On Sunday, December 13, 2009, I became a triathlete!!! Now, mind you, I am no Iron woman....yet! I did overcome a fear though and that is what this journey is all about. I am excited to share this experience with you and document it so that one day I can look back and see all the success, challenges, good times, bad times, easy times, tough times, that I have encountered on this journey towards health, fitness and balance!
Last year in October I had set my sights on completing a triathlon. I picked out a training plan and started to put it into motion. After about 3-4 weeks of training, I had cut out the application form from Race Place magazine, written the check, put it in an envelope with a stamp and everything. I was almost on my way to the mailbox when I realized that my daughter's very first swim meet would be on that very same day. I realized that this was going to be a very important event for her and that I couldn't be selfish. I didn't want this to stop me though. As you all know, I am very determined and when I set my mind to something, I do it! So, this aggravated me but I knew it was the right thing to do. So, I did the next best thing. I attempted to find another triathlon on another weekend and wouldn't you know, there were none! At least none that fit my needs/experience level/traveling range, etc. So, unfortunately, I let it go...but not forever! Just for the time being!
So, for the past year I have been doing other things! I ran a couple of half marathons, my first full marathon and did some work with a trainer in small group sessions to work on strength training. Somehow, it got brought up that the Tinsel Triathlon was coming up. A few of my fellow sparks and I talked about it and the next thing you know, we have decided to do it! I remember being on a spark outing and discussing this event with Mary (marythepac) and she was interested in the details. I sent her the link and she said she was going to do it and start training. I love it when sparks try new things and if I can, in any way, be a catalyst for that, then I am a very happy camper!!!! (smiles)
So, Kelly (happy92003) and I decided we had better start training. We don't have tons of time and getting to the pool or outside on the bike was difficult at best. The time change didn't help the situation either. We both knew we would be good to go for the three mile run but not so sure about the 12 mile bike ride (Kelly was more confident than I) and the 150 meter swim (which is very short for a tri). So, we tried to get creative. We started taking spin classes in the morning and then would leave a little bit early to jump in the pool and swim a few laps. Then, about a week or so before the tri we got to the gym at around 5am, ran 3 miles on the treadmill, went and took the 545am spin class and then jumped in the pool and swam our 150 meters. This was the closest we got to the real deal!
So, the morning came and it was D-Day! It was raining like cats and dogs the night before and it wasn't looking very hopeful. Dark gloomy clouds and rain. Wet ground and everything. All I kept thinking is how miserable the weather was going to be. If I hadn't already registered I would have considered canceling.
This is what it looked like outside:
Since I had already paid, I was gonna go out there and give it my all. So, off we went! Luckily, I found some proper clothes and some coolio gloves to wear!!
Check out my mitts! Also, notice the hat! It is a Harley Davidson hat that used to be my pops. I figured I would include him in this venture in a sentimental way cuz if he was here, he would have been rooting me on!!!
My honey was a trooper and helped me get my bike ready, woke up super early, and supported me.
Here is the proof:
My daughter was excited to be on camera duty! This is what happens when I give her the camera:
Once we got there it was time to unload our bikes, take our gear and go get our race numbers. Kelly followed us to Hemet and so we both went over to check in. We got our numbers and were ushered into the transition area. I was slightly annoyed because there were so many numbers to keep track of (one for your bib, one for your bike, and another for your bathing suit) and then safety pins were falling everywhere and my hands were full with my bike and a bag full of gear. Errrrrrrr!!!! They only let the participants into the transition area which meant that Ty couldn't help me with the numbers. Finding a place to put my bike was tough but I found a spot on the end right near some balloons so I could remember where I put that thing. That would be bad to lose a lot of time not being able to locate your gear!
I set up my little spot with my water, towel, flip flops, Shot Blokx, goggles and swim cap. This is what my transition spot looked like:
Then, I went back out of the transition center and had Ty help me with all the numbers:
Kelly and I chatted and were pretty relaxed and excited. By this time the weather was looking better. The threatening clouds had subsided some and it was cool. Perfect running weather! We met up with Ty and Tay again and found our way to the starting line. We waited around for a little bit, they sang the national anthem and then it was time to get the party started!!!
And off we went....Kelly and I started off our run at a good pace (for slow pokes!) around 9:30/mile. The weather was cool and I felt good. I was relaxed and really wanted to enjoy the experience. I love doing new things for the first time. You go into the events with few expectations. I wanted to complete it. That was the goal. So, for the first two miles, Kelly and I ran together. There were quite a few turn around points and the family liked it because they got to see me quite a few times throughout the race...which usually isn't the case during my longer runs. So, around mile 2 Kelly slowed down just a tad and I was keeping a pretty steady pace. Just about that time, a fellow runner, yelled out, "Anyone know how far we are?" and I said, "yea, almost 2 miles" and he asked how I knew....ummmm, hello! I don't have this big brick on my wrist for nothing (aka Garmin 305!) and he said, "I am gonna run with you!!!" So, this guy, his name is Sol, starts running with me. He is chattin my ear off, which I don't mind because it takes my mind off the fact I am getting a tad tired and yet we have a long ways to go! He tells me about his running partner and how she is on vacation in Hawaii but was supposed to do this race with him. He told me his wife's name is Leah (ummm, that is my name foo!!!) and then I put two and two together. Come to find out, his running buddy is a sparkfriend of mine, Tammy aka marathonmom26.2)!!!! What are the chances of that???? I was super excited and told him I knew his running buddy and it was cool! I think he might even be on spark, too! Tammy will have to leave me a comment on that!
Around the 2.75 mile mark, I saw Debbie (S318830) and she was hurtin. I remember reading on her status update that she was having some calf troubles but she did not look happy, I tried to smile and wave but she was pointing to her leg and it didn't look good. She was still running though, so I took that as a good sign.
This was right about the time that the run was coming to an end and it was time to hit the bikes! I ran into the transition area, got my bike and helmet and off I went. It was great to see my daughter and honey on the sidelines supporting me. I have a mountain bike and it is not ideal for this type of sport. Many, many people passed me on the biking portion (which sorta pissed me off!!!) with good road bikes. It isn't like they were workin harder than me! That is what urked me! I decided I was going to enjoy the ride and I prayed for some flat terrain! Luckily, there were only a couple of very small inclines, although all inclines seem intense when you aren't an experienced biker! I have to say that I enjoyed the bike ride and I wondered why I didn't ride more. It was peaceful on the road. Just me, the bike and some other riders. They had blocked off one side of a highway for the race and the City of Hemet police department was representin!!!! I think the swat team was there...I'm just sayin! Not sure of too many "incidents" at tri events but ya neva know. LOL!
Once again, the proof:
Back to the bike, I was enjoying it. Then some idiot on a road bike tried to pass me on the right...which would have been fine if I wouldn't have been pretty far to the right already. Basically, in order to pass me on the right, he had to go off the road (remember, this dude is on a ROAD bike, not a "dirt" bike) in order to pass me. He came sooooo close to wiping out and taking me with him. Mind you, there was PLENTY of room on the left hand side for him to pass. Um, not a good choice. Thank the man upstairs that he didn't bif it and take me with him. About 15 minutes later, I saw this guy get off his bike and ask to be given a ride back because he cramped up. I did feel ever so bad for him but it was safer for everyone else that he wasn't on the course anymore.
Toward the 11 mile mark, I was ready to be done with the bike. My bootay was starting to scream and some womanly parts weren't too happy either. (Does this part of the anatomy get "tougher"? Calloused? um, kinda hope not but you get my drift). By this time I could see the school and knew the transition area was closing in. I started to mentally prepare for the transition. I tried to go through it in my head. Think about what items I needed to take off (my long sleeve top, my running pants, shoes, socks, helmet) and what I needed to put on (swim cap, goggles, flip flops) and what I needed to take with me (towel) to the pool.
Here I am coming into the transition center from the bike ride:
Outside the transition center, my number one cheerleader yelled, "Mom, hurry up, this isn't a coffee break!!!" Yeaaaaaaahhhh, that is what I thought it was! haha. So, off I ran to the pool.
I got slightly confused about where I needed to go but found my way to the front of the transition center, and over to the pool. I dropped my towel and my flip flops and proceeded to jump in. No diving allowed...not that I dive but figured you might want to know that. I started to swim but got nervous that someone would run into me. I thought we were going down and back and down for the three laps since it was an Olympic size pool. This freaked me out. I thought someone was going to swim, (head first, into me. Also, looking down..........it was V-E-R-Y deep. This is when I started to struggle. I couldn't seem to get into a groove and I kept looking out for fear of getting hit. I was almost done with my first lap when I realized that the had it set up so that you would swim down in one zone, go underneath the lane barrier to swim down the middle "lane" and then under the barrier to swim down the final stretch, which landed you in the shallow end with the steps to exit. Very cool. Never, during the swim did I feel comfortable or find a rhythm. I have to say that during the final lap, I paniced. Somehow, I kept swallowing water. Ty was right on the side of the pool on that final lap, yelling encouraging things. I knew I had to do this. I couldn't give up now. I kept floundering but hearing his voice helped me through. Right when I didn't think I could do it any more, my feet touched the bottom and out I came. Bam! Pose for the camera and out I went. Kelly had finished about 5 minutes before me (she breezed by me around the half way point, makin that bikin thang look easy peasy!) and we got our medals and took some photos!
Wow, I felt freakin fantastic when I were done. It was FANTASTIC!!! A TOTAL FREAKIN HIGH!!! THE NATURAL KIND!!! Even thinking back on the event, I get excited. I can't remember finishing a race feeling that great. Mind you, a few brief seconds before, I was like a fish outta water....or more like a non-fish in water! I thought I might drown or not be able to finish for a brief second but I never let those thoughts rule me. I did leave the race feeling like I need more experience in the water, which is true. You can't be good at things you rarely do. So, this will lead to more swimming and possibly even a few lessons. I can't wait for the next one! Already thinking February might be the right time because there are a couple of similar events in Los Alamitos and Irvine.
Anyhoo, after the race was over, I saw Debbie (S318830) for the second time at the finish. We took a quick photo and went about our business to collect our things from the transition area. Kelly and I couldn't get over how great the event was and how much we loved it!! So relaxing after all this exercise then a swim in a warm pool. Great!
(I would post the photo here but it is on Ty's camera and I would need Debbie's permission first...you ALWAYS need permission when posting pics of peeps in their bathin suits...word to your momma!)
Here is another one of me:
We snapped some more photos as we packed up our things and then mosied back to the truck.
Kelly and I ended up doing some undercover changing in the parking lot because they still had the lot blocked in due to the race event course still being open. So, we waited and shimmied out of our wet clothes. I found some lovely photos that my DD took while I was changing...uh, I won't be postin those! LOL! NOT CUTE!
Finally, we were able to leave the race location. We had plans to meet up at Richie's Diner in Temecula on our way back home. Mary and two of her friends showed up, Debbie came with her hubby and 2 kids (hubby and son went to Rubios to eat instead) and my squad (Ty and Tay) and Kelly ate a great meal.
We talked about the event and I felt bad for Debbie and her injury! Heal quickly pumpkin! She blogged about the event so I encourage you to read her account, as well! Jackie (Terrificlyfit) we missed you out there!!! NEXT TIME FOR SHO'!
All in all this was a fantastic event and I have now entered the world of tri!!! I hope everyone who has ever considered this will give it a try, I can't tell you how nervous I was or scared that I would fail during the process. Second guessing myself and all that but I never give that too much of my time. The thoughts are there, I push the aside and overcome. We can do this!!! ALL OF US! If these experiences have taught me one thing, it is that with hard work, discipline and dedication...I can do things I never dreamed of!!! With the man upstairs by my side, nothing is impossible!!! Cheers to your dreams! Honor them, make them happen! YOU GOT THIS!
One last thing, I wanted to post this pic cuz I think it's cute!