The finish line

 The triathlon happened a few days ago. I decided to take a little time to reflect before posting about the experience. Now that I’ve had a little time….

My experience:

Racers hiding under tents
Waiting in the pouring rain
Pouting in the pouring (or at least pretending to pout)

Awesome!! It started off a little iffy with some crazy thunderstorm that left everyone standing in the rain and soaking.  The skies just opened up and down came the rain!! My friends and I were chuckling a little about the hilarity of our first triathlon starting off this way but in the end, the skies cleared and we were good to go!

Ushered to the water by bag pipes, we made our way to the starting “line” and we were off. I went out WAY too hard in the swim. I powered past a crap load of people only to burn out a few hundred meters in. I panicked and started to have visions of them dragging my body out of the water. This is not at all what I expected because I love the water, love swimming and am generally a happy camper in a lake but not that day. I flipped to my back for a couple of strokes, too a couple minutes to breast stroke and refocus and then told myself to pull my head out of my butt, calm down and just THINK FISH….just keep swimming swimming swimming…

I was grateful not to have any issues getting out of my wetsuit and in to the bike gear. One of my goals had been to not be last, but another goal was to beat my friend Sandra and when I thought I saw her in the transition area it was a moment of “crap! must be faster!”

The bike course was rough. The highway is older than dirt and it showed. I spent half the course wondering if the teeth were just going to shake out of my head and praying that my bike could stand the abuse of the road. I’d had some bike issues the day before and the very lovely volunteers helped me get up and running so my fingers were crossed for no more issues. Every time someone came to pass me I was convinced it was going to be Sandra so I started pushing a little harder, making sure I passed as many people as passed me (or at least trying to while climbing hills and having a death grip on the bike).  On the way back, I got in a friendly mid-race competition going with another cyclist. I would pass her, she would pass me, I would pass her… and then we just started joking about it as we went.. “you’re next!!” …”tag!”…. “here we go again!!”…. I was laughing and having fun and didn’t care any more where I fell in the pack. I was enjoying myself. We came down a hill by the golf course at speeds that were just ridiculous and back up the other side where we were almost done.

Back to the transition and out with the running shoes I passed my cycling buddy again. I love the run route beside the lake.  At this point, my legs felt good. Tiny little running steps helped loosen me up and then it was game on. I decided at this point to just keep having fun. I ran through every sprinkler on the path, joked with a woman about wanting her coffee in a to-go cup, high-fived the kids on the course and did my best to encourage the struggling competitors as I passed them. I loved that run. I felt good on that run… and then, there it was…the finish line….that’s it! It was over. I felt like it had just started and now the finish line was in sight. I had made it. What a feeling.

The results

Race results. Not bad for this old-lady newbie!

I finished in about 1 hour and 37 minutes. I’m good with that. I found out later that I had come 3rd my age group.  (Yippeeeeeeee) but, at the time, I thought I was 9th and was pretty happy with that so the next day, when I found out that it was 3rd I was shocked, amazed and pretty much cried for 15 minutes.

Lessons Learned…

  • You will survive!
  • You CAN do this!! (and probably better than you think you can)
  • Time goes faster than you think
  • standing in the rain for over an hour before your race is cold…and wet…bring an umbrella…
  • hills suck equally during a race but you care a little less
  • The tri community is super awesome
  • You will hurt in places you never expected about an hour later
  • You will want to die the night after because you will be so sore, so tired and so drained but the next day you’ll be trying to decide what to do for your next race because it turns out you’re a sucker for punishment
  • Always go the awards ceremony...because you might have done better than you thought and it sucks to miss your moment of glory…trust me….dammit…

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