As you might have astutely discerned from my previous post, I had a bit of difficulty in last weekend’s triathlon — the Crystal River Sprint Tri #1. I finished, and aside from actually showing up, I truly believe that’s the most important thing. In fact, I’m not even going to pretend that I’m too upset about my time, because I wasn’t expecting anything too spectacular.

(See, kids? See how that works? When you set your sights low, you can’t lose! Whee!)

But still, things could have gone better.

The swim was far more difficult than I remembered. Everyone is always telling me how hard they find the swim, and I just never have. For the first half, I was right in the mix, up at the front, and then … I died. I kept breathing in water, and I went waaay off course … and consequently, I came in a couple minutes later than I should have. Not the best start.

Additionally, remember how I was saying I didn’t really train? That included cycling. In fact, I hadn’t been on my bike (which was Jared’s dad’s, and is made for a man about 5″ taller than me) for over a year and a half until the night before, when I rode it around my parents’ cul de sac. You know, to make sure I could. I’m not so good on the bike to begin with. Anyway, I wasn’t fast by any means, but I stayed on. The only problem was trying to get water — I just couldn’t pedal and reach for the bottle (or hold it, or put it back) at the same time, so I ended up only getting one quick drink. Over the course of 15 miles. After swallowing at least my own weight in salt water. Awesome.

Which brings us to the run — the only part I think I probably was prepared for. However, it turns out that, if you sweat a lot and don’t drink anything, your muscles get a little fussy. Both my calves were completely rock solid. My ankles felt arthritic, I was getting chills, and my quads … well, they just had nothing to give. I’ll be honest — I actually considered quitting. And anyone who knows me at all knows that I just don’t do that.

And I didn’t. I stopped numerous times to walk, stretch, and pound on my calves, and when I got to the first water station at Mile 1, I stopped and drank two large cups of water before moving on. Luckily for me, there was another water station at Mile 1 1/2, I drank some more, and, voila! My legs worked again! It’s a miracle, the way that works. Another thing that helped — there was a girl with a big chocolate lab around Mile 2, so I stopped and got some cuddles. That definitely gave me  a boost.

Jared, Mom and Dad were stationed near the finish line (cameras in hand, but I haven’t gotten the pics from anyone yet) — they were total troopers, leaving at 6:15 with me and hanging out for the whole race. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see them, even though none of them wanted to hug my sweaty mess of a body once I finished. Still, as I said before, I finished. My time was 1:45 — I had hoped for something closer to 1:30, but I’ll get it next time. Because I will train and I will hydrate. Lessons learned.