I Tri’d!

I did my first triathlon on Saturday. The 4th Annual Republic Tiger Tri. I loved it and did a lot better than I expected to do. Can’t wait to be able to do it again.
Thanks for reading!

Just kidding. It’s taken me a few days. I’ve been soaking it in. Reliving certain moments in my head. Smiling a lot. Finally decided it’s time to get the report done. Turn on some Black Keys and here we go. Grab something to drink because this is my first big one and I have a lot to say.

Eleven days before my FIRST EVAH TRIATHLON, I sprained my ankle. The Husband says it was punishment for going out to run when he told me not to. It was hot that day. Really hot. I really wanted to go for a run and he kept reminding me the heat index was over 100°. Once the heat index dropped under 100° I headed out the door. I was just going to do a couple of miles. No biggie.”See in a little bit!” Just a short run.
It ended up being super short. Less than a block from the house I rolled my ankle. I call it a “super roll” because I heard two pops. When you’re walking and you twist your ankle, you can usually catch yourself. When you’re feeling awesome and you’re so happy to be out running and you twist your ankle, there’s no catching yourself. It rolled {pop}, then all my weight went down {POP} and down I went. I was in a shit ton of pain and freaking out. Bawling my eyes out. Sitting in the street. I called The Husband (I can’t tell you how much he LOVES getting phone calls from me crying) to come get me. I would like to give a giant middle finger to the asshole who was mowing his grass, saw me sitting in the street bleeding and crying and didn’t come to see if I was okay. Jerk.

To anyone who thinks social networking is useless: You’re dumb. If it weren’t for Twitter, I would not have known what to do about my ankle. I would have babied it, I wouldn’t have known what was good for it and what was bad. Immediately, I had advice and support (which, let’s face it, is what I really needed at first). Bobby said not to worry because I was totally prepared for my race. “Consider it an extended taper”  The very next morning, the beautiful, smart, wicked nice Cat tweeted instructions at me on how to wrap, ice and exercise it. She made me feel 100% better when, after I sent her pics, she texts me with, “Oh, I’ve fixed a lot worse.” Sweet! She said she’s had her athletes back up and running after 7 days! I still think she’s a witch doctor. I heart her. Mucho mucho. She also turned me onto KT Tape which is AWESOME!

Three days before my race, Cat told me I could try riding my bike and running. Words can’t even express how excited I was. I had tried to swim and got really upset when that hurt. Looking back, I realize that swim was just bad overall. I couldn’t find my rhythm, I was uncomfortable, kept drinking the pool and breathing in water. I was exhausted and quit after half my workout. So when she told me to try riding and running, I was scared. Riding was pretty good. Clipping out of my pedals was a challenge because even though it didn’t hurt much, the instinct to guard the injury kicked in and I was slow. Still, I was encouraged a little bit. That evening I tried running. Oh boy. This one I was scared of. Cat said walk 2:00, jog 30 sec and if that was okay, I could increase jog time up to 5:00. Thanks to her advice, Bobby’s encouragement, The Husband’s support and positive attitude and Eminem (damn, I like that new album!) I did it! And it was awesome. Finally, I felt like I was going to do okay at this race.
I had decided that I didn’t care how long it took me to finish. Before the sprain, I wanted to go all out and just be as fast as possible. By Friday night, I finally admitted it didn’t matter how fast I did it. The point was just to DO it. That’s what I signed up for, right? To test myself? To see if I’d like it? To have fun? Of course, I had a time in mind. It took me 37:00 to walk/jog 2.1 miles on Wednesday, so I figured I’d be coming in around 2:15:00.
I made a last minute decision… I know, I know. “Nothing new on race day”. Well, I made the decision the day before race day, so yea. After extensive discussion with my jockstrap (like 2 or 3 text messages… super extensive, yea) I decided to change out my pedals. Unclipping from my pedals was uncomfortable and I was slow doing it. So I found a pair of pedals in the garage with toe loops on them and put those on. *It should be noted that The Husband had to help me get my Shimano SPD SL pedals off and in doing so, sustained an injury to his hand. :(* I rode around the block and it felt okay, but I didn’t like not being able to move my feet around and my left heel was hitting the crank arm. So I removed the toe loops. Okay. Done. It’s technically not new because up until a year ago, I’d never ridden a bike with clipless pedals, so there. Ha!


I barely slept Friday night. Not from nerves. From a bad ass headache. It was awful. I got about 3 hours sleep total. When the alarm went off (4:45), I forced myself to stay calm. Hey, my ankle doesn’t hurt! Do I hear rain? Surely not. Deep breaths, get up, get the guys up, get ready to go. Breakfast was a bowl of honey nut shredded wheat and a cup of  coffee. That’s definitely rain. Crap. I’ve never ridden in the rain or even when it was wet out. A little help twitter? Yep, thanks, Grant!
The rain wasn’t heavy, so that was good. As long as it didn’t get heavier and quit soon, I knew the low water crossings on the bike course would be fine.
When we got to the race site, there was a flash of lightning. Really? Oh well. If I get struck my lightning because of John (that’s my bike’s name if you’re new here), so be it. Off we go to get marked. “Go set up and come back for body marking when it stops raining.” By now my stomach was all kinds of fluttery. I didn’t have butterflies, I had condors in my stomach. Yay, me for getting there early because they don’t assign rack space. It was still pretty empty when John and I rolled up. I had planned on using chalk (bright purple, thank you Abby!) to mark my spot, but it was raining. Quick thinking: I racked where the handicap parking spots started. I still counted racks, but really all I had to do was look for the first blue paint coming into T1 and the last blue paint coming into T2. Word.
As I’m standing there looking at the bike next to mine, wondering if it matters how I put it on the rack (some hooked their bikes by the seat, some by the brake levers), a lady comes up on the other side of the rack and sets her stuff down. Her bike is a tri bike, which means she’s probably done this before. “This is my first time. Does it matter how I put my bike on here?” She said not really and welcomed me. After I had all my stuff laid out on my towel, she made me show her my set up to make sure I had everything I needed!! Wow. She was super nice. 🙂
Stopped to chat with my landlords (they were both racing, too) and then went to get my Heed out of the truck. I was pretty thirsty. Happens when I get nervous. And then I have to pee a lot. I guess it could be worse, right?
It stopped raining so Shorty and The Husband stood in line with me to get marked. I won’t lie. I was really excited about this.
My dad rolled in a few minutes after I got marked and took a picture or two. I showed him transition (from a distance) and explained how it was going to work: Pool–>T1–>Bike out–>Bike in–>T2–>Run out–>Finish. He was really excited, but worried about my ankle. Everybody was worried about my ankle.
Before I knew it, they were getting ready to shut down transition. Oh crap. I’m really here and I’m really going to do this. Oh crap. Have fun, have fun, have fun. Oh, and have fun.

SWIM {8:32}

So I’m slow. I’m fine with being a slow swimmer. Since I just started swimming in like June. And honestly, it was fun to watch the fast swimmers and cheer them on. I met some really fun people and we laughed, compared stories and fears and just had a great time waiting for our wave to start. I lined up in the 8 to 9 min wave. I knew I’d probably be faster than that because of adrenaline, but didn’t want to look like an ass if I had trouble. My fastest swim up to this point was something like 8:44.
Waiting to start the swim is where I first saw Gorilla man. Seriously, I’m pretty sure this dude could bench 1200 lbs without even trying. He was HUGE!! And symmetrical. Huge. Wow.
Just before our turn to get cleared to jump, I hugged the girl in front of me, Kelly. HA, we introduced ourselves at that point. We had been talking, laughing and having fun for over an hour without knowing each others names. Heh. We were both so damned excited!!
The swim was good. I don’t remember swallowing any water for a change. I felt great, felt strong and confident. I probably could have passed Kelly about halfway through, but didn’t want to. I got passed by one chick. That’s fine. I expected more, so yay! I need to learn to do those fancy-schmancy swimmer turns. I was actually out of the water in just under 8 min.
But then you’ve got that run/jog/walk to transition…

T1 {2:46}

Pulled off my goggles and twitter #swim cap (Thank you so much, Donna!) and did a fast walk/sorta jog from the pool to T1. Fear is a mighty powerful thing. Babytheankle. Babytheankle. Babytheankle. I saw 3 of my guys (The Husband, Shorty and my dad) standing there as soon as I came out of the pool area and turned onto the sidewalk. Yay! Big smiles! Okay, gotta get John. Lookfortheblue. Lookfortheblue. Lookforthe… There he is!! The lady who checked out my transition set up for me was getting ready to head out on the run. She asked me how I was doing and if I was having fun. “Yes!” She told me I looked good and off she went. Awesome! Hey, how come none of yous told me how hard it is to get cycling shorts on when you’re wet? Oh, you wanna be a smart ass? I should have known that, you say? I was a nervous fricken wreck up until I hit the water! I can’t think of EVERYTHING people! Gosh! Shorts on, socks on (had rolled these up the night before so they were wicked easy to put on), Newtons on, race belt on, glasses on, gloves on, helmet on, grab John, GO! I’m totally not running my bike out. Babytheankle.

Bike {55:36}

I had not ridden the whole course at one time. The day I sprained my ankle, I found out they changed the bike course. It was originally two 6 mile loops (you can look back a few posts and there’s a map). They decided to take out one loop and add an out and back. The day I tested out my new rubber ankle, I only rode the out and back. It was hard that day because it was super hot and I wasn’t very well hydrated. But today? I loved it. Even the hard parts. I smiled lot. At the turn around, a guy I had seen at a 5k and who I talked to before the swim told me to pick it up to make up for my run. Lol. Awesome! He was wicked nice. But I couldn’t keep up with him. I did so much better on the bike than I ever anticipated. I even passed some folks! On the uphills! I was almost back to the original course when I saw Gorilla man again. How in the hell is he bending that bulk over on his bike!! Wow! I finally made it to “The hill”. I was ready. I got as aero as an inexperienced newbie can get on the downhill (yes, I screamed as I got up to 38.5 mph) and flew! Okay, time to pedal up. I will admit to flipping off the cows, “Didn’t think I could do it, did ya moo cows? Fuck you! Ha! I’m. Almost. To. The. Top. Hell yea, mo’ fo’!!! And then I hear coming up on my left, “Man, I need more gears!”. Ha, not me! I know this hill. And on this day, I made it my bitch. Wicka wicka! The rest was pretty easy. I was so happy when I looked down and saw that I had finished the bike in under an hour. Holy crap! Yeeesssssss!

T2 {2:03}

Dismount, lookfortheendofthebluepaint, “excuse me” to the people standing in transition in front of people’s shit just talking to their athlete WTF??, rack John. Helmet off, gloves off, shorts off, running shorts on, KATG wristband on (I have my reasons), visor around my neck, turn number around, head for the run course while I move my ponytail up, visor up (hey, it fits over my glasses! Sweet!), walk-don’t-run over the grass to get to the path, okay, try to run.

Run {38:20}

My legs laughed at me. Oh come on! We’ve done this before. I’m just asking you to move forward, for crying out loud. I took it easy, walked a minute, took water from the nice volunteer and after a sip, dumped it on my head. I tried running. I honestly can’t remember how the first few minutes really went. I remember that I was jogging by the time I was halfway around the path and someone running back to the finish was telling me I looked good. Yeah, thanks, but you’re a damn liar. Lol. I’m sure I was looking pretty goofy at that point. I feel like my legs are never going to goooo. Oh well. I walked quite a bit just because I didn’t want to risk hurting myself any worse. I walked the downhills and any area that was all cracked and uneven. Most of the run is in residential areas. Guess who comes up on me around halfway through. Gorilla man!! “Come on! Keep moving! Let’s go!” Well shit. Okay. I guess I’ll try to run some more (I was walking). I jogged behind his symmeticalness for a little bit and then I had to walk some more because my ankle spoke to me (it really wasn’t digging the right turns, dude). Bye bye, Gorilla man. I’ll kick your ass next year! I mean that in the nicest way, for reals. I swear. But he’s so big! There’s no reason he should be able to beat me, dammit!
I took every cup of water held out to me and poured it on my head. The one time I tried to take a drink (at mile 2), I inhaled water instead of drank it and started coughing. Newbie. Sheesh.
I’m finally almost at the end, on the path, my left quads are pissed and my right knee is crying. Oh. My. God. Is that Erin? Oh please, let that be Erin. It is!! It’s my Sugar. I almost cried. How stupid is that? I was soooo happy to see her. She came out here just to see me finish this damn thing! She rocks. I love her. She’s yelling at me. I can’t remember now what she was yelling, but it made me laugh. I blew her a kiss. Smiles!
Across the street, up onto the grass, holy shit I’m in the chute! I’m almost done! Yes!! There’s The Husband! Thumbs up. I think he told me I did great or something. I don’t remember. I’m done. Hell yeah, bitches!! I’m a triathlete!!! And I didn’t roll my ankle!! Woohoo!! Hell YES I want an icy cold towel! Blue Powerade please! There’s my daddy. He’s so proud of me. I’M so proud of me! And then that thing Grant warned me about happened….


I seriously loved that race. Even the few parts that hurt were amazing!!! This race is well organized, the staff was amazing, the volunteers kicked ass and the athletes were aces. I’m pretty sure I said thank you to every volunteer on the course. Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone.

Thank you family for putting up with me and letting me do this. 🙂
Thank you Sugar for being there at just the perfect moment!
Thank you Bobby for spreading this crazy disease. I wouldn’t have ever done this if not for you. Fuck yeah, Suck yeah!
Thank you Cat for fixing me up!!!! You’re so Bad Ass!!
Thank you Sam for the wardrobe consult! 😉
Thank you to all my Twitter buddies who helped keep me excited and motivated with your own races and stories.
Thank you to my “real life” friends for your encouragement.
Here are some more pictures.

Next up? My first half marathon. But don’t worry. I’m totally going to do more triathlons. It’s too damn much fun!!!


  1. Erin said:

    Gosh I love you.
    You did AWESOME!!!!!
    I’m glad you had a great experience. 🙂

    • amienickel said:

      Muah! Thank you for being there. 😀

  2. co2legs said:

    You rock! Well done. Amazing how pushing yourself to expand what you thought were your “limits” can hurt so good.

    I’m reading this the morning after my last long long run before Rev3 and this was just the bit of inspiration i needed to keep pushing through the weekend. Thanks!

    • amienickel said:

      Thank YOU for promptly responding to my anxiety filled “omg it’s raining” tweet! It calmed me down. Luckily, it stopped raining and no worries! 🙂
      You’re going to kick ass @Rev3!!!

  3. Cate said:

    You amaze me and I love you! ❤

    • amienickel said:

      I ❤ you, Cap'n!! 🙂

  4. DollarBill said:

    Great race report and congrats on a great race and giving it all you had when you could have backed out for any number of reasons. Look forward to reading many more in the future.

  5. Gusano said:

    Way to go fool!! You are awesome! Proud of you. Glad Cat was able to help.

  6. Wooowooo!! Way to go, lady!! So proud of you, welcome to the club 😉

  7. -phil said:

    “…holy shit I’m in the chute” – you’ll relive that with every one you do. 😀 Congratulations! and as Dickers said, welcome to the club.

  8. Dawn said:

    I Loved reading this!! You rock!! A bike named John… Does this have anything to do with ‘tricks’ or a twitter triathlete who names his bikes after porn stars? After all he told me ‘what else do you want to ride for hours!’

    Looking forward to reading up in your blog!!!


    • amienickel said:

      Thanks, Dawn! And if the twitter triathlete you speak of is Ironman Bobby, then yes!! 😉 John Holmes and I are pretty happy together!!!

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