My First Triathlon: Tejas Triathlon

author : chasinganima
comments : 8

I had only started training for about a month before I decided to try my first triathlon.  I'm 6'3", 325 lbs and still recovering from three ligament tears in my ankle from several months ago.  A few months later I felt strong enough to start working out again.  I had a background of being in the military as well as doing a lot of cycling, but that was almost seven years ago.  When I got out of the service I let myself go and stopped working out entirely. So I finally started hitting the gym a good deal, swimming and spinning as much as I could.  I ran on occasion, but as big as I am, I tried to keep it to a minimum. 

I originally was aiming to do my first triathlon in 15 weeks after some training, but I couldn't wait, so I went ahead and signed up for the Tejas Triathlon in Sugarland, Texas. 

The open water swim was surprisingly difficult, not because of the distance but I didn't realize how much of a mental game it was. There was so much adrenaline that my heart rate went through the roof before I even started swimming. I started in the way back and to the side away from most of the other guys. (I was in the Clydesdale category, of course.) Most of the guys swam really slowly so it wasn't long before I found myself in the thick of arms and legs. There were two guys that swam into each other right in front of me. There was also a guy that had to be removed from the water because he completely freaked out. There were people hitting my legs and I was worried about kicking someone in the teeth. The water was choppy and it was interesting trying to get a good breathe of air. Being that I was way overconfident about the swim, I started to have a little trouble myself, but was able to start breaststroking to compose myself. I really should have gotten some open water training beforehand.  600 yards took me about 15 minutes which is what I was aiming for.

The first transition took me a little while because I had no gas out of the water, so I walked to my bike after I tried to run for a second, but my legs were jell-o. I also had to check my feet for leeches...yes, LEECHES. It was not awesome.  I finally got on the bike and when I ran out of transition, my calf locked up on me and this poor little blonde girl was acting like she was going to catch me if I started to fall off my bike...I had to stretch for a second before I could go. The bike wasn’t bad, I was able to catch a second wind at about mile three or so. I puked at about mile six. I think I averaged about 20 miles an hour on the way back after the turnaround - which was kind of awesome for me, I was shooting for 15 mph overall average. The 11-mile bike took me somewhere around 40 minutes.

The second transition took awhile again because I had to use the bathroom. That, and my calves were completely ruined. I should have brought a change of socks for the run portion. I started jogging, shuffling, death marching, whatever you want to call it. My legs were...well...bricks. I guess that’s why they call it brick training, huh?  I ended up walking a lot. I did jog the majority though, it took me a pathetic 45 minutes.

It was really hard. I started laughing when I had a mile left to run, because I knew that every race would probably ALWAYS feel the same. No matter how good of shape I get, it will always be just as difficult. I’ll just swim, bike, and run faster.  There was an older woman who was in front of me about 400 yards from the finish line. I passed her and wheezed out a "Good job," on the way by.  She then turned up the heat and passed me!  She said, "Here comes the turtle!"  I laughed that this lady was messing with me, so I sprinted the last 100 yards.  It was great. 

I must say, I think I am hooked.  I went ahead and signed up for an Olympic triathlon and also went ahead and signed up for a 70.3 later on.

The funniest, and perhaps saddest, thing about all this is that I'm still 100 pounds overweight. On top of that, I only quit smoking two months ago. Most people could do this, probably much faster than I could. But the beauty of the event was the energy, to be around so many people who are so motivated and goal-oriented. Many of those athletes have stories very similar to this one. It blows my mind.  And in all honesty, I am very proud that I finished my first triathlon, but I think that the lifestyle change is even more important to me.  The confidence in knowing that I will be training tomorrow and the next day for bigger and better goals keeps me moving.  For the first time in a long time I'm hitting a groove that feels familiar, like there was a part of me that was there all along that couldn't wait to do what I am doing now.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself again.
 
Good luck to all of you in your endeavors.  There's nothing to it but to do it.
 
 
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date: February 27, 2014

chasinganima

Hiking, Biking, Swimming, photography, music.

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Hiking, Biking, Swimming, photography, music.

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