Tri Diva Reunion Event? Hell, yeah!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Finisher's Towel?

I finished! I finished! I finished! I finished! I finished! I finished!

2 Hours, 27 minutes, 23 seconds.

I beat my goal! I beat my goal! I beat my goal! I beat my goal!

I was going in with a plan of 2 and a half hours and I beat it!

Play by play!

5:00 am Up to eat a peanut butter, banana and honey toasted sandwich. Wanted to make sure everything would digest before I got caught out in the middle of nowhere without a bathroom.

5:30 am Dressed, writing down directions to Claremore Rec Center. Loading my bike. Double checking my sock sitaution.

5:40 am. Leaving the house. STOP! Don't have my sunglasses. They're kind of hard to remember when it's pitch black outside.

5:42 am On the road again.

6:20-ish Arrive at Claremore Rec Center... put bike together, gather belongings, whimper in fear, head to check in and transition area setup.

Then I stood around for a long time. Had to pee... a lot. Fear pee. You know. Adreneline pee. A little chit chat, I recognized a few people I've done Running 101 with... mostly just pacing back and forth to keep from unracking my bike, taking my toys and going home.

7:30 am Time to line up numerically to get in the pool. It was a time trial, a person going in the pool every ten seconds. I was 112... and there were maybe 15 people set to jump in after me... they weren't slower, they just signed up later than I did.

I have no idea what time I went in the pool... I didn't have a watch... I didn't have my Garmin (not waterproof)... and I really missed it... but I think it would have messed with my head, honestly.

The swim was ... scary. I started out too fast and I could immediately feel it. It's so hard to slow yourself down when you've got people swimming on top of you though. People could pass but it was nerve jangling to say the least. The first lane was one way only, then all the middle lanes were up and back, the last lane was one way only and make your way around a corner to the walk out. I had a few people pass me and almost kick me in the face and I passed one person. I made it out of the pool.

Then it was about 100 yards to the transition area. I was a little fearful of this part... it was barefoot transition and I was terrified I would step on something. Before everything started, it hadn't been swept up all that great... but I didn't notice walking over anything on the way out... so either everyone else had stepped on it first, or it had been cleared.

Swim cap off, goggles off, dry feet off very quickly, sit down, socks on, shoes on, stand up, sunglasses on, helmet on, gloves on, walk the bike to the mounting area... and we're off on the bike.

I was led to believe (meaning I will be doing my own research from here on out thank you very much) that the bike portion was a big hill at the beginning, then flat out and back and a downhill finish. It was not that. And at this point... I was sucking air pretty bad... I didn't slow down enough in the swim to really catch a breath break (best swim time yet though!) and so I hit the first hill and started wanting to vomit. I hit the second hill... and horror of horrors, I was about to start going backwards. I stumbled off my bike and walked up the hill. I am not ashamed of it (or at least now I'm not)... I was freaking out... walking up a hill! Like not even a mile out of the bike gate! But I think walking that hill gave me a chance to get my breath back, calm down a little, take stock of how I was doing and just get on with it.

Then I hit the rolling hills on what was supposed to be (because someone told me and I didn't do my own research) a flat course. I can tell you now that the curses were flying out of my mouth. It was NOT ladylike. But I wonder sometimes if I am even ladylike... so who cares, the f-bombs were flying.

As I mentioned, I didn't have my Garmin (for one, I had semi-decided that it would take too much time to get it started in the transition area since I couldn't wear it in the pool... I hadn't thought about just turning it on and leaving it there ready to go, but all I was thinking about was that sometimes it takes some time to "locate the satellite"... I didn't want to wait. Oh and yeah, I forgot to even bring it with me)... so not knowing what the mileage was was kind of driving me crazy... but in another sense, not know how much further I had to go was ok too... I was terrified of more rolling hills... it did flatten out about mile 5 if my mental calculations are right... but coming back from the turnaround, I'd lost momentum... which made the flats coming back really hard too... and then I knew what I would be facing with the rolling hills too. Coming back... I almost called it quits. I'm serious. I almost just threw in the towel, said this is a crazy thing to do, I quit.

Then my chain slipped. And I really thought I was having a serious enough equipment malfunction to validate my thoughts about quitting. I once again stumbled off my bike (with a big hill right in front of me, GOD!), got down on my hands and knees to look at the chain, fumbled with it for what felt like an eternity, pulled this, pushed that, finally figured out how to get it slipped back into place (not broken, luckily!) ... stood there for a second contemplating waiting for the race official to call me in as a DNF... got on my bike, rode up the damn hill... and kept going. Over what felt like hill after hill after hill.

At one point, the race official (on a motorcylce) was riding right behind me (there was only one other biker behind me at this point, and I honestly thought she took herself out at the turnaround and that he was right behind me because I was very, dead, last.)... but he was the nicest guy... he kept saying you only have one more hill to make it up... I'm going to ride ahead and tell them you are on your way, speed it up on this downhill so you can make it up that last hill. You can do it!

And I did. I stumbled into the transition area again. Changed into my running shoes. Had to retie one of the shoes because it was falling off ... my hands were shaking at this point and I wasn't breathing very well again... and then I realized that my ass was broken. My right ass to be specific. It still hurts and I suspect tomorrow will be worse. So I kind of lumbered across the run start line.

Let me stop here and say something... those other people, other competitors, and all the event volunteers were just AWESOME! On the bike when I passed someone who had already turned... they were so nice! DOING GREAT! JUST UP AHEAD! AWESOME JOB! They were so supportive, I almost started bawling my fool head off. And the run was the same way. Everyone I passed was just so kind! You're doing great! Keep it up! It gets easier once you're up the hill!

Now onto the run. I had nothing left. I tried. I really, really tried. But I came to the physical point where all I could do was put one foot in front of the other walking. So I walked it. And there was a BIG hill to climb. And once again, I really wished I'd had my Garmin with me... because I just kept walking, and walking and walking... I really thought I'd missed the turnaround... I was this close to turning back around to see if I'd missed it somewhere, when I sighted the cone. I'm really glad I didn't turn around... I would have hated to get all the way through to the halfway point of the run and get disqualified because I got off the route.

The guy at the turnaround was also awesome. I still can't tell you how nice these people were and how encouraging and how wonderful they were. At this point I really thought I was the very last one and I was touched at how much encouraging energy they had left for the last participant. But they were awesome.

I turned around... and headed back. I tried to run a little, but I still just didn't have it. My legs were just too heavy. And strangely, I had NO cramps in my legs, but my ARMS (forearms) were starting to draw up. It was the weirdest sensation. That's when I passed the last girl who I thought had DNF'ed at the bike turnaround. I was so happy to see her! She was just as determined as me to finish! I whooped at her and she yelled for me. It was so awesome to see such determination on her face. I can only wish that other people were as proud of me as I was of her.

I rounded the next few corners... finish line in sight... still didn't run until I got to a place I knew I could sustain a run over the finish line... one of the volunteers came out to meet me, she said, RUN NOW! I'll pace you in! So I ran into the chute... Smiling the goofiest smile I've ever smiled as they took my picture coming over the finish line.... and then they gave me a finishers towel.

I'll admit, I was sad it wasn't a medal... but I got a towel... And I'm going to sleep with that towel tonight and don't think I'm in any way kind of kidding.

Go in peace and love... But for now, I'm going to lay down, take a nap and relish in the sense of accomplishment I had. I could have quit. I wanted to quit. But I didn't. I finished my first triathlon today. And I even beat my own goal in the process.


Courtney said...

Awesome, girl! I'm so proud of you. :) You're officially a triathlete! wooohooo!

Donna said...

What a great story! I mean, it has all the makings of a classic never-quit kinda movie!

You should know that no matter how much I take care of my bike before a race, I seem to lose my chain at least once... usually because I freakin' mis-shift. LOL

The racers and the comraderie are both big reasons for my continued involvement. It's just an awesome feeling to finish.


Jenn said...

WAY TO GO!!!!! I'm so glad you didn't give up. And I hear you on the F-bombs. I let quite a few fly during the winds from hell at Danskin :)