Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sampson County Super Sprint Triathlon - Recap

The day I became a Triathlete had finally arrived and all I could think was "oh my god why did I sign up for this?!" But the day had come and there was no turning back. I woke up  at 4 am the day of the race, mind you I only slept 4 hours that night as the jitters the night before kept me up. I checked the weather and as it had said the night before it was going to rain basically all day, fun right?! Racing in the rain! Anyways I jumped out of bed, showered, ate something, and hit the road towards my Uncles house. He was also racing (I made him sign up lol) and we were riding to the race together which was about an hour and half away, plenty of time to freak out right?

We pulled into the parking lot and things started to get real. I'll be honest I was nervous! Not because I thought I couldn't do the race but because I was worried I wouldn't fit into the triathlon culture. It was all new to me. I was worried about wearing my tight race singlet in public, I was worried about people wondering why I was there. I was worried my nerves would get the best of me. I got out of the car anyways, I knew what I was feeling was normal and I also knew that I wasn't going to let it stop me from racing that day. We headed to the check in area to get our race packets. Then back to the car to unload and set up our transition area. It was raining so I had to place everything in trash bags to keep them dry so it was kind of a pain.

Transition Area Selfie 
After I set my transition area up I headed to the lockers room to change into my race suit. I had a very big (to me) decision to make in there after putting my suit on. I could either put my sweat pants back on over them OR I could walk around with the tight bottoms on. Why was this big to me? Well truthfully I am very self conscious about my legs. It's not that I don't like them but they just aren't where I want them to be. Which is why I rarely ever wear shorts outside or in public. Hey we all have our insecurities, even us guys! I decided to not cover them up.I knew I would be uncomfortable walking around but I have learned along my journey that sometimes uncomfortable is where I need to be. I left the locker room and headed to the body marking station to get my numbers written on my body. Yeah, I was right, I was uncomfortable but I toughed it out.

Ok transition area was set up, I was marked up and dressed, now the wait until the race started. There was a pre race meeting for all the racers before the race so I headed to that area to wait. This part of the day is probably where I felt the most anxiety. I felt like everyone in the room was staring at me (of course this was all in my head). I just stood there and looked of into space waiting for the feeling to go away and then I saw something out of the corner of my eye, he looked familiar, he got closer… it was HANK HANNA! I was so damn happy to see him! You see Hank who himself is a triathlete had promised me that when I did my first triathlon he would be there to cheer me on, and he was. I instantly felt better once Hank got there, I was still nervous but it was the first time I had felt comfortable all morning.

After the meeting was over it was time to race! I headed over to the transition area for one last check and to drop my rain jacket off. Grabbed my swim cap and goggles and headed to the pool to line up. As I was walking over there my other buddies Joe and Greg showed up to cheer me on!

My Uncle and Me waiting in line to start our swim!
It seemed like it took forever to get into the pool but I was feeling good while waiting. Slowly my turn creeped up and before I knew it I was in the water waiting for the official to tell me go. He gave me the signal and I was off! I did my best to not get too excited and start swimming too hard, not sure if I listened to myself!

The swim felt ok, not great, just ok. It was a short swim so before I could really get into a rhythm it was over. Out of the pool and onto T1!

Yeah…. No comments lol

T1 seemed hectic! It was raining, everything was in bags, I was trying to rush but also make sure I didn't forget anything! I was having fun though!

Heading to the bike portion! 
I was looking forward to the bike ride, its my best sport out of the three. The course wasn't too bad, mostly flat with a few hills. The worse part was this long flat portion where the road was a little rough, I didn't enjoy those vibrations but other than that no issues. I don't think I stoped peddling the whole time which probably wasn't the best idea but I was in race mode and I just wanted to go go go!

Coming into T2
T2 was pretty seamless. Racked my bike, kicked off cycle shoes, threw on my running shoes, grabbed my race bib and out of the gates I went! 

So my first thought on the run was OMG whats wrong with my legs! Hence why peddling like crazy during the whole bike portion was not the best idea. I started off the run running out of T2 but I quickly had to start walking. There was a water stop at the beginning of the run so I stopped and hydrated real quick. I tried to start running but again my legs were not having it. I started walking and I told myself ok at some point you need to start running. I convinced myself that I would do intervals, run for 1 minute then walk for 1 minute. I took off running again and looked down at my watching expecting to see that a minute had gone by……. nope 10 seconds had gone by! Again I started walking, my feet felt like cinder blocks. Get it together Alan I screamed at myself! Since the 1 minute intervals were a no go I decided to try 30 second intervals. I took off running again and it seemed to work. Finally I found a groove, it was a slow one but that's ok.  A guy that I had passed on the bike portion caught up to me and passed me which turned out to be a good thing because I used him as my pace keeper during most of the run. Thanks buddy! 

As I approached the finish line one of the race volunteers started jogging with me. I wish I had gotten her name and a picture with her after the race, she was freaking amazing. As I made the last turn I told her I am about to take off, thank you for running with me! She high fived me and I took off towards the finish! The last few seconds of the race were a blur, my feet didn't feel heavy for a few seconds, I had my sights on the finish line and I wanted to finish strong!

What an amazing feeling!
Crossing the finish line felt amazing! I was officially a TRIATHLETE! My friends and Uncle were there waiting for me and I was happy to see them all! I was so thankful my buddies Hank, Joe, and Greg came out to cheer me on, they truly made my race day and I don't think I would have such an amazing experience without them there.

Hank and me
My Uncle and Me
Joe, Greg, and Me
My official results.
My closing thoughts are that I LOVED the race. I pretty much officially have been bitten by the Triathlon bug. I really had no time expectations so I am happy with my race results, can only get faster from here! I faced a few fears head on that day, I was uncomfortable but I made it through. Also at the end of the day I felt like I belonged there which was probably the best feeling of the day for me, the triathlon culture was so awesome and supportive. Something I have learned on my journey is that being an athlete is a state mind more than a state of physical appearance. Maybe I don't look like a typical triathlete but really it doesn't matter. We all cross the same start and finish line, if you show up and race…. YOU ARE A TRIATHLETE!

My next race is June 22nd…… can't wait to get out there!


Jenny Hodges said...

Great job, Alan!! You are a triathlete!!

Emmie said...

Nope, I did not tear up reading this. Nope. Damn onions.

Kate Ivie said...

Congratulations! You are such an inspiration to so many people. Good luck on your next race! :)

Brittany Lesser said...

You are soo amazing!!! You inspire me daily :D

Amanda @ Click. The Good News said...

So awesome- very proud of you! I'm not a die-hard tri fan, but they are tons of fun & such a great experience. WAY TO GO!

Jody - Fit at 56 said...

I am so inspired by you Alan - everyone should be!!! I know I am not on FB a lot & don't comment their much but I follow & you just show anyone they can do it!!!!

James Weight Loss Blog said...

Congrats on being a Triathlete! What you have accomplished is simply amazing and incredibly inspiring. Now I want to do one as well! Hope to see more posts in the future.

T-Rex Runner said...

I love this!! Congratulations! You're amazing. This was such a fun and positive race report. I'm so glad you had a wonderful experience! When my back heals, I think I will be getting more into triathlon as a way to cross train (and not run so much - boo) and this made me really excited to do it! Can't wait to see you at Fitbloggin!!

Hank @losing100lbs said...

W00t! Glad I was able to make it out. I thoroughly enjoyed cheering you on and watching a new addiction being born! :) Congrats!

bbubblyb said...

Soooo proud and happy for you Alan :) what a wonderful accomplishment :)

nathanalbert said...


Liz H said...

Reading this made me want to finally bite the bullet and sign up. As a "bigger girl" I have similar fears.... but I have to remember too rhat its only in my head. I admit I got teary reading the part about you crossing the finish - maybe because your story seems to relatable. Anyway - way to rock it out :) and congratulations !!!

Katie McCune said...

Love your blog! I just started my weight loss journey and blog. Hope to have similar successes. Congrats on the hard work!

Amy said...

Hi Alan. Glad I came across your blog - nice to get a male perspective. I really don't like my heavy legs a bit so reading how you feel was an eye opener. I like your idea that you sometimes feel uncomfortable and go ahead anyway. So even if uncomfortable, go for it. Awesome!