The day began unlike any other, at 8am. I did manage to get a full 8 hours sleep, thanks to the Staybridge Suites VERY comfortable hotel beds. In the morning I was a tad stressed and may have been a TAD snappy to the wife, but after breakfast things calmed down. I had oatmeal, a hardboiled egg, and part of a blueberry bagel. After we finished breakfast we headed back to the room and packed up everything. After triple checking my race bag we headed off to the gym.
We arrived at the gym around 10am, and I was scheduled to be ready at 11:15am, so you can see we were a tad early. After organizing my lockers, yep I took up two lockers, I headed to the sauna to warm up a tad. A few laps around the track, just walking, and I felt like I was physically ready. I donned my swimsuit, swimcap, goggles, and a hoodie to keep warm and went to wait in the sign-in area.
The other competitors for the second heat began arriving shortly after, and to be honest for a few minutes I questioned if I 'fit in' with the others. Everyone else in the triathlon was by all definitions 'trim and fit', but I quickly dismissed those thoughts when TC showed up and we began talking trash about the bike ride. If you don't remember he and I bet $10 each, the winner of the bike ride taking the pot.
At 11:20 we all headed back to the pool and waited for a few 1st heat stragglers to finish up. I double-checked my swim gear to ensure I was ready and proceeded to wait for the start of our heat. Finally at 11:45 we got into the water and prepared to begin our triathlon. TC was sharing a lane with me, which ensured I'd be grossly outmatched in the swim category.
My first few laps of swimming felt pretty good, but I think I got too excited during the 4th lap. During that 4th lap I began not rolling enough on my breaths and started to swallow a... considerable.. amount of water. After adjusting my breathing and lengthening my strokes I began to feel at home in the pool. About this time TC was done in the pool, but I didn't let that phase me. I just kept going.. I was VERY proud of my work ethic in the pool. I NEVER stopped at the wall, always kicking back off immediately. In the 7th lap I experienced what one might call a TRAGEDY ... my swimcap suddenly appeared in front of my eyes! I had no clue what had happened, but figured that somehow the cap ripped. I reached up and pulled the cap and threw it on the side of the pool. However, again, I didn't let it phase me. I merely continued swimming like the fish I almost am. When I hit the wall for the last time I felt really overheated, but proud.
My swim time was 12 minutes and 45 seconds.
I got out of the pool, grabbed my towel from the wife and headed to the locker room. The microfiber towel worked great for getting water off of me quick. However, while I was hurrying, it was not a FAST transition, hehe. In the middle of putting on my clothes my nephew Domanic came in to help me. He opened my gatorade endurance for me, which probably saved a good minute since I was kind of uncoordinated. I finished getting dressed and threw my swim clothes into the locker.
Upon walking out towards the bikes I noticed TC was still going. Seeing as he had finished swimming a good 6 minutes before me I expected him to be done already on the bike. I knew at that point that if I could keep on point on the bike that I'd win our $10 bet. I had to wait a moment for the timer to be ready to start me on the bike, which was a welcome relief. One of my very favorite trainers at the gym, Kadie, was my timer which made me push even harder. I started biking hard, and then yet another thing went wrong... my mp3 player started sounding like the devil. I was listening to Karate Kid's 'You're the Best Around' and I began to hear strange noises that sounded like... well.. the devil. Instead of freaking out I checked the mp3 player and found that the headphones were not plugged all the way in (this will now be added to the checklist for the next race). Upon correcting this the music began flowing like mana from the heavens. My speed increased and my endurance went 10-fold. At 3 minutes I was only 1.6 miles in, which meant that I was nearly 30 seconds behind my goal! I kicked it up a notch as my family started to cheer me on, AND kadie started cheering me on as well.
My total bike time was 5 minutes and 45 seconds.
At the end of the day it turns out that this was the 2nd fastest bike time out of ANYONE in ANY heat. The only person who beat me was someone who biked FIRST.. however, to his credit, he biked a 5 minute flat 3 miler. Oh yeah, he was 72. I hope when I'm 72 I can bike that hard.
After my 5:45 bike I got off, now $10 richer, and felt like my legs were officially dead. Kadie gave me a few high-5s and I felt reinvigorated. I walked over to the run area and saw a few friendly faces. Kim, Angie, AND Debbie from the gym were all run timers. So I now had a HUGE cheering section when you add in the family. In my head I knew that if I wanted to come in uner 30 minutes I would have to run hard.
My sister Tracy stood trackside to hand me gatorade or water as I passed, and my nephew Domanic stood a few feet beyond to catch the bottles as I threw them back. On my 3rd lap of the track I noticed my new shorts were sliding down my butt, so I had to make a mental note to keep pulling them up since I couldn't really adjust the drawstring while I was running. On lap 6 I started to really fatigue, but upon passing my cheering section I knew that I would finish. TC came back to jog with me on lap 8, we talked for a few seconds and then he asked if I needed him to jog the rest with me. I knew that it would help, but this was all about ME.. so I told him he could go. The next lap a woman and her child who had been walking (not doing the tri, just walking) told me that I was doing great, and to keep going. I wanted to cry.. talk about motivating. When I was told I had two laps left I started to speed up. A runner who had just began her laps was on the opposite side of the track.. I decided in my head I was going to catch and overtake her. It was a daunting task seeing that she was a half-lap ahead, but as I rounded the 11th lap she was about 10 yards ahead. I pulled up even with her and she smiled and told me I was doing great. She looked forward and said, 'final stretch', she nodded and kicked it into high gear. I had no clue I had any actual 'running' left in me, but I passed her easily and ran through the finish line.
My run time was 11 minutes and 27 seconds.
My total triathlon time was 29 minutes and 57 seconds.
I finished 3rd in my age group, out of 3, but I did own the bike time. My nearest competitor was 2 minutes and 43 seconds behind me on the bike. This gives me very high hopes for my future triathlons, knowing biking is my strongpoint I can take advantage of that.
Because I met my goals I registered for a SPRINT DISTANCE triathlon later this year. Info on that below:
Green Lake Triathlon
Sprint Course: 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run
August 12, 2007 Green Lake Triathlon
Today ranks as the 3rd best day of my life. The first would be my wedding day, the second would be the day I decided to start my journey towards being healthier, and the 3rd would be today.. the day I became a triathlete.
Thank you to EVERYONE who believes in me, I did this as much for you as I did for me. No longer shall we be limited by our weight, my society's perceptions of us, NOW is the time to bust stereotypes and preconceived notions.. I love each and every one of you for the support, inspiration, and motivation you give.