Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm a Triathlete! Unbelievable.


Last Saturday I completed the Five Mile Lake Triathlon.   Here's the story:

On Friday, I went to pick up a rented wet suit from Speedy Reedy.  The outgoing guy helping me asked me what event I was doing.  I told him the Sprint Triathlon at Five Mile Lake.  His jaw dropped open and said "Wow! Did you grow up swimming?"  I was slightly confused as to why he was so impressed, but said I swam a little bit growing up.  Then he asked me if I had a time I was shooting for to complete it in.  I told him "Oh no, my goal is completion.  I don't care about the time."  Then I walked away to try on my wet suit (later I realized that I tried it on inside out!).

As I was paying for my wet suit, the talk-a-tive-trying-to flirt-with-me guy starting telling me that he was not from Seattle and couldn't believe that I was going to swim 5 miles.  I quickly said, "Oh no, I am NOT swimming 5 miles!!!"  I laughed the whole way home because someone thought that I was an intense triathlete.

Friday night I made Yakisoba for dinner.  Some of Big D's family was in town, so I talked to them at dinner about the triathlon the next day.  Basically I told them that the day was all about me, so they should not expect me to be playing hostess to them anymore but they were more than welcome to come cheer me on at my triathlon.  Then I left them all to party late into the night, while I took a Unisom and went to bed early.  

I started to get very nervous as we drove to Five Mile Lake on Saturday morning.  Big D and I pulled into the parking lot and started to unload my gear.  All around us, people were unloading super speedy cool road bikes with aerodynamic helmets, fancy clothes and wetsuits, with a different pair of speciality shoes for each event.  All I had was a mountain bike and a rented wet suit.  I wanted to get back into the car and drive back to my warm bed and pretend like I never agree to do this triathlon.  

Big D made me go forward, and we started setting my things up in the transition area.  I found my friend Rebecca, who had convinced me to do this in the first place, and we chatted about all of the "tri-geeks" that were very intimidating to us.  It became time to put on our wet suits before the mandatory pre-race meeting.  I went back into the transition area and there was a girl next to my gear.  The first thing she asked me was, "Which side are you exiting the rack with your bike?"

I replied, "I don't know.  This way." (Honestly, I didn't know if there was a better or proper way to get your bike of the rack?)

She then started spraying herself down with Pam Cooking Spray.  I asked her why she was doing that.  She told me it was to help her wet suit come off quicker.  She told me about how she is doing her third Ironman this year, and she won this particular triathlon 2 years ago.  Then she asked me about why I was doing this triathlon and if it was my first.  My reply was, "It is my first and I just had a baby, so you know, it is a great way to get back in shape."  Lame answer.  I just thought throwing out the baby reason would make everything better or cuter or something.  

After squeezing into a tight wetsuit, Rebecca and I got ready to start the race.  We pumped ourselves up by saying our goal was just COMPLETION.  With an unofficial BANG! our wave started the swim.  Rebecca and I waited for everyone else to start swimming for awhile, then we joined the swim.  We didn't want to be kick or plowed over by other swimmers.  The lake was cold, but calm.  I did not swim like I had trained.  I found myself wanting to see where I was going so I kept my head above water for most of the swim.  

The transition to bike was easy and I grabbed a granola bar and headed off.  It was two laps around a park.  I passed only 2 bikers as I rode.  I realized that many of the competitors were panting and breathing hard as they passed me and I was calmly riding and waving to people and photographers along the roadside.  I thought about pushing harder on my bike, but I didn't want to get bulky thigh muscles, so I didn't.  (That absurd thought comes from my adolescence - any dancer would get it).

Lastly it was time to run - my least favorite event.  I set out with the mental motto - slow and steady.  And that is how it went.  I ran slow and steady.  As I neared the finish line, my body said "Hey, this is not that hard, I'm not very tired."  I picked up the pace for the last 50 feet and cross the finish line feeling victorious.  I was in the last 15 people to finish out of 250 people, but I did not care.  My goal was COMPLETION and to enjoy the event.  

I can honestly said that I enjoyed the triathlon.  It was easier than expected and I think I would do one again.  I guarantee I will not becoming a "tri-geek" for the time being.  Oh and the girl next to me, she won the triathlon for my age division. Guess that Pam Cooking Spray really does help!

-Miss Triathlon
Rebecca and I talking about how we are going to survive the swim.

Rebecca and I are standing in the back waiting for everyone else to start swimming in our wave.
First Time Finishers!

My support team and cheerleaders.

T Bear asked if these numbers were how fast I raced.

My sex and age group.  I walked around with it showing the rest of the day.  Gotta be proud of it somehow.


  1. I'm so proud of you and inspired!! Love you Roo!

  2. You are truly amazing! You make triathlons sound like a piece of cake :) !! MAYBE one day I can attempt to do one!!

  3. So I officially offer my apology for doubting that my oldest daughter could possibly even think about doing a triathalon-sprint or otherwise. Congratulations number 579! That's my girl! I am so proud of you! Dad

  4. Tenley! YOU ARE AWESOME and SO BRAVE! Way to go! And for the record, the body art numbers are my favorite part of doing these sort of races. Wear it with pride! :-D

  5. WOW! I have been waiting to hear about this. I am so glad it was a good experience. I love all the pictures, and the best part is your smiling in all of them. Way to go!

  6. You are hilarious! Todd walked up to the computer to see what I was laughing at. I LOVE your story telling. You are awesome! Good job Tenley!

  7. I knew my girl could do it. You are incredible! Love you so much.

  8. Great Job!!! I would love to do a triathlon but swimming is not my strongest athletic ability. You are a true inspiration!