I’m a triathlete!

After years of signing up for the race but never showing up, after months of training, last Sunday was D-Day: my first triathlon! (and not the last, I believe ;)) In the days leading up to the event I was a ball of nerves, questioning my reasons for singing up for this race, hating myself for not going swimming more often… and being afraid I was going to forget to bring something on race day. Now that the race is done and over with, here’s my first ever triathlon race report!

The Race

It was cold, rainy, windy. Not the kind of weather conditions I was hoping for my first race, but I just had to deal with it. This also meant I had to read up last-minute ‘racing in the rain’ tips online. I packed some plastic bags to protect my gear in transition, and hoped for the best! I signed up for the super-sprint distance, 250m swim / 10km bike (which turned out to be 11.5 km according to my Garmin) / 2.5km run.

The Swim

From the start it was clear I wasn’t going to finish the swim quickly. I stayed at the back of the pack, but I lost a lot of energy trying to keep up and somehow panicked a bit. About half-way, I was ready to call it quits, I was dead tired, out of breath, out of air. But I decided to keep going. I switched to a backstroke to get my heart rate to slow down, but also to calm myself down. I came out of the water several minutes after everyone else, under a thunder of applause from the spectators – so it is true that the people finish last always get the biggest cheers!

T1

T1 went pretty swiftly, but I was still struggling with catching my breath from the swim. I just decided to take my time. I was happy I protected my biking shoes and my helmet/Garmin/headband from the rain!

The Bike

The bike is my strongest and I was quite proud of myself when I managed to catch up with the girls before me, and even pass three of them! I gave everything I had on the bike, I rode an average of 27 km/h — I never kept such a high average speed ever during training!

T2

All was not lost, I could still avoid finish DFL (dead effing last) so I did as fast as I could in T2. I had trouble putting my running socks on. The combination tight socks/wet feet isn’t a good one. I have to reconsider my strategy for next time…

The Run

I wasted a lot of energy in the swim, gave everything else I had on the bike, so there wasn’t much left to give during the run. I had to alternate run/walk a couple of times, even though I’ve run the distance very often in the past without the need to walk. And unfortunately, the girls I passed on the bike passed me swiftly during the run, confirming my finish in the last place, MINUTES after everyone else!

The Summary

It’s clear I need to learn how to swim, and I also have to learn to pace myself and keep some energy for that pesky run at the end! But it was a FUN day, despite the rain, and it only motivated me to train harder for next year. This is my first triathlon, but not my last. And as some athlete friends rightfully reminded me:

DFL (dead effing last) is still better than DNF (did not finish), which is still better than DNS (did not start).

So yes, I’ve earned myself the title of triathlete. Regardless of how slow I was.

Récemment mis à jour5

Living an active lifestyle

I’ve led a very sporadic ‘active lifestyle’ from my youth to my adult life. I’d be out and about cross-country skiing during the winter, but spend the summer sitting on my behind. I’d play organised sports for a couple of years, but then I’d sit on the couch for the next five. Lack of motivation, teenage rebellion, caught in the whirlwind of studying or working. There was always an excuse.

In 2007 and 2008, when I was actively trying to lose weight by dieting and exercising, I discovered sports I loved and started to actually enjoy exercising. But then weight stall frustration, stress, work and health problems became yet other excuses for not burning calories. And we all know what happened next: I put the weight back on, AND THEN SOME. Which led me to taking the difficult decision to go under the knife for gastric bypass in October 2012.

The weight is definitely coming off now, but I know I’m in this honeymoon period where weight loss almost magically happens without too much efforts. When this honeymoon period is over, I know I’ll have to be more vigilant at managing my caloric intake and the amount of calories I burn through exercise, otherwise I will re-gain. And I really don’t want to go there!

What do I need to do then? I need to live an active lifestyle, I need to make exercising part of my daily life — not for a summer, not for a year, but until the end of my days. But it’s not easy. There’s work, and commuting to and from work, there’s my other hobbies, there’s my wonderful husband, there’s household chores, etc. Making it all fit is really a challenge. I’m sacrificing my other hobbies (I haven’t done any significant sewing for at least a year now), I’m setting clear boundaries in regards to work, and I’m trying to get the hubby to exercise with me, so at least it would count as quality time 😉

Lucky for me, I’m still in love with running, biking and swimming. I’m still enjoying my training sessions with my personal trainer. I’m still enjoying going to the gym. It hasn’t been easy lately because I’m suffering from anemia (happens often after gastric bypass) and my energy level is sub-zero, but I have to push through it. Otherwise, I’m going to find excuses again and I’ll end up on the couch.

The longest distance in any race is the six inches between your ears

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday, and there’s so much truth in it. And not only for marathoners or triathletes! We have to constantly fight this little voice in our heads that is telling us to give up, to stay on the couch, to be lazy, to push that training back to tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… And it’s hard. But it’s worth it.

With my first super-sprint triathlon only 3 months away now (gasp!), there’s no time for pushing back a training. I am going to the pool, I am going for a bike ride, and I am running. I’m not fast, I’m not ‘performing’, but I’m out there having fun doing it, and that’s the most important thing.

In my enthusiasm, I’ve even signed up for a 10K race in now less than 2 weeks! And I have a 5K race in June! And an 8K run in July! And my super-sprint triathlon in August! And today I signed up for a 10K in September! Having goals is what keeps me going. I don’t care if I finish last – I just want to finish 🙂

I’ll finish by inviting you to visit and like my Facebook page to get the latest updates on my workouts and my gear – because one thing I had to sacrifice lately is time for blogging 😉 I hope to see you there!