The Courage to be Last - My First Triathlon

author : tgurl
comments : 1

”Everyone can swim; show me what you can do.” She watched, I emerged and she said, “Oh! You really can't swim!”

In January 2005 my girlfriend, with whom I have worked out for several years, came up with the brainstorm that we should do a triathlon.


A couple of problems surfaced though:

  1. I couldn't swim,

  2. I'd never ridden long distance and

  3. I hated running.

“Hmmm,” I said, “Sure. Let the games begin.” We set our sights on the Binbrook Conservation Area, Sprint Triathlon, June 9 2005. I will never forget my first day in the pool. Chantal said, ”Everyone can swim; show me what you can do.” She watched, I emerged and she said, “Oh! You really can't swim!” 


During the witner, I read the articles, I practiced what I read, I ran on the treadmill and did spinning classes.

The spring came and I invested in "Spike," a secondhand road bike. I thought he was beautiful, black and shiny. I wasn’t prepared for the clipless pedals and eventualthe falls. I felt wobbly and unstable. I took Spike back several times to see if there was a problem and was told no, and that I would get used to it. I rode, I ran, I swam and soon it was June 9, 2005. We left London at 0600 and arrived at 0730. I looked around and the first thing I saw was a fellow with his trainer set up beside his car, warming up on the bike. Everyone looked like they knew what they were doing.

I stood on the beach with butterflies in my stomach. I had never swum in open water before. It was cold and dark and the swim began. Not a minute later it felt like someone swam over top of me. I made it to the first buoy, turned the corner and after about 100 yards, panic hit. I stopped, looked around and had no clue where I was—somehow I got turned around. This happened not once but three times. Finally the young man in the kayak came along and said, "You are going the wrong way again, just follow your right arm along the side of the kayak and we'll get this done." Needless to say, my husband thinks I doubled the distance of the swim and came out of the water last.

I was so glad to get out of that lake. I ran to the transition area and got on my bike. Although I was all alone, I was happy. I couldn’t seem to get up any speed, though, and plodded along. At the turn around the police officer at the end followed me back in his cruiser. I didn’t realize this at first until I tried to politely point at a pot hole that I was going to go around. The officer got on his megaphone and said “Don’t worry about that, I will follow you all the way in!” Also, on the way back, someone had alerted a small parish that I was the last rider and they came out to the roadway, about 20 of them, and cheered me on. Finally, I was back at the transition area and oh my! Jell-O legs. I didn’t know if I could run. I ran a few steps, walked a few steps and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. They closed the water stations as I passed by. About 200 meters from the finish I got that surge to sprint across the finish line. I felt on top of the world. I was as happy as the first place finisher I was sure of that.

I was proud. I had two goals that I had accomplished—one was to finish and the second was to finish before the awards ceremony. Many people laughed when I proudly told them I was last. Honestly I didn’t care. There was nowhere to go but up, and I had a new goal, Windsor on August 14, 2005. I found out after my ride that I had done the whole distance on the bike with my front brakes rubbing on the rim, perhaps the reason I couldn’t get up any speed and had terrible pain in my quads post ride. Live and learn, always do a safety check! Windsor 2005, was 34min faster than the first time. What an amazing experience, I can't wait for the next one! 


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date: October 2, 2005