“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
– John Bingham
Woohoo! I finished Tri United 1 yesterday! It was a 1k swim – 30k bike – 7k run, a distance that may seem short to experienced triathletes, but daunting to this newbie. I’m writing to you now so that’s proof that I survived it. Even better, I actually had fun!
I hesitatingly showed up for the women’s race yesterday all nervous and jittery. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing there. I knew I didn’t have enough training. I wanted to stay home with the kids for the weekend. And, every time I thought of the swim and bike, my stomach churned. But, surprisingly, when I looked out at the sea in Laiya, I felt a certain calmness. All of a sudden, I felt I made the right decision in showing up for the race and facing my fears. Just like my first 5k way back in 2007, I knew I was at the right place.
The women’s race was at 2:30pm Saturday while the men would race Sunday morning (earlier this morning). We were 42 participants in the women’s race.
The course was friendly for beginners like me. It was 2 loops each for the swim, bike, and run. So, we pretty much knew what to expect for each of the 2nd loops.
It was my first open water swim triathlon. The only time I ever swam in open water before this race was at The Next Step Tri Camp last year. To say that I was nervous was an understatement.
Swimming out towards the buoy was tough as we went against the current. It kinda freaked me out that I couldn’t see anything at the bottom. I don’t know how many times I stopped to hang on to the buoy just to find my way. But, heading back towards the shore, as my Coach had advised, I pulled hard and swam at a good pace. That’s exactly what I did. Before I knew it, I was out of the water telling my teammates how much fun it was.
We ran 300m from the swim to the transition area. I calmly wore my bike shoes, helmet, shades, race bib, and hydrated, then off I went on the bike. Oh boy, I could use a lot more training on the bike. This was the point where I felt everyone was just overtaking me and I felt frustrated about wanting to go faster but not being able to. Lots of newbie tales here: there was a time I almost bumped the race signage, or the time I u-turned beyond the u-turn portion to avoid hurting the spectators, or the time I yelled at men on motorcycles ogling at all of us women: “Lumayo kayo sa akin! Babanggain ko kayo!”
After what felt like forever, I finally reached the transition area and dismounted without crashing (one of my nightmares). The first few kilometers of the run were difficult. I wanted to push harder, but my legs felt heavy off the bike. (That’s what I get for not doing any brick sessions!) By the 2nd loop, I felt much better and I went at a slightly faster clip to finish the race.
I’m such a newbie. I didn’t even get my time. I guess I was just ecstatic about finishing. And, to tell you the truth, that’s really all that mattered to me at that point.
How many times have we said that, when it comes to your first marathon, the only goal is to finish? Well, for my first serious triathlon, it was exactly the same. The goal was to enjoy the journey and to finish with a smile on my face, and that’s exactly what I did. I just had a grand time all throughout the race!
Uh oh, guys, I think I’m hooked.
Thanks so much to Coach Patrick Joson for teaching me the basics of biking and chasing after me when I was learning how to ride with cleats, Coach Andy Leuterio for taking me out for interval rides, Coach Martin Carandang for teaching me how to swim even if I take too long in between laps, Team Berlin and Team Kalyo (that’s just you and me, Ton) for our always fun runs, and to Team Unilab Active Health for the camaraderie and support. This is only the beginning.