Our First Sprint Triathlon Together

The was rising when we arrived.

The was rising when we arrived.

In preparation for Lavaman, we entered the Stanford Treeathlon. We woke up at 430am, ate, loaded the gear and arrived at Redwood Port around 6am.It was still dark when we arrived, but the sun was starting to rise. There were so many people already setting up there transition area. Thankfully we ran into Martin and few other team mates.

Team mates, Karin, Erin & Tony getting into their wetsuits.

30 minutes before the 1st wave start, team mates, Karin, Erin & Tony getting into their wetsuits.

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Group shot. I missed the group pix I having fun at the porta potty.

Martin was there helping us setting our transition areas from the swim to the bike, and from the bike to the run. It was nice to have familiar faces at our first race. I think all of our TNT members appreciated having one another there to calm the nerves and just for the overall support.  We hooked up the bikes to rack, set up the transition area, applied the body glide, got body marked, strapped on the timing chips etc. We started putting on our wetsuits around 7am, we had 15 minutes until the transition area closed and we would  no longer had access to our gear until the race. Afterwards, we headed to the starting line for the beginning collegiate 1st wave. From there they moved onto the open age groups, Tony’s wave started 1/2 hour prior to mine, at 7:50am, so I had the opportunity to see him start his race. once he got the water, we all started cheering for him “Go Tony!”

Tony getting ready for his wave.

Tony getting ready for his wave.

3rd Wave, Tony's Wave started at 7:50am

3rd Wave, Tony's Wave started at 7:50am

My wave didn’t start until 8:20am, so I had joy of being nervous for another 30 minutes. During that time, me and some of the  other TNT girls go to hang out in our wetsuits in the cold. I was so jumpy, I wanted to get into the water and let the shock of the cold happen. I knew it was gonna happen, I just needed time to adjust to the freezing water. 8:10am arrived, we had the opportunity to acclimate in the water before our heat. As I imagined it was cold. I let myself get used to it and I was fine. *Whew* . The lady with the blow horn gives us  a 30 second warning before the it goes off. I look around at my other teammates and we all wish one another a safe race and good luck. Kristine and I are both nervous, we look at each other and say, “We can do this!” and give each other a high five. The blow horn goes off and I begin my first sprint triathlon.

Donella waiting for her wave. 5th wave started at 8:20am.

Donella waiting for her wave. 5th wave, women's 35 and under, started at 8:20am.

The Swim: The dreaded swim, distance was short, I’ve swam in pool for several miles. So 500m shouldn’t be a problem right? Wrong!  I start off ok, suddenly i realize that I’m at the end of the pack. I had to remind myself, time to relax and go at my pace. Otherwise, if I start out too fast I’ll wear out too quickly, and i still had the bike and swim to do. The pack is moving farther and farther away from me.  Suddenly, a life guard on a surfboard tells me that I’m going the wrong way and to follow the buoy. The small choppy waves are crashing against my face and throws off my rhythm, the bright sun is hitting my eyes and are blinding me, and my head is so cold that I start becoming dizzy and disoriented. My vision starts to get blurry and I start to begin to see stars. I haven’t experience this before and I start to get scared. Inside I’m thinking “oh no, I’m going to have to stop, I’m too disoriented to handle this”. Another lifeguard on a surfboard comes up to me and I ask him if I’m going the correct direction, “he says yes, but the current is started to pull me the wrong way again”. I’m freezing and out of breath, I ask him if I can I hold on to the board to rest for a few seconds (it legal to do so).  Then, I ask him, “Are you going to pluck me out of the water b/k I’m too slow?”. He smiled and said, “No, just as long as you keep moving in a forward progression and make it to the buoy, I’ll guide you to make sure you don’t go off course”. So nice of him. The short rest allowed me to compose myself and continue moving on. I then run into another kayak and surfboard  catches me, the current is pushing off course again! I told the guy (a different guy) on the surfboard that this was my 1st triathlon and if there were any other surfers that we be on the rest of the swim course. He smiles, gives me some encouraging words and guides me towards dock. He tells me that if i get any more tired I can grab on to the dock.  I progressed on,  thankfully, I finally warmed up, my confidence  returned and it was smooth sailing from here. A group of course volunteers pulled us up from the water like beached whales, and soon as I got up, I was so dizzy that I had to grab onto the ramp rails . Then, I ran to the transition area and  got ready for the bike ride. It wasn’t the best swim, but I did it! I completed my first open water swim! Martin L. our team photographer was there to take my pix, thanks Martin!

Race Start, I'm the 2nd red cap from the left.

Race Start, I'm the 2nd red cap from the left.

Transition #1:  Swim to Bike
When I arrived at my transition area, Kristine was dressing up just about to get on to her bike (our transition areas were next to each other)  We both looked so dizzy and tore up all the while talking, giving each other encouraging words and trying to dress up. We were kinda out of it…like drunk or tipsy from the swim, it was so funny I was laughing inside. By the time, I got out of my wetsuit, changed into my biking clothes and headed off into the bike portion, Tony was arriving from his bike ride and getting ready for his run. We  gave each other a short lil encouraging peck on the lips before we headed onto the next leg of our respective races.

Bike Ride: It was a fairly smooth ride, early on the ride, I saw a water bottle rolling around on the road. I was thinking to myself. Oh I hope that doesn’t happen to me. Hello! Jinx, no more than two minutes later, after I got a sip of my Gatorade, I missed the cage and the bottle went right thru my frame and dropped my water bottle on the road. Shoot! I probably should have left it there, but that would have meant I wouldn’t have any hydration for 14 miles, plus, I didn’t think it was safe for the other riders. So i stopped, unclipped, got out of the lane, and walked back to grab my water, by that time 20 people on bikes had passed me by. Shoot! ext time I’ll just leave the bottle. Through out the ride, i could feel a stitch ache on my side. It was kinda odd, I usually get stitches running, but never on a bike. I figured I had another 10 miles for the stitch to go away.  Other than that little mishap everything on the bike ride went well. I even thanked the police officer for holding traffic to let me go thru!

14 mile, bike ride

Short 14 mile, bike ride

Tony on his bike ride.

Tony on his bike ride.

Donella on her bike.

Donella on her bike.


Transition #2: Bike to run
When I arrived back at my transition area Tony had already finished his race. He was kind enough to follow me with a camera and take pics of me while I did my transition. Thankfully, he was there b/k in the midst of the race. I forgot where my rack was. Oh no! He guided me to wear it was, i got all my biking gear off, except my helmet, I started to run and  had to go back and take my helmet off. By then I had thrown all of my stuff all over the place.  I was off to last leg of the race.

Transition: Bike to run (couldn't find my rack)

Transition: Bike to run (couldn't find my rack)

Run: The run was slow, but fine. I kept chatting with all of the volunteers and thanked them for their encouraging words of “good job!” “you can do it!”. They prolly could have cared less and they say it to ever person running by, but when you’re tired and worn any piece of encouragement helps to get you thru to the next leg. 1/2 way thru the run, I was feeling sick and upchucked! Gross, so sour, but it helped to get rid of my stitch. Only 1.5 miles to go, i was feeling better, but on the last 700meters my left front of my foot, started to go numb. It was so weird, it’s never happened before. But I didn’t want to stop b/k I could  see the rest of my TNT teammates cheering me on and I could hear the band playing. I ran thru the numbness and enjoyed crossing the line, giving high fives and receiving a loving hug from Tony at the finish line.

Short 3.1 mile run

3.1 mile run

Tony on his run.

Tony on his run.

Tony was there to give me hug when I crossed the finish line.

Tony was there to give me hug when I crossed the finish line.

Afterwards, we waited for the rest of our teammates to finish and a few of us celebrated completing our first sprint tri and went out for lunch. Overall, I was probably a bit too chattiy talking to the lifeguards, police people and volunteers, but it helped to ease my nerves, especially in the water. It wasn’t the fastest or smoothest race. But we were just happy finishing it! I was just mostly just happy getting thru the swim portion! It was me and Tony’s first tri together! We did it! Now on to Lavaman!

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