I’ve spoken before about what led me to triathlon, and the mistakes I made in training for my first half-iron distance race. If you read the post, you might understand why I had some reluctance to start up again.
The goal has always been the same, though: complete an Ironman before I turn 30. It seemed a lot further away when I was 22 and in the best shape of my life, but, hey. Whatever, right?
When I wrote that post, I didn’t realize that I’d be on the other side of the planet for my honeymoon to Japan and The Philippines, then recovering from it, for the entire month of April. I didn’t realize that my husband’s job would be transferring to New York City, or that I’d go through depression over the continuous life-change limbo that it created and an obsession with searching for real estate in the entire Tri-State Area before finding home in Connecticut.
What I’m saying is, I thought I wouldn’t already done my second 70.3 by now. I haven’t. In fact, I’m still getting over my fear of open water. I had only gone one time to the lake before deciding to bite the bullet and try another tri. Enter Towne Lake Tri.
Mark heard about the race through his running coach’s client. It took place on Labor Day, and there was an Olympic distance course and a sprint. Knowing full well my open water handicap, I went for the sprint. The setting was a small man-made lake in the subdivision of Cypress (a suburb of Houston) called Towne Lake.
I geared up for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, and tried my best to get a good night’s rest.
Don’t let the pretty photo deceive you. The water was oxidized-avocado green once in it, and I couldn’t see an inch in front of my face when I was swimming.
If you’re wondering, yes. I panicked. Again. But! After alternating between backstroking and breast stroking for a little over half of the course, I was finally able to get my bearings. I closed my eyes and imagined the bottom of our pool at home, and swam my little heart out. By that point, I was far behind the vast majority of my age group, and even some from the following group. (The one with women 13+ years older than me. That one.)
Though untrained and vastly overweight on a swampy, ninety-three degree day with ninety percent humidity, I gave the bike and the run my all. To top it off, I didn’t finish last (or second-to-last) in my age group! I placed 20 out of 27. I’d be displeased with that had it been a run, but I was just thankful to have not backstroked the entirety of the swim leg!