This morning I was able to cross one more thing off of my life goal list:
- #234 – Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon
Done and Done!
I may not have been first (or even one hundred and thirty-first) to cross that finish line, but I learned that slow and steady really does win the race – the race with myself! Because that’s the only person I was competing with anyways. All that matters is that I had a blast accomplishing something I never thought I would attempt to do. I rock! Enough said.
My morning started early. Like, 4:30am early. Ughh…
Before heading out the door I had two slices of toast with almond butter, strawberry preserves, and rolled dates.
We arrived at Moss Park just before sunrise.
My first sprint triathlon took place at the exact location over a year ago, so I was already very familiar with the course. Everything was the same: the swim was the same, the bike course was the same, the run was the same, even the announcers were the same. Only today instead of just completing one loop around the buoys for the swim, or one loop around the bike course, etc.; everything was doubled. Now two loops were required for everything. Yikes.
Setting up the transition area was easy – I’ve pretty much got this down pat by now and with each race I learn a little something extra to make the transition smoother. I also learned my lesson from my last triathlon and made sure to show up at least an hour before start time. Instead of feeling rush, I felt relaxed and ready to race with plenty of time to spare for photos.
I looked scared, no?
A year and a half ago my sister and I began training for our first triathlon together. Unfortunately, the week before the tri Kelly was hit by a car on a training ride and was unable to compete the following Sunday. I still finished the race in her honor, but it wasn’t the same without my sister by my side.
This morning we did something we should have done last March. Kelly and I finally had our chance to compete in our first olympic distance triathlon together.
Kelly proved once again that one little set back does not mean a goal should be lost forever, just postponed temporarily. My sister is truly an inspiration and I felt honored to be competing along side her this morning. This race had nothing to do with me, it was all about her and I happily stepped to the side and let her have her chance to shine.
(Check out Kelly’s blog for her own recap. )
When the countdown began we headed to the water and watched the first wave of men take off.
Then it was our turn…
The swim actually wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I kept at my own pace and just prayed with each stroke that I wasn’t dead last.
Having to do two loops around each buoy was more of a mental issue than anything. As soon as I complete the first lap and realized I was only halfway done my heart sunk just a tad. The shore was so close! But I had to go back out and do it all over again.
As my peers began to look farther and farther away I realized that I may not have been dead last, but I knew I was close to the end. I thought this would hurt my ego, but it didn’t. I knew I was doing my best and was actually proud at how I strong and confident I felt in the water. Yes, I was going slow, but I was doing it. And I was doing it without ever needing to stop and tread water or take multiple rest breaks.
For the record this was the farthest distance I’ve ever swam; ever!
1500 meter swim? Done and Done!
Total time: 00:30:23
Run to T1: 02:25
The first transition was slow! I was tired and had too many steps to complete. I had to clean my feet, put my cycling shoes on, put my top on, mess with my number, fix my hair, etc. etc.
Time to bike!
(P.S. as I was pulling out of T1 one of the volunteers yelled “Keep it up, M’am” umm…Excuse me? M’am? Not a good time to make someone feel old!)
Let me start off by saying that not training for a 40k bike race was not smart, not smart at all! I’ve never training to push the pedal to the metal and trying to keep up with anyone was a struggle. I was being passed left and right and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t keep up.
Eventually I fell into a steady 15 mph pace and felt really comfortable maintaining it for the entire distance. My goal was 17 mph, but I learned very quickly that was not going to happen. Aiming for a goal I hadn’t trained for was idiotic; I’d like to think I’m smarter than that.
The cycling portion was in a word: boring. We rode through some random neighborhoods that had some beautiful houses and I even saw some horses and goats, but there wasn’t much else going on.
I entertained myself by thanking the volunteers and staring down my Garmin. Though I’m pretty sure staring at the garmin didn’t help.
At the turn around point I had a Peanut Butter Cookie Luna Bar and was thankful for the snack. Bike rides make me hungry.
Eventually I managed to complete the second loop and was welcomed by my adoring group of fans while heading into T2.
Total Bike Time: 01:32:01
T2 was slow too.
I had issues putting my shoes on with my socks. I gave up trying to fix it and just took off. The rest of the run I could feel the bunched up socks in my shoes. Oh well.
Total T2 time: 00:01:21
Now, the run, the run is my time to shy. I may not be much of a swimmer or a cyclist, but – damn it – I’m a runner!
However, after swimming and riding, I was a tired runner. I knew I couldn’t take off on any ridiculous speeds, but felt confident enough to maintain a little under 9:00 min/ miles through the tough sandy trail.
I mentally broke the 5.6 mile run into two loops and having the mental picture of two 2.8 mile loops of made the run seem a lot shorter. I had fun with it and watched peoples legs as I ran by, studying their ages on the back of their legs and trying to decide if they truly looked their ages or not. It’s a fun game that I think should be a part of each and every race.
I saw Kelly halfway through her second loop of the course, just as I was about to finish my first loop. She looked fantastic and I could tell she was going to finish strong. I started yelling “Go Kelly, Go!” and she yelled back “I’m tired!” We gave each other high fives and continued on.
I passed my parents after the first loop and told them I would see them at the finish line. One more loop to go, that’s nothin’!
On the second loop I saw a girl with 28 on the back of her leg, whom I eventually passed. Woo hoo! I wouldn’t be dead last in my age division! I know, that sounds so wrong, but it’s the small victories that count.
Almost three hours after I started the race this morning, the finish line was finally in my reach.
Total run time: 00:48:49
Finish time: 02:57:23
There are no words to describe that feeling you get when you cross a finish line. It’s simply amazing.
Completing the Olympic Triathlon was such a rush. It ranks up there as one of those ‘look at what my body can do’ moments. Yes, I could have been a little more prepared and dedicated more training to it, but knowing that I could complete those elements back to back for those distances makes me believe I can do anything. With a little bit of effort our bodies can do some amazing things.
After I crossed the finish line I immediately found Kelly to hear how she did! Remember this was her race, not mine.
She rocked it! And earned second place in her age group! Rock on Kelly!
None of this would have been possible today without the love and support from our great family of spectators. THANK YOU Derek, Anthony, Megan, Mom and Dad for being our cheerleaders this morning. I love you guys!
After Kelly collected her award and we had a chance to catch our breaths, the gang headed down the street for a late breakfast at a hole in the wall restaurant my Dad knew of.
Instead of the traditional post-race pancakes I opted for the Artichoke, Red Peppers, and Mozzarella Omelete with a side of fruit and a biscuit.
The biscuit was a nice post-race treat. I <3 great southern buttery biscuits.
Whoa! This post took a while to complete.
Time to rest.