What. A. Day!!!! I’m tired, I’m sore, and my legs are wobbly. I can’t wait to go to sleep. But before I do, I have to get my thoughts out about today so I don’t forget a minute of this amazing day!
My day started early with an alarm at 3:30. My stuff was all packed up the night before-so all I had to do was get dressed, put in my contacts, make coffee, put my tattoo number on my arm, and make it to the car!
I was on the road by 4:30 and the entire ride down was spent taking deep breaths and telling myself I’d be ok! I made it to the campus of the community college a little after 5. I was one of the first cars there (this shouldn’t surprise anyone!) so I got a FANTASTIC parking spot! I made it to Transition and set up my spot quickly. The sky was looking mighty dark, and sure enough, the skies opened up and let loose a torrent of rainfall! It rained hard for about 10 minutes then let up for a bit, but not before getting everyone’s stuff (helmets, socks, shoes, towels, etc.) soaking wet. Luckily I brought a big black trash bag and covered my stuff but not before it got a bit wet.
Around 7, I headed down to ‘mini-transition’ and the swim start, wiggled into my wetsuit, and got into the water to warm up. It was really choppy and I got a bit worried but I knew I could do it, having done it last week at the clinic. Most women were in a group or with a friend….but I was on my own. I used that time to observe, to listen, to reflect, to think. I knew once the siren went off for my swim wave, that time would be no more as the race would be chaotic. I thought about my training, the encouragement I’ve received, those who made generous donations, and the things I learned about myself. I thought about those in my life who have been diagnosed with cancer…some who have come out ok and some who have not. My Auntie Lucy who died from breast cancer. My sweet running buddy, Audrey, who is battling liver cancer. Countless friends and family members who have watched their loved ones face this terrible disease. It didn’t take long before the tears were flowing and I realized how blessed I was to be able to participate in this amazing event.
After an emotional opening ceremony, the swim waves started. I was in wave 6, about half way through. This was the tough part-getting in the water! Getting the swim done. After a quick pep talk (I! Am! An Amazing! Swimmer!), the siren sounded and we were off! It was manic-legs and arms flying everywhere! I ended up doing a backstroke for most of the swim, which got me through! It was super cool that it started raining and I was able to feel the rain on my face! I also saw an airplane above and the water spraying from the Portland Fire Dept. fire boat! Things I wouldn’t have seen doing the crawl. I did some crawl towards the end and before I knew it, I was coming out of the water and peeling the wetsuit off. The cool thing about this race is wetsuit strippers. You peel the wetsuit off down to your waist, sit on a mat, and someone peels the rest off for you! Magic!!!!
Swim time: 13 minutes 26 seconds (1/3 mile)
T1: Running down to my spot on the grass (mini-transition) where I would change into my running shoes, I saw Ruthie and Jacob and gave them a quick hug before I made my way up to main transition, about a ¼ mile uphill run through the rain, puddles, and muddy, grassy hills! It was then that I saw my mama and my little sister!! J I heard my sister shout, “that’s my sister!” over and over which made my smile, laugh, and cry all at the same time!
I made it to transition, threw down my wetsuit, goggles, and cap, donned my soaking wet helmet and bike gloves, chowed down some energy gels, sucked down some electrolytes, and ran my bike (you can’t ride it through transition) to the mounting area. And off I went! And I saw my mama and sister just as I was leaving the ride out area! Jacob and Ruthie, too!
T1 6 minutes 31 seconds. (Definitely room for improvement)
The bike ride was challenging for a couple of reasons. First-it was POURING for almost the entire ride! The first part was ok-just a lot of puddles from the previous downpours. But about 5 miles in, the rain started and just got more intense. There were a lot of flat tires and a few sliders, but luckily I stayed up and my bike intact. Having ridden the course a couple of weeks ago with Doug, I knew the hills and I knew which gears I’d need and when to change them. It worked well, and my adrenalin was flowing, and I blasted up a lot of the hills.The second reason it was challenging is that a lot of riders don’t understand the ‘stay to the right except to pass’ rule. Sounds a lot like driving, right?
Towards the end, with a lot of downhills, the rain actually hurt my face! I was closing one eye and then the other, hoping to keep some of the pain away. I saw my mama and sister as I was rounding the last corner and that was amazing! Overall, it t was a great ride and a beautiful route! And I PRd my time on that course by quite a bit!
Bike time: 52 minutes 10 seconds (15 miles, 16.9 mph)
This is what I practiced in BRICK workouts-going from cycling to running is tough on the legs. But there is more to T2 than the legs! I almost forgot to take my helmet off and almost forgot to put my running bib on! Haha! But I managed to get it all in the end and off I went. I was feeling hungry but didn’t want to waste time to eat anything, knowing that I was less than a half hour away from food.
T2 time: 2 minutes 2 seconds
Sure enough my legs felt like goo one minute and lead weights the next. The nice thing about going from cycling to running is the legs are primed for movement so you don’t need that running warm up time…but it’s almost like your legs aren’t really attached to your body. As I was running up the hill, I heard a man say, “Thank you ladies. It’s because of you that my mom is alive.” WOW. That’s why I tri.
The run was beautiful-most of it was along a seaside path (paved) by Bug Light. It was gorgeous. It wasn’t raining anymore but I was soaked and my feet were squishing in my socks! It was really a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. The one thing that made the run super fun was the puddles! I was already soaked, so what difference would it make. I mean, who doesn’t love running through puddles!?!? J
As I ran towards the finish, I saw my mama and sister again, and Ruthie and Jacob. I was tired and hungry but almost sad that it was over. But my legs were definitely glad to be done!
Run time: 25 minutes 14 seconds (3 miles, 8:25 pace)
My thoughts…it was humbling. Powerful. Emotional. Happy, sad, exciting, I could go on and on. I think this was a perfect tri for my first because while there were true competitors there, most participants were there for a bigger reason. Most people are there to honor someone that has faced cancer. A father or a mother, brother or sister, husband or child. Or maybe they have faced cancer themselves. Some people are there to conquer a fear. Some people are there to accomplish a goal that they set out for themselves. It’s so much more than a triathlon-it’s a journey to be shared with each other.
On a personal level…it was SO MUCH FUN!!! It was fast paced, exciting, and challenging! There’s a challenge in setting up the transition area, getting through transition as soon as possible, etc. Jumping through the puddles, being cheered on by spectators…it was all just so awesome. And I came in under my desired time….by quite a lot! Now I have my benchmark time and I’ll do my best to beat it next year.
I’ve already entered the lottery for next year and truly hope that I earn a spot. I would LOVE to do this again-it was one of the most amazing days of my life and I’d love to have the honor of participating again.
But now…time for marathon training! J
Thanks for reading!!!! Thanks for your encouragement. Thanks for your support. For your prayers, your friendship, and your donations! It means the world to me.
I tri for Auntie Lucy. I tri for Audrey. I tri for my friends and family who have faced cancer or watch their loved ones struggle with cancer. I tri for my children and their children so that one day, cancer will no longer be a worry. I tri for you, I tri for me.