This is the sign that greeted me on the door when I got home yesterday. Isn't that sweet?
What an experience! I feel so empowered by the fact that I conquered something that scared the daylights out of me! I could do it again, even though it was tough. I am not sore at all today, but am sick with a cold. I'm just glad it held off until I finished the race. My time was 1 hour 51 minutes 21 seconds. While not a record breaker, I came in 15th in my age division of women and 73 over all women. I have no idea how many women were there but there were almost 600 people total. Tasha came in 1st in her age division of women and 20th over all women (I think). WOW! She kicks butt!
There were four of us doing this triathalon together. Jen, Carrie, Tasha and me. BTW, all of these girls are 10-18 years younger than I. I met at Jen's house on Friday afternoon and we promptly got to Tasha's. Tasha is a very organized, driven woman and had us right on track. Carrie, what I can gather, is the opposite. The sweetest nicest woman you could meet, though. Anyway, the fact that Carrie was a half hour late because she got lost should have been forshadowing. We followed Tasha and Carrie with lots of wrong turns, Jen and I in another car, laughing hysterically every time we had to turn around. We checked in and got our packets the night before (Tasha's idea and the best one!) so we could prepare ourselves. We took a look at the lake, drove the bike route (whoa, major hill first thing, but we were prepared to tackle it having driven it). These little preparations made all the difference. Thanks Tasha. We never made it to the pasta dinner and instead went to a little italian sub shop. We stayed in a little old strip motel, the kind you avoid on a regular basis. It was cute and clean, so no worries. It had a coffe shop at one end, open mic night (too loud), so we had dessert and left. We spent the rest of the evening being silly, posing in our flannel jammie pants and tank tops, prepping our clothes for the next day, got a demonstration from Tasha on how to change a tire, took photos, talked about breasts and booties, laughed till we couldn't laugh anymore and slept fitfully.
Saturday: up at 5am and out the door by 6. We got to the lake and went to the transition area. This is part that just terrified me. I did not know what to expect. Once I had a little knowledge, I felt better. There is an area that is fenced off with flimsy metal racks and small space markings. You hang your bike by the seat on the bar going across and arrange your stuff, i.e. shoes, helmet, socks, on the ground underneath. There were definitely some people who had been doing this for years and had things "just so". Very interesting. Afterwards you get your body marked. Your competition number along both arms and your age on your calf. We spent the next two hours debating on whether to wear a wet suit (wore it), going to the bathroom numerous times, observing the physique of the other competitors, meeting others, and any last minute preps.
The race: It starts with the swim in which you enter the water in waves according to age and sex. Being over 40 and female, guess who's wave was the last to enter the water? Not a good thing. I already felt like I was going to finish last because I started last. But, you are competing against the clock, not the people who went before you. By the time my wave entered the water, I was feeling okay. I felt prepared for the swim. When we received the go, all hell broke loose! People kicking me, swimming on top of me, pushing me over and under, I panicked! Within the first 25 yards I was almost crying and ready to quit. Yet, I remembered the t-shirt in our packet, the quote on the back said "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever". Boy, did that suck! So, I quickily changed to breast stroke, so I could see and get my breathing under control and just basically kept an even pace. You start running out of the water once you can touch, start stripping off the goggles, wet suit, and cap, and get to the transition area as fast as you can. Side note: You are wearing a chip on your ankle and pass a counter, thingy, that times when you start a part and when you end it. Put shoes on, jersey, bike shorts, helmet, grab your bike and mount where they say you can. Ride like the wind! I felt good on the ride. I've never been the fastest rider but always consistent even on major climbs. I did quite a bit of passing, yes! Beautiful ride, though I would like to do it when I actually can look around. Home stretch to transition area, I see the handsome Prince! He shouts and takes a photo. I transition and start running. Oh no! I thought this is where I really loose it. Nope. Just keep on truckin' (remember those t-shirts) and I actually passed people running. What a hoot! Saw Tasha on her way back as I was starting, she gives me a boost! I see Jen, we do a low five as we pass, I'm on my way back, I see Carrie, we do the same thing. I see the CEO of the YMCA and his wife, they cheer (their son raced). I cross the finish line. Woohoo! My Handsome Prince is there, he is choked up and tells me how proud he is of me. He has a huge smile on his face . What a way to end a race, one where you were terrified yet kept going, friends and strangers cheering you on, and your partner and biggest fan at the end. I'm crying as I type this. None of it quite sunk in yesterday.
To top it off, last night was prom. I saw my beautiful daughter all of ten minutes before she left. Four of them came back here afterwards. During the time they were gone, Handsome Prince and I set up 2 tents, started a campfire, had a glass of wine around the fire, got some nice snacks together, including smores makings. I stayed up till about 4am, listening to them talk, laugh, eat, knowing that these times will end soon. I enjoyed the sound of their voices and layed on the couch lulled to sleep by the sounds of their voices. They are good kids and I trusted them, I just wanted to be around without being with them. I don't know if they understand, but maybe someday they will. This morning I fixed them a huge breakfast. I skipped church, Handsome Prince, Audrey and friend, Ashely went. These are sweet times.