Thursday night at work I finished up building my very first running blade. Friday morning at 5:00 am I headed up to Pleasant Prairie, WI for Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club’s annual triathlon camp. (Registration opens February 1st – Register Here)
We practiced each individual portion of the race and transitions. I started off in the pool swimming 500s. We practiced spotting because open water is much different than pool swimming. You must find an object to keep yourself on course, which was definitely difficult to get the hang of. I had swam for my high school, but this was quite different. It was so cold, getting out my lips were purple! We went over to bike training and learned how to mount on the move. We practiced taking 180 degree turns, and passing other cyclists.
After lunch we worked with Coach Judy on our running. We did resistance training and short sprints. I was getting the hang of my running leg, but it’s strange when you first start. There is no heel to toe cycle, and you have a ton of spring in your step!
In the morning we started bright and early with biking to practice distance and hills. Then we switched over to swimming and practiced open water swimming in the lake! We had to round the buoys and complete two 400s. I tried out a wet suite for the first time ever, but felt very constricted. On my second 400 I tossed aside the wet suite and swam my normal “race” pace. After lunch we practiced our running again. This time we practiced hills and pumping our arms to finish out strong. I was fighting the leg less, and feeling more natural with my gait.
We woke up that morning to cloudy, 70 degrees, and wind gusts. Getting into the lake was pretty chilly, but once I finished up my first 400 meters my body began to cramp up. My chest felt tight, and my heart beat slowed. A guide swimmer joined up with me and I finished my final 400. I could barely make it to shore, when they brought me in and carried me to a heated car. After 10 minutes in the car I jumped out and biked 10 miles. Then came the run…Everyone was well done with the race, but I just had to finish. The Co-Founder and Paralympian, Melissa Stockwell, asked me if she could run with me, which encouraged me to run even harder. We kept pace the entire 3.1 miles and brought up the rear of the race. I was dead last but I completed my first ever triathlon sprint – swimming a 1/2 mile, biking 10 miles, running 3.1 miles. No matter your level of ability set goals for yourself and cross that finish line!
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