August 29, 2010

The Triathlon!!!

I very honestly cannot believe the triathlon has already come and gone. Months of preparation are over. I've talked about it a few times, and wanted to fill you in on the race, since it is one of the biggest physical challenges I have ever taken on!

The day of the race was beautiful, sunny, warm...which was a slight disappointment because we were hoping for cool, cloudy and misty. BUT, you can't be upset with beautiful weather. As we drove to the race I was a bundle of nerves, but once we got there and registered I started to relax. By the time we had the ore-race meeting I was excited and ready to go!
At the pre-race meeting. I'm in the middle, looking at the camera.
My number. It was printed on our left arm and leg.
After the pre-race meeting (where they gave us rules for safety), we walked to the beginning of the swim, and waded in the water to the starting point. In the pre-race meeting, they told us that they would blow a whistle to give us warning before they shot the gun, but NOT TO SWIM at the whistle. Of course, they blew the whistle and 2 guys started swimming. Of course, everyone started yelling for them to come back. Of course, they thought it was the crowd cheering for the race and kept going! By the time they stopped and were back at the finish line we were all laughing. It was the perfect ice breaker before the race began!

The Swim:
The swim was not what I expected at all. I have to confess that the swim was really my strong suit, and the part I was looking forward to the most. It was swimming that started me thinking about doing a triathlon in the first place, and my first real training milestone was swimming just short of a full mile straight! So it was a little disappointing that the swim turned out to not really be much of a swim at all. The water was shallow a long way out, and, since people could touch the bottom, most people just ran through the water. There was such a thick wall of people water-running, that I tried to swim but couldn't! Had I known this I would have made more of an effort to be at the front or far side so I could have utilized my only natural ability! The swim was over in record time and we were excited to get to the next challenge!
I'm somewhere in this sea of swimmers. The large, orange buoy on the right was the starting line.
Catherine and I coming out of the water.
The Bike:
I really enjoyed the biking. Catherine and I rode together, and we were pretty confident that we were going faster than we ever had in our training. I was excited, and confident that we were going to set our overall personal records! The weather was beautiful, the scenery was pretty, and there were spectators cheering us on. The only downfall was that I hadn't realized that my bike (the handle of which we had heard rubbing against the pickup cab on the way over) had switched gears during the drive. As you know, when you switch gears while not in motion, it messes up the chain. I had a difficult time getting started and getting my gears set. I was actually halfway through the biking portion before my gears were functioning like normal. The worst part was that around mile 2, while trying unsuccessfully to switch gears, my foot slipped off the petal and somehow got lodged between the pedal and bike. It was a quick, but painful, mistake, and I worried about the effect it might have on the race. But once I confirmed there was no blood and it didn't hurt to keep biking I finished the biking without another thought about it. Lesson learned: before a race you should do a short bike ride to make sure your gears are set BEFORE the race!
Starting the bike portion! See you in 6 miles!
The Run:
I was most nervous about the run since I knew it was my weakness. But, we had done a few practice tri's and I knew that I could run the full distance with a strong finish as long as I stayed mentally focused. Catherine and I started the run together, and I was very enthusiastic at first. Then, about a half mile into the run I noticed a throbbing pain in my calf. At first I thought my calf was cramping up, but it was so specifically located in one spot, and it hurt all the way through to my shin. We decided to walk (since she wasn't feeling well herself), and regroup. I think this was a bad decision for me because as soon as we stopped to walk the pain intensified. I finally realized that my leg was hurting where I had caught myself with the bike pedal! Worried about potentially injuring myself more, I ended up walking most of the second mile. At first the frustration and disappointment really started to get me down, but I remembered that I was there to have fun. I couldn't change what happened, but I could choose the enjoy the race and be happy with the outcome regardless of whether or not I ran the whole way or set a PR. I did run the final mile, but about a quarter of a mile I came down wrong and twisted my ankle (on the already injured leg). It was pretty painful, but my pride was most injured as a spectator not only saw, but came to check on me!
Catherine and I starting the race (the 2 in black in the middle) with enthusiasm!
A kind spectator offered to let the kids run around in their yard while they waited for us to get back.

Almost to the finish line and still smiling!
Crossing the finish line was a little overwhelming and surprisingly emotional. I didn't accomplish all that I wanted, but I did have an incredible time, and I completed something I, at one time, thought I could never do!
With my babies after the race. Yay Mommy!
That night, before bed, Lucas and I were talking through the race - the things I would have done differently had I known, the lessons I learned, the disappointments I had...and he reminded me that ultimately, regardless of how the race ended, 2 wonderful things were accomplished through the triathlon - I exercised and got more in shape (achieving goals I never would have thought possible or even attempted had it not been for the race), and I made 2 wonderful friends (Heather and Catherine). Ultimately, the friendships that I have as a result of the training have been the most significant outcome. These are wonderful women and I feel so lucky to have not only met them, but accomplished this incredible goal with them by my side. The experience of supporting, encouraging, and challenging one another in preparation (along with the therapeutic outlet of our talks while training) was incredible. Even if I hadn't finished the race, their friendship as a result of the training is the most valuable thing I gained.
Heather, Catherine, and I after the race. Go Team Tripod!!
Would I do another triathlon? Absolutely! In fact, I'm considering training for a longer one next summer. It was an amazing experience, an accomplishment I'm very proud of, and really a lot of fun!


Anonymous said...

Wow, Kim!!! Way to go! Thanks for the blog. It's just like we were there to watch you. And how like you to see the best in the whole thing--getting two supportive friends that were with you all the time and gave you so much. You learned a lot and are an ispiration. Hope your body has recovered. Love and hugs to all, Grandma

Anonymous said...

It was exciting to read step by step of your triathlon. I wondered as I was reading why I didn't jump in my car and go to it? I didn't really have a lot to do but then I remembered Aunt Minnie's 80th party. I would have loved to have been there. Maybe next time. But I was cheering you on all the way!!! Love, Nana

Lauren and Jeff said...

Congratulations! That is truly an accomplishment!