Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Thursday, August 15, 2019

My First Triathlon and Summer Bugs

Our summer is going by too quickly. First, it was slow to get started; the crops were the farthest behind I have ever seen. When I looked out into the farm fields, all I saw were dirt fields, until the last week in June. Sprouts began to appear around the 4th of July or that week prior. It was cold and very wet. 

I’ve overcome some crazy stuff this year, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this warm weather we are supposed to have and I’ve plotted out some goals to achieve in the fall. Here’s an overview of my triathlon and a glimpse at my mountain biking season.



Over this past winter, I decided two things: 

  1. I wanted to try a triathlon,
  2. I wanted to do more cross-country mountain biking.

I worked on my base level of fitness throughout the winter and started jogging once per week in roughly April, but once the weather finally became warmer in early June, I ran into some roadblocks. It started the day after I ran a 7:40 pace 2-mile race at Walleye Weekend. I came home from a 13-mile bike ride--that I never felt right during--and I threw up in the toilet. 

Walleye Weekend

The stomach bug persisted for the next 10 days. I missed a mountain bike race. I was weak from the illness and had high anxiety due to not being able to eat. My training was affected, but once I was able to eat a full meal, I was back to my training plan, and it was the right time to start my triathlon training.

I was sitting at my desk on a Wednesday afternoon, less than two weeks after my stomach flu, and I started to feel dizzy. The dizziness persisted; I felt sick as well. I was uncontrollably dizzy and left work as soon as the dizziness wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t drive at all. The vertigo lasted for two weeks but was never as bad as that first Wednesday attack; I was able to hop on the trainer and get in a couple sessions over the next two weeks, but I wasn’t able to run or ride much of my mountain bike. 

After feeling better from that incident, I fell a gentle fall (or so I thought) on my mountain bike, and I hurt my neck. As it turned out, I was unable to move my head from right to left for about two weeks. When all was said and done, I was left with just two weeks of swim training. I decided to do the triathlon, anyway.

For my first triathlon, I chose the sprint distance. I also chose an outdoor course with a pool because I have minimal swim experience. The sprint distance choice ended up being a good decision for me because of the amount of time I had to train.

The Triathlon

Things I Did Well

  • I invested in running shoes with elastic laces, so I didn’t have to waste time in transition between the bike and run. My transition time was only 40 seconds.
  • I paced myself enough to run a fast enough 5k. (Perhaps I paced myself too much, though.)
  • I was patient with myself through all the sections.
  • I had fun 90% of the time.

About the Swim (10% of the time)

  • I did not enjoy the pool swim; it was crowded and people were often swimming towards me, which caused panic. I should have trained with people in crowded situations. I plan to do an open water swim next time.
  • I had to wear a swimming suit because wetsuits weren’t allowed in the pool. I used a towel to change under in the transition area because I had no other choice. That was a faux pas, I think. I believe it was expected I swim in my triathlon kit and be wet on the bike. My transition time was over 4 minutes which really sucked because my swim pace was also slow.
  • I was honest about my race pace in the pool for registration, but I was made by officials to do an extra lap, plus I was legitimately the slowest person in my lane. It was defeating and I’m not sure if my race partners were honest about their times--or perhaps they performed well under pressure that day. Regardless, I learned I don’t want to do a pool swim again.

About Running

I learned through all this that I really enjoy running. Over the past few years I’ve matured and gained some mental toughness that will help me run farther distances. I have now run close to 7 miles and felt like I could have pushed myself to complete that distance at a faster pace, so I’ve decided to sign up for my first 10K in October! I’m so excited to turn my focus to running for the fall.

I could see the finish line!

Cross-Country Mountain Biking

This was a subject I breezed over in this post. Mountain biking is going well; I like it. I have a hard time now with the start of the race--I feel a lot of anxiety and pressure to do well. I started the season doing well and feel like I need to maintain that level of fitness throughout the year.

The most important part, though, is that I like it a lot recreationally. I enjoy getting on my bike for some alone time. That’s the most important part. I like mountain biking because I can move at a seemingly fast pace, in the woods, in nature, and safe from being hit by vehicles. I enjoy the uphill climbs and feel like I do pretty well on those. I had a hard time balancing the triathlon training with mountain biking. It would have been easier if I chose road biking, but that’s not where my interests are right now. 

Red Flint Firecracker: 1st in age / 6th overall

Public Service Announcement

If your kid is sick, do whatever you’re able to keep them out of daycare. Seriously. I think the whole reason I was sick for the whole summer was because my kids brought home a stomach bug from school.

Future Plans

I hope to post more often! I will be happy to share some fitness plans and goals this coming fall.

Until next time,