John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I am a TRIATHLETE (written recap)

TriGuru picked me up right before 6am. Moments earlier I started to freak out about not packing something, so I took everything out and repacked. Yeah, I am a dork.

Racked my bike behind his and we were off. I started to talk his ear off for the entire mile until we got to McDonalds. Yes, TriGuru eats almost two breakfast burritos and drinks a large diet coke before every race. Seriously the only race he sucked at (his words), he did not get his breakfast... so a tradition has been made. I stayed in the car (watch the bikes) while he snaged his grub.

At first he was listening to some really somber music, but then we switched it up a little... I needed to jam. TriGuru tried to talk strategy, but I am not sure I heard most of it. I wish I had listened... but maybe I heard some of it. I tried to play it cool, but I was nervous. Every once in a while I reached back in my bag to check for the thing at that moment I thought I had forgotten (ID, Garmin, sun glasses, etc.) - I had them all.

We arrive early, just the way I like it and had little wait to get out bibs, body marked, and find our rack. TriGuru snapped this one as he took Athena off the rack. Take a look at the mud behind me... yeah, it was like that all over the place, including transition. We headed to find our racks and THANKFULLY we were near each other. TriGuru showed me how to rack Athena (up by her seat) and then I watched him unpack his gear and set it up. It was a huge help. He explained why he placed items where he did and I had to think about how it would work for me. For instance, he rolls his socks down so they are ready to slip on after the swim... never would have thought about that.

We headed back to Athena and I got my gear out. I think my biggest fear at this point was that someone was going to steal my stuff. Thankfully that was not the case. It felt really good to be there so early... like I was the only bike on my rack, so I got the outside  - YAY! We walked around and found our friends Elaine and Brent who had done the Oly the day before... in the awful rain and wind. I felt the water (seemed warm) and got our chips, people watched... chilled. Walked around to see the entire swim route... meanwhile getting advice from TriGuru, Elaine and Brent. It was nice to listen to these seasoned athletes.

About 9:40, we headed back into transition to get our wetsuits on. We glided up (and for those who did not see the previously post's comments - if you don't use Glide, you can use Pam to as a lubricant to get your wetsuit off and on). We had enough glide to do our ankles, underarms, neck, chest... shoulders, anywhere there was a seam. Transition at this point was crowded and I started to get nervous. TriGuru (TG) asked if I wanted to get in the water to loosen up our shoulders.... I was like, "Ummmm, no. It is 61 degrees.... then we will freeze." Not sure if it was a good idea or not, a LOT of people did warm up.

TG's wave was right before mine. As he got into the water, I stepped in and got my feet wet and slowly got the rest of my body used to the water. In no time, TG's wave started and we were next. Right before that, I ran into the uber fast girl in the DCTri Club named Karly (who is just GBA - like placed 16 out of 251 women) and she gave me several pieces of advice... the two that stuck the most was to splash my face so I was used to it and to just say, "I'm just swimming. I'm just swimming!" to relax me if I freaked.

As the Light Green cap wave (mine) waded in the water for our turn, I said to the women around me, "I would like to apologize in advance if I kick or punch you while swimming." Most laughed and I felt ready. The horn blew and we were off. The first 200 m I felt good. I was breathing every stroke but it wasn't bad. I could see people in front of me under the water... and wetsuit strings (that looked like snakes) and then suddenly, I could NOT catch my breath. It wasn't because I was cold (which I was) or because I was swimming too fast (because I wasn't)... I FREAKED out. SERIOUSLY, had I driven down by myself and did not know anyone there, I would have bailed RIGHT THEN AND THERE, no lie! I was scared. I thought I was going to die. I didn't know what to do... so I started to do the breast stroke (which by the way is my least favorite stroke).

Side note: The ONLY reason I knew to do the breast stroke was because TG has said that he freaked at his first Tri and did the same thing. Had he NOT shared that story with me... I would NOT have made it. And actually TG warned me about the freak out. After the race, TG said that he was surprised with my confidence going into the swim... but I am so happy he told me about his experience.

Second, the only other reason why I didn't quit on the swim was because I knew that TG would NOT have let me live that down on the drive home. I could not have him giving me a hard time for 2 hours - yeah, I am that competitive.

I couldn't see well with my goggles, so I took them off and placed them on my forehead. Every time I tried to take a deep breath, a HUGE wave would enter my mouth. I'd gag and then another wave. It was bad. I decided to just focus on the first buoy. Just get to the first buoy. And that is how I survived. I never even tried to freestyle again. I did put my goggles on when the wave after me caught me because I was afraid if I lost my contact I would be in awful shape for the run and bike. I wasn't the last light green cap to exit the water. I did pass some people, even one in the wave ahead of me.

The craziest thing about the swim was people were swimming ALL OVER THE PLACE. No one kicked me or hit me.. just brushed me. But many swimmers swam way longer than 750m. I may have been one of the few who didn't but that was because my head was above the water the entire time. I swam point to point and probably the ONLY reason I made the time that I did. Honestly, I felt like I was out there 45 minutes. It felt THAT long. It was awful. But I had finished... yay! Total swim time: 22:03 (goal was under 25 - SUCCESS, although I probably could have done it in 15 minutes).

I ran into transition, wetsuit came off in NO TIME. I just focused. Put my helmet on first (TG's advice), then my garmin, and my windbreaker and then my gloves, and socks and bike shoes... and was off. Transition was a muddy mess and you had to run a LONG way before you could mount your bike. Like more than 200 yards. And the last part was up a paved hill... and it is hard to run in bike shoes. Got to the "you can mount line" and because I had mud on my shoes, I could NOT for the life of me get my shoes clipped. I panicked and then said, take a deep breath, you can do this. And I did. T1 time: 3:12 (failed as I wanted under 2 minutes, but I am not sure I could have been any faster).

I felt great on the bike. I was passing people (few passed me, mainly the men in the wave behind me). I even Gu'd and drank. There were not mile markers that I could see, so I would ask people or volunteers how far we were. Brent had told TG and I that mile 7 thru 7.5 was bad... so when that hill came, I knew I was almost done. I felt really good and confident on the bike. It COMPLETELY surprised me. Before long, I was finished. Got to the "dismount" line and had to run down the paved hill in bike shoes... was almost tempted to take my bike shoes off, but I didn't. It forced me to take small, quick steps which was probably a good thing. Total bike: 46:40 (Goal: under 55 - Success!! Although I probably could have done it under 45 had I not had trouble with clipping in)

I got to transition and racked Athena and took everything off. Quickly debated on the windbreaker and decided not to wear it - BEST DECISION ALL DAY! Tied my shoes and I was off. T2: 2:29.

I wasn't exactly sure where the start of the run was, so I decided to just start my Garmin (ended up being a good thing as I was further along than my Garmin read). My legs hurt, but I said to myself, "I can do anything for 30 minutes!" Meaning if I did 10 minute miles. And that was the mantra that repeated. I was passing people and encouraged them. When the Garmin beeped at mile 1, it read 8:06, I thought... sweet and "You can do anything for 20 minutes!" It was a hilly run too.... crazy hilly. But I just took it half mile at a time. The turn around was at 1.5 miles and I thought, "Hey, you are half way done now... you GOT THIS!" I took some water, swished it around and spit it out.  (I have been wondering if the vomiting is caused by speed and dehydration). I started to feel a little nauseous so I back it down a little on the run. Mile 2: 8:25. Okay... not bad, still under 9 minute miles... "You GOT THIS... only 1 mile left!" The last 2/3 of the run was a gravel road, a ditch, a muddy, rooty trail, another ditch, and then pavement into the grass and then the finish line.

As I hit the gravel road I heard a familiar voice. It was TG. He had finished and came to run me in. He started to tell me what the course was like up ahead and all I could think about was if I push it... I am going to puke. I was running a little over 9 min/mile at this point. So I said, "Shhhhh!". He laughed and kept talking to me about the trail. I said, "Shhhhhhh!" I was too busy trying not to puke or start dry heaving, I did not want to know about the course. He laughed and said, "Stop Shhing me.... I am trying to help!" It made me smile. And I decided to listen to him, "Up ahead there will be a ditch and then pavement and the finish line. Push it if you can!"

And do you know what? I did. I was so excited. Total run time: 26:20 (Goal, under 27 min SUCCESS!)


Look how muddy Athena is (click on picture to enlarge it)... she got her first bath Sunday around 7pm, but she is still dirty. She is due for a tune-up anyway, so I will be taking her into the shop before her next ride.

TG met me on the other side of the finish line with a bottle of water. Thinking that I was probably puking, he knew that I would want to rinse my mouth. I did feel like I was going to puke, so I just kept walking... around in a circle. And guess what... I NEVER PUKED! Yay! I did gag a couple of times, but no puking!

I have more pictures coming to me, so I am sure this isn't my last post about the Tri. Yesterday, I ran what I thought would be an easy 4 with the kids (they were on their bikes), but it ended up being faster than I wanted. TG says active recovery is the best... legs are tight, back is sore. But hey.... did I mention that I am a



Melissa Cunningham said...

oh awesome!!!! i just posted my recap!we had many ofthe same experiences! i do remember seeing you there now that pictures are up!
you did awesome girl!
so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

Julie said...

Hooray for joining the world of Triathlon!!! Aren't you glad you did it?? SO. MUCH. FUN!

I freak out EVERY year in the first open water swim. It's the wetsuit for me. It makes my chest feel so constricted, even though it's really not. My first year I had to have a kayaker haul me in at my first open water practice. Thankfully we do tons of open water swims before ever hitting a race, so I'm golden by race time. Usually the second swim is still a little sketchy but by the third swim my brain can finally handle it all.

Pam said...

I love the recap. You are awesome!

Ironmom (Julie) said...


MCM Mama said...

Congratulations!! You are awesome!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I just read that sooo fast! It was so an exciting read. So proud of you! You are beyond brave. I completely admire Triathletes! NO WAY I could ever do that. I would have drown from freaking out. Congratulations! You rock!!!!

Catey said...

Congratulations!! That first open water swim is scary-I totally had a panic attack in mine...the combination of the people everywhere, the wetsuit up on my neck, the buoys looked so far was awful. Breast stroke saved me too! :) Just think, all these things you were nervous about will be old hat by the time you do your next tri, and you can just enjoy it all!
Awesome finish time btw!

momof3 said...

:) love it girl!!!! you rock!!!!!!!!!!!!

Syl said...

wow! what an amazing accomplishment - I am blown away by how far you have come and what you have accomplished! you inspire me!

Carrie said...

Great race recap! You totally ROCKED it! And it really inspires me to get out there and put in some hard miles to see what I'm capable of, so thank you for that!

Congratulations, Triathlete. :-)

PS. 'grats on not puking, too. ;-p

coach dion said...

Nice one and great story, I think the Puking thing could be motion sickness from the swim and the hilly ride!!!

Richelle said...

Way to go! Congrats on your first tri!

Terri said...

Great job keeping your head about you the whole way. Congrats!!!

Elena (Running in Heels After Child) said...

You should feel proud and strong! Not many people can say they are triathletes.

My first tri, I was sick, it was 40 degrees outside, my husband told me I should not do it but I had committed so I did.

It was hard, I almost did not make it through the swim, I was one of the last people out of the water. But I finished.

Congrats on your finish,


Tricia said...

wooohoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! congrats :)

B.o.B. said...

Woooo hooooo! Great job! Your course seems waaaay more difficult then mine cause I had no hills and no mud. The swim sucked for me too. But like you said - you're a triathlete! CONGRATS!

Melissa Cunningham said...

got your comment on my post! thank you!
AND congrats on the 80+ lb weighth loss!
best way to help with strenghth,imo,is to not be afraidto lift heavy in the gym,to pyramid and drop set....feel free to email me anytime if you have quesions about that kindof stuff! i may not know the answers to everything,but will do my best to help!