Last Sunday I competed in my first triathlon! I've wanted to do the Steve Braun Memorial Triathlon on Orcas Island ever since I was living there in 2008. I was always busy on Labor Day weekend when it was held, but this year I knew I would be around since my friend from Australia would be here visiting. I was home from Europe for just over a month by the time the triathlon was held, and I figured that wasn't much time to train for all 3 events. Then it hit me: biking was my weakest event, and my Australian friend was an awesome cyclist! So we decided to enter as a team, with me doing the swim, then him biking, then me running at the end. We called ourselves "Team Rocket" and sewed matching logos onto our clothes.
It couldn't have been a nicer day for the race. It was held at Cascade Lake at Moran State Park, and was surprisingly warm and sunny for September. It was my first open-water swimming event, and actually a little harder than I thought it would be. As I swam out into the cool lake with the other participants, I had to keep lifting my head up to make sure I was swimming toward the buoy. It felt like I was going nowhere fast, but then I finally crawled out of the water to tag Scott who was in the transition area. It turns out I swam the .4 miles in 11 minutes and 40 seconds, putting me in about the top third of the racers, so I was pretty happy about that.
Scott took off on his bike, a beautiful road bike that he built himself right before coming to the U.S. I changed clothes, stretched, and chatted with a friend, figuring I had plenty of time before I would start running. Then suddenly, there was Scott, coming back! My first thought was, 'We're in first place! I have to run now!' and I jumped up. Then it occurred to me that he was not riding, but walking his bike. Turns out he had gotten a flat tire just miles into the course, and had no way to fix it nor a spare tube. He had hitch-hiked back to the lake. It was such bad luck! But I still wanted to run, so I did, enjoying the sunny day and the race atmosphere as I crossed the finish line. It's a bummer that we don't have an actually overall time, but we still had fun and neither of us put too much pressure on ourselves. It was a good introduction to triathlons, and hopefully next year I will do a whole one by myself, and with no flats!