Climbing a Mountain
Over the weekend I added a new title to the list of things I am (wife, mom, daughter, etc). I am now a triathlete. I honestly never thought that was something I would say, but I completed the YWCA Minneapolis Women’s Super Sprint Triathlon yesterday with my Jen and it was nothing short of amazing.
I didn’t talk about this race much leading up to it. A few weeks ago, Jen and I went to an open swim event that was held at Lake Nokomis (where the race was taking place) to get familiar with the lake and get some practice in. I have always been a fairly strong swimmer, but I haven’t done as much swimming in the last few years. I just assumed it would be no big deal. On the open swim nights you have the option to swim all the way across the lake. We decided we’d swim to the first buoy and back, it would be around 400 yards (200 was all that our swim was required, so we figured we’d be ahead of the game.) We got used to the water for a few minutes and then headed out. And it was WINDY that day so the water was choppy. There were also a lot of people swimming across the lake. I got tired on my front immediately so I flipped over on my back, but I kept getting away from Jen. And we were halfway to the buoy and I had a legitimate panic attack. I started feeling claustrophobic and I totally freaked out. Thankfully Jen was nearby and another nice girl we met up with also was nearby and they helped me back to the shallow water.
I came home that night and melted down, naturally. I told Nate I thought I made a mistake. The bike and run would be no problem for me, but what was I thinking about swimming? But then I calmed down, we talked about it and decided if I worked on my swimming for the next few weeks, I would be able to do this. I just had to get back to basics. So just a couple of days after that day we went to a pool and I worked on just swimming laps in a pool and my body remembered how to swim again. Then I made sure to get back into the lake, I went to a quieter, calmer beach near our house and that helped a ton as well. I kept practicing every few days. I started feeling more ready and more excited the closer the event came.
Yesterday was the big event. We arrived at Lake Nokomis nice and early and set up our transition area. Our wave was at 9:00, so we were one of the last groups to go out. It helped immensely to see how the swim course was set up ahead of time. We just had to swim out 50 yards, swim across 100 yards and swim back 50 yards. Maybe it’s the Olympics. Maybe it was seeing all the other women supporting each other. Maybe it’s pure luck. But I owned that swim. They have noodle swimmers every so many feet so if you need to stop you can. We got 3/4 of the way before we took a breather. I didn’t panic once. The euphoria from that swim powered the rest of the race!
We ran out of the water and got on our bikes and did the 7 mile bike ride – boy was my behind sore by the end of that! It was so sweet, people who lived in the neighborhood came out into their yards to cheer us on. We finished the biking and then took on the 1 mile “run” – at this point we mostly walked it, but we definitely ran across the finish line. They had a really sweet thing you could do where your friends or family could cross the finish line with you, so Jen’s girls crossed with her and Ollie got to cross with me. I loved being able to share that moment with my little boy. He kept saying “Way to go mama!” which I’m sure was coached by Daddy, but I loved hearing that from him.
I got my results mailed to me almost right away and my official time was 1 hr, 28 minutes. I am amazed. I thought it would be over two hours for sure. It went by so fast. I am not sure I’ll be ready to move up to the full Sprint triathlon anytime soon, but I would definitely do the Super Sprint again next year. I’ll know what to expect and I can work on being an even stronger swimmer.
I have to give a huge shout out to Jen. I never would have done this at all if it wasn’t for her. She told me she was signing up and I was like, hmm, that sounds do-able, maybe I’ll try it. And after the disaster in July I honestly didn’t know if I could do it, but she encouraged me every step of the way, she didn’t make me feel bad for the night I freaked out, and she made training for it a ton of fun. It’s our “Friend anniversary” this week of when we met and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than having climbed this mountain together.