I overslept Sunday morning. So did assistant editor Andriana, who was also competing in the Danskin sprint triathlon on behalf of Team Whole Living. We were staying at her parent's house in New Jersey, about an hour from the race site, and neither of our alarms went off.
Maybe it's because we stayed up too late with our teammates, drinking wine (just a glass!) and eating a delicious pasta dinner made by our food editor, Shira. Maybe it's because after that, we printed out iron-on Whole Living logos and made ourselves team T-shirts. Or maybe it's because we're just not used to waking up at 4 a.m.
Instead, Ana's dad somehow woke up around 5, and, in a panic, we rushed out the door in a matter of minutes. All of our careful race preparation and our race-morning schedule was forgotten. Not a great start to the day.
I'm happy to say, though, that it only went downhill from there. After a nerve-wracking drive and some frantic running around to find the race site by the beach, we finally took a deep breath and began to relax. By the time we made our way into the transition area at 7:00, the race had officially started. (Luckily, Ana and I weren't scheduled to start until after 8.) We met up with our other Whole Living teammates, racked our bikes, and set up our transition gear, scarfed down a last-minute banana, and headed down to the water for the swim start.
That's where the real fun began. As we headed toward the beach, we could see women from the earlier waves running back toward their bikes, and we got in the spirit by cheering them on. The coolest thing about the Danskin races, I think, is the variety of women competing: I saw so many first-timers, and women of all ages. While my age group (25 to 29) only had 61 people in it, the 40 to 45 age group had more than 300!
While waiting for our waves to start, a volunteer hyped us up by starting cheers and asking us to all give each other high fives. Such excitement! Such girl power! And so much positive energy! I couldn't wait to start swimming.
The race went by so quickly, and I truly enjoyed myself throughout the whole thing. The best part—even though I generally despise the last leg of a race—was seeing my other Whole Living teammates on their way to the finish line as I headed out for my run. We all did great, and we all finished strong. I even have a new 5K record!
I had so much fun training for and blogging about this race, and learning from your feedback and comments. For those of you who followed along while training for your own events, I am honored to have been a guide through the process. Thank you for keeping me accountable, and for making this such a great experience!
Now, of course, is the part I've been dreading: The period after a race where I find myself in a bit of a funk. I've spent the week so far analyzing my times, looking at race photos, and trying to figure out what event I'm going to do next. I've said before that triathlons are an addiction, and for me, it gets stronger with every race I do.
I know my other Whole Living teammates are looking forward to another race next year, too. Even the girls who split the course as a relay team all say they'd like to try the whole race on their own next year. ("Because if this guy can do it, I can, too," says Ana.)
I hope you've had a similar experience this season—or if you haven't yet tested the triathlon waters, I hope this blog has at least whet your appetite. This is my final triathlon blog, but let's keep the conversation going here in the comments, or in the Whole Living community discussion boards. After all, spring season races are only a few months away!
Amanda MacMillan is a freelance writer, currently blogging about planning a budget- and eco-friendly wedding at LeanGreenBride.com. She has completed four Olympic-distance triathlons and several half marathons, and finished her first sprint triathlon Sunday with Team Whole Living. This is her final triathlon training blog on Whole Living Daily.