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  • Writer's pictureNicole Brazzale

I did a Triathlon and it was TOUGH

Completing this triathlon was one of the most challenging things I've done, mentally and physically. That being said, I'm proud of myself and my mini for DOING it!

Post race with my mini. So proud of him, he did amazingly!

Going into this triathlon, being my first one, my only expectation was to finish. I also estimated how long it would take me, but didn’t make it a goal. I'm not going to lie though, I felt a little cocky. I worked hard in the weeks leading up to the triathlon, I felt strong and confident in my training sessions. I figured I would do pretty freaking well, but I tried not to let it get to my head, and reminded myself that the only goal was to finish.

I struggled. Hard.

The swim, the event I was most nervous about, went the best. I felt strong, I regulated my breathing enough that I didn't need to take many breaks. When they warned me of my last lap I felt relieved but okay overall.

Then I had to get on my bike. I used my mother-in-laws bike, which is an awesome little bike that I enjoy riding, except its a cruiser. It’s the kind of bike you attach a basket to the front of and wheel around enjoying a peaceful Sunday bike ride… not give’r for 20.5km. My back, hips, and shoulders started hurting during the first lap, and I had five laps to go through. People were passing me like crazy and I felt like I was giving 110% with each pedal, but couldn't seem to move forward fast enough. The bike ride took me a good 35 minutes longer than I anticipated.

Cruiser style bike

Comparing the two styles of bikes, you can see the differences. Cruiser style is designed to cruise leisurely with a little basket on the handles. You sit back and upright, so that you can go for a nice little bike ride with the family. Triathlon style is meant for speed, you sit higher up and lean forward over the handles.

I didn't realize how challenging riding the wrong style bike would be. All the articles and forums I read said to use whatever bike you have for your first triathlon, so I did, and it didn't serve me well.


Triathlon syle bike

I completed my 5 laps, hopped off my bike, and could barely walk. My legs were literal jello and it was down a slight and uneven hill to the bike racks. I felt bad for the woman behind me, but I couldn’t seem to make my bike go any faster. When I approached the bike rack I realize someone had racked their bike where mine was supposed to go, and I struggled to awkwardly get it on the rack.

Okay, run time, the event I was feeling MOST confident about.

My first step is agony. My entire lower back felt like it was seizing up (not something I’m used to) and my legs felt like lead. I could barely get my feet off the ground. I went between jogging and walking the full 5km, stopping every so often to stretch; my back pain travelled from my lower back up into my upper back/shoulders (old car accident injury), my foot started aching (still healing from a break in September), and my knee was screaming at me.

I’m not going to lie, I started to get really frustrated. I was moving at what felt like a snails pace. KIDS were passing me. I fought back tears and told myself to keep moving forward, finish the fucking thing. I couldn’t remember if we needed to do two laps of the running trail and prayed that it was only one, and then I stepped out of the trees facing the finish line, only to see that I still had another lap to do.

I almost broke. I couldn’t fathom completing another lap of the trail, but I didn’t have a choice at that point. I was going to finish the damn thing no matter what.

I’m pretty sure that was my slowest 5km run since I first started running almost 6 years ago.

To be completely transparent with you, I’m wiping my tears as I write this. I fought them back on the course, but they’re flowing freely now. I know I’m being silly, but I’m frustrated. Frustrated with how I performed, frustrated with how I placed, frustrated that it took me so long I didn’t get to see my son cross the finish line. I’m frustrated that I felt prepared, and even while I went through the course, I felt fine energy and stamina wise, but my body just gave out. I’m frustrated that old injuries popped up and held me back; I’ve worked so hard to strengthen those areas and was reminded of the debilitating pain that used to hold me back. I expected more from myself.

Although I’m frustrated by a bunch of things, I’m proud that I finished. I’m proud that giving up wasn’t a thought that crossed my mine. I’m proud that I gave it everything I had and crossed that damn finish line. I've worked exceptionally hard over the past couple months, and gave it everything I had for the 2 hours and 8 minutes it took me to complete the course. I worked through the frustrations of inadequate equipment and the consequent pain it gave me. I’m proud that I surprised myself with a really strong swim. I’m proud that even though people passed me, a lot, I kept my head down and focused on racing against myself.

This was my first triathlon and I learned A LOT of lessons. This isn’t a failure, it’s a starting point, because my only competition is myself. Next year I’ll be better prepared and I’m going to kick some serious fucking ass!

Just after I crossed the finish line, managed a smile through my pain and frustration!

Moral of the story- it's okay to suck. It's okay to have bad days, bad workouts, or bad races; we need them so that we can learn from them. Do things that challenge you, get out of your comfort zone and become the best version of you! Embrace the failure, stand back up, and kick some ass!


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