Angela Palacios's First Triathlon Experience

 Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to get into a sport that would increase my athletic abilities and give me more incentive to work out on a daily basis throughout the summer, which is usually filled with indulgent summer BBQs.  I decided a triathlon was what I wanted to try.  Prior to training, I had not run more than a mile or two in more than 10 years and had never swam any distance. 

Juggling a career, 5-6 days of training per week, and a family, I learned to plan my workout efficiently and stagger them to avoid injury.

I trained for 5 months and about a week before the race on June 20th I was going nuts with anticipation for the race.  Race day came faster than I could’ve ever imagined. I arrived at the event two hours early to register and get my gear set up. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I could do each event by itself with relative ease or even two of the events back-to-back. The big question was how my body would respond to all three bricked together. Especially on a day when it was over 90 degrees at the 6 pm start time.

I did a short swim to shake off the nerves because you start in the water. With less than a half an hour to start, I was suited up and waiting in a huge line to jump into the 80 degree lake for my first triathlon!

The swim started with chaos. I decided to ease off and let everyone get situated. After about three minutes, I found myself in a steady pace.  From that point on, the swim was comfortable besides getting hit in the head once. I finished the swim with plenty of energy and made the dash through the transition area to get set for the bike. When I got all my gear on, I took off.

It was hot, so our trainers instructed us to hydrate well on the bike. I was surprised that the bike racers were pretty spread out; you weren’t competing for space on the road like I thought you would be. I finished the bike with enough energy to make the transition into the run.  Going into the transition area I realized I forgot to leave my running shoes untied so I lost time getting the knots out before I could put them on.  I bet I will never do that again!

I realized shortly after the adrenaline abated from running through the crowd and high fiving my daughter and husband that my legs felt like cement.  I really started struggling with the run around mile two and a teammate noticed. She ended up slowing down to encourage me onward for the rest of the 5k, making me run faster than I ever have to finish the race strong despite having the urge to throw up (thanks Nancy)!  I finished in 1 hour 37 minutes.

Looking back at week one, I couldn't believe how far I'd come. It seems amazing that I had just completed a triathlon when just a few months ago I couldn't even keep a jog for more than 2 miles.  Not only have I accomplished something that once seemed daunting, but I’d learned that I’m often capable of much more than I think I am, I only need to try! Despite the grueling work it takes to get ready for a triathlon, I’m already looking forward to my next one in July!