My impending 50th birthday, was the impetus for my signing up to do a long-distance triathlon, the Hawaii 70.3. That’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run.
I have done a few sprint triathlons (short distance races) in the past, but wanted to challenge myself this year. I trained for the swim in the J lap pool, and rode my bike around and around White Rock Lake, until I was able to do the distances required for the race. I am rather, slow, so I knew that conditions on race day needed to be favorable, if I was to finish each race segment before the cut-off times. On race day,
I was dismayed to find that the trade winds had moved in, and winds would be gusting to 30 or 40 miles an hour. I doubted that I would be able to finish the race, but I was determined to give it my best effort. My husband and I strategized ways I could survive a swim through rough ocean waters. He wore bright red shorts and swam beside and a little in front of me. He sighted, keeping us on course, and I followed those bright red shorts for 1.2 miles! After the last turn, with just a few hundred yards to shore, the water became so turbulent, it felt like we were in a blender. But, we persevered to the finish of the swim portion and made it on to the bike segment. The wind made our climb up to the town of Hawi very difficult. My husband led the way, and I did my best to keep him in my sights. This time, I wore bright red, which helped him to look back and see that I was still behind him, pressing on to the top. We thought, once we hit the turn-around, it would be an easier downhill ride to transition. However, the wind made the way back very difficult.
Nearly 4 hours later, we completed the ride, put on our running shoes and set out for 13.1 miles of running. The run course was partly on a golf course and on a road through the lava fields that cover the Big Island. We were thankful, at this point, that the winds kept us from getting overheated in the afternoon sun.The golf course provided challenges, because the grassy was spongy and the cart paths covered steep, hilly terrain.
At the beginning of the day, all time goals I previously set for myself went out the window. The revised goal was to finish before the 8.5 hour cut-off time. Once we began the run, we knew that, even with some walking, I should be able to finish within that time.
So, my husband and I enjoyed our time together as we ran and walked to the finished line.
With a time of 8:05, we finished the race with a little time to spare! So, set a goal for yourself, make a training plan to meet that goal, and find someone to support you as you set out to accomplish the goal.
You’ll find it to be a very rewarding experience!