Sunday, May 23, 2010

I was prepared to Tri - and instead I Bi'd - BUT! I am a Woman of Steele!

The annual Bank of American Fork Women of Steel Triathlon was Saturday.  I did it last year.  It was my first ever triathlon.  I.LOVED.IT!!

So when registration came around for 2010, I was all over it like a fly on poop.  I knew the mistakes I had made last time, and was prepared to correct them and do better this year.  I trained harder in the pool.  I am much more comfortable on the bike, and while I haven't gotten my complete running mojo back, it's well on it's way and I can pace a respectable speed.  I was so excited.  I charted times, set goals, and thought of my friends who would be with me this year.  It was going to be perfect.

And then Mother Nature crossed paths with me again.  It's no secret how I feel about the cold.  The rain.  The snow.  The wind.  I hate them all.  HATE.  Anxiously, I watched as report after report continued to show that Saturday would be cold and rainy.  My dreams of a perfect morning were quickly evaporating.

For me, there was no debate as to whether or not I would go through with it, but I began to seriously question how I would perform let alone even enjoy it.  I fretted.  I stressed.  I complained.  I whined.  I fretted some more.  Pretty sure everyone around me grew weary of my cry-baby way, but I just couldn't get past the weather issue.

Saturday morning I woke up around 3am to the sound of pouring rain. P.O.U.R.I.N.G!!!  I laid in bed, and prayed.  Please Heavenly Father - make it stop.  PLEASE make it stop.  I fell back asleep until my alarm sounded at 4:55am.  I didn't hear the rain, but didn't dare sneak a peek. 

I had packed my bag the evening before, so I did a quick looksie to make sure I had everything.  Got dressed, started sucking down my monster and trying to find some light breakfast carbs.

At 5:20, LL pulled up and as I opened the door, my heart sank.  It was pouring rain.  There she is in a rain poncho.  It's pitch black, and we need to load my bike.  The cold air hits me, and I seriously wanted to cry.
Splenda meanwhile, was on his laptop checking the weather radar.  He assured us that according the computer, it should stop just at about race start time.  Nice.  Okay.  Yeah.  That makes everything better.

Loaded up Patrick and headed for the Shark's place.  Got her loaded and made our way to Utah County.  As we drove, we talked about the event, how we felt, and laughed at what we were actually going to do.  I kept thinking how disappointed I was for them.  It was both their first Tri's ever!  It should be sunny, and warm and beautiful weather!  Not this depressing, wet, rain.  We speculated on whether they would cancel the whole event or a portion of it.  I guessed if they cancelled any part of it, it would be the bike, since the roads would be slick.  All our chit chat helped settle my nerves and before I knew it, we were exiting and finding a parking spot by the rec center.

We grabbed our bikes, found our designated spots in the transition area and then headed to the indoor area for body marking and timing chips.  Since it was roomy, warm and dry.  We decided to hang out there until we absolutely had to leave. 

We chit chatted some more.  Met up with other gals that we happened to know. And, while I can't speak for my friends, I kept running my plan through my head. How I would line up for the swim.  How I would make the first transition.  My strategy for the bike.  Second transition.  Running.  I kept going over the course in my head.  I felt prepared.  I was excited.  I was ready to get going.

(no I am not really smiling.  She's killing me!  Her and her damn Boston hat!)

At about 7:00am, in came my friend from work AR.  This was her first time too, and she immediately met me with "what the crap have I gotten myself into?"  : )   She's a great athlete, she would be fine, but I remember the nerves last year.  Heck, I had them again this year. She stepped away for a second, and then came back and told us that they just cancelled the swim portion.

NO!  WHAT?  NO!  I looked at her in total disbelief.  In fact, I think I said out loud.  :"I don't believe it.  I want an official statement."  She looked at me and said, "THEY JUST DID.  They just ANNOUNCED they cancelled the swim portion.  It's gonna be a run, bike, run."

There are no words to even begin to describe my disappointment.  BITTER.  SINKING.  OVERWHELMING.  TRY.NOT.TO.CRY.
I looked at my friends and tried to guess what they were thinking/feeling. 
Shark.  Her first triathlon.  The ability to SAY you are a triathlete.  The swim is her strongest piece.  She KILLS it in the pool.  Her strong point, just tossed.  She can rock the bike, but she HATES running.  She will run only when chased.  And now they were swapping her strongest ability with her weakest.

LL. Her first triathlon.  When I first asked her to do this, she didn't even KNOW how to swim.  She's not nicknamed the Guppy for nothing.   She is a runner.  So what did she do?  She learned how to swim.  SIX MONTHS of lessons and pool training.   Overcoming her fear, and even getting her face in the water, all for this day and now........gone.

Myself?  I wanted to prove I could do better.  Without the swim, now I couldn't fairly compare this year to last.  My competitive self was having an internal hissy fit.

We bitched.  We moaned.  We complained.  I think I even begged a volunteer to please change their mind.
Nope.  Now instead of a 300 meter pool swim, 12.5 bike, and 5k run, it would be a 1 mile run, 12.5 bike and 5k run.

We changed our clothes, I re pinned my bib so I could keep my sweatshirt on, and swapped my flip flops for my running shoes.  All the while trying to swallow that bitter disappointment.

Soon it was time to head out to the transition area and get ready.  I found my bike that I had racked earlier.  Repacked my bag, and dried off my bike with my now, not needed towel.  The downpour turned into a drizzle.  I was mentally trying to resolve myself to the change in plans.

Splenda and KL showed up. 

We had the national anthem and then they lined us up on the street according to bib numbers (which were by age category).  Since the Shark is so much younger than me, she was a couple of waves earlier.  We wished her luck and LL and I made our way to our section. 

As everyone stood around for the final seconds and minutes before their waves started.  I decided to run a little and get going.  As I trotted slowly down the street, circled and made my way back, I started to feel excited.  In my head, I calculated my swim time from last year, and it was comparable to the pace I had been training on the mile.  I figured comparisons could still be close.  I let the feel of my running legs soothe my heart and my head.

I found LL at the start of our section, and we moved up as the other waves took off.  Soon it was our turn, we were given the go ahead and off we went.

I wasn't sure what loop they were doing for the mile, I had heard it was to be an out and back, but I soon discovered it was just a shorter loop of the 5k.  Had some hills at the beginning and I quickly found my legs.  I felt GREAT!  Running.  I was RUNNING!  Adrenaline got the best of me, and about a half mile in, I realized I started too quick.  My most common mistake. I wrangled with the idea of pacing back or just pushing forward and using the bike to recover.  I opted to push.

Since I didn't need to change anything for the bike other than my baseball cap for my helmet, the first transition was quick.  I was soon on my bike and back out of the gate.  As I turned left at the first corner, I was changing gears and getting a good rhythm.  The course then slopes down hill and takes a sharp turn to the right.  As I pressed both hand brakes, I quickly realized that I had no right brake.  Which means, no front brake.  WTH???  Crap!  At least, I could slow enough with my back brake, so I just kept on. 

The bike ride was good.  Able to get a good pace going, eat some shot bloks, and when I could push hard, I pushed hard.  When I needed to, I backed off a little to recover.  I was determined to stay in my big ring (you cyclists will know what that means), so the hills were harder on me than they needed to be.  But I wanted to prove to myself I could do it.

After the second bike loop, I quickly, moved into the transition area, swapped my helmet for my ball cap and took off again.  I tried to remind myself that it would take a while for my legs to work right after cycling.  It's such a weird feeling for your legs to go from that one type of movement to another.  Last year it took me about a quarter of a mile.  This year, I had a harder time.  I think my running ability, and the cold both played a part.  After cresting the large hill, I found my groove, and settled into a nice pace.

I watched the women around me.  Everyone battling their own physical demons.  Some seemed to be breezing right through everything, and some seemed to be working twice as hard and going half the speed.  But I never saw anyone quitting.  I was reminded of the strength that we women have.  I'm not just talking about physical strength, because it was obvious that some women were just not as strong with their physical bodies.  Instead, I am talking about the mental strength that we have.  We are tough.  Life throws curves.  Things don't go the way we want them to.  Change happens.  Disappointments get shoved in our faces.  And yet, we keep going.  I love that.  I am inspired by it.

I rounded the curve at the cemetery and knew that the rest was downhill.  I sped up, loosened up my arms a little, focused on my form, and pictured the finish line.  As I rounded the last corner, I could hear someone coming fast behind me.  I thought, "Oh hell no.  You are NOT passing me now."  I sped up and she came right along side of me.  She wasn't anyone that had been in my sights the whole morning.  I had never seen her before.  It's like she came out of nowhere. 

I tried to stay with her.  I pushed and pushed, and watched her slowly pass me by.  I fought away the feeling of defeat and just kept pushing.  I only had a few feet left before the last turn into the chute.  The street was lined with people cheering and encouraging.  I let that carry me until I turned the corner and finally saw Splenda standing there with the camera next to KL.

 I heard him cheer for me and then yell to "GO GO!  C'MON - GO!"  That was all I needed.  I pushed as hard as I could through the chute and across the mat.  I looked at the clock as I passed and I saw 1:25 and some change.  I did it!  I beat my goal.  I did it!

After grabbing a banana and a diet coke (yes, they know what to have at the finish line for a women only race) I made my way to Splenda and KL to see if LL had crossed.  She was just a few minutes behind me.  I was so excited to see my lil guppy in her green hat, and watch her fly strong through the chute.  She did it!

Now, we needed to get the Shark.  We know running is not her passion.  Not her love.  Not even her like.  I DID know that we wanted to find her and bring her in.  LL and I walked the course backwards until we found her about a half mile from the finish.  Her foot was hurting.  She was in a lot of pain, but she was moving forward.  She saw us, picked it up a little and we started running together.  The Trifecta.  Move aside ladies, we're coming through!

We took her to the chute, then yelled at her to finish strong.  Which she did.  Because that is how she rolls.  That's my Shark.

We grabbed a few more cookies, the boys checked our results.  I grew even happier with myself and was SO PROUD of my friends!

Splenda and I said goodbye and headed home.

Official results:
1 mile run:  8:39
Bike: 46:24
5k run:  25:23
Total Time:  1:22:45

I bettered my transition times by about 5 minutes total (both combined).  My swim last year was 9 and some change, so I posted a better time for that piece.  I was quicker slightly on my bike, but a little slower on my 5k.  At any rate, my goal was to beat my overall time from last year which was 1:28 and some change.  I wanted 1:25 or better.  I did it.  And while I still realize I am kind of comparing apples to oranges, I am happy with my performance.

Now, to plan another triathlon so my girls can say they did it.  South County Tri has us..  A local triathlon that is in reverse order.  5k run, 10 bike, and 400 meter swim.

The Shark and the Guppy will be with me.  The Trifecta will rule.  For now, we are Women of Steele.  Next month, we will all THREE be Triathletes!


Shawn said...

SOOOOO GOOOOD to read your blog again! Sorry I have been such a bad girl----my life is just hell right now.... I am coming to Utah in June---hope we can get together----miss ya, girl!

Amy said...

Congratulations! I admire all of you triathletes.

Vanessa said...

Way to beat your goal. And bummer about the swim being canceled. You will rock it next time too!

tammy said...

I would've just wanted to stay in bed with that weather, so you totally rock.

Mae Rae said...

explain to me why I can not get enough of you three and your TRI?

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Dang! You go girl! I'm so impressed you did it! Even if it was wet and yucky! Even if you didn't do the swim! Time to get my flabby butt in gear!

Pedaling said...

being a woman of steele is impressive.

i'm glad i didn't sign up, though.
i'm a wimp.

CountessLaurie said...

Congrats!! Bummer about the Tri, but you will definitly rock it next time. Did you ever figure out what was wrong with your front brake?

tiburon said...

We will get them next month. For reals.

You are such a rockstar. I want to be you when I grow up!!

Garden of Egan said...

Wow! You are so amazing!
Congrats to you all. Sorry the weatehr was so crappy. We had snow here on Saturday.

I loved the pictures you posted. You all three look great.

Mrs. Organic said...

Wow! I am impressed by what a good friend you are.

Next month's weather has to be better - has to!


WOW!! I am completely impressed!