My First Triathlon

Yesterday I did something I never thought I do in my entire life… I did a triathlon!

It was an indoor triathlon because April in Ohio is cold! I wondered how it was going to work because how can you do a triathlon inside? Well basically you swim for 20 minutes, take 10 minutes to change into close for bike riding. Then you do ride an indoor bike, I call it spinning, for 20 minutes. After that , take a five minute break to change into running shoes and run around the track for 20 minutes. The way they determine who wins each section is by how far you make each section in 20 minutes.

They add all the sections together to determine the winner.

I was very apprehensive about signing up, especially because I didn’t think any other women had signed up. I don’t swim laps, just usually play in the pool. And I’m not a fast runner. But when I found out there was a relay team of women some of my new, I decided I’d try it.

For swimming, I was unprepared, I borrowed some goggles (I never use goggles before my life) and found out that that was a real advantage. No water flying into my eyes!

The first lap was very difficult for me because I really didn’t have a rhythm or a stroke. The last time I really swim for any kind of length was back in the 70’s when I was a teenager. Hanging out in the hot tub, it is not really the right way to prepare for 20 minutes of swimming. I started by combining the American crawl with sidestroke, but switched into backstroke with breaststroke. None of them were pretty, but I managed to just keep going. There was someone counting my laps. And best of all lots of people cheering me on. I think I came in last, but that really doesn’t matter. I did it! I really did it! (I sound like Sally Fields.) What an accomplishment!

The biking part I was least worried about it, because I’ve been doing a lot of bicycling lately. They had the resistance set to the same amount for every single person. I was a little worried about getting the petals started because I thought they were going to have the resistance down a lot harder, but it wasn’t too bad. I use a heart monitor so I just kept my heart rate steady so that I could just keep going on an even amount each time. I tried to keep my heart rate at around 155 BPM or and the bike monitor RPMs around 70 or 75 or so. My heart was still really going from the pool.

The music was great a big advantage! “Proud Mary Just Keep Rolling” is one of my favorites for bike riding.

I peaked over at the guys monitor next to me and saw 13. Then I looked at mine at three. Psych! He had his set for minutes, while mine was sent to miles. “Note to self don’t peek at anyone else just try to do your own personal best.”

I had eaten half a banana before the bike ride, and ate the other half while changing into my running shoes. I wasn’t too tired, it was kind of exciting being in a race. The way this section of running worked was a person was in charge of counting the number of laps that I did. So when it was time I started running trying to not go too fast at first. Again I use my heart monitor to try to keep it at a certain level so that I didn’t burn out too soon. For me that was at 155 to 157 beats per minute.  Everybody left me! And it didn’t just seem that way –  one guy – an instructor at life Center – I think lapped me over and over and over he ran twice as far as I did so every lap he passed me. But he’s half my age too! Actually almost 1/2 my age.

The last mile I decided to really pour it on, this is where I think all the free classes that I’ve been attending the last couple years have made all the difference, because I could really do or felt I was assuming, that last lap. They gave me one more lap.  I came in four seconds finishing the lap before the time was up.

Next year I think I’m going to make a team so I can find a swimmer to swim for me and maybe even a runner to run that section and be part of a relay. I’m really hoping that there are a lot of other women over 50 who are willing to give it a try. I mean you can do anything for 20 minutes right!?!


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