Did I win?

Triatlon de Punta Hermosa is a small event with approximately 130 participants that has been organized for the past three years. I decided to skip my scheduled brick session, and join this race instead, which was my first sprint distance race.

I found out that we weren’t many in my age group, so there was a good chance of getting a medal. The overconfident inner me believed that it would be easy to complete a 750 m swim, a 20 Km ride and a 5 Km run. Little did I know…

I arrived early, and met other training partners from TRIBU (my new tri club). I got my athlete’s pack, and set my transition. When I was done, I went to see the beach where we would swim. I started shaking when I saw the waves, which were so strong that people were surfing  close to us.

I was advised to swim a bit before the race to get comfortable in the water. I shook off the fear, went in, and swam past the waves. Once I reached “the other side” I felt better and started swimming back. Reaching the shore, I stood up on by feet and a wave knocked me over!  After a moment of confusion, I realized I had lost my goggles. I sighted them floating and I dived fast to get them, but another wave made sure that we would part ways.

I walked away hopelessly, and told my sad story to another guy who was there. He offered to lend me his extra pair, so problem solved. Hooray for this guy! I got them, rushed to the start point, and in seconds the race started.

To summarize: This was my hardest swim ever. I am slow swimmer, but this time it was not about my lack of speed. Between the tall waves, the current and the fog in the goggles, I couldn’t see the buoys and I just couldn’t swim straight. Additionally there was a sort of foam in two segments which didn’t allow me to breathe normally. I had to stop and swim backstroke in order to calm down.

By the time I reached the shore, according to my Garmin I had swum 1 600 m in about 35 minutes (not the 750 m I expected).  After the race I learned that the current moved the buoys so most people measured 1 200 m in their Garmins.

I thought I was the last, but apparently the swim took its toll on many other participants as well. I was surprised to see so many bikes in the transition, including the ones from girls in my category. I felt energized and rushed to pass “Miss #19” who was there as well.

The bike ride kicked off with a super hill upwards that made even the strong cyclers struggle, and continued downwards. It had 7 speed bumps and many narrow turns. And then multiply that by seven laps. Despite that, I enjoyed it. When I was on my last bike lap, I sighted Miss #19 again already running. I thought I had left her behind.

I went to into the transition and rushed to run. The course consisted of three short laps on a pathway next to the ocean, which I managed to run steadily. I went faster on the last blocks and passed the finish line feeling like a champ.

In the award ceremony I was called first in my category! I didn’t expect it since I saw Miss #19 go first. I guessed she missed a bike lap. I went up the podium to get my medal and trophy. Then I was ready to leave, when I was called back. They said they made a mistake, and I had to give the trophy back. However I still managed to be second place! I won’t complain about it since this is my second triathlon ever. 

I now have more empathy with Miss Colombia, and I will continue training hard to get better! And who knows, I might be luckier on another event!

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