Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Made It!

Yes, I made it all in one piece through my 1st Olympic Tri this Sunday. I have to say that I knew it was going to be hard, but things were a little harder than I thought they would be. I definitely was physically capable for the race, and I achieved almost all of my goals... I fell short on the 3 hours and 30 minutes but had set a 2ndary A goal (and A2 if you will) of finishing under 4 hours, and I made that one. I finished in an upright position with a smile on my face in 3 hours, 57 minutes, 43 seconds and 1 hundredth of a second.

To be perfectly honest, at first I was just thrilled to be finished. I was hot, tired, and completely worn out. At first I couldn't think super clearly and I had to keep moving (albeit slowly) because otherwise I felt my muscles tightening up while I stopped to talk to a team mate or one of the girls (who were so cute yelling "Go Mommy Go!" whenever they saw me - which was only about 4 times... evidently they were super excited when I was going to the finish line but I had to be told about it because I was so focused on just finishing at that point - and thanks to Coach Keith who ran with me the last mile, I was doing it while running.
It was not my best performance, but I gave the best that I had that day. I was happy with it at the time, but the more I look back at it the more disgruntled I become with my performance. I need to cut myself a break, really, but somewhere I'm having a hard time doing it. Doing my best is all I can do, but why oh why do I always want to do better?! But these people (my team) are some of the best positives - in doing this, I met them.

Here are some more positives. The night before the race at the Inspiration Dinner, I found out that for this particular TNT event, I raised the 3rd most amount of money in the state of Florida. I was thrilled! It made me feel good to do something that amazing, especially since it was in Angela's memory. I think it makes her proud. (And completely unexpected - especially since I yet again was feeling that I hadn't done enough... bad recurring trend I'm noticing about myself... why can't I be pleased with myself and go from there like other people? I need to stop comparing myself to everyone else.) It was also extremely inspiring to hear some of the speakers talking about their personal experiences with Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma, etc. After hearing their stories, you want to find a way to keep raising money so parents and family members don't have to have the discussion that their daughter/son/spouse/parent/sister/brother/friend might die if things don't go well. Even worse are those of us who know the pain of losing someone we love to cancer.
It was also completely inspiring to see people on my team who were so afraid of the swim, or crashing their bikes, but still pulled it out and finished the entire race. And the good athletes on our team were pretty amazing too... one woman finished the Olympic distance in under 3 hours and it was the first one she's ever done. Trying not to compare yourself to that (despite her being almost 10 years younger, a good 25-30 pounds lighter, and her not having had children) is rather difficult - especially since I usually beat her on the swim and she beat me by 3 minutes. But, wait, I'm focusing on positives. Oh yeah.

The positives from my race:
1. I woke up on time and visualized my race, got ready on time and down to the lobby for pictures and my ride. (In a wierd twist of fate, Mr. Darcy told me it was 3:57 right as I was visualizing the finish line... and then I finished the race in 3:57.)

2. I didn't throw up from nerves before the race.
3. I didn't panic in the water at all and felt like I had a pretty good swim while I was doing it, even though I had to figure my way out of being the middle of a swim sandwich between 2 women who couldnt' swim in a straight line and I kept getting body slammed by them. But, I did figure my way out of it by stopping and swimming around the side of the one woman - it cost me some time, but I felt better while swimming at least.... until I found out it was a 37 minute swim which put me in the middle of the pack for the women and that others on the team who I usually beat in the pool were faster than me too.

4. I didn't crash my bike.

5. I made it over the Rickenbacker Causeway 4 times while on my bike. I never had to dismount and walk my bike... although it may have been a little faster if I had for the 4th crossing. Of course, the bridge was huge. Bill said he was overwhelmed by the size of it for me. Here's a picture (which makes it look smaller than it looks in person):

6. Despite the size of the bridge and the immense head wind and a terrible cramp in my right side that was probably from drinking too much water on the bike and having not enough salt in my system, I felt pretty good until the last 3 miles of the ride when that cramp really got bad and I just wanted to cry and get off the bike.

7. During the ride, I remembered to enjoy the view and mentally cheered myself on from time to time.
8. Even though I had an awful cramp, I still made it through transition and ran and walked the 6.2 miles at the end of the race to finish. All the while, I kept cheering on Team in Training people (even people I didn't know from other chapters). Maybe I'm not fast, but at least I'm friendly while doing it. Also, I didn't feel as badly about walking a decent chunk of the run when I found out that the woman who finished in less than 3 hours even walked for a portion of the 1st loop of her run. (I am trying not to quantify how fast that made her for the rest of it though.)

9. I finished with a smile on my face, in an upright position, in under 4 hours even though it was hotter than Hades and I was literally coated in salt from sweating it all out of my system.

10. I wasn't last in the race, on my team, or in my age bracket.

11. I got a shiny medal for finishing. (see below)

12. It was the most physically grueling thing I have ever done in one day in my lifetime, and I did it.

13. I want to do more triathlons!

14. I met some amazing people along the journey.

Things I need to improve upon:

1. The run. I have to find a way to get myself so that I can actually run at the end and to run it relatively fast, like an 8 minute mile would be great.

2. The bike. I have to get faster. I averaged 14.5 mph, which isn't that great... although I probably could have been a good bit faster if I didn't have that giant bridge to go over 4 times. Plus, I need to figure out my nutrition better. It dawned on me yesterday that I only had 3 shot blocks on the bike and didn't have a gel or anything before I got on the bike after the swim. I did take 2 gels during the run, but that's normal for a run for me. I definitely need to figure that out. That will most likely help in the performance area.

3. The swim. Ok. Realistically, in my first ocean swim and being me - not other people who do not have the same issues as I do whether physically or otherwise - it was pretty good. But I still really want to be faster. 37 minutes instead of the 34 predicted from my pool swim is upsetting to me. I wanted 35 minutes or less and I'm not really certain what happened.

4. Staying in it mentally when I'm so overheated. I think I probably could have physically run the entire 6.2 miles but my brain wasn't in it to the point that I believed I could have run. I still believed I could finish, but I wasn't telling myself I could run it. My ability to use my mantra wasn't really there anymore. I have to figure out how to hold on to it.

5. Not expecting myself to be perfect. In fact, I realize I should be proud of myself. I did something only about 1% of the world's population has and will do. I did something I've never done before in my life. It was physically grueling and I did it. 6 months ago I couldn't run 2 minutes without difficulty and now I did almost 32 miles of swimming, biking and running all in 3:57:43.01.

So when's the next race? This all just gives me room for improvement!


  1. That was unbelievable to read ... congratulations on the finish and don't be too hard on yourself, it was the first Olympic and by the sound of it there'll be many more, in which I'm sure you'll be doing better! That made for inspirational reading, even more pumped for my first race now!

    G'luck with the recovery!

  2. I'm so proud of you babe, you did great! Don't be so hard on yourself, this is the first of many and I'm sure you'll get better and better. You did GREAT!!!

  3. Congratulations on completing your first Oly Tri. There will be many more to come, I'm sure. Try to forget about the finish time and enjoy the process (including the time spent training). The rest is cake and the finisher medal is the icing!!