The trifecta that I completed a few weeks ago was seen by some as ‘not an official” triathlon so I decided to register for a REAL triathlon. It was something I had always wanted to do but was afraid to try. I had every excuse in the book to not do this but realized that the time had come….to step beyond excuses. How can I expect my children and my Girls on the Run to step beyond themselves and out of their comfort zone if I could not do the same?
I trained for each part (however, not enough). I knew that I could complete the parts of the tri and finish. I didn’t expect to be first. It was the transitions that frightened me so I just focused on moving forward.
I told only one of my BRF’s that I was thinking of registering and she decided to do it as well…boy was I glad. I didn’t have to do this alone. We decided to keep it our secret, only confiding in a few people for advice and support, just in case we decided to chicken out!
As the day drew closer, I grew more nervous. I also realized that I would have to give up participating in a treasured tradition with my husband. This year he would ride alone and so would I. Knowing that I was nervous and sad to miss a long ride with him, he took me out on the Harley the night before the race. I thought he just wanted to take my mind off things…nope…as we rode I realized he was taking me to the race site. He took me through he bike course I would ride the following day and past the start/finish lines. To some that may not seem romantic but to me, better than jewelry and flowers.
Race morning dawned warm and sticky. My BRF showed up and we drove our trucks to the race….better with each toting our own bike. Upon arrival, we figured out check in, timing and body marking then headed to the transition area.
We began to set up our spaces and chatted with others. I think the fact that we were more towards the back that people were more open to helping us and making suggestions. We met some wonderful participants of all ages before we realized it was time to line up.
We headed to the pool area to wait for our start time. This tri began with a pool swim and since I was a tad stronger swimmer than my BRF, I started a little before her. It was nerve wracking to watch the faster swimmers start and see their speed in the water.
It was soon my turn to get in the water and I had a mild panic attack…that was disrupted by the start whistle. I was off and swimming…with a swimmer 15 seconds in front of me and another right behind. There was no slowing down or stopping now. The fact that we had to go under the lanes markers was a little scary as I took in water a few times … due to another’s strokes as I was coming up for air. I jockeyed for position with 3 other swimmers, passing and being passed as the water churned with each of my strokes….and before I knew it….I was at the ladder to get out!
I headed out to transition a little more slowly as I was terrified to fall. I got to my bike, tore off my top, pulled on pants, my GOTR tank, shoes and socks and my helmet. I had a little trouble dislodging my bike from the rack and then headed towards the bike course. Once on the bike, I drank some water and got situated. I was passed by faster bikes and riders but it didn’t bother me like I thought it would. I was on the bike riding in the sun. All the volunteers I passed, cheered and were so positive and I started to thank them. each cross point, I said thank you and they all seemed surprised. As a finished my first of the 2 laps on the bike, I was passed by my good friend Fr. Rob. He is one of my Tri heroes and the one I promised I would do this. He told me to keep going and I pedaled harder through lap number 2.
As I finished the second lap, I realized that I was 2/3 done with this challenge…but the hardest part was yet to come.
I headed into the transition area for the last time, racked my bike, and pulled on my tutu. Yup, I was going to wear my tutu! As the morning progressed it had gotten hotter and more humid. The sun was out in full force now and the run was in full sun. My legs were shaking coming off the bike and it took me a good portion of the first mile to find a pace I could manage. I knew it was going to be a run/walk but was ok with that. As a ran the out and back course, people that passed me smiled and many commented on the tutu. I guess not many people wear tutus for triathlons! I think i heard everything from, “Wow, you get best dressed!” to “Hey, nice skirt”. I was just glad people were smiling!
At the end of the first mile, my buddy Rob passed me again on his way to the finish. “You got this!” he yelled as we passed.
The middle of the run has a fairly large hill and by then I was tired but as I rounded the corner at teh bottom, there was Asian drummers playing and cheering! “Hey, Pretty lady! Come on now….up the hill!” How could a walk now? Ok…up the hill I climbed…albeit slowly! Down the other side and around the path. I got a bit confused at one point as the course was not all that well marked and a spectator told me which way to go….around and BACK UP THE HILL! UG! but there they were again…drumming away! “Here comes the pretty lady again….up you go!”
And I knew I was into the home stretch! this was the final push…only a mile left to go. Soon I could hear the announcer at the finish so I picked up my pace. There it was…THE FINISH! And when I looked up there was Fr. Rob too!
As I crossed the finish line, I could hear the announcer say my name and I knew I had done it…I finished! As soon as I crossed, I was mobbed by volunteers…one was putting the medal on my neck, one was handing me water and one was taking the timing chip off my ankle….and then there was my pal hugging me!
I shocked myself! I did it! I finished! What an amazing feeling!
As I waited for my BRF, I watched and cheered others to finish. It was like my first race all over again. My BRF soon came into view and crossed the finish line as well with the same feeling of elation!
We got something to eat, chatted with other finishers, took a million pictures and headed back to the transition area to pack our things.
It was over in a flash but the feeling of satisfaction will last forever. We are officially TRIATHLETES!