Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm a TRIATHLETE!!!!!

Saturday was my very first Triathlon. Something I'd trained for 3 months for, dreamed about for about 5 years, and something I honestly NEVER thought I'd accomplish.

Friday was an interesting day because I was either super excited or absolutely terrified. I did a little journaling the night before. Here it is:

Friday, June 6th 2014 7:30 PM

Tomorrow I do my first Triathlon. My emotions vary depending on the minute from excited to absolutely petrified. Driving into Boulder today it started to set in. I drove past the reservoir and even a road sign that said “Alternate Route Suggested: Your Cause Sports Event” and that got me excited.

Melissa and I had a wonderful lunch at Salt. I worked on hydrating and eating good food (even though I’m not even really sure what I’m supposed to be eating… Though today I read that the morning of the race is really the only meal that really matters). After she had to leave, I decided to go get my wetsuit and race packet and that’s when the panic started to set in. I kept getting this feeling like something was going to go wrong—Someone would steal my bike (again), I’d lose the key to Melissa’s house, they wouldn’t have my wetsuit, it wouldn’t fit, they wouldn’t find my registration, pretty much anything.

I got my wetsuit, no problem. Couldn’t find the store where packet pick up was. Finally did… and when I walked in, my vision went blurry (and not only because I wasn’t wearing my glasses). I started panicking. I bought a couple things, the lovely associate helped me and told me he’d be waving from the sideline. He brought my anxiety down a little bit. I figured once I got back to Melissa’s and could relax things would get better.

Before I ate dinner, I decided to try on the wetsuit. Holy mother…. Just getting that thing on was a workout all by itself! I was a little worried it wouldn’t fit. Luckily I won’t be wearing it for long…. 
Funny story: It wasn't until I was at the race that I realized I had it on BACKWARDS. Zipper goes in back. Just throwin that out there.....


All my stuff for tomorrow is packed. I’m nervous, but I just need to remember to breathe, take it one step at a time, remember why I’m doing this, and let Cassandra guide me through it. All along I’ve said my only goal is to finish and not die. I’m hoping for a successful today tomorrow. I want to say that I earned that medal at the finish line. Here’s to hoping I get some decent sleep….

I think it took me 2 hours to fall asleep, and I woke up a bunch of times, but I suppose that's to be expected. I got up at 5, got dressed, went downstairs and ate some greek yogurt and made myself a protein shake. Not long after that, Melissa came downstairs (even though I told her not to. She should have slept!) and she fixed me some more food. 
Breakfast of Champions 
We had a nice little chat and right before I left she asked if she could take my picture, she gave me a hug and told me I was going to do great. Before I even got to the reservoir, I had a notification that she'd put it on Facebook. 

I got to the reservoir and got super intimidated. Everyone seemed way more athletic than me. I got all my stuff together, and found my transition spot, put my stuff out, went to body marking, and then started getting stuff ready.
I talked to the girl next to me for a bit. She told me she was nervous and I asked if it was her first triathlon. She said no, but it was her first of the season and that she always got nervous. That made me feel a little better. I put my wetsuit on (backwards then switched it when I looked around me haha) and headed over to the water. On my way there I ran into my parents. First I saw my dad and he asked me how I was, and I said "scared" and started to tear up a bit. He hugged me and gave me reminders of the pep talk he gave me a couple days prior. My mom came up and decided it was a good time for a photo session. It was a good distraction for me. :) 

After a while, I decided to head on over to the water. We stayed on the shore for a while watching the first wave, then I headed down to the water which was surprisingly warm. I went in a little bit, then my dad came down, I talked to him for a bit and then went over to where the race was starting. There was music playing and I really expected to be more nervous. But it was pretty low-key. It seemed like time was going slow. Soon it was time for my wave. They gave us directions, and then it was time to go. So go I went.

But what I did NOT expect to happen was that I wouldn't be able to breathe in my wetsuit. It was so tight, that once I started swimming I panicked. At one point, I even tried to reach back and undo the velcro to give me a little breathing room. Then I thought about swimming to one of the safety boats and asking them to help, but for some reason I didn't. Almost everyone swam much faster than I did. There was a group of about 4 of us in the back and we kind of banded together, cheering each other on as our slow selves made it to the first buoy. Then the second. There were times where I really felt like I wasn't even moving. But I did make it to shore, and people clapped and cheered for me. And that was nice. 
Post swim! 
Heading towards transition.


















When I got to transition, I ripped off my wetsuit and started to get all my bike stuff ready. I wasn't in the best mood... as is evident in this picture...

I jumped on my bike and headed out for the 17.3 mile bike ride. Which was pretty awful. 

Remember how I was afraid something would go wrong? Well, my bike got stolen 3 days before the race, so Thursday morning my dad took me to get a new one. I went for a ride around the neighborhood Friday morning to get used to it. But that wasn't enough. Also.... 99% of my training was done in a gym. Which apparently was also a mistake. I kinda thought a bike is a bike. Wrong!
I am not sure why I was so slow, maybe it was the bike or maybe it was me. But either way, I kept getting passed. Which wasn't a huge deal to me. And about 90% of the people who passed me had some lovely words of encouragement for me like "you're doing great- keep it up!" So much for the snobby athletes I thought they'd all be huh? 

I never did figure out my gears. Every once in a while, I'd mess with them and they'd work but it was pretty much how I used to beat my brother at Nintendo- I'd just push buttons, and voila! It would work. Probably should have figured out the gears before the race. And then, while I was changing gears my seat fell. I told myself I'd raise it again at the aid station.... which seemed to never come. 

At one point, I looked down and my brakes were straight up at the sky and I thought "my brakes weren't like that at the beginning" and then I realized that my handle bars were loose. And there was a sticker on them that said to make sure they were tight. Again... not very smart. And I think if I never noticed that, I'd be fine. But then i started to panic and so I ended up having to stop a few times to re-center them. 

And my butt hurt. Real bad. Note: The chamois in your trisuit is NOT enough padding. Get one of those gel seats! GOOD LORD! 

So many things went wrong during the bike ride. But so many people were cheering me on. And I started to think of Cassandra and I started to cry. And had to slow down (the one time I was going fast... awesome). But the funny thing is, during all of this, at NO point did I think of giving up. I had a goal and I was going to meet it. 

When I finally biked back to the transition area, I was kind of embarrassed. It was clear I was behind everyone else. People had already packed up their stuff and were driving away as I was coming in. But oh well..... People still clapped as I came in. 

My dad was waiting at my transition area for me. I put my stuff away, drank some water real fast, and then headed off to the run. And I got confused, wasn't sure if I was going the right way because people who had already finished were standing there. But they told me it was the right way. I heard my mom yell my name, then heard my name down the way a little bit. And it was Katy and Dustin! YAY! 

Off and away!
The running portion was just a run up the trail, then turning around and heading back. So all the people running back could see me. And again, SO UPLIFTING! "Good job!" "You're almost there!" SO NICE. 

My run had some walking in it. And not even because my legs were jello. I was just getting tired. But at the end of my run I was definitely running. AND SMILING. 
BOLTING TOWARDS THE FINISH LINE
By the end it was me saying "you've made it this far- YOU CAN DO IT!" And I ran.... past Katy, Dustin and my mom, past Melissa and the finish line..... AND GOT THAT MEDAL!!!!

Melissa snapped this as I passed her

I was so happy for it to be over and that I'd actually done it! My dad was waiting at the finish line for me and gave me a big hug and told me he was proud of me. Then the rest of my supporters came over and we had a little debriefing. 
Dustin, Katy, Melissa, and Me
I changed so we could go to lunch because let's face it... I was going to eat whatever I wanted. :) 
TRIATHLETE!!!!!
I think the smile on my face says it all. I was so proud. And yea, pretty much everyone was gone by this point, but from the beginning I said I just wanted to finish.....

My parents, Melissa and I went to lunch and had a very lovely visit. (Melissa and I have been friends most of our lives and my parents were chaperones on one of our youth trips, so it was fun to visit and reminisce.)

But then something bad happened.... 

I looked at the race results. I know I said I only wanted to finish. But coming in DEAD LAST and I mean dead last (like an hour difference between me and the person ahead of me) made me SUPER sad. For days. I started to dwell on it. And feel like a failure. I talked to a couple friends about it, but for some reason, nothing was pulling me out. 

But... I earned that medal. It says finisher. And that's what i did. It's funny because I have to put things into perspective. 12 years ago when I broke my hip and developed bursitis, NO ONE (especially me) would have believed that I would EVER be able to do a triathlon. I have overcome SO MUCH. I don't let things hold me down. So maybe I'm slow, but I still got it done. I am incredibly proud of myself and still can't really believe that I actually did it. But I did. 

There has been SO MUCH overwhelming support not just the last few days but the last few months. There were times I wasn't sure I could do it. But i kept pushing. The number of people to congratulate me the last couple days has been crazy. I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. 

Will I do another triathlon? I don't know. Maybe one day. Definitely not anytime soon. I am ready for a break from that training schedule. And ready to get back to my weights, which definitely took a backseat the last few months. What a crazy ride it's been. I DID IT!!!!

My car's latest bling