The Mid Summer Triathlon – through the eyes of Jenny.

My apologies – this will be one of those long posts. The kind-of post successful bloggers advise against. But for the sake of time and being sure to get this down, I’m going to just go for it. Is there a blog award for longest post???? If you bear with me, I promise to post a video in here somewhere in which I make a fool of myself as I demonstrate the sounds of a man I encountered during the swim who I have named, “The Blubbering Swimmer”.

In case you didn’t know – I did this:

I did it! I did It! And here’s proof I finished:

And I didn’t need one of these:

Let me start with the stats and splits:

  • Swim (.92 mile) – 28:01… 75th out of 183 overall (114 of that 183 were – MEN! Big, hairy MEN!)
  • Transition 1 (swim to bike) – 4:11… I ate 2 bites of banana in one bite, sipped on my water spiked with Amino Vital, dried off a bit, put on my socks and running shoes, almost fell over into my bike, and put on my helmet – not all in that order.
  • Bike (24 miles) – 1:22:55 – My time was better than the worst I thought I’d do, but after getting a new road bike, my MPH stayed pretty much the same as when I compete on my mountain bike – around 17.5 mph?. I dunno. I was told I’d gain 3-4 mph. “Whatever!”, bike shop guy. I finished 160th on the bike out of that 183. That frustrates me. I drank half of the water in my water bottle and threw back a packet of Gu at 30 minutes into the bike. I kept my heart rate between 163 and 170 – which is a good 10 beats higher on average than when I train.
  • Transition 2 (bike to run) – 2:42… I racked my bike, took off my helmet, pounded back another Gu pack, ate 1 more bite of banana and washed the Gu down with water. After ending the bike in 160th place, I entered the run in 138th. Yay for a speedy transition!
  • Run (6.2 miles) – 57:30 – which translates to an average of 9 minutes 15 second miles. I was pretty happy about this time because after swimming and biking for 2 hours… well, I could have died instead!
Now. Enough of the numbers. It’s time for the story!

The Night Before

I ate BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, jalapeno corn bread and BBQ beans… See the butter on that cornbread? Not a “racers” meal, but she was deeeeelish!

Things I added to my transition bag…

I attached my race number to my race strap…

I made sure I had my cap, timing chip, and numbers for my bike and helmet…

I gathered my fuel… Look – I made parenthesis out of my bananas!

I made sure dehydration would NEVER get a foothold on mah bawdy…

…and then I packed my 2 watches – they are a HUGE motivation for me. The blue watch helps me track my splits and the pink one keeps me updated on my heart rate…

Race Morning

A girl has got to eat!

I ate my favorite yogurt, Fage, topped with yummy granola (with dried blueberries and flax). I also had a banana with peanut butter. Then… a tall nonfat latte from the Celestial Sireeen. I hate to be graphic, but this sports stuff isn’t glamorous. I must have a cup of StarVixen coffee before a race if at all possible – for the *ahem* cleansing benefits… because nobody wants to have to go here:

or find a shrubbery mid-race, if one doesn’t have to…

Transition Preparation

First order of business – Body Marking!!! Left leg – race number. Right leg – age.

Rack the bike. Lay down the towel… put socks in shoes.

Now, I only had 1 pair of shoes – running shoes. My bike shoes didn’t come in in time. So… I put one sock in each shoe and then laid my towel on top. The idea is that – after the swim- I use the towel to dry-off, then I lay the towel down to sit on and put on my socks… then shoes… Socks first. You’d be amazed how stupid a person gets after a hard swim… At my first tri I made it nearly all the way to the bike-mounting area before I realized I had left my helmet at my transition area. My advice – even if it seems stupid to prep a certain way, do it. Your mind just isn’t all together when you push your body like that. Ok, maybe that’s just me…

The final “product”… I have the “fuel”, the liquids, sunglasses, a hat, yadda, yadda, yadda… let me show you what the guy next to me did:

He must have a secret, or he is a minimalist. Take a peek at his bike hydration-system:

A final transition picture:

Hey – look at the sky! That’s how it was the ENTIRE race! It was awesome!

The Swim:

I looked around at my peers – the men and women in  the yellow swimcaps that represented the 30-39 year-old age group. I was one of only a handful NOT in a wetsuit. The water was 67 degrees – coldish, but warmer than it was outside. Initially I felt dumb. Maybe they knew something I didn’t. Then I remembered what Dumblond told me in a comment, “You are hardcore!” I switched my self-talk from, “Golly-Gee” to “Those people need a wetsuit?! Wimps. I am so hardcore. I don’t need no stinkin’ wetsuit!” Kathleen – YOU need a wetsuit. YOU are hardcore. (People – Kathleen is doing her Very First Tri in 2 weeks – longer distances than this event here, and she’ll be swimming in the waters of San Francisco! Talk about hardcore! you go girl – go, go, go!!!)

My last words to my friend Katie before the swim start were, “Why do we keep doing this???!”

I started out in the middle part of the pack. I found a comfortable pace. I zig-zagged toward the first big white floatie a bit… but I managed to stay close to the path. After the first turn I settled back into a nice pace and found myself sandwiched between two male competitors. One passed me, only to have me pass him soon after… and he never regained his lead. That’s right. The other… I have named him – “The Blubbering Swimmer”.  Before my first turn I heard a sound. I couldn’t figure it out. But as I gained on this man after the turn, I discovered it was him. There is no way for me to adequately communicate the sound in written word, so I have made a video of the sound I listened to for a good 20 minutes…

The Bike

I headed into the bike with no problems. The problems came when people started passing me. Pass. Pass. Pass… Grrr… I worked to keep my heart rate between 163 and 170. I could have pushed harder, but I wanted to be careful not to fatigue my legs too much, for I still had a 6.2 mile run – that’s all. At 1 hour and 7 minutes into the bike, a lady passed me. I saw the age written on her leg – 35. I thot, “No she di’ent!” And then, she kept getting further away. Then I said to me, “Well, it took her an hour and 7 minutes to catch me after I prolly left her in my waves in the swim. Yeah. I showed her.” At 1 hour 22 minutes and 55 seconds, I finished the 24 mile bike – also forever known as the “Let’s Pass Jenny Fest”.

The Run

After a lengthy time on the bike, one’s legs tend to feel like… anvils. Heavy, yo. Something about lactic acid… Whatever. I was quite pleased though. The “anvil” stage seemed to passed quickly and summa those people who passed me on the bike, got passed by me on foot. Now, I don’t mean to communicate that I did this with great physical ease… nor was I quiet about it.

I started out the run near 2 men – one older, one probably my age. We chatted a moment and without effort I slowly eased ahead. I almost felt bad. Then I just felt strong! I saw a lady up ahead who had passed me in the bike. I felt it was too early to push for a pass, but my legs kept a steady pace and before I knew it I was hacking and breathing loudly – causing her to look back at me. I said, ‘it’s OK, I’m not dying.” She said, “Oh make all the noise you want, because I AM!” We laughed and I scooted on by.

After a short distance I saw my fellow 35 year-old… the one who passed me on the bike. I was all, “OK, I am gonna kinda need to catch up with her. I wonder if her run is as strong as her bike…” Just before the Mile 1 marker, I passed her. Boo-ya!

Through the next 5 miles I counted to 8 over and over and over. This is what I do when I get “to the end”. Yes, I sang Kanye’s “Stronger” in my head, but 10 sets of 8 counts helped me keep a rhythm and a faster pace than my head music. I play a game – I wonder if I can get to “that tree” in 10 counts of 8… “that sign”… “the water station”…

Mercy. I forgot about the .2 part of the 6.2 miles. 6 miles – no problem. 6.2 – that’s wrong. What is up with the .2 miles of hell? The people could have cut that out. It’s like almost 2 WHOLE MORE MINUTES for a girl like me. You think you’re done… and then… not so much! Gah!

It was with .1 miles to go that two women stood to cheer theur husbands on. “Woohoo, baby! You’re so hot! You’re so strong!” Then they turned to me and whisper-shouted, “You go girl – beat our husbands – you HAVE to beat them!”

At 6.2 miles – I finished, before “The Husbands”…

It took me 57 minutes and 30 seconds. After I crossed the finish line… I nearly fell over as I put my leg on one of those boxes up there… A helper-person removes the timing chip from the racers’ ankles. I had to stand for a few moments to gather my balance. Once the chip was off, I received my medal and a bottle of water and I cried. Then my husband was there to hug me and I had to pull away because I had one heck of a time catching my breath. That whole “it feels like my throat is closing up” thing. What a pain!

Remember that lady I passed – the 35 year-old just before the mile 1 marker? She came up to me moments after we finished and said, “I just couldn’t get cha. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it!” I laughed, touched her shoulder (I still couldn’t get my balance!) and said, “I knew you were back there. You passed me in the bike… I knew you were there. Thanks for the awesome competition.” Guess what people? She finished her run 30 seconds behind me, but her overall time… 4 TENTHS OF A SECOND BEHIND ME!!! 4. Tenths!

My overall place – 127… out of 183. Not the best, not the worst, and given the fact that I trained less for this event that sprint triathlons I have done in the past…I am happy. I finished and I finished hard. I pushed the whole way and came out uninjured. I was pretty sore yesterday, but feel only hints of muscle soreness today.

And since I haven’t posted enough pictures, here is one more… oh the memories…


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28 Responses to “The Mid Summer Triathlon – through the eyes of Jenny.”

  1. Julie Leung says:

    Hurray! Great pics!

  2. Kate says:

    Loved getting all the details from A to Z. Very cool indeed.

  3. Average Jane says:

    Wow, what an impressive accomplishment! Way to go!

  4. This was AMAZING to read! I will never, ever do anything like this in my life, but thanks to your wonderfully written post, I feel like I WAS THERE!

    All your preparation was incredible. I suppose there are resources to learn what to pack, eat, do, etc, right? Or did you work that out yourself?

    I am in serious awe. And you know what? This post could’ve been EVEN longer, it was that good.


  5. Coffee to go to the bathroom! Totally agree with you on that one.
    Works like a charm 🙂

  6. sarah says:

    Good for you! My boyfriend did a tri last year it’s all very exciting! I love that you named your bike lollipop!

  7. dumblond says:

    You used my mantra!!! I feel so honored.
    I love the play by play. My cousin never gave me the play by play when she did her IronMans.
    Booyah! Say it with me everyone…
    Jenny. Is. HARD! CORE!

  8. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the details! Awesome you girl! Be proud … you worked hard for it.

  9. Kristie says:

    Gosh, I have goose bumps just reading this. What an awesome ‘long’ post. I totally think you should win an award for the longest, most inspirational post. Way to go, Jenny!

  10. Liz Jamieson says:

    That was a great post – and really deserves to be somewhere like Hubpages or Squidoo – try re-writing it to go on one of those, and link back to you blog for even more popularity. (You have to re-write to avoid duplicate content on the web).

    Does everyone put their ages on their right leg? Do you have to be a tri-athlete to do that? I am going to write 19 on my right leg, right now.

    Well done! I think you west coast girls have all the fun.

  11. Chris says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! That is amazing and a great post to make the rest of us feel as though we were there as well.

    I totally laughed at Liz’s comment- let’s all stop and go write our ages on our right legs. Hilarious!

  12. congrats! its like a midsummer nights dream!

    ha…ok not funny.

  13. brit says:

    You so totally rock! Awesome. I’ve never been able to get up the guts to do a tri, because of the swim, I”m terrified of drowning. having said that you are awesome…(i’m repeating the important parts in case you are still tired!) and inspiring. You go girl

  14. Katie says:

    Oh wow, you are an inspiration, girl! I’ve thought about doing a triatholon, but I’m a terrible swimmer and probably would never make it to the biking and running!

  15. Kathleen says:

    Jenny, in my book you’re speedy gonzales! If you’re free August 23rd head on down to Santa Barbara and join me in my event – I plan to go about HALF your speed. It’ll be like a saunter for you.

    I feel totally prepared for my race now that I’ve seen your great pics and detailed review. I’m definitely going to follow your suggestion about laying stuff out just so. Good stuff!

    Tell me more about Amino Vital…

    Love the medal and the pic of you and Lollipop – all I can say is you must be a stud cyclist doing that kind of pace on a mountain bike before acquiring your road bike!


  16. Aunt Robin says:

    Uncle Dave and I are TOTALLY AMAZED with your finish!
    You ROCK!!! NO, I don’t think those water bottles would
    make YOUR butt look big…maybe mine!
    Totally Love ya Lady!

  17. Kristabella says:

    Loved the pics! It breaks up all those word type thingys.

  18. jenny, you are a goddess! there is nothing more to say.

  19. jubilee says:

    Way cool. Now, I wanna do one. How do I start?

  20. Bubba's Sis says:

    Don’t get your legs mixed up – you might get in the wrong race AND be older than you really are!

    I’ve said it before and I say it again – You. Rock. Amen.

    LOVE the blubbering swimmer re-enactment! Gonna go try that in my sink now. Then go to bed. Because reading all that? Made me tired.

  21. Heather* says:

    awesome girl! seriously awesome. i don’t think i could do more than a 5K.

  22. Ry says:

    You truly inspire me girl. Rock the hell on!! Amazing!

  23. D... says:

    Wow. I need a nap now. That is truly amazing. You are an All Star Rocker.

    I think I might have had to elbow the Blubbering Swimmer. Good grief, sounds like that get on my nerves.

    I hope you remembered to put your socks on & then your shoes! 😉

    Congrats again!

  24. Cousin D says:

    I agree with the last post! I need a nap!! That is awesome!!


  25. Lisa says:

    Girl. Sweet. Loved the longness of the blog. It was quite the journey. You rock. Pictures were great, blubbering swimmer demonstration a total bonus. No wet suit needed, fa real. Next time go in a thong and some pasties. That’ll show ’em how tough you are. Congrats!

  26. jenny says:

    Lisa – you just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit! A thong and pasties?!!! I’d never do that to My Public!

  27. nanette says:

    Love this, although it made me tired just reading it!

  28. Chuck says:

    Whoa! What is with the big, hairy men comment? On the East Coast, we triathlon “completers” are neither big or hairy. Having started to race myself last year, I found myself nodding in agreement with your recap. The 70 year old man who stood next to me in just a Speedo at a race last year is forever burned into my brain. If you want to see how you should train for a tri swim, go to YouTube and search for Clif Bar Triathlon swim. It is quite funny.

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