4:31AM I got out of bed and proceeded to stub my toe, ripping off most of my toenail. Smooth. I put a bandaid and tape on basically holding my nail in place. Not the way I anticipated starting my day.
by 5 I was out the door and headed to Aurora Reservoir.
I got to the transition area, racked my bike, put out my water and food, got my number Sharpied on, and was ready for the race. I had some time to kill and nerves were high, so I spent a little time hanging out by the water just waiting for the time to get here.
As the Olympic triathletes got in the water and started their races, I met up with my friend Jo who was racing today as well. She and her boyfriend were a great way to kill the time and ease the nerves. Female triathletes were up, and Jo had to start her race. Then it was our turn. Game on.
SWIM - 500m
We stepped in the water and... chilly! I took a couple panicked gasps when I heard the countdown... 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. GO!
I waited for the intense swimmers to clear out of the way and I started my 500m swim. I was still adjusting to the temp so I couldn't get a good stroke going. I just kept moving forward. After about 75m, I was used to the water and was getting a decent stroke going. During training, I only swam in a pool, so I wasn't used to the thrashing of the current. I was moving slowly and was expending a ton of energy. After 200m, I turned the corner and started swimming against the current. I wasn't sure if I could make it. After what seemed like an eternity I made it to 300m and rounded the corner and headed toward shore. Just keep swimming had a whole new meaning to me... I rotated a front crawl-ish stroke, back stroke, and side stroke. Just keep swimming. My breathing was getting rough. Just keep swimming. 400m. Just keep swimming. I got closer and closer, worked harder and harder, and I finally was able to touch bottom. I made it. I headed up to the transition area in a dizzy, panting daze.
BIKE - 12 mi
I sat down to gain my balance, threw on some socks and shoes, grabbed a bite of my Clif Bar, pounded some water, and I headed out of transition and mounted my bike. I knew the swim went a little slowly, so I was hoping the bike would feel a little better. the first couple miles were a breeze and I was happy to be flying through the course, passing a few bikers as I went. Then I got to the hills. I borrowed a bike for the summer to train and do the race, and it's old school and hard to adjust gears, so it was a challenge. I was spent, but I kept pedaling. I hit mile 5 and I was thrilled - just a mile to the turnaround. Then I hit the hardest hill of the course. It just kept going and going and going. But I made it. I hit the turnaround and flew back down the hill. At around mile 8 my calf started to cramp, and I was petrified that it would get worse and mess with me the rest of the race. Luckily, it cooperated enough and went away. I hit mile 10 and headed to the final stretch of the bike leg. A steady uphill to the transition area. Awful. I couldn't breathe. My organs hurt. I was sore. But I made it.
RUN - 3.1 mi
I swapped shirts, pounded a little more water, and trudged toward the run course. I was spent. I wanted to be done. My legs were heavy. I kept trying to run, but I just couldn't sustain it. I didn't care any more, I just had to finish. I ran/walked the first mile, now feeling the heat. I took the time to cheer on every runner that passed me on the way back toward the finish. I trudged on. I finally hit the turnaround and was on the home stretch. So close! Slowly, I crept closer and closer. I kept dumping water over my head. I rounded the final corner. I saw the chute and the finish line. An amazing feeling of euphoria came over me. The announcer welcomed me in, I made it over to Kristen, who was cheering me on, I gave her a kiss, and then I crossed the finish line.
I made it!
Kristen found me and told me how proud she was of me - I met up with Jo and her boyfriend, and we shared in our excitement of being done. A brutal race, but an enjoyable one and super memorable for me. My results were slow to come in, and they headed out.
|Way to go, Jo!|
For those of you who don't know, in addition to the regular age brackets, some triathlons add extra divisions for Athena (women) and Clydesdales (men) based on weight - in this case, Clydesdales are men over 225 lbs. It said I got 3rd place. It had to be a typo.
I waited around for the awards ceremony, and they made the announcement: 3rd place Clydesdales: Jeffrey Parker. I was floored. I made my way up and accepted my award, still in shock. My only goal was to finish, and here I was, getting an award.
It was exhausting, exhilarating, draining, refreshing, demoralizing, and uplifting all at the same time. And yes, I can't wait for the next one!
A special thanks to my biggest fan for coming to cheer me on along the way!
And yes, this is already on my car!