First and foremost I need to say that this was an amazing experience and I cannot recall the last time I had SO MUCH FUN!
I spent most of Friday evening obsessing about transition and packing. I made lists, I put everything out and ran through what I would need to do at transition in my head. I checked the Triathlon Mom's posts in Running Moms for tips and ideas. I tried on several pairs of tri-shorts and tops looking for the best combo comfort wise- I also wanted my family to be able to find me in a sea of people.
Sleep did not come easy that night for me, I could not shut my brain off. When I woke in the morning I had a bit of a headache and puffy eyes from the lack of sleep. I had a cup of coffee, jumped in the shower and attempted to choke down my favorite breakfast of oatmeal & raisins but I did not have much of an appetite. I drank water and just tried to remain calm.
I had read a tip about tying a balloon to your transition spot so you can find your stuff easily~the previous nights birthday celebration for Emma provided me with two balloons-one pink and one white. Lola decided that I needed to have the white one so I gave her a big green Sharpie and let her color away on my balloon. I would have a little reminder of my girl with me and that made me happy.
My mother eased my nerves with some words of wisdom from her days showing horses and reminded me to just enjoy the experience. Dad arrived (on time!) and we loaded my bike and gear~We were off!
I arrived to the race venue and people were starting to stream in. My first stop on my way in was to get marked. Funny as it seems this was something that I was looking forward to! I have always thought it was pretty cool looking. Some young guy marked my arms and legs with my race number (183) and my USAT age (37). With a big ole silly grin I was off to rack my bike.
I found my way to my rack and looked around me, I was feeling a bit intimidated. I wasn't sure of "rack etiquette" etc. As Im looking around at all these bikes-really really nice triathlon bikes-I just started to laugh a bit. I'm just taking in the scene before me~ I see these amazing athletes with the coolest triathlon gear, expensive bikes and dressed to the nines (as far as tri clothing goes!). It was at this point I just kind of relaxed and laughed at myself. I let go of any expectations I had and remembered that today was all about having fun and just doing the very best that I could.
Behind me, a couple ladies were setting up their transition areas (remember those really really nice bikes I mentioned-yeah, the whole rack behind me was loaded with uberchic bikes! Specialized, a couple Cervelo's) and since I was somewhat unsure of things, I just asked. This one gal (we will call her DP for now-more on her later) was really nice and gave me several tips and hints. I noticed that she was wearing a Tri for a Cure jacket so we chatted about that for a bit.
Just then I noticed that the chain on my bike came off- oh snap!! I know NOTHING about maintaining or repairing bikes-I knew that there would be bike support there but I did not see anyone yet. With a bold stroke of luck I was able to fix it and check it to be sure it was working just fine. whew! crisis averted. I thanked God that I noticed this NOW and not as I was heading out later! I think this is where I should mention that the bike I have been using all summer is my Dad's hand-me-down road bike-a red Le Tour! A tune up, new tires, seat and handlebar wraps and she is good as new to me!!
More and more people were starting to arrive and I met up with my friend, Michelle. Then Christina, whom I met on the Run for the Fallen. Then my cousin, Krissy and her entourage. I was starting to relax and enjoy the day! I was surrounded by some really cool people and I could feel the stress of the last several days starting to melt away.
I gobbled up some GU and drank some water, I took pics of the scene. It was about 1/2 hour before the swim waves were starting up so Christina and I went for a quick jog to burn off a little energy, hit the Porta-Johns and then we started to suit up for the swim.
The ocean was churning and the waves were rockin'~we hit the beach, I jumped into the water to get wet and then headed up towards the crowds. The Race Director and USAT Official talked to the crowd about the events we were ready to go! I saw my family and had to run over to get my good luck high five from Lola (or high pie as she calls it!). I was in the third wave and ready to SWIM!!
I started at the back of the pack for the swim and once we hit the first buoy, I was passing alot of people. I got kicked a couple times but nothing major. I just tried to stay calm and breath and not push too hard. Before I knew it I was at the last buoy and swimming back towards the beach. I know I was smiling big! I was having fun and I felt like I did pretty well for the swim (considering this is what I had the most anxiety about). I finally could feel the bottom and ran out of the water, pulling off my wetsuit while heading into Transition One. As I ran by my family, my Mom was giving me a big thumbs up and telling me Five Five. (I would later learn from her that I was the fifth woman out of the water!!)
I got to transition and my wetsuit slid right off thanks to a liberal application of BodyGlide on my calves! I rinsed my feet with water, dried them a bit and got into my running sneakers (this gal isn't in bike shoes yet!) tossed on a bright green UnderArmour tee and I was off. I decided I did not need to waste time with my Garmin today. Besides, I was doing this for fun-not to track pace. I was letting go of my obession with numbers today!
The bike ride was just awesome! I think that this was my strongest leg of the race ~it was certainly the most fun. During the ride, I tried to keep in mind the rules about passing and keeping 3 bike lengths behind etc. Last thing I wanted was to rack up drafting penalties on my first tri! I had been riding this route over the summer so it was familiar ground for me and I was passing more and more cyclists. There was road construction at about the midway point of the ride and one lane of the road was all dirt. Thanks to Mr. EL Camino who would not give enough road to let us pass and his car was kicking up dirt into my face (the roads were not completely closed for the race). This slowed me down (as well as those behind me) considerably for about a min or so. Another race participant and I comisserated on what a jerk Mr. EL Camino was...
As I rode into the final turn to the last 3 mile stretch I felt the cool air coming off the ocean and it was at this time I realized that this tri was almost done! It was going by SO fast and I was having so much fun! It was also at this time that I knew I was in love with triatlon!! I thought about how far I had come.
Coming into Transition 2 I was able to see my family again and that just re-energized me! I dropped of my helmet and headed right out for the run!
My husband managed to get around to the side of the OUT path for the run and snapped a couple pics~giving me more well wishes! I recall yelling "I love you babe!" and that my face hurt from smiling so much!
I felt like I was slow slow slow running. This is quite a hilly route and I had done several bricks on these routes this summer but today was different. I just felt so slow. Plus iPods are not allowed so I had to listen to my own breathing, uuugggghhh. But I started passing people even though I was holding back a bit (I knew some bigger hills were ahead of me!). I had to stop to tie my shoes (yup! lesson learned here!!) and ran on. As I approached mile 2 my OTHER shoe came untied and I had to stop yet again to tie it. I thought that the run would be my strongest leg but it just seemed like I was not doing as well as I had on training runs. I started to pick up the pace a bit and I ran past the nice gal I met from earlier this morning, DP. Up hills and then the final hill to the home stretch! I was feeling great! As I approached the finish line I saw my family cheering and got another thumbs up from my Mom.
I felt amazing! I was not tired at all- I think I was high on adenaline!! I cheered on friends that crossed the line and hung out with the family. I got to meet Alex~a local running mom I had "met" on Dailymile.com.
I met up with DP again and we chatted. She congratulated me on a great performance-especially for my first tri. DP informed me that she thought I probably placed! After a good 45 mins of socializing, the results were posted. My Mom was reading the results and DP helped to translate for her. My Mom and DP gave me a big and were saying I placed third in my age group-edging out DP by 20-something seconds! When I got up to the board to look for myself, I saw a familiar name: Dawn P. a slot under mine. I said aloud, "I need to meet this Dawn P" (my father had been telling about this teacher he subbed for that was a great triathlete and that I needed to meet her!) so when I saw her name I just kind of said it aloud. That is when my new friend DP turned around and said "IM DAWN P!!" I then told her the story of how I had heard of her and how highly my Dad spoke of her. We had a good laugh about this!
Then the awards started and when they got to my age group and announced that Dawn P was THIRD she jumped up and down and I gave her a big hug! Then they announced the I had placed SECOND> I was in SHOCK!! Dawn gave me a big hug and we laughed some more!! I was just a fun day and actually getting placed at my first tri was just the icing on the cake!
On Sunday afternoon I was finally able to access the results of the tri and see how I did:
- Swim: 8:51
- T1: 2:42
- Bike: 40:17
- T2: 0:50
- Run: 24:54
I don't think I could have picked a better event for my first tri. It took place on my favorite "stomping grounds" to swim, bike and run. The people were just amazing and I can't wait to meet up with several of them again!!
I now know what to expect. I now know what I need to work on. I now know that I am in love with multisport and I cannot wait until next season. Here's to the start of a beautiful relationship!!