Bridge to Pier Triathlon in Oak Island

My Friday started with a speedy delivery from my TriMafia family with Velocity Sportswear…the tri kits came just in time! Normally I agree with the “nothing new on race day” philosophy but given that most everything was new for me with this race, I figured what the hell… It was perfect!

This race is considered a sprint even though it’s much bigger than any sprints I’ve ever done – 1/3 mile ocean swim, 16 mile bike, and 4 mile run. We got there right when it opened so that I could get set up, get my numbers, etc. There were only about 300 participants. The weather was perfect, minimal waves, and I felt good before it began. I signed up 5 days prior, so I didn’t have much time to prepare or worry – double sided knife right there. When I signed up I could either pick the age group group or the novice 40+ group….since it was my first bigger one and my first ocean swim (ever!!) I figured I would try that one.

BAD CHOICE!! That was my first mistake. Out of six swim groups, we were last. That meant I was literally at the very end of the swim out of 300 people. Crap. I think I passed a couple of people in the swim so I was probably 5 from the last???Maybe?? I’m slow as it is and then I’m literally one of the last people in the water. That. Sucked. Craaaaaaaap…….Damn. Bad, bad choice. Won’t do that again.

It’s too late to do anything about this choice here & now. So, here we go. Getting to the first buoy was tough but once I got in the groove it was better. And 13 minutes later I come out – not too bad for 1/3 mile ocean swim for the first time!! I was happy with that AND I did pass a few people, which was sooo exciting considering my swim history and how hard I’ve worked on that this year. However, when I got out I felt like I had been thrown around at sea for about 3 hours. I thought to myself…shit!! I’ve got to go ride now, for real?? shit!!! But I like to ride, and it was 16 miles flat – so no problem. I’ll keep around 16 mph or so knowing there’s still a 4 mile run ahead of me, maybe faster, and just go!

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Hahahaha…….that was true for about the first 10 miles. And then something happened with my hips. They were on fire, hurt SO bad, had no idea what was going on. I’ve ridden much further before and never had this problem. Since I was nearly last out of the water, I was also nearly last on the bike. So I rode mostly solo with minimal markings for direction.  And no phone either!! And by the last few miles I was barely going 13 mph. It. Was. Killing. Me. And I swear I was starting to think I was off course having not seen anyone or any markings for a long time. By the time I got back to transition I could barely walk and seriously considered taking a DNF (Did Not Finish). I could barely put my shoes on & walk out of transition. In that pic above, notice my bike is the only one you see!!!

What made me keep going? I was in a lot of pain and at first I started to talk myself into a DNF. But then I started hearing these thoughts – pain is temporary, you came all this way for a DNF?, Never Stop Ever which is my TriMafia family’s motto, Angela at Velocity who went out of her way to get my new tri top to me yesterday, my friend who let me stay at her place last night, and a few people who thought I was kinda’ nuts to do this in the first place. So I put my damn shoes on & walked out of transition thinking maybe if I walk a mile and then can’t go further, I’ll turn back. Or maybe I can do a little more than that. After a mile the pain let up on the right side so I was determined to finish it. In the pic above, you can see the orange cone in the distance on the pier, that was half way. Luckily they had 3 water stations where I could soak myself & get some gatorade too. By the end (4 miles walking) the pain decreased on the left enough for me to run through the finish chute. I still haven’t checked for sure, but I was either DFL (Dead F’ Last) or pretty close.


After I finished I found some shade, poured water on me, and laid down – it was 90+ at this point with high humidity and they were doing the awards ceremony. I was done. Completely exhausted, totally finished, and extremely hot but mostly really proud of myself for not quitting when it would have been much easier to do so. Triathlon has a lot of analogies for life – usually the easier choices don’t get you what you want either in life or in triathlon. Challenging yourself does. Stretching your comfort zone does. There’s nothing better than accomplishing something that at some point you thought you could never do. That’s the sweet spot & makes the struggle, discipline, and pain worth it.

The right pic above is taken from a church service I went to this morning. It was right on time, as usual. I was behind, I was exhausted, and I took a risk. And today I rested. That’s a FANTASTIC weekend right there! My next one is in 2 weeks…

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