I signed up for my first triathlon with much hesitation and trepidation.  Mostly because I didn't have a bike yet and wasn't sure if I was going to find one to borrow.  That problem was easily solved by a gracious friend who loaned me her brand-new never-ridden mountain bike.  Not ideal for the road, but it would do!

It's called the Port Dickson International Triathlon.  Malaysia has very few triathlons (maybe 3?) every year, so everybody flocks to them.  We had lots of friends who had done this triathlon before and several friends who were doing it this year, too.  We decided to start with the sprint triathlon, which sounded a whole lot less scary than the full Olympic distance one.  750m swim, 20km bike ride, and 5k run.  I can totally do all of those things.  But the question was, could I do all of those things together.

I knew I was weakest at the bike ride (I had only gone on 2 practice rides before the race, and that bike was h.e.a.v.y!).  I was confident in the swimming but apprehensive about the open water.  We can't practice swimming in the ocean here in Penang because of jellyfish, so all I could do to prepare was to swim laps around my fishbowl-of-a-20-meter-pool.

The race


Reuben was terrified

The swim was great.  Exhilarating, even.  There was a big storm the night before that knocked out all the buoys from the water, so people just lined up for a quarter-mile along the beach and started wherever they wanted to.  All we were told to do was swim anti-clockwise around 2 big buoys way out in the water.  I didn't experience any crowding or getting swam on-top-of (like I was expecting) because I just stayed to myself on the outside of the pack.  The water was super murky so I couldn't see anything, but the buoyancy and the temperature of the salt water made it such a great swim.  No wetsuit needed!  In fact, they're not allowed!  I want to keep doing triathlons in the States but I think cold water would be the hardest part for me. 

Happy happy happy
He was much less happy.  Probably the bladder infection.
After the bike portion my legs were really stiff.  It seemed like I was practically crawling when I started running, but I just tried to keep a steady pace.  I got a second wind half-way through, and ended up passing a ton of people and got passed by nobody the entire run!  I shocked myself.  I finished with a great time!  

Did I mention that Reuben had a bladder infection?  He didn't decide whether to do it or not until the night before.  He's happy he did it, even though he came down with another infection the week after.

Conclusion?  I think I'm in love.  Triathlons are way more fun (and challenging) than any running race.  I would jump to do more if there were any, and I want my next one to be an Olympic distance.  My next step is to get my own bike, which we're trying to figure out now.

In the works: a lot, actually.  Two half-marathons, one Sept 1st and the Penang Bridge at the end of November.  There's also a Powerman (Run/Bike/Run) in October I think that Reuben has signed up for that I might do, if I can get a bike by then.  

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