Sep 8, 2015

What I never thought I could do

Post by Randi Strunk

It’s over. So strange to think that the thing we’ve been training for the last 4 to 5 months has come and gone, but Jenny and I successfully finished the St. Croix Valley Triathlon on Saturday, September 5. I was a mixture of nervous and excited leading up to the race, but knew we had done most of it before so I tried to treat it as much like a normal training day as possible, so by the time we were lining up to start I was more focused than nervous.

The part I’m most proud of is the swim. If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning you know my swimming experience was very little and I remember the feeling of dread when I could barely make it down and back in the pool without wanting to die. Pete and Jenny kept telling me it would get better, but a mile seemed like such a long way it was hard to believe them sometimes. However, with the coaching of Pete and our open water swims on Tuesday evenings I was able to complete the swim portion in 44 minutes. I think I gained the most confidence from this portion of my training, and it was definitely the part I had to work the hardest to accomplish.

The bike went really well too, I feel like we gave it everything we had and with good results. Twenty five miles went by more quickly than I ever thought it could. I really enjoy biking and am going to keep training through the winter, continuing to take spin classes and riding our tandem on the bike trainer we have in the basement. I certainly didn’t go into this thinking at the end I’d have purchased my own tandem bike, but that’s what happened and I’m very excited to keep improving on the bike. I’m going to reach out to other blind riders and triathletes to ask about techniques for hills etc. there’s got to be a better way to not lose all your momentum. We stayed seated on the bike the entire time while traditionally you are able to stand and push harder on the up hill climbs. Something I want to learn more about in the off-season.

Finally, there’s the run portion, where I broke the cardinal rule of racing, “Nothing new on race day.” I had some Gatorade at the first water station and my stomach revolted from there. I’m not sure if it was the Gatorade, dehydration, or a combination of the two, but I’m pretty sure we walked more than we ran of those six miles. It was frustrating because I felt like my legs could do more but the rest of my body wasn’t having any of it. Jenny kept reminding me that we were still moving and that we had accomplished our goal to finish regardless of the tough run.

Overall, the training and the race itself were fantastic. I’ve learned so much about the sport and about my own physical capabilities. It’s strange, I’m a bit sad it’s over… having a single race as a goal results in an abrupt end to what your focus has been on for the last five months, but it also means I can move on to something different for a while. I’m anxious to keep up my skills over the fall and winter and to get back into lifting.

I’d like to thank Jenny and Pete for being such great teachers and training partners throughout this journey. Also a big shout out to everyone who came to support us on race day. We had a whole team of supporters and it was a fun day.

Now the question, “Would you do another one?” The answer is a resounding Yes! I have a baseline time now I have learned a ton thus far, but know there is so much more to learn about the sport and about how others train. I’m also super competitive and I want to beat my time, particularly in the run. I hope Jenny had as good of a time in this journey as I did and I have to say we make one hell of a team!!!

Until next time…