Sunday, August 3, 2008

I chose the road less traveled...and that has made all the difference.

Over the past few months, I have found myself saying "what the hell are we thinking" more than during any other time in my life. When we were in China - first getting on the Great Wall for the 13.1 mile run, I said outloud..."what the hell are we thinking"...with starting the business, I have woken up several nights and thought to myself "what the hell are we thinking", we did our first Triathlon and I thought to myself for more minutes than I would have liked "what the HELL ARE WE THINKING!!!!!!!"

Here's Trevor unloading our very amateur bikes....give us a break people....its our first tri....

I was scared before we even started. We got out to Blue Lake just before 7 am - our wave was to start at 8. I was worried about our start because we were first and that meant that 5 minutes after we started, another group would start, 5 minutes later, a third group - this would go on for about half an hour. I knew I would be towards the back of the pack in the water, if not THE back of the pack. The thought of faster swimmers catching up to me and passing me had me concerned.

We got our bike and gear set up and walked down to look at the Lake. I saw the 3 buoys we would have to swim around and I really started to feel sick and scared. Trevor said he wasn't so I asked him to make me feel better. He said some things like, we've swam this distance before, it will be easier in the lake because we won't have to stop our momentum at the wall every 25 meters. Keep in mind this was our first open water swim and I only started swimming in the pool two months ago (and two lengths damn near killed me). To be honest - typing about the swim right now makes me feel a little sick still.

I wrestled my wet suit and finally got it on...that might have been the hardest part of the day. We got into the water and waited for the start. We got to the back of the pack and stood with a guy who said it was his first time too and was going to go really slow - we'll call him DNF guy.

They counted it down and the horn went off. I started with the crawl stroke (freestyle, is that what they call it?). I did that for a few strokes and just felt kind of freaked out. I looked up and realized that everyone was ahead of me, except DNF guy. The first buoy seemed so far away. I did a mix of side stroke, breast stroke and crawl and decided I needed to really just calm down and swim. After a few minutes, I heard them count down the next group and then the horn for their start went off - I looked back and saw a wall of swimmers, not that far behind me. At the same time, I saw a boat over by DNF guy and I think he was getting into it....DNF stands for Did Not Finish. Great. Now I'm last. I was so scared about what would happen when that wall of people caught up to me that I could hardly move forward - I signaled for one of the boats, he came over and threw me something to hold on to and asked if I was okay. In my mind I thought "I can't do this. I need to quit now". That thought went through my head probably two times fast. Then I realized that I needed to just do it, I could do it, I would do it....I could not quit. That would suck. Trevor told me after we finished that he looked back and saw me holding on to the boat and was worried that I had quit.

The group caught up to me while I was holding on to the boat and I realized that I wasn't getting closer to the finish of the swim by hanging on to the boat. I said goodbye to the nice boat man who said it would be okay and started to move again.

The first 2/3 of the swim I was cursing in my mind...scared to death...then I thought of the songs I run to during training and got one of those in my head..the one that stuck was Bon Jovi - Its my Life....he says "its now or never...I ain't going to live forever" fact, I might die today....that positive-ness in my mind helped ALOT. I just kept moving, mostly side stroke - others around were doing the same, just getting through it.

I made it to the beach and climbed out of the lake - 24 minutes. The 24 most scary minutes of my entire life. seriously. scared. Then I got excited.....THAT'S over. I know how to bike and I know how to run.

I got to the bike corral and stripped out of my wet suit, put on my shoes, helmet, number and headed off to the bike start. It took 7 minutes from the time I got out of the water to where I started the bike. Slow, but steady....just like a turtle.

I got on the bike and my heart rate was 169....WAY TOO HIGH. I like to keep it under 157 during the bike and first part of the run. I spent the first 15 minutes trying to get it down under that. I finally did and settled into a really good pace. I passed some people and just kept steady. The course was a flat out and back, so you had to really pedal the entire time, no easy downhills, also no tough uphills. I was alone most of the time, which allowed for a lot of reflection on this crazy event. When I would think back to the swim, my body still felt that fear and I wondered if I was going to finish - even though I felt great on the bike.

I saw Trevor on his way back and I could tell from his face that he was so relieved to see me...glad that I hadn't given up during the swim. I could have cried when I saw him...."look at what we are doing..." The bike was really uneventful. I started looking at my watch. I knew that if I wanted to finish in under 2 hours, I needed to be on the run by 1:25. I was going to have to really be fast in the transition.

I came around the corner back into the park around 1:20. I was ready to make quick work of the transition. I took off my helmet, racked my bike, put on my visor and hit the road. The run felt great - I saw Trevor again and he looked great. I made the turn around and got to the mile 2 marker. My race plan was to kick it up for the last two miles. I did that, passed a few people and finished strong. I crossed the line at 1:56. Trevor had finished 20 minutes earlier..bastard....1:36.

I could not wait to talk to him....the first thing he said to me was, "that swim....Holy F-ing S%#^"....took the words right out of my mouth. Even he got scared during the swim!! We shared our experiences and basked in the accomplishment. This is my favorite part of the event...sharing it with Trevor. Knowing that he is as proud of me as I am of him....knowing that we trained for this and did it together...knowing that he understands it all too. Its really my favorite part of being married to him. He just gets it. There's nothing scary about that.

I cannot wait to do it again. I was scared before, during and after and I did it anyway. I pushed through and saw it to the end. That hasn't always been my style, so that feels good to me because I know there is an easier way....and I chose not to take it....

Here's a great picture of Trevor's back side....and his markings...
Trevor finished with enough time to get the camera and catch me finishing...I guess you can do alot in 20 minutes!
YAY....the first of many I suspect.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Thanks for emailing me! I loved reading your race report - awesome job!! And I have the same tri outfit - we're twins! That swim can be really scary but you pushed through. I promise it will get better each time. Open water can be daunting!