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Iron Girl Triathlon this Weekend!

This is it. Our Peachtree Corners writer heads to Lake Lanier to put her training to the test.

I'm not getting much sleep these days.

Not because my work schedule has been grueling and not because my girls' activity schedule has been overwhelming.

I find myself waking with the roosters, well before my alarm goes off and well before I need to even think about getting up.  Most days, the sun isn't even up yet. 

Yet, I'm wide awake, and I hear from experienced triathletes that a touch of insomnia is typical the weeks leading up to an event.

The Iron Girl triathlon is this weekend, and I'd be flat out lying if I didn't admit I'm nervous.  The event that I've been faithfully training for is less than a handful of days away, and butterflies have been dancing in my stomach for at least a week now.

Many people ask if I feel prepared for the race.

Well, considering that less than six months ago, I didn't know how to swim and I hadn't been on a bike in over a decade, I'd say I've come a long way. 

And when you add to it the fact that I had a fairly serious injury (separated shoulder) after while riding my bike two months ago, I'd say I'm just about as ready as I could be at this point.

After the accident, my training time in the pool is what suffered the most.  Rotating my shoulder was challenging, and I was fearful to push myself too hard, at the risk of additional injury.

My endurance on the swim is not where I'd like it to be at this point, but I am confident that I will not drown during the race!

We've done two open water swims up at Lake Lanier with the Team in Training group.  The first swim, in late April, was a shocker to say the least. 

Swimming in a lake is nothing like swimming in a pool.  In a lake, there is no bottom to touch when you need a break, no lane lines to mark your path and no visibility in the water to see where you are going. 

The water was in the 60 degree range, and upon entering the water, my lungs immediately tightened and I felt like I was going to hyperventalate.  I really struggled to get into the groove.  Panic set in, and after swallowing a bucket of lake water, I was frustrated and felt like a bit of a failure.

Later that day, I was experiencing difficultly breathing and developed a low grade fever.  Three days later, when it worsed, a trip to the doctor revealed a brochial infection.  I walked out of the office with prescriptions for a Z Pac (antibiotic), steroids, an inhaler and the recommendation to take a week off of swimming so the infection didn't travel down to my lungs and turn into pneunomia.

And all I could think of was, "This is sooooo not what I needed at this point, more time out of the pool." 

Thankfully, I rebounded in time to go the next open water swim the following weekend.  The water was ten degrees warmer and I was determined to have a successful swim. 

To better prepare myself for the open water swim, I read a few articles on line geared toward beginner triathletes.  The advice was to remain calm (so much easier said than done!), stay in your "circle" (which means to stay focused on your own swim, on your strokes, and not be concerned with anyone else), stay fierce (you will get kicked, elbowed and swam over, but don't let that stop you) and flip onto you back when you need a break.

I tried each of these techniques and found myself, dare I say, acutally enjoying the experience. 

There's no question that the swim portion of the triathlon will be the most challenging for me.  I'm thankful that the swim is the first event, and once  I'm out of the water, I will feel like I've slayed a dragon. 

So, send me some good vibes for a safe, successful and enjoyable race on Sunday.  You each will be with me on the journey, as you have been since January.

Nancy Minor May 17, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I will have you in my thoughts. I am so excited for you. What an accomplishment to be able to participate. You have already won the battle. Look at all you hace accomplished in a short period. When I was spinning I would think if only I could do a triathlon but biking out side scared the wits out of me. Remember you can always float. Turn over float and breathe. Cannot wait to hear the results ut as far as I am concerned you are already my hero even without the race.
Debbie Timm May 17, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Go Robin! I will be thinking about you on Sunday and I know that you will do great. The Iron Girl was my first triathlon also and I did it 5 years ago. I had such a feeling of accomplishment when it was over and I know you will, too. The swim was my most challenging part, but thankfully you have done some open water swims. This is a well run race and a great location. Try to enjoy it, or at least enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you are done! Best of luck to you!!

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