Back in February, I found out that through a lottery, I’d won a spot in the 2017 Tri for a Cure! I was soooo excited, knowing from my 2016 experience what an amazing event it is.
So for the last 10 weeks, I’ve been swimming, cycling, and running in preparation for the big day! As will all of the races I’ve done, the training always brings about more of an impact on my life than I thought possible.
Race day turned out to be a gorgeous day. Remember last year…thunder and lightning! Very, very frightening! This year started cool but sunny, with high clouds and low humidity. I was a little worried about the potential for high heat, but having pushed some of my runs and brick (bike/run) workouts to warmer times of day, I hoped that would help.
There’s something very calming and peaceful about the transition area, pre-race. At least for me. Having done this last year, and learned a few things, setting up transition wasn’t too difficult. You basically have an 18 x 24 inch area (-ish) to set up all of your stuff. After doing that, I still had over an hour until I had to get into my wetsuit and head down to the water. I read a bit of my book, listened to music, and of course checked facebook 🙂 I walked down to the water and set up my mini-transition (what I’d need to get from the swim site to main transition), even talked to a few people along the way (Yes, me! Talking to people!)
The opening ceremony was amazing, as expected. We wear different colored swim caps, according to age division (I was light blue!). But those wearing pink swim caps are super special, as they are cancer survivors. Looking around at all of the swim caps is awe-inspiring….I definitely had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, thinking about all of the hardships, worries, and sadness they’ve dealt with. And how awesome and amazing it is that they are participating in such an amazing event as SURVIVORS!
Finally it was time to start…..
SWIM: (1/3 mile, 14:01)
The swim is by far my most challenging event. Up until a little over a year ago, I’ve struggled even with pool swimming. While pool swimming has become much easier for me (I even look forward to it!), open-water swimming is much scarier for me. Race morning saw choppy waters (the winds were blowing!) and of course it was high tide (more water to swim through). That being said, I charged in and gave it all I had. For the first 2/3 or so of the swim, I alternated between back stroke and freestyle (barely putting my head below water). For the last third, I had the tide coming in, giving me a bit of a push, and I plowed forward, head under water, arms and legs pumping. Not as great of a time as I wanted, but it is what it is! As I approached shore, huffing and puffing, I heard the kids calling “go mommy!” and Doug, my mom and sister, and our friends calling “Go Corrie!. That’s all I needed to get me through that last tough stretch.
Transition 1: (4:52)
Almost three minutes faster than last year! It’s a 1/3 mile run from the swim area to the main transition area. Once there, I put on my tank with my run number, chugged some water (that ocean water is crazy salty!), got my helmet and sunglasses on, and unracked my bike. You can’t ride the bike until you get right out of transition, but you can run with your bike to that point! Off i went!
BIKE: (14.6 miles, 51:11, 17.4 mph)
I was nervous for the bike ride, only because I hadn’t really reached a good speed during training rides. But it went much better than expected! It was a bit windy and very hilly, but having done the ride a couple of weeks before, I had a good idea of what I needed to do as far as changing gears, slowing down, and speeding up. I made the most of the downhills and pushed hard on the uphills. Part of me wanted to be a bit conservative on the ride, knowing that I had to save energy for the run, but there is a lot of time to be made and/or lost on the ride, so I threw caution to the wind and pushed hard. I came in a full minute faster than my bike time last year!
Transition 2: (1:24)
I already had my run number on so all I had to do was rack my bike, remove my helmet, and take off!
RUN: (3 miles, 24:29, 8:10 pace)
Wow, that first half mile was brutal. My legs really didn’t want to work correctly, and I felt like I was running through knee-high molasses. The sun was out in force and the run out was mostly uphill. About .6 miles, someone shouted out, “thank you, you’re doing this for my mom!” OK…that’s about all I needed to kick it into high gear for the next 2+ miles! When I got to the path by Bug Light, the ocean breeze kicked up and felt amazing. The sun was brutal, my mouth was dry, my legs ached and my chest was pounding. But I kept telling myself….you can do anything for 20 minutes. 10 minutes. 8 minutes. 4 minutes. I also told myself….this is for Auntie Lucy. This is for Audrey and Anne and Barb and Gina and so many others that are battling cancer. For those who have lost their lives to cancer. For the families who have watched the suffering. If they can endure that, surely I can endure running a couple of miles in the heat of a Maine summer day. As there was one corner to go, I saw Doug and Jacob, our friends Jeff and Elena, my mom and sister, Ruthie and Emma. Hollering for me, encouraging me, cheering me on. I blew them a kiss as I rounded the corner and high-tailed it to the finish line. There were tears…lots of tears. For my loved ones and friends who have had to face the beast of cancer. This is all for them.
I hope I am able to do this again next year…it’s such a beautiful event and it fills me with such hope, gratitude, and joy. It puts so much into perspective for me and reminds me that although I am one person, I can make a difference.
Thank you to all of you for your love and support and encouragement. To my family for putting up with my training and for my friends for following my training. For those who donated to the cause, I thank you-together we raised almost $700, going towards the Maine Cancer Foundation’s grand total of over 2 million dollars this year! I am so grateful for you!
Together, we kicked cancer’s ass pretty damn hard! Thank you!