Let me tell you the New Jersey State Triathlon is a great one! I had an amazing experience.
The last 6+ weeks I have been training for this day. This past week was a tough one. Mentally I couldn't stop thinking about race day. I was worried about getting checked in, figuring out the transition space, the swim, completing the race...you know....all the first time jitters.
I was thankful to pick up my race packet yesterday, see the lay of the land and attend the pre-race meeting.
I also enjoyed a tasty dinner with mom, dad and Billy. Meeting up with an old friend was just icing on the cake.
Today started off early...but I was ready.
We made it to the start ahead of traffic, I got my things situated in the transition area, and got to eat some breakfast. I headed to the water for the pre-race warm up swim just to get a feel for the water. It was warm, but worth getting in just to remind myself that I know how to swim. After that I was ready to go!
When my wave was called into the water, I got hugs and cheers from mom and dad. It made my day! I was so excited that I rushed in with the crowd...and forgot the tip of staying to the back of the pack. When we started, I was pretty much in the middle....and I tried freestyle, but kept getting bumped. So I went with my comfort zone of breaststroke. I knew I had the stamina for the swim, but being able to sight better with the breaststroke and have good look at who was around me was a good thing. It was then that I remembered my original game plan: get through the swim, enjoy the ride and embrace the run. I had decent speed with the breaststroke and knew that I would get to the end of the swim not winded.
As I ran out of the water my family saw a smile on my face. I think I was smiling because the swim was over...but I was also smiling because I was having a good time. I was doing my first triathlon!
It took a bit to get the bike shorts over the wet bathing suit, but as I did my family cheered from the other side of the transition fence. Everything was laid out just right for me and sitting down to get that gear on was worth it.
The bike ride went smoothly. I was worried about passing and being too close to riders in front of me, but it all went well. I sipped on gatorade and when I knew I was just about done with the ride, I took my gel pack with some water so I wouldn't have to deal with it on the run.
At the end of the ride I had a quick transition to the run....with more cheering from my family.
The run course took me right by Billy and my dad for some great photo ops and fun video.
The run in a word was HOT! I had hoped to really enjoy the run, seeing as that is my strong suit, but I just ran and thought of as many cool things as I could. I walked through water stops to continue hydrating and to keep as cool as possible and then just kept running. I didn't want to push to hard and get overheated...my goal was to finish. I was hydrated enough that I could keep going. As we hit the last stretch, I was excited that I was completing my first triathlon! Just before the last turn a woman shouted, use it all, don't take it home with you! And I thought...heck yeah...and I kicked in for the last bit! I came around that corner pumped and ready to finish...I caught sight of my family and my smile took over my face, my arms went up and I was so excited!
My two goals going into today were to finish and to finish in less than 2 hours. I'm happy to say I finished feeling AMAZING and I did it in under 1 & 1/2 hours! Woo hoo!
A HUGE thank you to mom & dad for driving down, for the pre and post race meals and for being amazing spectators!
A special thanks to Billy, the best husband and personal race photographer there is! Love you, babe!