"I'm Amazing--I Finished a Triathlon!"

I love crossing the finish line! Yesterday, I had another chance to do so. My hubby and I drove to New Glarus for their 2nd annual Alphornman triathlon.

It was small, about 140 people from 6-7 states. No timing chips. No T1 or T2 times (they were added to bike/run). The event served Spotted Cow beer, fresh cheese curds and polka music at the post-finish festival. Yum!

We've done many triathlons, but this would be our first with an outdoor pool swim. Ken was coming off a year of iron-distance training. I was coming with a few weeks of prep phase training. It was an incredible morning and we were excited to discover the course. Actually, I don't like going in blind, for any distance event, but I'm working on that.

I wanted to connect well in the swim, keep my cadence over 80 on the bike and use my new "light" running form on the run-walk-run. My target time was 1:50, not a PR, but what I thought might work given the hills and my fitness. Ken was secretly hoping to be Top 10.

We arrived about an hour pre-race (great parking), checked in and set-up our gear. I wore my SUGOI Velocity tri tank and tri shorts (Big thanks to SUGOI & Outside PR & Sportsmarketing. I call it my Elastigirl suit from The Incredibles.) Ken swam in his Zoot tri shorts.

The swim went well. I was in the 2nd wave of swimmers and we had 4 swimmers in my lane. I lost count of my lengths, but they had a volunteer helping us know how many we had left. Once done, I threw myself out of the deep end and jogged across the marked route to the transition area. Swimming in tri tank/shorts made T1 quicker. It was so fun to be racing again.

The bike was good. It was windy and hilly. But the road quality was excellent and I saw fewer than five non-race support vehicles the entire time. For me the climbs were challenging, legs burning, crazy breathing, doing my best. Ken stayed aero his entire bike except five minutes.

My run-walk-run was OK. I think my second half was faster, so I was pleased with that. I smiled crossing the finish and was grateful for the opportunity to race again. Ken was in the last swim wave, so I waited to see him come in on the bike and start the run. Then I packed up our gear while enjoying the gorgeous Wisconsin morning.

As I waited, I struggled with my finish time (1:51:45). I'm an IM triathlete, I should be faster right? I'm getting my USAT Level 1 Coaching Certification, I should be faster? I have a tattoo, I should obviously be fast. While I'm being somewhat silly here, I do have these nonsense discussions with myself post-race. I want to be faster. I'm just not there yet. Some things I can't force. (I had PF for 6 months last year.) For me it's a mix of strength, confidence, aerobic capacity and mental skills, all coming together.

Ken finished strong with a 2nd place agegroup and 11th place overall. He missed Top 10 by 1:47. He immediately thought of one place that ate time. We moved on, overall very happy with the race and being able to be there together.

We walked over to the food tent and enjoyed our post-race meal: hotdogs, fruit, chocolate, beer & cheese! It was great. As we ate, a lady doing her first triathlon approached the finish line area. As she ran down the street she called out, "I am amazing!!! I'm finishing my first triathlon!!!"

I immediately teared up, the way I do when watching the Olympics. At the same moment I was both happy for and envious of this woman. She knows she's amazing and she was able to shout it out as she became a triathlete.

Question for you:
Have you had a finish-line moment like this? As an athlete or as a spectator?

p.s. If you missed Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!'s post on his SUGOI Velocity tri suit, check it out here. WARNING-this post gets somewhat intimate!

p.s.s. The New Glarus Brewery was amazing! We stopped after the event. I don't think Ken liked this sample, the Dancing Man maybe.

photos: by me/us.


Carolina John said...

i always love crossing that finish line. doesn't matter what distance or how hard i pushed it, the finish line is always a welcome sight.


There is no better feeling that crossing the finish line with your hands raised in the air. Well, okay...there may be a few other things, but it's right up there in the top five. ;)

Karin & Brian said...

How wonderful for that woman that she felt so proud finishing her first tri! Hopefully it is the start of many more. I felt like that when I finished the NYC marathon in 2002. It took almost 5 hours but I didn't care and it felt amazing! It's 3rd in line behind giving birth and marrying my husband. :)

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

The first few times I finished a triathlon I felt the same way. It was amazing.

Sadly, I've kind of lost that feeling lately. I mostly just feel slow. I want to feel incredible again. :-)

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Carolina John - Yes I think the finish rewards well no matter the distance

iMultisport - Definitely Top 5 :-)

Karin & Brian - I agree, I was so happy for her to know how incredible she is

Lisa Slow-n-steady - YES! This is what I'm feeling too. I want to feel pure happiness -- incredible!

Teenage Tri Queen said...

Sounds like a very fun race. I wish I could hear what that woman thought about her first triathlon, sounds like she enjoyed it, right?! Nice race!

ducky said...

I've followed your blog for a while and read this one shortly after you posted it. I just finished my first triathlon yesterday and, while I didn't raise my arms and shout it to the crowd, during the last mile of the run, I kept the mental image of that woman you saw with me as I kept going, knowing I was doing the same. Thanks for the little bit of motivation at the end. :)

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Teenage Tri Queen- I do too. I wish I did a formal interview!@!

Ducky - I'm coming to your blog to read all about your finish!! I'm glad the mental image helped! Thanks for sharing that here!

Terri said...

I finished my first tri on Sunday. It was amazing to cross the finish line; although, I wept upon finishing the swim (6 months ago, I could barely do the length of the pool)! I'm looking forward to the next.

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Terri! Congratulations! I can understand the swim emotions. I don't have a swim background, so each time I've started swimming again is really rough! Well done going from zero experience to your first tri finish!! I'd love to read your race report.