Finally the day has arrived! I’ve been waiting for this day for two years and have been preparing myself for it both physically and mentally ever since the day I first heard about it.
It’s Sunday, September 30, the day of the Tropical Triathlon. The Tropical Tri is a sprint triathlon that consists of a 1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike ride and a 5K which is 3.1 miles. The idea is to do them all consecutively with no break in between and finish as quick as possible. This competition has been held annually in Lake Worth, FL during the month of September for the past thirty years.
I began my formal training about three months ago. I even got my close friends and my boyfriend to do it with me. The training was challenging and physically demanding. I had to get up early during the week and on weekends to train for it but I didn’t mind. All I knew was that when the day came, I wanted to be ready! And here it is!!
Oscar and I packed up the car the night before, laid out our clothes and our gear, and prepared a smoothie to drink in the morning for a light pre-tri breakfast. (I read that its good to have a breakfast and fuel up at least 2 hours before a race). We arrived at the beach where the event was being held at 5:45am, checked in and set up our transition area. Then we met up with our friends and made our way down to the beach just as the sun was rising to start the competition!!!
As the sun was starting to rise, we gathered on the beach while the official briefly went over the course and we sang the national anthem to kick-start the tri. All of the participants were divided into waves according to their age group and experience level and then each wave went out in 5 minute increments. The first wave of participants took off right at 7am since they were the more advanced and experienced triathletes. Since we signed up as newbies, our wave began at 7:20am which was the last wave. So when the 7:20am whistle blew, we were off. The conditions were perfect but the swim was still tough since we were going against the current. Even though my friends and I actually over-trained for the swimming portion months before, I was huffing and puffing the whole time and felt very winded. But I got through it in 11 minutes! As soon as I walked onto the shore, I heard my name being called and when I looked up I saw that it was my friends and their family waving and cheering for me which gave me a much needed boost.
After the swim, I walked over to the transition area, cleaned off quickly and hopped on to my bike for an 11 mile bike ride (which included going over a bridge twice and two long loops through downtown Lake Worth). I loved the bike portion. I got to see all of my friends as we passed by each other on the ride. Oscar was ahead of me but we rode by each other while we were going in the opposite direction and he gave me a high five and told me someone was waiting for me at the turn around point. And low and behold it was my Dad! I almost cried!
After the bike ride we went for a 3.1 mile run which took us over the bridge again and back and through Bryant Park. By the time, I started the run portion the sun was out in full force so it was HOT!!! My legs felt like jelly but they adjusted quickly and I was able to run most of the way but I had to slow down and walk at some points. I tried not to pay attention to how hot it was or how tired I was or what my time was and just enjoy the scenery around me. I looked at the intercoastal, the boats, the boardwalk, the birds, the shady trees and all the beauty that surrounded me and soon enough I was crossing over that bridge and reaching the end of the Tri.
As I approached the finish line, I saw my best friends waiting for me and cheering me on with signs and holding their cameras to catch me as I finished. It was such a nice surprise and a wonderful feeling to be so supported. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment that was rushing through me and knowing that it was O-V-E-R!! I finished in an hour and 50 minutes. Not bad for my first tri!
After the Tri, we all went to Howley’s Diner to celebrate our victory over breakfast. Oscar and I ordered pancakes, eggs and sausage and I had a couple of mimosas. Then we went home, showered and relaxed and watched football for the rest of the day. It was GLORIOUS!!!
I really enjoyed the Tropical Triathlon and I look forward to doing it again next year. It was challenging but it was also fun and a great way to show yourself what you’re made of! If you are interested in doing a sprint triathlon, I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing experience. If you are a Tri-Newbie, like me and you want to compete in one, you can check out my 3 month – week by week training schedule which I will be posting very soon!
In the meantime, I’ll be resting and recovering. Cheers!!