"Don't drown, don't get hurt, finish. That's the goal." That is what a triathlete told my husband at the event while they were chatting. That was my goal. Actually, my goal was, "Don't die, finish."
I have to thank God for giving me the strength. I could NOT have done it with out HIM.
The day before the tri was a bad day. Nothing went right. I was discouraged and stressed. I finally went to bed at 12:15 am when I had to get up at 2:15 am to leave by 3 am, to get there by 7 am. But somehow we managed to get out the door at 3 am and we arrived at 6:45 am. People were everywhere getting their bikes ready and bags packed. I had no idea what to do, where to go, what to bring, how to dress, etc. for the time before the race. As soon as I saw everyone with their top of the line Specialized bikes and helmets I felt very out of place. As we were sitting in the car trying to decide what to bring down to the race area, Davey pointed out every over weight person that rode by. "There's a fat lady. Oh! Another big one. There goes another one." I was giggling... He was trying to make me feel better. How sweet. ;)
We loaded down the stroller with all our food, waters, clothes, cameras, diaper bag, and the boys. We had no idea where to go. We were parked at a camp ground where most of the participants camped. We just followed the crowd. We finally approached this EXTREMELY steep dirt trail that takes you down to the race. It wasn't quit 1/4 mile, but close. I had my bike and Davey had to try to control the stroller. Horrible situation. Finally we made it down, got to registration, got my bag, and I went to mount my bike.
I had about 1 1/2 hours before my race began, so we watched the Long Course participants (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), and the Olympic Participants (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 6 mile run). I stretched and warmed up a little, ate a banana and 1/2 a PB & J on whole wheat, and just watched in amazement at all the dedicated, serious triathletes.
When it was time for me to go down and change into my bathing suit, Cody was really crying at this point because he was tired. I was worried that he would cry the whole time I was away and felt sorry for Davey. He didn't though, he went to sleep in the stroller. Thank God.
1/4 mile: Completed in 14:15 (14 minuets, 15 seconds)
I had a strategy. Since I am better at swimming than I am at biking or running, I thought I would make my way to the front of the line for the swim, then get a good head start on my race.
They have "Waves", which is each age group goes at a different time. Once the age in front of my group went a bunch of the people got in the water and swam around a bit. I was not sure why. I just put my feet in, and thought... "Brrrr. That's cold." I figured out they were just getting wet to feel the temperature. Most people wore wet suits, and there I was in board shorts and a rash guard. Some women were just wearing a one piece, which they would soon regret.
As soon as the horn blew, people came up behind me running and not worried about pushing people out of their way. I ran in, then dove. I came up, my body in shock at the freezing temperature. I have only been emerged in cold water like that once before, and that was on our honeymoon in Shasta. Davey convinced me to jump off a waterfall with him. He had already done it and said it was fine. Well, the water came from snow from the mountain.... not fine!! When I finally popped up I couldn't breathe. The cold water takes your breathe away and your body goes in shock. That is how this was. I immediately got to the side, hoping I could stand for a second, but I couldn't touch anymore. People passing me, splashing and kicking water in my face and mouth. All I could think was, "How far away is the first life guard?" I seriously thought I wasn't going to make it. The cold water made it impossible to catch my breath. I was just fighting to stay above the water. I kept going. I took off my goggles to see better outside of the water since I could not spare one breathe when swimming with my head in the water. I was not even freestyle swimming... I was doing a side, doggy paddle thing. Then I told myself, "You can do it. Keep going. Swim freestyle, it's faster." I swam freestyle for as long as I could, alternating between that and back stroke. I made it to the orange buoy, only half more and I'm done. I cut across from the outside to the inside of the course. The next age group after us horn blew and they came swimming in, and coming up on me quick. I was passing people in my age group, then people in the age group that started before me. Several people were resting on the life guards surf boards to catch their breaths. A swam a little further and then heard a lady yell for help. She had to go in on a surf board. I kept alternating back stroke with freestyle, and swam the last half as strong and fast as I could, but I still could hardly breathe.
As I finally touched the ground, relief flooded trough me. I thought to myself, "I am way in over my head, I can't go on." My body felt weak and faint and in shock. I tried to shake it off, and I started to run up the launch area to my bike.
Once I got into transition 1, I took my time getting changed. I used my inhaler and drank my water. I dried off with my towel, got my shoes and helmet on, then proceeded to the bike start. I was feeling better than, and it helped so much to see Davey and Shane cheering for me. Shane's face was priceless when I rode by, like, "Wait, was that my Mommy?". Hilarious.
10 miles: Completed in 1:22:33
At first the biking was great. It was nice to change it up. I felt comfortable and safe, in control.... until the first hill. Which was very soon after I started. I managed to get up it on the bike since it was short, but the next ones were tougher. I got off and walked my bike up a couple of the several dirt trail hills in the first mile or so. After that came easier areas for about a mile. Then I reached it. The very long, steep hill road. It was probably 3/4 a mile long, or more up hill. I tried to gain as much speed as possible to go up, but I just couldn't even push the pedals. Several people were walking their bikes up it, so I did as well. Walking up hill, for 3/4 of a mile, while pushing a bike, is NOT easy. My legs and butt burned. The sun was hot. I stopped a few times for maybe 30 seconds for water. I got on a couple of times and rode up as far as I could, but I had to get off again after about 1 minuet or riding. Finally when I reached the top, I got on. Come to find out that was not the top. It was just a very short flat part, then more hill. About 1/2 mile or so. I rode up as far as I could, then walked. I reached the top, made it downhill back to dirt area. Volunteers where at an aid station giving out water and Gatorade. There were signs saying, "1 loop Right" & "second loop Left". Oh crud. I had to do it again. I thought about quitting, and I thought about cheating. But instead I chugged a Gatorade (which helps so much!!) and went on to do it again. After that I was alone for a lot of it. I figured I was last. I didn't care though, I just wanted to finish! Then I heard people behind me. A couple of big people. I was glad I was not alone. I managed to ride/walk up the hill again. Went by the same people, they marked me to show I did it twice, then I went to the Left. Was pretty down hill and flat from there. Minor hills here and there. I got Gatorade from another aid station, then came to a huge hill, this time I had to go down. It was a paved road. Cyclist from the Long Course were passing me as I squeezed my breaks to the max. I was scared! Finally I heard cheering and people taking over a PA system. Yess!! Finally done with the bike!! As I raced through the finish line for the bike course I saw Davey and the boys waving at me and cheering me on. I got to my station, drank some water, went pee in a porter potty, then started the run.
2 miles: Completed in 3o:00
I was thinking, "how am I going to run, especially if it is up hill?" Then I said to myself, "Almost done!! JUST DO IT!!!!!" and I did. The run was the easiest part. I walked some of the hills, but ran when I could. I made a friend named Tammy on the run. We chatted, and it flew by. Soon we were running down the last stretch of the course, people cheering us on. I started to sprint and left Tammy. I was searching for Davey, hoping he would get a picture of me crossing the finish line, but I didn't see him. Some how we missed each other as he went to watch me come around a certain corner (which I just did). Oh well. I sprinted the last 100 yards and crossed the finish line!!!!!! I was so happy!! They put a wet towel on me, gave me my medal and took off my time sensor anklet. Gave me two Power Bars to recover, and I was done. YYYYEEEESSSS!!!!!!!
My finishing total time was 2:23:52, that is including transition times. I came in 90th place out of 96 people in my age group, and 954th out of a total of 1,000 people! Wow that's not so good. Time was not important though. FINISHING was. And I came in front of about 50 people! =) Yay.
I will work on time maybe next one. There was a lot of areas I took my time on. Transitions, drinking at aid stations instead of while riding.. etc.
I finally found Davey and the boys. He was sooo bummed he missed me crossing the finish line, but it was OK. I was just so glad I finished, and I didn't get hurt. I can't wait for the next one. I am looking for one closer to home this time.
Things I will remember and I would recommend:
1. Wet Suit
2. Train harder and more often, when I think I am ready, I am NOT.
3. Find one with an easier bike course (not mountain bike).
4. When you can go fast on the bike, (i.e. flat and down hill, do so, will help time.)
5. Do the course or at least part of it before hand.
Santa Monica 5k May 16, and I am pretty confident it will be much easier. Bring it on.
The first women to finish the swim for the Long Course. (above)
Below is lady finishing the Long Course.