Triathlonic start to my birthday month

May 1, 2011

What?  Triathlonic is totally a word.  Totally.

It’s May!  MAY!  My favorite month ever and today I woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to go do a triathlon.  My very first.

The Rocketchix triathlons are women only events and are super sprints.  350meter swim, 12mile bike and 2mile run.  I’ve been planning this for a year.  Last year I went to watch some co-workers compete.  They had tried to get me to do it last year, but no.  I was too out of shape.  I weighed to much.  These were my excuses.  When I went to watch I pledged to do it.  I also pledge to lose 30-50 pounds.

Today I did the first, but I didn’t do the last.  In some ways, not losing the weight was a good thing.  I did something at my heighest weight that I never even thought about accomplishing when I was at my goal weight.  My weight does not define me.  It does not define my happiness.  And it does not define what I can accomplish.

So the recap: I went to bed super early last night after getting everything all set up.  I kissed the man goodnight and then he got to hear me screaming and stomping around when I discovered that my body had decided it was time to tell me that no babies had come to stay this month.  While I am very happy to have no babies right now, I wasn’t happy about the cramps and fatigue that I would now be dealing with during the race.  Still, what could you do?  So I popped some ibuprofen and was off to bed, yoga breathing to relax myself so I could go to sleep when I wasn’t really tired.

My race number was 474, so I decided I would wake up at 474 or 5:14am.  I was so NERVOUS.  I filled the water bottles I had partially frozen in the freezer, took some more ibuprofen and we were off.  I ate my banana and chocolate peanut butter and continued to drink water as we drove to the race.  I had been drinking tons all week and checking my hydration level each morning.  I was pleased when I checked it this morning and see it at a good level.  I was terrified of doing something wrong food and water wise, but everything worked out great.

When we got to the race site we discovered two unexpected things: 1) the mighty Mississip was flooding our race course and the core of engineers were sandbanging it.  So 12miles became 5miles.  2) And possibly related, because they’ve never done it before – all bikes had to have their kickstands removed.  This took quite awhile and made me even more nervous.  I wanted to do some warm up in the pool and I felt very rushed setting up in transition, getting marked and heading to the pool.  I picked up my chip and was told to put it on my left ankle, which I did.  My only “mistake” that I made that day.  More on that later.  In the Nat, I was trying to figure out if there was a line, or if everyone was just jumping in for warm up when they started having people get OUT for the pre-race meeting.  I picked a lane that had just cleared out and just did one length.  I knew that that first length in the 50 meter pool was very important to get under my belt. And it turned out that it felt really weird swimming with the chip on my ankle, almost like it was weighing me donwn!  So I was glad I had fit that one length in.

The pre-race meeting went over the course change, urged extra caution while on the bike as a shorter course means more congestion and they said that they would space us out in the water a little more.  Then they passed out signs for swim speed and I moved to the back.  I had done the swim clinic a couple of weeks ago and I knew I was looking at around 12minutes in the water.  Though as I was standing with the group and I was listening to all of them speak about not being able to swim it all without stopping I was beginning to question my placement.  I ran into the nat to use the restroom and ran into a couple of my co-workers, including one who was a vet at that race.  We watched the super fast swimmers get in the water and they both encouraged me to move up to the 11minute group.

I went back out and stood with the Man and the other racers, and stood and stood and stood.  I did move up to the 11minute group and FINALLY got inside the building where I kissed the man good-bye and stood some more.  The first swimmer had hit the water at 7.  I didn’t get in the pool until 8:15 or later.  Crazy!  So they put us in the water we moved across the first lane and then hung on the wall until the timing person told us “Ready – GO!” and off I went.  I was racing.

The swim went well.  I’m not sure of my time just yet.  (I just completely FORGOT to check my times at the end of the race.) But I felt like I kept a pretty consistent pace, passed a few people and only got passed by one person right at the end, so I was VERY happy with my placement.  My arms got a little tired, and I was totally breathing heavy, but it was good.  The worst part about the swim: getting OUT.  There were two guys helping us, but I still stumbled and fell back in the water and it was bad.  :p  But soon I was moving out of the building into transition.

Plopped down in the grass threw on my shoes, drank some water, sunglasses, helmet and I was off, with the Man calling encouragement from the sideline.  I had been dreading the bike after the bike clinic I went to a couple of weeks ago.  The event I was the least worried about became the one I was the most worried about.  The route next to the river was super flat, but it meant one hella headwind.  My fears came true.  I got passed SO. Many. Times.  I started to hate hearing the phrase “On your left” and it was so hard to think negative, bitter thoughts.  But I tried.  And I kept going.  My quads were burning and I realized not only had I not trained on my bike enough, in the wind enough, but I had stopped strength training and my muscles were telling me that was a BAD plan.

At the turn around I got a bit of a tailwind, I saw the last biker with the police car behind her on the way to the turn around point. I got into a groove, which was thrown off for the last half mile or so when ther was one last turn into the wind.  UGH! I was so happy to see the dismount line and to GET OFF the bike.  The Man was there and was asking how I was doing.  I shouted something about strenth training, ate a couple of chews, tossed off the helmet, picked up the race belt and ran the wrong way.  Heh.  I got turned around the right way and plodded on.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing, so I just ran walked as well as I could.  Powerwalking as much as possible.  I was doing okay, but my left ankle was really starting to hurt.  I passed another lady who was walking due to shin splints, and she asked if I was hurting.  I told her about my ankle.  I couldn’t believe how bad it was hurting and I was starting to worry about another running injury when I looked down and was like WAIT!

I reached under my sock loosened the dang timing chip and moved it up a bit.  BAM.  No more pain.  Five years ago this month I was hospitalized with a DVT in my left leg. I get a good bit of swelling there. I will no longer be putting my time chip there, no matter what they tell me.  Medical condition and all that.

So I finally made it across the finish line.  The Man was standing at the front of the finish shoot and all my co-workers were at the finish line.  I got my first race bling, a bottle of water, lots of hugs and a kiss and it was done.  I was one of the last ten people to cross that finish line.  But I want to do it again.  I’m contemplating what comes next in training for me.  I’m looking forward to it.  And the rest of this awesome birthday month!


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