Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm a Triathlete!!!

Ok first off a little background about me and how I got into this tri. I'm 43 and overweight and I've never been athletic, I've always hated exercise and been at least a little overweight and had food "issues". After or during my divorce in 2001 I lost about 50lbs and started doing some moderate exercise, mostly walking and dvd's. Over the years I've put back on about 20lbs and lost gained 10-15 over and over...some of you will know that feeling....any way last September (2007) I started the c25k running program and found that I really enjoyed it. I had a small injury that sidelined me for a while but have been fairly consistent. I am slow but I'm pretty steady. :) So anyway in February a friend of mine said...hey let's do the Tri for the Cure... 'THE WHAT!!!??!!" You want me to do a triathlon!? I don't swim! I don't own a bike (I don't think the $40 garage sale bike counts.) And I barley run!...But the thought just didn't leave my mind. I mentioned it to a couple of friends, and mentioned it on the SB board that I hang out at. The next thing I know there are 5 of us who plan to do the Tri in August. So I get a bike, it's a comfort bike, Sissy, which I love (but now think I may need to upgrade!) I didn't ride a whole lot yet, it's cold outside! But I start to ride a little on the stationary bikes at the rec center, and I start to swim a little and I start to read blogs and any other info I can find. I come up with a plan from BT and go with it. The 5 of us do the Aflac Iron woman 5k in Denver May and have a blast! Continue on with training...nice weather gets here and several friends (2 of the ones doing the tri and another) start to bike ride, nice long (for me) bike rides 20-40 miles...I LOVE IT!!! I'm swimming but I'm not....I can't do the whole breathing, face in the water, freestyle thing. But I keep plugging away. July gets here and 2 of my tri friends, (by now it is pretty certain the one who started us on our way is not going to be joining us, and the other lives about an hour away in Colorado Springs) decide to do the Stroke & Stride in Boulder. We need open water experience. Only one of us is actually a swimmer, myself and the other girl, well whatever it will take to get us that 750 meters is what we will do. So on July 3rd I did my first open water swim and let me tell you it was an experience!!! We show up and everyone is so athletic looking and putting on wet suits and all the gear...well not us! You have the choice of doing one lap (750 meters or 2 and then the 5k) we of course are doing one. So the 2 lappers start 5 minutes before the rest of us. We do meet a couple of girls who are also doing the Tri for the Cure. So off we go (about 100-150 of us) I get not very darn far and take a huge!! drink of water...and start to panic, I'm screaming at myself in my head 'JULIE!!! DO NOT PANIC!!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!! DO NOT PANIC!!! Took like what seemed forever but I got control and continued on. I swam, and I swam, and I swam some more, about the 1st buoy the 2 lapper past me and that wasn't as bad as I had thought (one girl had said she got run over quite a bit. )then I swam, and I swam and I finally got to the end. I came out of that water just exhausted! I had no idea how long I was in there. I got up to my transition area and sat down to rinse my feet, you have to run up the beach, and just thought...What in the H$!! are you doing!? But I put my shoes on and started out for the run...ok the walk....I didn't do much running...Final time was 1:06 I was very pleased with that 23:20 swim, T!3:57 and walk :) 39:02. That wasn't so bad! Felt ok after finishing! Did a couple more of those before the tri and it made such a difference. I don't really know how much my times improved they kept making the swim longer for some reason, the 2nd one was 835 meters and the 3rd 813 or something. But by the last one I definitely felt stronger.

So that brings us to race week. The Saturday a week before the race, we gather for a long bike ride and one of the tri buddies (and at this time I've not heard from the girl in the springs for months) says she will not be able to do the tri because of a medical treatment she will have to have this week. She is so bummed and we are bummed that she will not be joining us. On Monday night the other tri buddy calls and says she has had a medical issue and also will not be able to participate...She is reallly bummed!!! The first girl made the choice herself, the second had no option. I am really bummed as well as a little nervous because now what started as 5 seems to! I'm a Buddy with no buddies! (You can and we did sign up in a Buddy classification instead of age so that you can compete with your friends) but I never considered not doing it. I figured with 3000 women, I would find someone to talk to! Yes this was an all women's tri, and very large, but I also knew that there would be all sizes, ages and athletic abilities so I felt pretty comfortable.

Ok I'm running off for a bike ride......I will be back to post about race day later!

Ok well didn't get back to this as quick as I thought I would....
So sleep is something that just doesn't happen much before the night before. I was a wake a lot. But at least I know I won't be late. I head out pretty early get there by about 6:30, the traffic is kind of bad getting in, probably the only real downside and even that wasn't that bad. I look around in wonder at all the people, get body marked and find my transition area. It's set up by waves. Turns out I set my transition area up right next to 2 girls I met at the Stroke & Stride! How excited was I to see some faces I knew! I got all set up and wondered around to get my bearings, find the in's and out's of the bike and run and then go over to cheer for some of those that have already started. The first wave went at around 7 and I wouldn't be going til almost 9. I was surprised that I really wasn't nervous. I felt prepared. I'd not done a swim to bike, but I wasn't worried as I really thought that would be easier the the swim to run's I had done. So it is finally time to line up for the swim, we are almost the last wave, I wait with the girls from the S&S and we chat about next year and what we want to do. Finally we are in the water...the gun goes off....and it is a struggle to get away from the rest of the people. I pretty much take it easy (although it does not look like it from one of the very worst swim exit pictures I have ever seen!) because I don't want to wear myself out. Pass quite a few people, as I knew I would, I'd seen the times from the year before some people took close to and over an hour for the swim, knew I could do it in around 20ish minutes. Out of the water and over to find the bike. It was a pretty good distance and I walked fast but did not run. Feeling pretty good about things, got my shoes on ate a quick gel and some Gatorade, did I mention it was around 90 degrees. And took off with my bike, lined up on the wrong side of my bike for some reason so when it was time to get on I had issues...and I have the bruises to prove it! But once I got started it was good, passed quite a few people, went back and forth with one group, I pass, you pass...and so forth, not sure what finally happened to them. The course was almost all flat, one pretty longish hill, not real steep, but right in the middle of the ride. Felt like I pushed it pretty hard on the bike and felt good. Back to transition, another gel, more Gatorade and off to the run. The run starts uphill to get up on top of the Dam road across part of the Dam and back, I walked a lot, I passed quite a few people...walked a lot...looked around at all the line of people walking out...walked a lot...And ran it in (downhill remember!) smiling and happy! My Dad brought out my 2 boys to see me cross the line and the 2 girls that had trained with me were there with flowers. How great it felt!

My Dad looked at me with suprise and maybe even some awe and don't even look tired! I felt great and ready to do it again!

Overall place 1717
Rank Class 185
Swim 00:22:14
T1 00:07:11
Bike 00:43:06
T2 00:05:25
Run 00:39:19
Pace 00:12:41
Final Time 01:57:17


Calyx Meredith said...

Hey! I just found you (from your comment on Chasing Iron, I think). Congrats on your first tri! Woo hoo! (I too have one (and so far only one) under my belt AND I got divorced in 2001 and dropped 35 pounds which I've gained/lost a couple of times since. So, some things in common, eh?) Best of luck in your continued training. Hope to see you "around" some more.

Stef said...

Great first race and great report! I love how your dad brought your sons to the finish line. Very very cool.

Thanks for your comment on my blog yesterday. Just looking around a bit here . . .