When the alarm went off at 5am I was already awake. Nervous, excited, anxious… This was the first time that I would ever even attend a Triathlon and this time I was competing. Hold on, I have to back up.
My girlfriend Pepper Nix called me up a few months ago and asked me if I wanted to do a Mini Sprint Triathlon with her in May. If you know Pepper, you know there is no saying no to her. Even though I was completely out of shape, had not swam a lap since high school and never rode anything more than a beach cruiser something inside me said, “go for it!” So she signed us up and it was time to get in shape.
So how do you get from 20 minutes on the elliptical to doing a Mini Tri? There were a couple tools that really helped me!
Must have iPhone Training Apps:
Couch to 5K – When I started training on (hold on let me check my couch to 5K iPhone App.) January 24th I could not run for a 1/4 mile without stopping to walk. I used to run but I would never push myself to take it to the next level. As I followed the couch to 5K program it would tell me when to walk and when to run. I was doing really well till about week 5 things starting getting really hard! That is when I finally broke through the limits that I had had with running for so long. I can not say enough about this program or the iPhone App! Thanks for turning me on to it Jenny Yee.
First Time Tri – another iPhone App that is really helpful to keep your training on track. It gives you a workout schedule based on when your race is.
Pepper Nix~ who signed me up for the race and also made a pact with me to stop drinking 6 weeks before the race. Even though she was not able to make it there is no way that I could have done it without her and there is no way I would have done it without her. She is will be at the next one in Redondo Beach with me!’
Jeremy aka my boyfriend ~ Jeremy was there to help me find a great wet suit, and encourage me in all the ways I needed to get me moving in the right direction! He also quit drinking with me 6 weeks before the race. Oh, AND he got up at 5am to go with me and take all the amazing images you will see of the race! Best boyfriend ever!
Jessi Stensland - My good friend Jessi is a Professional Triathlete. So when I called to ask her advise I assumed she felt a little like I would if I was giving someone advise on how to shoot their first wedding. I am so honored that she even took the time to answer all my stupid questions but I can not believe the great advise that she gave me. If you are interested in hearing the advise let me know and I will post it in a future blog post. So many things that helped me and made me feel so much better about what to expect and how to handle everything.
Simon Anderson ~ Do you see that INCREDIBLE bike that I am riding? Simon is not only the CMO of Pictage but on the side he is a cyclist and rep for an Italian Bike company. When I mentioned that I did not have a bike for the race he offered to let me borrow one of his. I was so excited and so grateful! I know my bike time had so much to do with this amazing bike! I still can not believe how light it is. I swear the water bottle that I stored in it was heavier than it was! I am a huge fan of Wilier bikes now. I guess I have yet another expensive new hobby. Simon, thank you so much for your generosity and kindness!
Josh Mercer – Josh works in my Studio as an Intern but has really become the younger brother I never had. Josh went with me the week of the race to do a couple trial runs and even swam with no wetsuit in Mission Bay just so I would not have to do it alone. Friends like that are hard to find and it was so great to have his support.
So here is how race day went…
I got up at 5am after shooting in LA the night before. Got up and grabbed everything, stopped at Starbucks and headed to the race. Got checked in, BTW VIP is the way to go, thanks Pepper! They had an assigned rack location and everything. It was sweet! I set up my transition area just the way that Jessi told me to right down to having my socks rolled up and ready to slip on.
Then it was time to check out the swim launch area. There was the area where the next group got ready and the area where the group floated in the water waiting to start their swim. The water was COLD! I am sure I do not have to say that but I had a wetsuit on and I was cold. Let me just say that if you have not swam in a wetsuit before it is completely different than swimming in a bathing suit. A lot harder to move!!!! However, since Josh and I had been out there a couple times already I was prepared…
I know, I look hot in a swim cap. I am considering making it a thing. What do you think?
So this is the thing that surprised me about the swim. I was told that if you are not a strong swimmer you should stay in the back so you do not get trampled. Great idea. I was totally up for that so that is what I did. I also let Jeremy know that I would coming out of the water towards the back as well. As we start to swim I start to pass people and feel like I am stuck. I guess with this sort of a Mini Sprint, they do not do much training and so I ended up being one of the strongest swimmers in my group. I was as shocked as you are right now.
I went so fast that Jeremy was not even ready for me when I got out of the water. I ran right by him. When he saw me he freaked out and started taking pictures of my running away. I spared you those shots
Next was the bike. My transition from the swim to the bike was WAY TOO SLOW but it is the hardest one especially when you are in a wetsuit. I will work on that.
The one thing that caught me off guard with how the race works with the biking part are the Mount and Dismount areas. So, since I do not ride a lot I had gotten then things that your feet slip into instead of shoes and all that good stuff. It is a good medium but I was still getting used to getting in and out of them. The ride went great and I was flying by some of the girls that were in my group and making up for lost time in the transition. Then as I got into the stretch before you enter the transition areas I was expecting the dismount area to be close to where the mount area was. It wasn’t. It was a lot earlier than I expected. No problem….my feet are not quite under me yet. They are still trying to figure out why they are not going in circles anymore. So, I get my right foot out, then go to slip my left foot out and it does not come out. So, I eat it at the dismount line. If you are a photographer you know that if and when something happens and you have an expensive camera in your hand everything hits the ground before you will let that camera hit the ground. It was pretty much just like that. I had never used such an incredible bike and I was not about to get a scratch on it so I made sure my body hit and then cushioned the fall for the bike. The guys at the bike shop seemed impressed when they gave it a clean bill of health but noticed all my scratches. Simon, if you are reading this the bike is perfect and I have the scars to prove it. ;)
With no time to waist I was straight out for the running section of the race. Although I trained the most for this part this was the hardest part for me. I am not a runner but I have been working really hard on it thanks to couch to 5K. My goal was to keep running no matter how slow I had to go and boy was I slow. It was the only part of the race that I watched people pass me on. Frustrating but it lets me know what part I need to work on the most.
And I crossed the finish line with a time of 55:22….3rd place in my age group! Again, just as shocked as you are right now!
Check out my killer wound from throwing myself under the bike.
If you are considering cycling, Wilier is an incredible bike. Weighs NOTHING! I think the water bottle weighs more than the bike. Amazing how light the Wilier is and how easy it is to ride for someone of any skill level! Thanks so much again for letting me borrow it Simon! Now I want one.
So, that is the whole story of my first Mini Sprint Triathlon. I have already signed up for a second one in Redondo Beach on June 13th. This time it will be a full Sprint Triathlon and Pepper will be joining me on this one! Come join us!!!!