I said it, so It’s happening… My First Triathlon

August 7, 2022

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“I’m gonna do it, I am going to complete a triathlon in 2023!”

I heard myself say the words & I couldn’t take them back! “I am going to complete a triathlon in 2023”! Since I said it out loud, there is NO turning back so I best get to training!

When I randomly blurted out the words above, Rich’s reaction was “but you have to swim, babe you are a NOT a swimmer. I don’t think it’s a good idea” Wait, what did he just say? He has always been there cheering me on, pushing me to make my goals happen, even when they seemed crazy, so why not this time? It wasn’t like he was trying to discourage me, he just seemed genuinely concerned and I couldn’t figure out why.

After I had a day or two to sit with his response, I decided to ask him about it. It turned out that he was worried about what would happen if I struggled in the water and he wasn’t there to help me.

To understand why he was so worried, let’s go back a few years to our honeymoon in Mexico. There we were, swimming in this beautiful sonata, when suddenly I became super claustrophobic and started to panic BIG TIME! I hadn’t inflated my life vest as instructed either, so when the panic set in, it was like I had completely forgotten how to swim or even doggie paddle. All I could think about was how close the stalactites above were to my head and how far from the nearest place to stand up I was. I could feel my chest tightening up and was becoming short of breath. Rich had to grab me and quickly inflate my vest for fear that I was going to literally panic to death (in other words, drown myself). Apparently that event had given him just a little PTSD.

After I explained that there would be help near by if I got into trouble, he was totally on board, offering to swim with me at the lake and help get me to my 750 meter open water goal, or just cheer me on from the boat with an ice cold seltzer in hand and one waiting for me when I finish my workout.

When the weekend rolls around, he is up early to ride with me or remind me that I better get outside for my run before it gets too hot. I’m certain he would be training 100% with me if he hadn’t had several knee surgeries ending his running fun.

I’m semi prepared for this challenge, I can run (at the speed of a turtle) and I can handle the cycling portion as long as I keep adding a mile here and there to my routine. The real challenge for me in this section will be running 3.1 miles immediately after riding my bike 17.5 miles. Have you ever tried to run after dismounting from a long bike ride? It’s tough! Time to start adding some bricks to my workouts. A “brick” means combining back to back tri exercises like running immediately after riding. I think they call it a “brick” because your legs feel so heavy after a long ride that it’s a lot like running with bricks on your feet.

That swimming leg though… It’s going to be new territory and a heck of a challenge. I suck at swimming! I mean if I fell off a boat I wouldn’t exactly drown, I can tread water or swim a short distance if I’m being chased by a shark, but the last real swimming I did was when I was 11 at summer camp.

Anyway, here goes I guess! My first full week of training is in the books!

Training Week 1:

Sunday: I swam a whopping 127 Meters in 3:49 minutes. not much, but a vast improvement from the previous week of only 38 yards. My arms were worn out but the cardio rush was amazing for such a short swim. I think I may grow to love swimming.

Monday: Rest Day – a simulated running drill to improve my form (thanks Instagram) I had no idea that running form made such a big difference!

Tuesday: Bike 12.5 miles – time 1:12:27 It was a fairly easy ride, hot 90+ by the time I got out there, and windy but I honestly could have kept going if I wasn’t starving.

Wednesday: Strength training & Run 20 minutes – 1.9 miles ran & I beat my best 1 mile time by 7 seconds. I practiced better form, and noticed that not only was I faster, but my joints felt less stressed so those running simulations paid off.

Thursday: simulated Swim 10 minutes, more running simulation & stretching.

Friday: Rest Day, Foam rolling and some light yoga. My shoulders were on fire from the fake swimming yesterday so that foam roller was heavenly torture.

Saturday: Brick: Bike 7.5 pace 11.4 mph, Run 1.27 miles – my pace was way slower 10:42 per mile- . Open water 196 meter swim at the lake later in the day I had over worked my triceps two days before and they were on fire! Although what I had for dinner night before didn’t sit well with my stomach during the run, cutting the distance short to avoid having to make a mad dash into a random hayfield, my bike pace increased by .6 mph and I swam almost 80 meters further than last time out, so I will take the progress as a win. I earned every sip of that Seltzer today!

That’s a wrap for week 1! Now back to listening to Triathlon for the Every Woman – an audible find that is super encouraging, especially for this newbie! It’s a total “If this woman could do it, then I can do it for sure” kind of book.

Cheers ~ Crystal

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  1. The Omil says:

    You’re not alone – most new triathletes (me included) dread the swim. For me, there are too many moving parts in the swim – I have found some lessons really helpful and if you’re heading for a longer open water swim, practice sighting! Good luck.

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone with the struggle and dread of swimming. Sighting is for sure something I need to practice. I can’t believe how hard it it so swim in a straight line! I am definitely going to need some lessons / coaching when it comes to swimming, right now I know I’m over working my body just to get though 100 meters. Thanks again for the encouragement and advice!

  2. The Omil says:

    I can swim in a straight line – it’s just that when you put all the straight lines together they make a depressing zig zag. You’ll get there.

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