Inferno Triathlon Recap

I hadn’t mentioned this Tri at all as I had sort of forgotten about it and also didn’t train for it, lol!!

Awhile ago, my buddy Team Fox¬†Jen had mentioned this race hosted by my alma mater, Arizona State University, and I jumped at the chance to visit my old stomping grounds. They offered a Beginner (200yd swim, 6 mile bike, 1.5 run) and Advanced option (4ooyd, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run). I went with the Beginner because of the shorter swim ūüėÄ

Inferno is such an adequate name...

Inferno is such an adequate name…

Jen and me <3

Jen and me ‚̧

A bunch of my Moms Run This Town friends also signed up and that made me less jittery as the last time I had been in a pool was for my last/first tri in March. Eeeek!

Hard things are so much easier (and fun!) if done with friends <3

Hard things are so much easier (and fun!) if done with friends ‚̧

I was in Heat 1 and the only one of my friends in the first heat. I was a little nervous going first and having everyone see me suck at swimming but I knew that my friends were nothing but supportive and that it would actually help me having them there cheering me on.

The swim was done in an outdoor pool and it was a 25 yd lap so I had to do 8. I was nervous counting and intent on making sure I didn’t do any extra, lol!

Fork 'em!

Fork ’em!

I took my time, knowing this was not my strength. I stopped at the end of each lap to catch my breath and didn’t care. I think I was the third to last one out, but it was no matter to me.

From there, we dried off, put our clothes/shoes on, and then had to take a quick flight of stairs up to the room with bikes (we used indoor cycling bikes). I hopped on one and got going, adjusting the resistance.

I was pedaling away when I heard one of the volunteers say jokingly to an athlete, “30%??!!! Hike it up!!”

I had mine at 35% and thought, well, I guess I’m doing pretty good. An upbeat song came on the gym radio and I hiked the resistance¬†up to 40 for a few¬†minutes and then kept it between 30 and 40 for the duration of the 6 miles. I was able to make up a lot of time as I was one of the first three to get off the bike to the run.

The three of us jumped on treadmills next to each other and the guy next to me said, “Where are you going to start?” I had already set it to an 8:00 minute pace and I pointed to it. “Wow, okay!” he said.

I got focused knowing that I only had a mile and half. At half a mile, I put the setting to 7:30 pace. At a mile, to 7:00. And at the last .25 I set it to 6:53. I was running so fast the treadmill was shaking! One spectator pointed to the machine, shaking his head, smiling. I told him I was almost done so I was on a mission, lol!

As soon as I saw 1.5 on the screen, I jumped off to the finish line and presented them my arm #. I was the first one in my heat done!!!


The Advanced group had started and I went outside to wait for the second heat of Beginners (where most of my friends were). I cheered them all on as they started and then waited for each of them to finish to begin celebrating.

For a free event, we were given a certificate AND a medal. It was a pretty sweet deal!!


I wasn’t sure where I finished overall and had to wait til the next day for the results but when they came, I saw I had finished SECOND OVERALL in the beginner category–out of 14!! I was 52 seconds away from the leader, my good buddy Runner Jenny ūüôā I was so happy to see that I’d done so well considering that my swim is pretty awful. It makes me want to work on it more, lol!! I really think these past few weeks of pre-season training has helped me a ton as far as getting in shape. I felt really good despite not having trained for the event.¬†I also don’t get nervous for things I’m not very good at so I think being relaxed and having zero expectations really helped me. I kinda wish I could be like that for races, ja!

Overall, it was such a fun event. We told the the directors so and that we all would totally participate in anything they decided to hold in the future. Go Sun Devils!! ‚̧

–When is the last time you visited your college (or high school)?

–Do you get more nervous for certain events versus others?


Tri For The Cure 2016 Recap–I’m Officially A Triathlete!!

You can tell from the title that yes, I did finish!!!!

But it wasn’t without excitement–as it always seems to be the case with me, lol! I tried to make this recap short and then after a while, stopped caring, so if you don’t get to the end, I totally understand…

At bib pick-up, we were told to get to the race early, around 6 a.m. because the ceremonies would start at 6:30 and the race at 7.

I was there at 5:30.

Paranoia about forgetting something (and nerves) kept me from sleeping and I was up at 4 to start packing up my car. I was so nervous, I wanted to make sure I had everything and that my transition area was okay/ready. Coffee in hand, I hit the road at 5.

A big reason I chose to do Tri For The Cure AZ as my first tri was because so many of my Moms Run This Town friends were doing it. I was not going at it alone. Sure enough, when I was almost to the parking lot, I saw several of my friends’ cars driving in. We walked our bikes to the set up area and I was so happy to have someone help me right from the get go.


After I set up my bike and transition area, several friends inspected it making sure I had things in the order I’d need them. I had done well they said, as I didn’t have any unnecessary items (yay!).

I got marked up, getting my bib number written on each arm and my age on my leg. (I had always wondered what those numbers meant on triathletes!) We gathered near the pool for a group pic–


— and this was when I saw the pool for the first time.


Holy moly. The nerves came roaring back as I stared at the monstrosity of the pool before me.  And before I knew it, it was go time.

The Swim

We were lined up according to our age with the older women going first (it was an only women event). This pleased me because it seemed there were a lot more older women there than me; the line behind me was shorter than the line in front. Every 10 seconds, an athlete would jump in the pool. Each step closer to the mounting pad made my heart skip faster. Then, it was my turn.

I stepped on the pad and waited.

“Your goggles?” The race volunteer said.

“Yes, I have them.”


“Put them on.”

“Oh yes, of course!”

I scrambled to put on my goggles as I saw my 10 seconds expire in two, and I jumped in.

Immediately, I began swimming as close to the right side as I could, leaving space for all those behind me to pass. I started off slowly (which is my swim speed always) and concentrated as best as a I could. It was a 400m swim with each lane 50m–I had “trained” on a 25m pool, so I knew that getting to the end of one lane would be an accomplishment. I just needed to do it 8 times.

After 3 laps down (and stopping at the end of each), I noticed towards the end of the 4th lap how the pool was deeper on one end. It went from light blue water to deep, dark blue and when I noticed that, I panicked. Fear crept up that I would drown as I approached the deep end and I felt myself start to flail. When I got to the end of the lap, I pulled up on the wall and tried my best to control my breathing.

You’re halfway done, Helly. Don’t quit!

I had never practiced the backstroke but at that point, I invented something and I turn on my back and did my best to float and move–anything to get to the end of the lane. At the end of the 6th lap, I noticed it was just me and one other girl. Everyone else who started after me had exited the pool.

Me and my new friend reached the end of the 6th lap at the same time. Her family was waiting and they yelled words of encouragement, “Just an out and back from here!”

I put my arm out telling her to go ahead of me. I knew I wasn’t going to finish the last two laps on a strong note. I was barely able to breathe at that point.

She went ahead and I began a few seconds after her. By the time I reached the end of the 7th lap, she had exited the pool. I had the entire pool to myself for the final eighth lap.

Thoughts of being last had never entered my head. I had thought maybe my natural athleticism would carry me through and that I’d do decent at the swim portion of the race. Nope. I was the very last one out of the pool.

Volunteers helped me out and they greeted me with “You did it!!” “The hard part is done!” and I choked back sobs of embarrassment,¬†but also¬†pride that I had finished, and whispered, “Thank you so much.”

I began the short run to the bike transition hearing a volunteer say in his radio, “The last swimmer is out!”

The Bike

I did as best as I could to dry off and put on my clothes, shoes, and helmet as quickly as possible. I was the last one out so I didn’t have to deal with any crowds, a plus! Lol!

After being the clear to mount, I was off! The bike portion was a two loop 8 mile course with an UPHILL just after the start each loop. I biked like I’d never biked before and I actually was able to pass a few people. I turned to began the second loop and saw the huge hill before. Just get through it one more time. I could see some people walking their bikes up and I told myself to stay on the bike, I could do it.

Near the top of the hill, as I was switching gears, I hear a click and then nothing. My pedals wouldn’t move!! I stopped and looked down–sure enough, the bike chain had fallen!!! I had absolutely no idea what to do and immediately sadness took¬†over me as I knew this would be where the race would end for me.

But because I had started last, I was near the sweeper and he saw me on the side off my bike! He asked what was wrong and as soon as I showed him he put the chain back on and said, “Keep going!”

And I was off. I pedaled my little heart off telling myself to finish this bike ride and get myself on the road to running. I was able to pass a few more women on the last part of my bike ride!

The Run

I dismounted my bike and took off my helmet. Grabbed some water, retied my shoes, clipped my bib belt and got the hell out of the transition area. I wanted to run!

The run was a 2.4 miler along a canal so it was terrain I was used to. I never worried about my time in the swim or bike portion and told myself to do the same with the run. Even though this was my strongest event, I didn’t want to pressure myself into holding a specific pace.

When I turned the corner to get on the canal, I was surprised to see there were still a lot of athletes out there. I ran along one side cheering to my friends on the other side running towards the finish. I wanted to be with them!

First mile, 7:52.

I was shocked to see a sub 8!! I hadn’t felt I was running so fast and it thrilled me to see such a great split. I told myself to keep at it. I was almost there!

I made a right to get on the other side of the canal, the final stretch that would take me to the finish, and I just ran. I passed so many people on this last stretch.

Mile 2, 8:01.

I knew I had less than half a mile to go, so I just went for it. When I turned the last corner onto the field, I could see the finish and I could see my friends waving, cheering me on. It was so unbelievably awesome.



I was a triathlete!!!

You couldn’t remove the smile off my face, I was so happy. I was swarmed with hugs and words of praise as I was one of very few who was doing this for the first time.

This was as hard as I thought it would be. I never thought a triathlon (of any distance) would be easy, and no, it wasn’t. And even though I struggled immensely with the swim, (I knew I hadn’t given it the preparation it deserved), I was proud of myself for making it through. I had be the last one out but after seeing the official results, I wasn’t the last one in the event.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 4.18.23 PM

In fact, I had done pretty good overall placing 135th out of 201 and 8 out 13 in my age group!

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 4.18.38 PM

But honestly, the numbers don’t matter. I’m just so thankful to have been able to finish and so thankful to have had the support of my husband and friends along the way ‚̧



If you made to the end, thank you! Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement on Instagram and Facebook. More than you all will ever know.




–Have you ever finished last in something?¬†

–Would you consider doing a triathlon (if you haven’t)?¬†