I was sooo nervous going into this race! I only had 5 weeks to train for this triathlon and I was worried about the swim start. My main goals were to finish and to not be last!! 🙂
Backstory: I had originally registered for my age group, only to find that I had to register as a 40 year old, even though I am not yet 40! (I have a couple more months, thank you very much!) When I picked up my packet, I found that my wave start was the third to last. That totally freaked me out because I was already worried about being last out of the water. I called the organization and asked if I could switch to the Cruiser/Athena category and they said that was fine. Whew! For those not familiar with those terms, they are for men and women who are larger in size (190lbs for men and 150 for women). I was now in the second wave to start and I felt much more comfortable about that.
The day started early when my alarm went off at 4:45 am. I had my transition bag packed and my bike in the van, so I got dressed, grabbed my breakfast and headed to Alum Creek. I arrived nice and early and had plenty of time to get my timing chip, race cap (Purple!) and find a great end spot in the transition area. I got my area set up and found my other two friends who were doing the tri. Rich and the kids arrived and I said a quick hello to them.
Before I knew it, it was time to head down to the start! As I walked over, I noticed a familiar pregnant friend standing around trying to not be noticed!! 🙂 I was so surprised to see Mandy and even more surprised when she told me Deb and LeDawn were coming, as well! I had thought everyone was doing a 5K that morning and felt very special that they had come to cheer me on! I watched the first group start and then it was my turn to get into the water and wait for the siren to go off. The water was a bit chilly at 72 degrees, but honestly I didn’t even notice because I was so focused on the start. I stayed in the back of the group. Before I knew it, they counted down, the siren sounded and we were off!
The swim was tough for me. I definitely did not spend enough time doing long swims in open water. My worst fears did not come true and I was spared from getting elbowed or swam over. I just kept quoting Dorie from “Finding Nemo.” Just keep swimming…just keep swimming! I don’t have my exact time yet, but I think it was close to 25 minutes. I was not the last one from my group out of the water. Yay! Although other swimmers from the group after mine passed me by! I was glad to get out of the water and head to the transition area where I got ready to get on my bike for 17 miles of “gently rolling hills.”
All morning I had been envying all the road bikes that I saw. I have a mountain bike, while great for off roading, it’s not so great for doing races on smooth surfaces and trying to go fast. The gently rolling hills were much more than that for me! I really had to work on the hills, but I conquered them all! The last hill was the new Killer Hill for those of us who did the Dam Fool 5 Miler run. It was slow, but I made it. The 17 mile ride took 1 hour and 15 minutes. That was 15 minutes faster than I thought I would be! Mandy said they almost missed me at the transition because they weren’t expecting me yet! My legs were a bit wobbly as I dismounted and headed back to the transition for the 5K.
I knew the first part of the run would be uphill, so I took it slow. Once I got to the top of the dam, I kept it steady at a 13 minute pace. My legs felt heavy, but I only stopped for the water stations. I felt more like I was plodding along, but I wasn’t walking! As I ran back down the trail, I saw LeDawn running towards me! She ran beside me for the last little bit until we were close to the finish line! It was good to have her there and talk a little bit to get my mind off of my tiredness.
I was so excited to see the finish line and sprinted to it! I forgot to turn off my Garmin, but I think my time was about 40 minutes. Rich was there along with my wonderful friends! I had completed it! Yes!!!! I was tired, but elated. I finished strong!