Last weekend we did Heart & Sole Triathlon. A couple hours after the race I asked if she wanted to write a guest post & she surprised me by saying sure! Without further ado, here is Laurie!
A few years ago I toyed with the idea of a triathlon. Two years ago I bought a road bike. Last year I signed up for an intro class at Swim Bike Run. . .baby steps. I am happy to say that last Saturday I finally entered my first triathlon.
I had a busy April for races, but I was using that to keep my training on track. I had really stuck to a plan and was finally ready to get out there. Saturday morning I picked up my injured training buddy Toa, and we headed to the course. She planned on racing with me but couldn’t at the last minute, so she graciously offered to shepherd me through the process and cheer me on. She helped me set up my bike and make sure I had all the gear I would need….it was going to be cold. We headed in to body marking; of course I didn’t have my bib with me (rookie). I got my number and went back to get all Sharpied up. They said right arm, left leg, the young girl in front of me timidly said, “Uummmm, I’m going to prom tonight, is it possible for me to not have my arm marked? I’m going to have on a long sleeve shirt anyway”. They let her pass. What an awesome day she was about to have!
After the last of the prep work, we got instructions and I was feeling pretty good. We went in to the pool area and gathered behind, way behind, the fasties. I was lucky enough to meet a few new ladies, and see some familiar faces. We talked a bit and caught up, someone asked me if I was nervous. . . nope. . .and that probably isn’t good! We lined up to swim and I was getting excited to start. My time came up and I slid in the pool. I was told ten seconds, five seconds, go! I feel like I shot out and started swimming. I was amazed how far I went on just the push off, and then I took a few great strokes, took a breath, and kept going. Took another breath, two strokes, breath, stroke, breath, stroke. . . crap! That’s not right! Ah ha. . . here are the nerves! I had a moment of thinking I couldn’t even finish the swim. I wasn’t going to allow myself to stop, I knew I could do the swim; I had done double the distance quite a bit lately. I switched to plan B…B for breaststroke. I thought I would do it just to reset my breathing, but I ended up finishing the swim doing breaststroke. It wasn’t pretty, but it was done. Off to the bike!
The cold air was noticeable, but I knew I had the gear I needed. I took a little extra time to get as dry as possible, threw on my long sleeve shirt and windproof jacket, socks, hat, gloves and helmet, grabbed my bike and off I went!
FAIL! I hadn’t zipped my jacket. I neeeeeded that jacket, it was cold! I looked down and evaluated the situation. I quickly decided that I am not a strong enough bike handler to reach down, engage the zipper with both hands, and then zip my jacket. I stopped and pulled over to zip it. Andrea passed me and checked to see if I was okay. . . yep, no problem, be fixed soon. And I was off again. The ride had a good variety of hills, no crazy climbs and some nice downhills (glad I zipped that jacket). I enjoyed the ride, ate some ShotBloks and drank plenty. The sun was shining, nice fluffy white clouds, and green fields. Bliss.
I passed a few people; a few (more) people passed me. A young guy passed me and then had a saddle problem. I asked if he needed help. He jumped off, and hit the seat and got back on, he was on his way (passed me again). Seat dropped again, he stopped again. I asked if a multitool would fix it? He said he didn’t want to slow me down. How many miles have we done? Nine. Yep, lets give it a try. We stopped. I handed him the tool, he fixed the seat, thanked me and off he went again. We didn’t have a big long talk, but I was thinking, kid, go on, have a good race, me, I am a 36 year-old mom, I’m really not all that worried about it. We headed in to town, the first few lights were working my way the police waved me through the next few and I was on the home stretch. I racked my bike, changed shoes, and grabbed my race belt. Now to the run, the part I liked the best! Wait! You shouldn’t need your helmet for this! I took a couple of steps back and dropped off my helmet (rookie). I saw my buddy Toa and I knew I was getting close to the end. Yea! Now on to the run, the part I liked best!
Running suuuucks when your legs are shot from a bike ride. They felt disconnected, floppy, I felt like I was running on a trampoline with 20 kids jumping on it at the same time. Good times. Again, I was feeling like I might not make it. The week before I had done a 36-mile bike ride and ran 10 the next morning. I knew I could do this! The first mile was a M-E-S-S. The second mile went more quickly, the uneven trail, occasional rocks, standing water was a little easier to handle once my legs started getting closer to normal. There was a monster hill towards the end (walked it. . . .whatever). Mile three came quickly and I was almost finished. I saw the same volunteer on the loop back, I felt like I had just seen her a few minutes ago, which was a great feeling. I headed to the finish line and the last little bit of the run was on pavement. Sweet, sweet, smooth, even pavement. I felt my feet fall where I expect them to fall, and toes push off like I expect them to push off, I finally got my stride back! One mile on a trail reminds me of how much I loooove pavement! Bliss. I was able to finish feeling strong and happy! I saw Toa double high-fived her and hugged her, one or both of us may have left the ground, I don’t recall exactly!
I finished, it was tough, I learned quite a bit, and will be at it again soon, but for now I think I will stick to volunteering at the Ironman.