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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One Comment to “Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2012”

  1. I’m so proud of you, Tabitha! Congratulations on your second triathlon! Glad that the bushes caught you and that your swimming skills are so strong that you can swim extra and still only be 10 minute behind schedule! When is the Bali marathon?…. 🙂

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