Just to be clear in the beginning, I do not recommend racing a sprint triathlon with 5 days notice and no swim/bike training. Just to be clear
On that note, here is the recap about the time BLC and I raced a sprint triathlon in Aruba with 5 days notice and no swim/bike training!
The Week Before:
BLC called me on the Tuesday before we were leaving for Aruba and said, “Guess what we are doing on July 1?”
Knowing that we were going to be in Aruba, I was thinking snorkeling, laying by the pool, walking on the beach…
I was wrong.
We were signed up for the Aruba International Sprint Triathlon.
BLC had been emailing the director back and forth (who were super nice and helpful, BTW) trying to figure out how were were going to get bikes and how much registration would be. It was $35 and they agreed to rent the bikes for us and have them at the sign-in table the morning of the race. Couldn’t really argue with that
At first I was very excited because I’m weird like that. Then I started getting super nervous. Did I mention that neither BLC nor I have rode a bike in about 3 years and haven’t swam laps in over 7 years? & we signed up to swim a 750m open water swim, 20K bike ride and 5k run on our vacation. I never claimed we were very smart.
I started scouring Triathlon websites, tips for beginners, how many people have drowned during the swimming leg of a triathlon (14 last year, BTW), etc.
Nervous did not even begin to describe how I felt.
The Day Before:
On the Saturday before the tri, BLC and I woke up at 3:45AM to get to the airport for our 6:00AM flight. Probably got about 3-4 hours of sleep…(two nights before a race is supposed to be the most important night for sleep…eeeek).
I did have a very healthy breakfast at the airport, though. Gotta give myself credit somewhere…
We travelled for about 10 hours and got to our resort around 5PM. We checked in, put our stuff in our room, went down to the bar & found out it was Happy Hour. We proceeded to drink 3-4 fruity cocktails each to calm our nerves about the next day. Also, not our best idea ever.
At that point, we wanted to see how long it would take us to get to the transition area/registration table the next morning so we knew when we should leave. So we walked on the beach up to Eagle Beach, where the start would be located.
We couldn’t find it and managed to thoroughly tire out out legs in the process. Go us.
We went back to our room and tried to fall asleep around 9PM for our quickly approaching 4:30AM wake up call.
The Day Of The Sprint Triathlon:
We woke up, nervously got dressed and headed up the beach hoping to find the transition area. I am not gonna lie…I was half hoping that they forgot about us and we didn’t actually have to race.
No such luck.
We got to the transition area around 5:15AM, signed our registration forms & got our rented bikes. We also had to borrow helmets. We got all numbered up, adjusted the seat on our bikes (mine was still a little too high for me but more on that later…) and got all numbered up.
I was 178 & BLC was 177. Sorry for the scary look.
After we set up our transition station, we put on our swimming caps & headed over to the start.
The red caps were the Olympic distance. We had white caps.
BLC and I were all the way in the back. Nervous as hell. & then it began. No more time for nerves…
I decided to just stick to breast stroke because it takes a little less energy and I wanted to be sure to conserve as much as possible considering 750 meters is a long way in the ocean. I ended up doing that until the first buoy then did a mixture of side stroke (<—my savior stroke!), laying on my back & breast stroke. By the time BLC and I passed the second buoy, the first few Olympic distance racers started to pass us (they had two laps, we had to do one). It was a little bit embarrassing but guess what? BLC & I weren’t the absolute last two to finish the swim!! Booyah!
We finished the swim in 20:33 (me) & 20:34 (BLC)
Both BLC and I were dead tired after the swim but I think we were really excited to be done with that part. I mean, how bad could a 20K bike ride and 5K run be, right?
When we got to the transition area, our feet were covered in sand, we had no water & BLC didn’t even have a change of clothes. Again, totally prepared. We tried to wipe our feet off and both ate a banana, put our helmets on & got ready for our 20K.
Transition time: 8:07 (me) & 8:06 (BLC) <– I am aware that this is absolutely terrible because the next closest transition time was 4:00 – we clearly had no idea what we were doing.
& then it was time for the bike leg.
We had 4 loops of 5K each ahead of us. It was almost entirely flat which was definitely amazing. What wasn’t so amazing was that we didn’t figure out how to shift gears until we were about 1 lap in. Another super smart move
But then! Another amazing thing happened! Half way through our second lap…I got a flat tire. Yep. I told BLC to continue on without me. I ended up talking to one of the volunteers and she told me to head back to the transition area to see if anyone could repair my tire. I had to walk my bike about 1 mile back to the transition area. I was pretty bummed out at that point.
The lovely photographers capturing my search for a new tire…
As the volunteers were trying to find me a new tire, the winner of the Sprint distance came in.
Guess who gave me their tire? Yep, the winner of the Sprint distance (also – 13 years old if you were interested). You would think with the tire of the winner, it would have been smooth sailing but you would be wrong.
I got back on my bike and was going pretty good for my third lap. The first turn was pretty wide so I had no real problem but the next turn I took a little too slowly & clipped the curb causing me to fall off my bike and get a pretty gross bruise on my leg, above my knee. I brushed myself off, got back on my bike and soldiered on. I was pretty stoked when I passed the transition area for my final lap.
I was a little nervous about the last turn due to my fall and I think I psyched myself out. So instead of just clipping the curb, I crashed right into it. I flew forward and hit my pelvis area pretty hard on the handle bars. I was really hurting but I was so close to being done that I got back on my bike and kept riding. Probably not the smartest thing but I was so close to being done with the bike and to the run leg which should have been my easy leg.
I finished my last lap and headed to the transition area in quite a bit of pain.
My time from here on out was pretty messed up but BLC finished the bike leg in 57:09.
I hung up my bike, ate a little apple sauce packet I had because I still hadn’t had any water & it was HOT out. But I set out for my run thinking it would be no problem.
The run was a shortened portion of the bike lap and for the 5k we had to run 2 laps. I thought it was only one lap. Should have double-checked on that sucker.
At the first water station I was soooooo excited to get a water. I was super thirsty and most likely dehydrated. Like I said in the begin, do as I say…not as I do.
I was actually pretty excited about how they handed out water.
It was a little water packet. At first I was kinda confused at how to drink it but I just bite off the corner…and that was that.
I thought they were so cool, I even grabbed an extra so I could take pictures of it. It’s the little things in life, right?
So during my first lap, my pelvis was hurting a little but it continued to hurt more and more as I ran. I was really frustrated that the run was so difficult.
Some how I managed to get my best race picture ever while I was in immense pain after swimming in the ocean and riding my
death on wheels bike for 20K. Go figure.
I got to the turn off for the finish and really thought I was finished. I ran through and got to the finish.
I got my medal and t-shirt but when I didn’t see BLC, I started to question whether it was 1 or 2 laps at the end. Since I didn’t have my Garmin, I literally had no clue. Unfortunately at that point my pelvis was throbbing so it was probably better that I didn’t keep running on it. Had I known before I turned off, I definitely would have kept going.
So needless to say…I finished my very first Sprint Triathlon in Aruba in 1:49:37 (minus about 1.5 miles). I was really upset considering how close I had gotten but I wanted to be there for when BLC finished. I stood at the finish line and waited for BLC to become a triathlete!
I was soo excited when I saw him coming around the corner to the finish (he was a little bit behind the winners of the Olympic distance racers.) I’m not gonna lie – even though I was bummed about my race…I was grinning from ear to ear when I saw him finishing. I was so proud of him!
BLC finished in 2:01:55!
When he got to the finish line, I gave him a giant hug and told him what happened with me. I could tell he felt bad and asked if I wanted to go walk the last 1.5m together but it was really hurting even to walk so we decided it wasn’t the best idea.
We stuck around for a little while, chatted with a few of the other racers, had some food and drank some Gatorade before we headed back to the resort to shower and relax for the rest of the day.
So that was that. Our first sprint triathlon. I apologize if this post seemed a little bit whiney (I’m just a whiney kind of person lol) but I truly am very happy we decided to do it! Regardless of the outcome it was definitely an accomplishment and has opened us up to a whole different world of races! We will definitely be registering for another sprint tri in the future…but I will also train on the bike and do a little swimming before that
Post Race Photo Shoot:
Happy that we signed up…
Sad that I didn’t finish the last 1.5m. FYI – I think it was just a bruised muscle/pulled muscle. It took about 3-4 days to fully heal. But I am all good now
Cool water thingie I saved! Any one else ever seen one of these at a race in the states?
Me and my TRIATHLETE!! Wooo hoooo! Go BLC!
Can you believe that BLC raced a triathlon in board shorts? Can take the dude out of SoCal but can’t take the SoCal out of the dude.
Our cool t-shirt. <3
Hope you liked the recap! I truly had the experience of a lifetime!