If you’re like me and most people into fitness, you’re always looking for the next challenge. On February 11th, my next fitness challenge finally came to a head: I completed my first triathlon. I’ve ran multiple half and full marathons, I teach cycle classes at Cyclebar, and I CAN swim (not that I’m good at it). So why not put all these things together, compete with other athletes, and get a t-shirt? That was my thought process.
The Sarasota Storm Tri Club put together a fantastic event for all beginner/first time triathletes. I knew the biking and running wouldn’t be a concern, but the swim was my biggest fear. I attending one of the swimming clinics, where I was taught swimming techniques to preserve my stroke and energy. I left this clinic not only feeling like I would be able to survive the swim, but also met a handful of athletes that had the same fear as myself.
When the race day arrived, I was quickly greeted with familiar smiling faces, supportive veteran triathletes, and a chilly Florida morning. As we lined up alongside the pool, my heart started to pound and as cold as I was standing there I began to sweat. One by one, swimmers took to the pool. As I watched in amazement, I was comforted by seeing people that didn’t swim like Michael Phelps, but swam just like me. As my turn to jump in the pool came, I was no longer nervous I knew that whatever stroke I chose, which ended up being the backstroke, my only goal was to finish!
After what felt like days, I finally finished eight laps of the pool. My back and arm were on fire. From this moment, the race was on! I made the transition to my bike, laced up my shoes, ran to the bike mounting station and took off! The chilly air on my face surprisingly felt good and pushed me to pedal faster to warm up. One by one, I passed some people on the route, but not without a friendly “Good Morning” or “Good Luck”. Eleven miles later, it was time to transition again. I hopped off my bike to OMG….my legs felt like JELL-O!! Right foot, left foot…I had never experienced this feeling before, but knew I was either going to stop and potentially bonk out, or find a comfortable pace and run these 2 miles however my legs were able to move.
Two miles went by quickly, I believe because I never really was able to feel my legs. As I crossed the finish line, every bit of nervousness I started the race with happily changed into a grin from ear to ear! I finished my FIRST TRIATHLON! I did something I never thought I would have the courage to sign up for, let alone the courage to complete.
Written by Rachael Jackson
Follow Rachael on Instagram @jacksonr32