Archive for December 2nd, 2012

December 2, 2012

Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2012

by Tabitha Kidwell

After almost 4 months of training, last Sunday was finally race day. I went to Phuket, Thailand, with my friends Jackie, Jess, and Miranda to do an International Distance Triathlon: a 1.8 km swim, 55 km bike ride, and 12 km run. Since August, I have been doing (or trying to do) 9 workouts a week (3 biking, 2 swimming, 3 running), and it paid off: it was a blast! Well, I didn’t think that at kilometer 9 of the run, but it was mostly a blast. Also, I did not die. Success.

It had been rainy and humid the day before, but we had a perfectly clear, cool(er) morning. For it only being my second triathlon, it was a good race, but a mixture of strong points and things to work on for next time. I felt strong throughout the swim, but my complete inability to swim a straight line meant that I was all over the swim course and got out of the water about 10 minutes later than I expected. I would love to see a map of exactly where I swam; I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more like 2K! Lesson learned: practice swimming straight in open water swims. The bike was a beautiful ride through rice paddies and rubber plantations. I really enjoyed it, except for couple of crazy hills at the beginning and the moment around 40K when I took a fast corner, almost ran into a car also taking a fast corner, and careened into some bushes. I was lucky to hit the bushes – there was a (concrete) house to my left, a tree in front of me, and a rock to my right. I was more or less okay, except for a tweak in my calf that I kept needing to stop and stretch during the remainder of the bike and run. That evening, when it was tied up in a tiger-balm-proof knot, I was worried my calf was really hurt. Happily, a week later, it’s just a tiny bit sore. Lesson learned: take sharp corners carefully! The run was through a golf course, with mostly nice, soft surfaces. I was feeling great the first lap, but then, the second lap, nature called. I lost a couple of minutes in a golf course bathroom. Usually I make sure that business is completed pre-race by eating prunes the night before, but I couldn’t find any in Salatiga last week. Lesson learned: stockpile prunes.

My goal was to finish the race and to feel good throughout, and I definitely accomplished that. But I also had a secret goal: beat my slowest marathon time, 4:40! With an official time of 4:39, I did just that! I finished after my more athletic friends, which meant that they were there to run me in at the finish line.

Unfortunately, given that it was just a weekend trip, we didn’t actually see much – it was basically just getting ready for the triathlon…

Checking in

Checking in

Carb loading - Pad Thai in Thailand!

Carb loading – Pad Thai in Thailand!

Just add triathlete

Just add triathlete

More carb loading!

More carb loading!

…doing the triathlon…

Ready before the race

Ready before the race

Don't I look bad-ass in this photo I downloaded for free?

Don’t I look bad-ass in this photo I downloaded for free?

…and recovering from the triathlon.

Re-hydration!

Re-hydration!

Massage tent

Massage tent

Cheers!

Cheers!

In closing, I want to share what I was thinking about on that long bike ride: all the wonderful people who have been part of my athletic journey! I am by no means a natural athlete – I’ve never been on an organized sports team, and I dreaded gym class in school. But running, and now biking and swimming, have become an essential part of my life, and even my identity. So I thought about Michela, who got me to start running in Madagascar. I thought about Suzi and Claire, who I ran my first half-marathon with in France. I thought about the many, many people at MIT (who I won’t try to name because I will forget someone important) with whom I clocked hundreds of miles beside the Olentangy River. I thought about all the people I joined for runs and races: my sister Katie, my cousin Kelly, my friends Erin, Tess, Debbie, Erica, Allison, Angie, Meghan, and all the middle school cross-country runners I coached. I thought about my Ironman friends Maggie and Ann (i.e. “Thank goodness I don’t still have to run a marathon. ”). But mostly, I thought about the 3 amazing women who crossed the finish line with me. They are at a totally different level: Jess got first in her age group, Jackie missed 3rd by seconds, and Miranda competed nationally in Indonesia for swimming. They train like maniacs because they are competitive, and I train like a maniac just to be there. But being there has taken me to incredible places and has introduced me to amazing people. So I will continue training like a maniac, because there is nowhere else I would rather be! Bali Marathon, anyone?

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