I'm a triathlete! A sloooooow, fat triathlete...but still a force to be reckoned with...ok, I'm really not THAT bad ass, but I accomplished my mission. Hooray for the Tri-Divas! I am sooooo proud of my girls! I'm sure I'll be posting more details throughout the week, but here's what my fried tri brain can remember...
-We arrived arrived Chicago late on Friday night. We got our "mid-sized" SUV. Whatever, Dude. It was a Sportage (basically the baby version of my car). I bitched a little (thinking there's no way our bikes could fit in the back), but they actually fit nicely and the smaller vehicle allowed us to keep gas in it without having to turn tricks!
-We arrived at our hotel and Lynn met us in the lobby. Oh my goodness, meeting Lynn was very emotional! We've been supporting each other through this crazy weight loss journey for YEARS and finally met face to face. She is truly a cool chick and I'm grateful for our friendship. Alana and I are planning to lean on her to relocate to Dallas. I can always use a regular dose of positive folks in my life!
-The day before the triathlon. Lesli, Lynn, Alana and I headed out to the Danskin expo. We picked up our race packets (numbers, timing chip, stylish Danskin swim cap (Alana and I plan to wear it to the bar this weekend. LOL) and signed the scary waiver (what do they mean I can't sue if I drown in the swim?!?)
-We met up with Jenn, grabbed goodie bags and collected assorted swag. I am a total whore for swag, shiny trinkets and race t-shirts. *potential internet suitors take note*
-After the expo, we racked our bikes and went to check out the lake. I almost tossed my cookies. The lake seemed so massive. I truly began to question if I could really do this. I decided not to go apeshit (at least be cool and freak out on Race Day, ya know?). I think we were all feeling a bit nervous seeing the entire tri site, but the excitement pretty much took over.
-Saturday night we had dinner at Big Bowl (sophisticated carb loading...haha). I'd suggested that we make a sign to submit to Trent at Pink is the New Blog (some of you will know what I'm talking about), so we headed to the store after dinner to pick up supplies and our Breakfast of Champions for the next morning. We ended the night at a fairly decent hour, but that didn't matter...Coco could not go to sleep! Ugh...I was up until 1:30am and the alarm went off at 4:30. I was so hyped up (big surprise) and I couldn't shut my head off. I prayed, I sang to myself (Alana can sleep through anything), I fantasized about crossing the finish line and shed a few tears. Told you I was emotional.
-The triathlon was in Pleasant Prairie, WI, so we had a 40 min. drive to the site. We made it to the parking area, hopped on a bus and arrived at the race site. There were so many people! Over 4300 women registered and I believe the oldest athlete was the 74-year old breast cancer survivor. How could you not be inspired by that?!?
-The event officially started at 7am with the Elite class. I am truly in awe of these women! The first swimmer was out of the water in 9 minutes. 9 minutes for a 1/2 mile swim?!? We couldn't take our eyes off of them. Our wave didn't start until 9:15, so I had plenty of time to
attempt to leave the race site undetected reflect on the daunting task ahead.
-Lynn gave me a hug before the swim and I told her I was scared. She said "God's got you..." and you know what? She was right. I took her words to heart and calmed myself down. In true Courtney fashion, I also rationalized that there was no way God was going to let me drown in a lake in freakin' Wisconsin! LOL That's just not cool.
-When our wave was finally called, the tears started flowing. I think I felt every emotion possible in the short time between our wave cheer with Sally Edwards and the countdown into the water. It took me awhile to calm down during the swim and find some sort of sane rhythm. After various strokes (including the ever-popular desperation stroke), I finished the swim in 29 minutes. I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the time. I know it may seem slow to seasoned tri folks, but it's a major accomplishment for me. I am a decent swimmer, but I definitely have work to do. Open water swims are a tad bit scary and I'm glad I held it together (with the help of Lesli and Alana!) and got out alive. FYI, don't be fooled by the distance. 1/2 mile swim in choppy open water is no joke!
-I exited the water a little dazed (I apparently had a conversation with Lynn and I don't remember a thing) and headed to T1. I ate some Clif Shot Blocks, put on my cycling jersey (relieved to finally cover my busted can o' biscuits trisuit rolls) and shoes. Now, tri vets will cringe at this...but we made no attempt to rush in transition. We agreed from the beginning...this tri was all about togetherness and enjoying the event, so time wasn't a concern. I had nothing to prove to anyone. I just wanted to be able to get through the triathlon without having to take a DNF (did not finish) because of my gimpy foot. You'll also find it amusing that we stopped (while in the middle of the 5K course) and took a group picture. LOL Not exactly cover material for Speedy Triathlete mag.
-The bike course was fairly challenging. The wind picked up and beat us like we stole something. I'm used to bigger hills (Hello, Austin TX), but I welcomed the rolling hills of the Danskin because my foot wasn't happy and I knew I needed to pace myself. The scenery during the ride was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. I'm definitely a cyclist at heart.
-We walked the 5K. I originally planned to 'wog" it, but my foot was cursing me out and I was nursing a gnarly leg cramp. Lesli, Lynn, Alana and I walked the 5K together and did an emotional crossing of the finish line. Lesli spotted her Mommy right before the finish, yelled her name and ran up to hug her. She then kept running (with the biggest smile I've ever seen!) and crossed the line. Lynn, Alana and myself followed her through and we hugged and cried (maybe I was the only one crying...LOL) at the end. The Danskin announcer mentioned that Alana and I were from Texas, which I thought was very cool.
So, I finally completed a triathlon. I was 40+ lbs heavier than I'd like and nursing a fractured foot, but I still managed to pull it off and have a great time with my friends. What more could I ask for?!? I must get sappy and thank everyone that supported me along the way. My family, friends, 'net buddies and coworkers have been truly wonderful. How do I plan to repay you? By committing to additional triathlons, of course! I'm sure I just lost at least 5 readers with that statement. LOL
My next sprint tri will be in October and I'm already excited about it. I'm looking forward to doing the event without an injury (and hopefully 10-15 lbs lighter). In addition, the Tri Divas group has decided to make Danskin an annual group event. We plan to choose a different location each year...2009 is all about Austin, baby!
P.S. I also have to give some kudos to the original Tri-Divas group (Coco, Alana and Donna). We did the Danskin Austin in 2003 as a relay team. It took awhile, but all 3 of us completed our first solo triathlons this year!