Last Updated on September 27, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
I survived triathlon #4, ocean swim #1!
Saturday night, I threatened Hope that if she didn’t show up to my house by 4:30 am Sunday morning, I was leaving without her. Good friends make threats to get other good friends out of bed on time. So imagine my surprise, when my alarm did NOT go off (what’s with alarms in my house lately?) and by the grace of God, I randomly woke up at 4:18 am. I jumped out of bed screaming something about the alarm, the triathlon, Hope is going to kill me, etc. Have you seen the movie “Home Alone”? The first one, not the many sequels, when the parents jump up out of bed realizing they forgot to set the alarm, and everyone runs around like crazy….that was me this morning. Except instead of packing for a Christmas vacation in France, I was tossing swim caps and water bottles around. Poor Rich looked bewildered, haha.
Hope showed up, we couldn’t get the bike rack on her car, or two bikes IN her car, so we ended up caravaning…..straight to Wal-Mart. I forgot to get the bananas I volunteered to bring, so Wal-Mart at 4:50 am it was. The place was a ghost town, and the looks on the faces of the employees when I wheeled a cart of JUST 6 big bunches of bananas around was priceless. One employee asked “what’s with the bananas?” I told her “they are for a race” and she says “I don’t even want to know….”. I have no idea what kind of “race” she was imagining…I’m not sure I want to know either, haha.
Anyway, we made our way down to Garden City for the fantastically free triathlon hosted by our local triathlon club. Let me tell you, they put on a race that rivals one you would pay an arm and a leg for, only it’s completely free and completely run by volunteers from the club. We are so lucky.
This was Hope’s very first ever triathlon, and she was a nervous wreck. Two peas in a pod we are! I remember feeling/acting the very same way for my first tri. We racked our bikes. I showed her how to set up transition. We walked over the dunes to check out the ocean. We listened to the pre-race directions. And JUST as we were grabbing our caps and goggles to head down to the beach we heard a loud…
Her front tire blew.
MEGA kudos to our local cycling experts/bike shop Grand Strand Bicycles. Tim basically said “don’t worry, I’ve got it” and fixed her bike while we were out swimming.
So we headed down to the beach. It was a point to point swim, so we had to walk 500 yards South. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I expected to be. I think these local races have been a HUGE asset to my training, because they are basically a free for all. You do what you want and what you can. No one is going to bat an eyelash or think less of you if you swim a few yards out and say “yeah, no thanks”. We were counted (gotta make sure just as many come out as go in!) and the horn was sounded. Off we went. Of course the go-getters sprinted, but I meandered on out until I was about chest deep, then started to swim.
|Not the last in the water this time! Aren’t you proud?|
And that’s when it hit me. The realization that , even though I’ve spent more cumulative hours in the ocean than probably most of you reading this, I’ve never “swam” freestyle in the ocean. Ever. And it’s a heck of a lot harder than it looks. While we were well past the shore break, the rolling motion of the waves completely threw me off. I panicked. I thought about turning back even before I hit the first buoy. I kept pushing however, and once I got there, it got *somewhat* easier. Not much. Thank you King Neptune for a decent current in the same direction we were heading. I think I used just about every stroke invented on that swim. Breast stroke. Crawl. Back stroke. Doggy paddle. I seriously debated quitting about 5 times, and then on the last time, I flipped back over from the back stroke and realized I was closer to the finish than I was to the start. Must. Keep. Going.
That was the hardest…yet fastest (current, not my technique, I promise you that) 500 yards I’ve ever swam. When I could FINALLY touch the ground again, I let out a huge sigh of relief, and could not get over how freaking exhausted I was. I slugged back up to the dunes with Hope (how fun that we stayed side by side without even realizing it!) and was shocked that I wasn’t the last out of the water. There was still a hand full of people out there.
|Proof I rode in aero!
Even if it’s a butt shot
I REALLY pushed for the last stretch, and completely forgot about that great tip everyone is always telling me….drop into an easy gear and let your legs really spin for a few hundred yards before T2 to get your legs ready to run. Instead, I just hammered right into the finish line. Whoops!
|Do not fall. Do not fall. Everyone is watching, do not fall!|
The 3 mile run was hard. There’s no nice way to put it, it sucked. Here’s my list of excuses:
1) the swim kicked my butt, so I was tired.
2) I pushed hard in the bike, so I was tired.
3) I ate a donut…and only a donut…for breakfast. So I crashed. Yeah, I know better. No, I don’t know what I was thinking.
|hallelujah the finish line!|
I made it to exactly 2.4 miles before I had to stop and walk a few times. I had nothing left. All i kept thinking to myself was “holy hell you have to do 13.1 miles after a ride 4X as long in October. I was so happy to see that darn finish line.
3.0 miles, 28:36, 9:31/mile avg. Not my best 3 miles.
But….did I mention I actually swam the entire swim?
Total time: 1:26:25. Honestly, I have nothing to compare that to, so we’ll just say, I’m happy with it, haha.
Now it’s time to seriously buckle down. Exactly 9 weeks until Rev3 Anderson 70.3. What I need to focus on:
1) Swim. Swim. Swim some more. The good/bad news: the club lost access to the gator pond we had been practicing in, so we now will be swimming in the ocean. I guess if I can get the ocean open water swim down, a lake will seem MUCH easier.
2) Nutrition. Figure it out.
3) Continue working on the bike mileage
4) Don’t forget to run!
|Ferdinand the Bull Kestrel. Together, we’re going places 😉|
|Hope, the newest triathlete on the block!|
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.