Sunday was a very exciting and fulfilling day. To start off with...I FINISHED the triathlon! I know that is typically how the blogpost should end, and there were many ladies wearing pink shirts that had a quote from my favorite Runner's World writer Larry Bingham (aka The Penguin) that said something to the effect that the "great thing isn't that I finished, it's that I started," but to me, finishing was a big deal.
AND a HUGE congratulations to Katie, Sara, Connie, Margaret and the rest of the Longview ladies, and the triathlon ass-kicker Becky. Everyone had a great race, but Becky decided for her first triathlon she would show the Danskin what's going on and finished 3rd in our age group, 27th overall (out of 5,000 women) and a ridiculous 2nd overall in the swim (1/2 mile in 11:02...damn!). I've decided we're going to start entering her professionally. WAY TO GO LADIES!!!
Here are a few pictures that I stole off Facebook (I illegally entered through Grace's account), so beware the site might crash again!
Here is Becky and I super nervous waiting to get the show on the road:
This is the start of our swim. Class #26 red caps! I'm pretty sure Becky was around the first buoy by the time I was still waiting to start and peeing on everyone. (Yes, I am aware that is too much information, but it's true...I also peed when I exited the water and ran to my bike. I never knew I had a hidden super talent, but apparently it's peeing anywhere, even while running. Don't get too grossed out, I was completely covered in water, and urine is a disinfectant---WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION)...OKAY I get it....moving on...
What I learned from the swim is that next time I will wear a wetsuit. The water was a little choppy and right away I drank almost half of Lake Washington, which freaked me out more than I ever thought it would. So instead of pumping out the freestyle like I've been practicing for months and months, I did a lot of the backstroke, breaststroke, and anything that would keep my butt afloat (even floating on my back and just kicking). The water temp was great, but the buoyancy of a wetsuit gives you more freedom to use your energy to propel forward instead of trying to stay on top of the water. Overall, I am proud that I finished the swim in under 20 minutes, since that was my weakest leg going into the race, but next time I won't get so freaked out and/or hydrate myself in the lake.
The next leg was the biking portion....a 12 mile ride over I-90 on the Express Lanes, onto Mercer Island and then back again. I witnessed two crashes because some ladies could not downshift fast enough, but I managed to weave through the chaos (42 minutes and change).
Lastly came the 5K run. I'm not sure if you've ever rode a bike hard for a while and then tried to go running, but if you ever want to experience what some have labeled the "Kona shuffle"...give it a shot. You feel like your legs are going as fast as they can, but you're not sure they're actually moving. My goal of the running portion was to pump until I couldn't pump anymore. Becky captured two great photos of this at the finish line:
Me pumping to pass the lady in front of me....
and victory times two (passing her and finishing with a 8:53 pace!)....
The race was both amazing and interesting. When we finished I wasn't sure I would want to do one again. It was a strange concept for me to be racing when you have to change activities and try to keep going fast while you're unsuccessfully trying to pull a dry shirt over a soaking body. I literally got stuck and had to ask another racer to help pull my shirt down--not my finest part of the race.
Yet now that two days have passed, I am experiencing the racing high and am very stoked, (and even proud) of myself for taking on this challenge, giving it everything I had, and finishing with a respectable time, fun memories, a great bonding experience with other ladies (especially my friends)....and a little piece of hardware:
So yes, I think I will take on this challenge again...and maybe lasso Becky's leg during the swim.
Last, but definitely not least...I owe a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported and cheered us all on, especially a few die hards who came out bright and early, and without their cheers I'm not sure I would have continued to push as hard. It's amazing what a few "Go Angs" can do when you're exhausted from getting out of the lake, pushing the pedals, or cranking out the last few miles. THANK YOU to all our well-wishers who were just waking up at the start of the race and sent lovely messages, and support throughout the whole training process!
To the fans who were present...THANK YOU....most especially ANNABELLE, and my swim coach KATIE, who got up early and biked to the race to cheer us on, but also provided doughnuts afterwards to a hungry athlete (thanks Annabelle!!!)...and to the two superfans who got up at 5:30 a.m. (one with only a few hours of sleep under his belt).
Thank you SEAN and BEN!
And a special double thank you to my support, my rock, and my devoted husband. You are amazing!
And as I started, I will finish...I DID IT!