the way. Out of nine women in my age group, I was fifth. Out of 282 people who completed the race, I was 215th. So, you see, I’m not a fast triathlete in any shape, way or form. Do you think my head believes that? NO. My head believes I’m an absolute superwoman. I really am! You know why? Because I keep on training, I keep on improving, and I keep on beating my times!
I wasn’t anxious about today’s open water swim. I should have been. It was HORRENDOUS. The water temperature was great. There were absolutely no weeds in the water like there have been in the other lakes I’ve been swimming in. But I couldn’t shake off the swimmers! I got punched in the face so many times. One of those times I thought I’d lose my teeth. No kidding! I really checked to see if any of them had become loose. Every time I reached a buoy, someone from behind tried to climb on top of me and push me under. At one point, I had inhaled so much water that I had to stop and gag it all up. I think it was that point that I really thought this wasn’t going to work and I’d just have to give up. But did I? NO. I told myself that I knew I could do this distance and that I would just keep moving my arms until I did just that. Despite all that crap, I still beat my swim time from the last triathlon!
I really wanted to beat my transition time this time. Last time it was way too long. I knew I could cut off some time if I could speed that up. And I did. Not by a lot. But enough. Last time I didn’t wear socks. Big mistake. I got tons of blisters on my feet from the run. This time I decided to take just a couple seconds extra to put on socks during the first transition. It worked. No blisters! And I still beat my previous transition time.
I was a bit out of breath when I got on the bike and it took me a few minutes to find my stride. But once I did, it was GREAT. I was able to overtake a few people. And a few people overtook me. But I felt really good on the bike. We had 18 mile/hour winds today. It felt like much of those winds were head and side winds. Near the end of the ride my right gear broke as well. But it broke on a decent gear and I could still jump between the three big left gears. So it was fine.
Last time, when I got off my bike after cycling for 40km, my legs were trashed and I really suffered through the run. My main aim during the run last time was not to stop running and start walking. There were so many times last time that I really wanted to just walk like other people I saw walking. But I didn’t. I was really proud of myself because of that. This time, my legs were in a pretty decent condition after the bike ride and I didn’t have the pain I felt last time. I was just a bit tired, which is understandable, but I kept a pretty decent pace compared to my normal 10km runs that aren’t preceded by a swim and then a bike ride. The sun was out and it was warm, but the winds made the heat not feel so bad.
When I reached the blue rug that led us to the finish line, a stretch of perhaps 100 meters, a runner I had passed earlier started running by my side. I let out an arrrrrrrrgggggghhhhh. I’m not kidding. I really did. The guy chuckled. He was running at a good pace. He seemed to almost hesitate when I couldn’t keep up. I said, “Go on,” and he did. I sometimes do interval training with our running club and our trainer has taught us to ALWAYS end our runs with a sprint finish. So I did. The guy who had passed me didn’t do a sprint finish. I beat him across the finish line! He came up to me afterwards and gave me a strong handshake. I love, love, love triathletes.
I might not be fast compared to other people, but I’m getting faster than me!
I might not be stronger than other people, but I have killer mental strength.
I will never compete professionally, but I might as well have won a gold medal today at the Olympics. THAT is how proud I feel today of my achievement.
I finished today’s triathlon still feeling strong (despite an iliotibial nuisance that started to show its ugly self near the end of the run). Within an hour, as we were driving home, I had started feeling the nausea from the effort I had made. I got home, showered, rested, and an hour later, was fit enough to eat. Now I’m back to feeling tired but amazing.
Now I can’t wait to start training again! But today and tomorrow I get some much needed rest.