Well we both had firsts this past Saturday. It was the first triathlon where I was a spectator. I tried to be a spectator last year at the Shark Attack tri but decided to enter that race when Justin picked up his packet the night before (I won that race by the way). Anyways, I was just as nervous/anxious as someone watching the race as I would have been as a racer. I had the kiddos in tow so I definitely got a workout that morning pulling a wagon weighed down by 15 blankets, 2 pillow pets (bunny and monkey), 2 granola bars, 3 water bottles, 2 chocolate milks and a partridge in a pear tree. It was a beautiful day! A little chilly at the start but it sure beat last years wind and rain. Justin looked mighty fine in his standard tri get up. We watched at the waters edge as he did some sort of dive-flop into the pool for the 400 meters. We cheered for him as he passed us 3 times in the pool. After he exited the pool onto T1 was the perfect time for me to unload our wagon and head to the playground. When I walked back towards the park I had to pass the pool again. There were still around 40-50 people who were finishing the swim. You could tell from the pace in the lanes that this was the group of the beginner swimmers. The people who just wanted to "survive" the swim and rock the bike and/or run. I felt a bit of pity for these swimmers and their awkward pace and strokes...then I smacked myself in the face and said "Michelle! These people are triathletes and they GET to swim, bike and run! They are the inspiration and the one's who are out there DOING and TRIING. We all have to start somewhere and they were tackling something that many people will go their whole lives never experiencing. I had one of those moments when you get washed with emotion and I teared up a bit by thinking of their courage! What an amazing moment.
Just before Justin returned from the bike leg I hear sirens. I can't explain the nervousness I felt. The same emotions when I didn't see Justin at 3.10 last week. I wanted to puke. Where was he? Then as if God could sense my angst here he came. The worry disappeared just as fast as Justin exited T2 with his smokin' fast legs for the 5k. It was so great to watch these amazing athletes of all abilities, shapes, sizes and ages. You could see the joy in their faces as they crossed the finish line. Way to go! Way to TRI! I am so happy to be part of this sport as a spectator and competitor!
Justin's first.......Gold medal that is!
Ahh...the taste of redemption sure is good. After last week, I'll admit I was discouraged. I had worked harder than ever before and the results just weren't there. I was left to wonder what I had done wrong. Thankfully, I had this next race scheduled to get my mind off of the marathon.
The week leading up to this race was a typical Utah spring week. To quote Forrest Gump..."it's like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get." Needless to say, Friday was a nasty windy cold and rainy day. I thought about this race last year and the lousy weather...here we go again! I guess I'm just destined to race in the slop. Oh well, no worries, it couldn't be colder than the Icebreaker weather, could it? My toes, and other extremities (to go nameless) hoped not.
I woke up Saturday morning expecting winds and rain. To my surprise, it was an absolutely perfect day! I was also surprised at how calm I was...I don't ever recall being this calm before a race. Maybe I was still numb from the marathon, or the Icebreaker...who knows. So far, so good!
When we arrived at the race I couldn't believe how many cars were in the parking lot. How many crazy people were doing this race? (Come to find out, the race had doubled in size from last year.) I kissed the fam and headed to set-up my transition area. Who do I pass? Only the #1 ranked age 30-34 Triathlete in the State of Utah. What the hell is he doing here? Great, I'm going to get crushed in this race.
As I start setting up my transition area, I start looking around. All these sweet Tri bikes, and athletes...amazing. I look around even more, I see people of all kinds...young, old, short, tall, big and small. That's what I love the most...the camaraderie.
As I start to head back to the truck, Michelle flags me down. Wow...she got two kids ready, a wagon packed, and walked all the way over here, and all I did was set out my shoes and helmet. She's pretty amazing!
Of course, in only the way Michelle can, she brings a little humor to the atmosphere. "Here," she laughs, "Let's get a picture of the first aid tent, just in case you're here later." Thanks dear!
On to the race...
I positioned myself in the second wave of swimmers...not the elites, but better than average. This was a big step for me considering I was one of the last ten swimmers in the pool last year. Anyway, the swim went well...my favorite part was getting to the wall each lap and hearing "Go daddy/Justin!" from three cute smiling faces. It's one of the best things I've ever seen! I promise to return the favor many times over.
Swim was done 8:41 for 400 meters. Not too shabby for a "tug boat" as I've been called in the past. On to the bike...
Ugh...boy did I block this out of my memory from last year! I swear the bike was up hill both ways, it was brutal. I pressed on has fast as I could, but there were times where I was going as hard as I could and could barely keep 10 MPH. I remember thinking, my legs are toast, there is no way I can run after this. Fortunately, the last mile is gradually down hill, so I was able to spin my legs out. Into T2 and I see the fam again, cheering loudly...just what I needed for my legs.
I start the run, feeling pretty tired. It's only a 5K (allegedly), so I should be able to push through it. I remember this run, but again forgot about the hills. I guess I do have a selective memory...Michelle must be right! The last 400 meters of the run is inside the Olympic oval, which is cool. I come into the building, and see the fam...Michelle gives me one last boost of motivation and across the finish line I come. Ahh...I love triathlons, but boy do they hurt! Time to mingle...
So as you can tell, Michelle and I both love to race! However, I think both of us enjoy the people and the atmosphere even more. I met a really inspiring person while standing in the swim line. A cancer survivor himself, and the parent of a young child who passed several years ago, his story is pretty amazing. I also saw a guy we met at a friends Christmas party. We talked triathlon for a long time at the party, and he mentioned he might give it a shot this year. Well, not only did he give it a shot, but he completed it! Sounds like he's hooked now too! Gotta love it.
So as the final results came out, I had expected to finish somewhere in the top 15. As I started to scan the results, I kept looking for my name...to my surprise, I had finished 6th overall (out of 278 finishers) and 1st in my age group. I won my age group for the first time by a whopping 0.20 seconds. Wow, that's pretty cool, glad I ate that bean burrito on Friday to give me a little extra power (gas power that is...LOL). What a fun time.
My favorite part though (by far) was seeing the family at every turn. Thanks babes and kiddos. You'll never know how much it means to have your support! I'm up next, and I'm sure you'll rock the Women of Steel!