Monday, April 21, 2014

I apologize this will be LONG- First Triathlon!

April 12, 2014 was a Saturday like no other a day that forever changed my life.  The Power of a Woman Triathlon could not have been more aptly named for what happened that day.  Our group had over 30 women from all backgrounds and fitness levels participating.

The forecast called for rain all week but that morning when Joanne and I left Brooklyn it was beautiful.  We loaded the bikes in the back of her car with a blanket between them to protect them.  We arrived to Eisenhower Park about 6am and it was much colder there than it had been in Brooklyn.  We were some of the first to arrive and the nerves really set in at that point.  Luckily our support system was already there and that really calmed me down.  This was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for Eagleman so I could basically learn how to be a triathlete and do transitions.  Jacky helped set up my stuff with my bike and after much back and forth with a few volunteers we finally got things situated. Who knew there was a specific direction your bike had to be pointing depending on what side held the X.  Well the more you know the better you are I guess.

The really good part about our group is that we know how to party.  The event power folks were playing music and of course we all started dancing to get the nerves out.  After our big team photo we headed to the pool area and Dereka and I got in two practice laps.  It felt great to get some laps down to get the nerves out but when I got out of the pool I was pretty freezing.  Jacky recommended I do a couple more laps to keep warm.  Then it was time to line up for the National Anthem.

 I lined up in the 10 minute group and felt nervous but pretty confident.  Well confident until the moment they told me, "Once she pushes off the wall you go."  I said, "Ok!." then promptly jumped into the pool with my goggles on top of my head.  I pulled them down quickly but of course they were filled with water.  Now back in January I did the same thing at the Chelsea pool and that time I immediately got out of the pool, freaked out and didn't go back in that day.  On Saturday I told myself, get to the other end, you MUST get to the other end.  I couldn't see much of anything just light and some shapes but I made it the 50 meters to the side of the pool, quickly fixed the goggles and then got to moving.

The pool set up was awkward as you swam down a length and then under the rope and back the opposite way.  I found it hard getting towards the middle as some people were taking rests and it was hard to figure out to navigate, I also felt every time I got into a rhythm it was time to stop and turn.  At the end I tried to sprint to the end but ended up boxed in between several other swimmers, I brought my head up and heard someone yell "Keep going KATRINA"  I have never put my head down so fast, I had no idea where I was going to keep going but I went back to swimming.  When I got out of the pool I didn't feel out of breath and I was really proud but things weren't over, time to run up to transition!

I always tell myself just don't fall when getting on and off,  I was successful!  I did not try to eat or drink on the bike though and I think that was a questionable move. Looking back I also didn't push myself at all for those 6 miles, I was busy thinking I better hold back for the run.  Our friends were on the side  line as I came back into transition which was a really good energy boost and also pressure not to fall off when I unclipped!

Coming out for the run all I could hear was Jacky saying "FASTER KATRINA".  I felt like I couldn't go any faster, it felt like the longest mile of my life.  Once I finally hit that mile marker I sucked down that water took a couple beans and got back to running.  It honestly felt I was running backwards at one point.  Once I saw that finish line though I started an all out sprint.  I realized I had SO much energy left.  I definitely did not leave it all out there on the course but for a first time effort I was HAPPY.  52:52, 8th in my age group


WOW is pretty much all I can say about our team.  The energy, team support and over all excitment really made the experience so much more than just a race.  We cheered for every single person and made sure no one was left out on that course.  I am so proud and honored to know these women who faced their fears and gave it their all to finish their first triathlon.  Many of them mothers who had their children there to witness such a spectacular display of human spirit and determination.  Setting such a positive example of not only health and fitness but also the never give up spirit.  I can not wait to see how much they continue to grow this year as many will tackle their  first open water triathlons.

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