(New? Read part one here.)
As I was saying, I had forgotten, truly forgotten, how much forethought, goes into triathlon. Let's take a trip on the wayback machine, waaaayback to my first trip to Lake Anna in June 2008 for a simple swim/bike practice with D.C. Tri Club. In 2008, the lovely NOD (that would be Number One Daughter, as some of you already know) put this checklist inside the front door to make sure I didn't forget anything:
say, like, Chocolate Chip cookies! (Like I said, just the essentials!)
In my last post, I exposed my fears, worries and fallback position of "I don't even know where my wetsuit is!"
But as the days ticked by, one thing led to another.
My friend and mentor Becky egged me on.
And then I swam 700 m straight in the pool.
And then I found the wetsuit.
And some ShotBloks.
And some throwaway flip-flops.
And the next thing I knew, just like Mitt Romney, I was shaking up the etch-a-sketch, erasing the past two years of triathlon boycott, and on my way to Lake Anna!
Thankfully, there were four swim waves, in this order:
1st: Olympic confident swimmers
2nd: Olympic less confident swimmers
3rd: Sprint confident swimmers
4th: Sprint less confident swimmers
(Can I just say that I LOVE the pc-ness of these swim labels?!?! This is what makes America great--everyone's a winner!)
(Also, for those new to triathlon, Olympic distance is 1,500 swim, 22 mile bike, 10k run. Sprint is half of those.)
What a relief. Clearly organized by someone who understands me!
Into the lake I went. For the first 200 meters I pretty much let the wetsuit swim for me. It's buoyant! Then i tried to focus on not having a heart attack. Then i tried to focus on different elements of my stroke. Finally I resorted to counting. In the world of sprint triathlons, I took forever. People have finished Ironman swims in less time. But I had plenty of company, and people were even laughing and having fun. While swimming.
750 M: 25 min
As usual, I made my graceful exit:
I emerged dizzy, disoriented, with a headache but oh-so-pleased with myself. I did it! The rest was gravy.
I think I took about 8 minutes in T1 (transition 1). But I was so happy, I couldn't have cared less what my time was. Breakthru thinking people!
The bike out started on an uphill. Which is kind of a challenge, if you're me. So I dropped my chain and the nice bikeout volunteer helped me put it back on. Which is a big no-no in an "official" tri, but no problem in this one!
The bike route was just pure fun. Because there were so many people doing the Olympic and they had started at different times, I was never alone. I wish more race directors would take a clue from Peasantman! It wasn't too hot, the sky was clearing, there were few cars, and we were in a state park. What's not to like?!
11 miles: 1:05
My extensive bike training clearly shows. But I was just so happy!
And then came the 5k run. I have only recently re-ignited my illustrious running career (hello, see name of blog you are reading) by using the Couch to 5k program on my iPhone, which I highly recommend. It's a very gradual intro to running. So with no time goals in mind, I was delighted to do a walk/run ratio of 3 min walk/ 8 min run. And that's what I did. For 4.3 miles.
Wasn't this supposed to be 3.1??
Around the 2 mile point, one of the volunteers cheerily informed us that the course was long--actually 4.3 miles instead of 3.1. Thank God I wasn't trying to beat any records, or I would have shriveled up and died. But people seemed to take it in stride. We just kept on putting one foot in front of the other.
This is why I love triathlon. It really teaches you that if you're going to survive, you have to learn to make the best of whatever comes your way. LESSONS, people, LESSONS!
The other reason I love triathlon? Even though I am OLD and SLOW, just about every single person who passed me said, "Good job!" or some encouraging thing.
Triathletes! They really are special.
4.3 mile run: 50:40 minutes.
And anyway, how could anyone get upset with signs like this?!
With a huff and puff, I skipped the last few walk breaks and ran it in.
Utterly and completely delighted with myself!
And at the finish line? Were these:
Stacks and stacks of them! I have never seen so many cupcakes in my life!
I felt sick to my stomach and my head hurt. And? I have never felt so good in my life!
I had only one thought, as I passed on the mounds of cupcakes that were gently whispering my name, and the piles of food at the barbeque:
Please sir, I want some more.