I first met Leah at the inaugural LexRunLadies
run in October of last year.
|First LexRunLadies Run - Photo from Krissie B|
A few months later Leah joined me on one of the 2 relay teams I formed for the indoor tri to benefit Tri 4 Freedom
. I think this is where she may have picked up the Tri bug.
|Leah was one of our spinners for the Indoor Tri|
Fast forward a few more months & it was Tri for Sight time. I saw Leah's Facebook post having a slight freak out after driving the bike course. For those that don't know, Tri for Sight is a long Sprint & a pretty tough first timers race. It was my first tri in 2009 so I knew Leah could do it! I loved being a part of her first triathlon experience!
Enough babbling from me - Here is Leah's Tri for Sight Race Report
Last year I decided that I needed to make some changes and get healthy. I'd spent way too much time being lazy and unmotivated. So I joined a gym and hooked up with a great group of ladies, the LexRunLadies. I met so many awesome people who provided motivation and inspiration and before I knew it, I was running more than I ever thought I could.
And then I hurt my knee. Luckily, it wasn't serious, but a couple of months off from running was a serious blow to my motivation. I needed a goal. A big one.
So one day I decided I was going to do a triathlon.
I told people about my goal, and I could tell they thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. But I was also committed. So I joined the YMCA and took swimming lessons. I bought a bike off Craigslist. I scoured the Internet and found a good beginner training plan. I swam a little, I ran a little, and I rode my bike on occasion.
Fast forward to the day of the triathlon. It was here and I knew I'd have to trust my training. But if I were being honest, I can tell you that I didn't train enough. I was terrified, but luckily I had some awesome friends there to support me. I had no idea how this would play out, but I knew I wanted to finish. I didn't want to set a time goal since this was my first race, so my goal was just to finish and not be last.
|Me, Toa & Leah in Transition|
|Ready to Swim!|
The time came for me to line up and go down to the pool. I watched the other participants for a while since I had over an hour to wait before it was my turn and it helped to ease my nerves a little. But the only thing I could think was "Don't get sick in the pool. There are people watching and this is a really nice pool." Before I knew it, it was time for me to get in the pool. I had to wait 15 seconds before I could start but that time went by in the blink of an eye. And then I was off. I hadn't swam in a 50 meter pool before and I knew it would be tough to swim in a pool that is twice as long as I'm used to swimming in. And it was tough. But I took it slow and steady and didn't get stressed if people passed me (and they did). I rested at the end of the pool when I needed to and flipped over on my back once or twice. The best part of the swim (other than finishing it, obviously) was passing someone! I didn't expect that to happen and it made me feel kind of awesome to be able to do it. Final swim time: 31:53. And not last.
I stumbled out of the pool, lightheaded, knowing I needed to get across the street and into the transition area. But it was cold, I was tired from the swim, and there were small rocks that were rough on the feet. I took my time getting to my bike and getting my shoes on. I put my helmet on and shoved some Shot Blocks down my top (I wanted to take in quite a bit of nutrition while on the bike). Transition 1 time: 7:26.
|Heading out on the Bike|
I took off on the bike. I was really worried about the bike course since I knew it was really hilly (I'm new to bike riding (cycling?), so all hills are really big to me). The ride was mostly uneventful. I smelled a skunk at one point, which was really uncool since I was already sucking in air, trying to not die. The hills seemed endless, but I finally came upon a sign with my name on it. I thought it was really awesome that there was another Leah participating. And I was going to pretend it was for me and speed up. Turns out, that sign was for me. Remember those awesome ladies from the LexRunLadies that I mentioned earlier? They do awesome stuff like that. It reminded me that I need to pay it forward sometime soon.
The bike portion went by much quicker than I anticipated, although the hills didn't let up. I didn't get lost and I even passed one person! And then she passed me back. I knew I wasn't last but I also knew there wasn't too many people behind me. And then the motorcycle cops started riding behind me. I instinctively sped up and eventually passed the woman I had passed earlier. She later thanked me for pacing her, but really, I was thankful for her pacing me and keeping me motivated. Final bike time: 1:34:53. I didn't think there was any way I could finish the bike anywhere near 1.5 hours. Also? Wasn't last.
This transition was pretty uneventful, other than nearly falling off my bike on the dismount. My legs were pretty much jello at this point. I pushed my bike over to the rack but couldn't get it on the rack by myself. Some kind volunteer put the bike up for me and I was off. Transition 2 time: 1:58.
Here's where things got really tough. When I got back from the bike, half of the participants had already packed their stuff and left. I knew that most of these people had started almost an hour and a half before me. And a lot of them are triathlete rockstars. But it was still really disheartening. And I was getting tired, my legs hurt, I had a cramp in my back that started in the pool and only got worse on the bike. And I was done, mentally and physically.
But I wasn't done. Four miles stood between me and the finish line. I'd crawl if I had to. And I practically did. There were more hills (we ran in the Arboretum), and there weren't many runners left. At one point, I hadn't seen anyone for a while and started to wonder if I was lost. Luckily, I wasn't lost and I was almost finished. I hobbled along at barely a walk, knowing it was almost over. And then I saw Andrea. She ran up to meet me and offer some much needed encouragement. I hit the final stretch and Andrea headed off to the finish line to meet me there. I kind of ran towards the finish line, saw my awesome friends with their awesome signs, and heard Sam Dick say "Leah, you are a triathlete!" I crossed the finish line and couldn't decide whether I wanted to cry or throw up. I ended up not doing either one. Final run time: 59:14. Surprisingly, not last.
|Leah Finishing Strong!|
I finished my first triathlon in 3:15:25. I wasn't last, although I was pretty darn close to the end. But you know what? I had never felt like such a bad ass and I didn't care if it took me all day to finish. I had just done something I never thought I'd be able to do. I just know I'll need to train better for the next one!