Shaking off First Triathlon Jitters: Meet Taylor
Why I Tri: Taylor's Story
Nerves set in two days before the triathlon. I printed out the entire Chicago Triathlon 2015 Athlete Guide and started browsing through the pages to make sure I knew the correct times, route, rules, and regulations. I even started texting my friends who had done triathlons previously to make sure I would put all of the bike stickers in the correct place. I prepared my body by training, but it is so much harder to prepare your mind for a race.
Nerves gave way to anticipation when I went to the expo to pick up my race day essentials. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Race expos are the best. Between the swag bags, shopping and seeing all the other athletes, it was hard to quell my excitement.
No one tells you how hard it is to sleep before your first triathlon. You try to go to bed early, because you have to be up at 4 am, but it is nearly impossible. My body just wasn’t used to going to bed early, especially after a day that involved almost no physical activity. Once I got to sleep, it wasn’t much better. It was honestly the worst sleep of my life, tossing and turning all night. My brain wouldn’t turn off. My emotions were all over the place: nervous, scared, unprepared, and anxious.
The next morning, I woke up to signs all around the apartment from my boyfriend that said things like, “Good Luck, T-Bone.” (Yes, he calls me T-Bone sometimes…), “Water? Gatorade?” (He was making sure I didn’t forget my essentials that were in the refrigerator and not packed in front of my bike!), “See you at the finish line!” They were in every room of our apartment and one was even by the elevator! Nothing makes you feel a little more confident than a lot of love.
I definitely had some pre-race jitters, but before I knew it, it was time to line up for my wave. I was wave 21. I know how to swim—I trained in pools and open water—but during the race, I refused to put my head under water because I was too afraid of getting kicked in the face! The swim was the longest swim I've ever done in my life and it felt that way, but I pushed through.
I changed out of swim stuff and into my biking. The bike portion of the triathlon was my favorite part. I felt strong and confident, but I think that was partially because the swim was over! By the end of the bike, my legs and shoulders were shot (from swimming too). I kept telling myself, "You just have to run."
Mile one went fast. 2, 3, and 4 were so-so, but miles 5 and 6 felt like forever! The spectators pushed me through to the end! I completed my first triathlon with a time of 3:10:43. I'm surprised I didn't cry for being so proud of myself!
When I first started training, people would ask me, “Do you plan on doing another triathlon?” I always responded with, “Well, let me get through this one first.” I am already fully committed into participating in another triathlon.
I loved the feeling during the race, and I felt even better after. I plan on competing in the Espirit de She Triathlon and the Chicago Triathlon next year. I’m hoping to train a bit more and cut my time to 3 hours.
A triathlon was never a goal of mine until this past year. I’ve done 5Ks, 15Ks, half marathons, and Tough Mudder races, but I never even dreamed of completing a tri. I’m so glad I decided to open up my mind to the idea of it and add it to my goals and bucket list. You honestly don’t know what your body is capable of until you push your limits. I’m so glad I Tried a Tri.