We did it!
Last Saturday Don and I finished our first-ever Olympic Triathlon. It was fun. It was hard. It was exhilarating. It was exactly what I imagined it to be and so much more.
We left town on Friday morning, after taking Patty to school and taking care of some business. We got a bit of a late start, but were still looking at getting to Pacific Grove earlier then we had to be there. The drive was uneventful, but with traffic and a couple wrong turns we ended up arriving much later then we had anticipated.
When we got to town we drove directly to Lovers Point to get checked in for the triathlon. The Team in Training tent was out first stop and then we went to the Registration tent to get our numbers, timing chips and awesome bag o’ swag.
Team in Training fed us a fantastic dinner and I was encouraged and inspired by the speaker. I was embarrassed to see myself in the honoree slide show and even more so as my name was read and I stood and waved to the tables around me. It is an honor to be able to raise money The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with Team in Training.
Our stand in coaches (our coaches and other team mates from Bakersfield were unable to go to Pac Grove with us because they were participating in The Nations Triathlon in Washington DC on 9/11/11) came by our room to make sure we had our numbers on our bikes correctly, check to be certain we had all we needed, give us words of encouragement and outfit our bike helmets with sweet rubber ducky ornamentation.
The rest of the evening was filled with winding down…breathing…trying to relax and surprisingly enough…some sleeping.
Saturday morning we woke at 4:00seriouslytooearlytobeawake o’ clock. We got dressed in our Tri clothing, put warmer clothes on over and met out team mates in the hotel lobby. We rode the dark two miles to Lovers Point together. After racking our bikes and getting our Sharpie number tattoos we all began the wait…
Don’s wave was before mine so I got to watch him start his swim. I was so proud to watch him head out into the cold water.
I had to go get my wet suit on as soon as he was swimming. My wave time was fast approaching. While stuffing myself into my wet suit I could feel the excitement building in me. I thought I would be nervous, but found that I wasn’t. I lack the words to express how I was feeling…excited just doesn’t quite fit.
I stayed back a little when my wave went into the water. I expected that if I didn’t I would get ran over by faster swimmers. I found that, although I am not a fast swimmer (the total opposite of fast is what I am) I wasn’t the slowest. It was a frustrating to try to get around the slower swimmers and after a couple kicks, slaps and sorries I was able to get something that resembled a stroke rhythm going. I expected to hate the cold salt water and kelp, but instead I loved the water and found the kelp to be mildly annoying.
I struggled with the bike part. I lacked energy and my legs felt weak. I felt like I was a new rider who was struggling to keep up with all the faster people. My time and average were nowhere near what they should have been. It was a really “off” ride for me.
I started pretty strong on the walk/run. I knew I would be walking most of it. My first lap speed was sub 14, the second was sub 15 and after completing the final lab ended with a 15:30 ish average time.
I finished the Triathlon at Pacific Grove. I finished in 4 hours and 26 minutes. There were times during the race that I was in pain. During those moments I tried to find the part of my body that didn’t hurt and focus on it. If that didn’t work, if the pain kept my attention I would remind myself that the reason I could feel that pain was because I had that body part. When I thought there was no way I could finish it I told myself to shut up and looked around at all the beauty that surrounded me. When I was berating myself for signing up for this torture I reminded myself that there were people sitting in a chair or lying in a bed who would have loved to be in my shoes.
I am so very thankful for my health…for a body that I can move at will…for the pain that proves that my muscles are working.
Don and I are already planning for future triathlons. I think I see a half Ironman in our future (2013) and maybe a full (2014).