I’ve been visiting Northern Wisconsin for the 4th of July for more years than I can count…I’ve been boating in its many lakes for years, but I have never had the ability to swim in them, until now! As I was planning our 4th of July trip, I noticed that they hold an annual triathlon in the exact town we visit on the exact days we would be visiting. #meanttobe I jumped at the opportunity without reading the fine print. Ok fine, I knew what I was getting into. The Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin triathlon is called “Just Tri It” …catchy name for a triathlon and seemingly inviting to a new triathlete. The course consisted of a 300 yard swim, 10k mountain bike and 5K trail run. So, at an uneducated glance that seems super easy right? Omgee, I had no idea what I was in for.
We stopped by the lake 2 days before the race and my anxiety went through the roof…yup…it’s a friggin’ lake.
I know what you are thinking…it’s a triathlon; of course it’s a lake. Well…up until now I have completed two tris, one in a pool and another in a quarry. This one would be different because it has fishes and ‘life’ within it.
This is a super small triathlon without bike racks in the transition area; you just line up your bikes in a row on the ground and set up your gear
I still wore my wetsuit although most athletes didn’t. Mentally, I knew I needed the buoyancy that the suit provided.
My husband and girlies were at the race supporting me. I cannot do this without them.
Swim – 300 Yards
I was wave 6; so that meant waiting on the lake shore for 25 minutes prior to my scheduled wave start time. #anxietyrisesbytheminute It’s finally time for my wave to line up; suddenly, the countdown starts from the race’s emcee — 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute 10 seconds 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO (They actually do this for each wave) I think it’s so they can watch all the athletes squirm as they wait for the start.
The swim went well (all things considered); I actually held my own and stayed near the top half of swimmers in my wave. Look how I try and use my height to my advantage, I’m decided that I was going to stay upright and run until I ran out of ground to stand on!
You can see me on the right trying to run as long as I could. I went out too fast and had to regroup halfway through. The water was waaaaay cold and very very murky. I thought about back stroking midway through the swim to try and regroup, but somehow I pulled it together and stuck to the forward crawl to finish.
I climbed out of the water and high fived my girlies. #gomomgo
I have no idea how the timing mats were set up, but somehow I had a 7 minute plus transition? Seemed like less than a couple minutes. There was a long run from the shore to the bike, but not thaaaaat long.
Bike – 10K Mountain
I honestly don’t even know how to put this part of the course into words. I learned that I am NOT a mountain biker. This was the most challenging event I have EVER done. Bar none. This was an extremely technical course especially for a girl who is new to cycling and happens to live in the flattest town on the planet. (I’m not kidding). I have a not so wonderful mountain bike that I used for this event. Here’s a list of the awful things that happened to me during the bike portion of the event:
- My chain fell off as I was switching gears less than a mile into the course. I panicked as other riders whizzed by asking if I was “ok”? I answered, “No, I’m not friggin okay!!?? WTF My friggin’ chain fell off and I’m the middle of the woods“ Ok, what I really said was, “I’m good…I lost my chain, but I think I’ve got this.” And ya know what…I did. I got all greasy and dirty, but I got that sucker back on. I can’t tell you how proud that made me.
- I fell off my bike as I was coming down a steep hill; the bottom area of the hill was rutted out with deep wet mud. I tried to avoid the ruts and skid out. Nothing bad, I half stayed on my bike actually, but the other riders behind me had to stop quick for me so we didn’t crash.
- I hit a root (well I hit hundreds upon hundreds of roots) but this one in particular sent me flying off my seat and made me hit my pelvic bone on the main frame of the bar. After that I white knuckled my way over every stinking root, knowing I couldn’t handle another blow.
- I had to run/walk my bike up a couple mountains hills that I couldn’t manage riding up. I think know I ran it up faster than I could have rode it.
- I got passed by tons of amazing athletic bike riders who clearly live and race on mountains on a daily basis.
Again, I had an almost 7 minute transition? How that is possible is beyond me. Nonetheless, I was thrilled to be on my own legs and off that God forsaken bike.
Run – 3.1 Trail
We ran along the same route as the bike, but somehow it didn’t feel as deadly. I put my head down (watching for roots) and pushed as hard as my jangled body could. My arms were exhausted from holding on for dear life during the ride. I was alone on the trails, until halfway through the run when I saw some runners ahead of me. I love a challenge and knew that I stunk it up on the bike course, so I aimed to slowly reel them in. I ended up catching 5 runners on the trail and finished with an overall pace of 8:21 per mile. I was happy with that time although with the goofy transition times I’m not sure how accurate it was.
They did not give out finisher medald for this event; so instead I’m going to remember this as the race that I finished against the odds…I’m clinging to the memories of this race by the mosquito bite scars and my bruised booty. The rest of our vacation? It was great! I’m a lucky momma to have these peeps out there supporting me!
I finished in the bottom 1/3 of this event and I’m pretty excited about that because I FINISHED.
XOXOXO – Mish