Saturday, June 7, 2014

First OWS, Ever!!!!

TriMom Productions is the company who is putting on the triathlons that I will doing starting June 22 at the Oh My Goddard.

One of the cool things they do is hold Tri Clinics to help you get familiar with open water swims, bikes and runs.  What makes it even better, is that you do this on the course of the race you plan to enter.

Now, I pretty much got the running covered and with every bike ride, I feel more at ease.  But the swimming in the open water has been freaking me out since day one.  If you remember, I didn't know how to swim six months ago.

The Oh My Goddard is quickly approaching and I really needed to get to one of these clinics.  I knew that I didn't want my first time in OW to be the race. That would just be crazy.

One of the things that I was waiting for was a wet suit that I ordered.  The water here in Rhode Island is still pretty cold and I knew I wouldn't do well without it.  Plus, it keeps you afloat.  You will not drown in a wet suit.

The swim clinic was Saturday and my wet suit arrived on Friday.  I went to register for the clinic on-line to find out that it was closed.  I felt a mix of disappointment and relief.  And I went back and forth with, "Do I just show up and hope they let me in?"  Finally, a little after 10pm, I saw a FB update on the TriMom page saying to come on down even if you missed registration.  Well, there it is. I hurried up and got out everything that I needed.  Some things went right into the truck and some I laid out on the table with my purse.  I sat back down and then started to panic.

Real panic.

OMG, I am going to get into the water.  FOR REAL!  I kept wishing that I had a friend to go with me.  I am not one to shy away from strangers, but for some reason, I was completely nervous to meet these people.  So unlike me.

I finally got in bed, but that was useless.  I tossed, I turned.  I threw blankets off me, just to pull them back up.  I turn the radio on, I turned it off.  I may have even checked FB.  I was one giant mess.  I can honestly say that this was the most nervous I have ever been before any of my pervious races and this wasn't eve a race!

Then, the alarm went off.  My first thought was you don't have to do it. My second thought was, suck it up and get out of bed!

I put my tri suit on and now for the funny part.  I had trouble getting my wet suit on the day it arrived. I didn't want to do it in front of people so I put it on, up to my waist, to drive there!  It actually went on easier then I thought and I considered taking it off, but in the end, I drove the 30 minutes with it on.

You can stop laughing now.

Because I am who I am, I was 25 minutes early.  I took the time to just sit and relax and watch what was happening around me.  I finally got out of my car and said hi to the woman who parked next to me. We chatted a few minutes and then a man said that we were meeting at the other end of the beach.  Once Kathy, the owner of Tri Mom, checked everyone in, she handed out swim caps and samples of Body Glide.

We all sat down and heard how the morning was going to go.  For the first time, I felt calm.  The water looked still and peaceful.  I was with nice people. Plus, TriMom had people out there in white caps to help us.  Everything was going to be fine.
I am in the orange cap.

She had us get in the water and swim to the first buoy.  There we were given some more instruction and were told to try and float.  My feet shot up and I swear, I almost did a backwards summersault!

We went back to the beach and she split us up to simulate waves and I was in the first one.  I did not get in right away, just sort of let some of the more eager swimmers get started.  Once I was in I walk just a bit and then started to swim.  I got to the first buoy without any problem. I looked straight ahead and focused on the second buoy.

There were no waves but it did get choppy with all the people in the water.  I, unfortunately, swallowed some salt water. Yuck and now I am wicked thirsty.

At one point I decided to catch my breath and back stroke a bit.  About 10 seconds later I hit the girl who had been close to me for most of the swim.  I apologized and decided to stick with free style, breast stroke and side stroke.  Kathy, who was on a paddle board was yelling encouraging words to all of us started to yell, "Don't stop in the water!". I am pretty sure she was yelling at the girl I just hit.

I think the girl stopped right in front of me and stood up. Oh did I mention the water wasn't so deep?  Anyway, I still stayed away from the back stroke but felt better thinking it wasn't my fault.  I also know on race day, there will be more than 34 people swimming with me and it will most likely happen again.

At this point the second buoy was getting closer, but it felt like I wasn't moving.  I started to get mad and just wanted to be finished.  Of course I was moving and once I hit the buoy, I almost cried out of pure joy.  I still had to get to shore but that was nothing.  Oh happy day!

I walked out of the water and stepped foot onto the beach smiling like I never smiled before and maybe with a tear in my eye.  This was un-timed, but I am guessing 15 minutes.  I know it's not the best time, but I was not the last one out of the water. Now, I know that this was not a race but it was still a nice feeling.

There was an optional bike ride if you wanted to do it.  This is also an olympic race so you could bike the sprint course or the olympic. I went with the sprint since it is what I will be doing in two weeks.
I am in there somewhere.
I have never done a group bike ride before and wasn't sure how it would work.  We had a leader and people riding with us who just knew the course. This was also a no drop ride, which means, no one gets left behind. Not being familiar with the area, that made me feel better.

I stayed towards the back and kept at a slower pace than I have been riding in my pervious training runs. I was ok with this, again, not a race. I just wanted to get a feel for the course and see what it was like to ride with so many other people.  The course was beautiful. All roads and for the most part, not too much traffic.  We had a few check points where our leader made sure we were all there and just explained the next bit of the course to us.  I felt good the whole time.  Some hills but nothing as bad as my neighborhood.  I did talk to a couple people on the ride, but for the most part, I stayed alone. I am ok with that.  I feel like I have to concentrate more on the bike and I didn't need any distractions.

I did speed up in the end once we were back in Goddard Park. I finished in 58 minutes but am sure I could do better on race day.

Once back to my truck, I racked my bike and then just sat for a few minutes looking out at the water.  It was a beautiful morning and I will never forget my first OWS.

I would like to point out that even though I wanted the swim to be finished, I could of gone on if I had to.  I didn't feel nearly as tired as I thought I would and the wet suit seemed to make swimming easier.  I always feel like I could bike forever and even though I didn't run today, I knew I would have no problem doing so if I wanted to.  I have a 5k in the morning that I will be running with George so I was saving my legs a bit. Can't wait to run with my boy!

So here we are, two weeks out from my first triathlon and feeling better than ever!

Anything you think I need to know before June 22?  Would love to hear any advice you may have for me.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole


  1. Congrats on your first OWS! Couldn't stop laughing that you drove to the training wearing your wetsuit! Precious. I remember my first Tri-Mom open water training; was very nervous. You'll do fine, and I'll see you at Goddard. Just two weeks away.

    1. I knew that would make people laugh out loud and I hesitated putting it in. Glad I did though, I am sure there is a newbie out there that will appreciate it!

  2. Very cool, good for you for going ahead and doing it! And I would have gone in the wetsuit as well.