Monday, August 17, 2009

Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report

The alarm went off at 4 am. That's even early for me! We got up, got all geared up, had some breakfast and headed out. In the elevator, we ran into our friend Rob. We knew he'd be up here, but had not heard from him all week. We had just been talking about him on the way out of our room. It was nice to see him, bright and early. Kind of like we were all in this together!!

We got to the Lake around 5:15. We had purchased a parking spot in a lot, so there was no messing with that. It really made a difference and took a lot of stress out of my morning. We parked and walked down the transition area.

Before we could go in, they marked our bodies with our numbers.

It was really cold and dark. Start time was 6:30. That's when the first wave was set to start. Trevor was supposed to start around 6:39 and then me at 6:55. We milled around for a while, went down and looked at the water - which was covered in fog and I started to feel a little sick to my stomach.

We got on our wetsuits and wandered down to the start area. We ran into another friend, Jan. Again, it just felt good to see some familiar faces. Something to look forward to out on the course.

They delayed the start 10 minutes because of the fog. I was really ready to go. Enough already!! Finally, they got going - there were about 5 waves between me and Trevor. I watched him go and before I knew it, it was my time.

It was a "in water" start. We all walked out onto a dock and jumped in the water. I was walking on the dock and they said "less than a minute so don't waste time, get in". I liked that - get in and go - no time to think! I did just that - got in, held onto the dock for about 15 seconds and then the gun went off. I waited a moment, did a few breast strokes, then put my head down and swam.

The course was an out and back and there was a long line of small buoys. The fog was still pretty thick, so I couldn't see very far ahead of me. I tried to stay to the outside of the group so that I wouldn't get caught up in the crowd. My swim really felt good - I settled in to a calm, relaxed stroke and pace. I held that the entire time.

About half way back I was thinking that I was ready to be done with the swim. Then I remembered what my friend Karen had said to me "be in the moment". So I stopped thinking about what came next and thought about what was happening now. And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the feel of the water, the strength of my stroke. I have come a long way with my swimming. To think that last year, I could barely make it one length of the pool. Today I swam 1.2 miles without stopping or panic. It was starting off to be a great day.

Swim Time: 49:33

I walked up the boat ramp to my bike. I took my time getting ready for the ride. What's the rush? I'm not going to win, so I put on my shoes, my glasses, some sunscreen and off I went.

T1: a blazing 6:15

Onto the bike. This was a two loop course. We went about 4 miles to get to the loop. By the time I got to the start of the loop - the Pros, who had started 25 minutes before me, were already on their second loop. I just laughed and started on my 1st loop. Wow. Talk about hills. This course had some serious hills. The first 18 miles were all uphill! Then down for a bit. Towards the end of the first loop were two enormous hills. All I could think about was how those hills would feel in another 25 miles.

At the end of the first loop, I took a break. I moved around my water bottles to be sure I had full ones within reach. I got back on and started my second loop. Those hills were a little harder the second time around. Those two enormous hills...people were walking their bikes. Not me - I powered up them as best I could and was really happy when I got to the turn to head back to the transition.

Again - I didn't want to wish it was over - because all that came next was 13.1 miles. So I felt the pedals under my feet and enjoyed the moment. You only get to do this for the first time once.

I had been worried about Trevor - he hurt his back two weeks ago and wasn't really sure he could do this today. He had a wart removed on his foot a few weeks ago and it was really hurting him this morning. I finally realized that I didn't need to worry about him. A few months ago, he got in a cage and was punched in the face and kicked until his leg broke. Why was I worried about him swimming, riding and running.

At that point, I focused all my energy on me. Heaven knows I was going to need it!

Bike: 3:38:06

In the transition, you'd think I had a party! I changed my socks, used the bathroom, reapplied by sunscreen. Then walked out of transition to the start of the run.

T2: 6:58

I was having a tough time wrapping my mind around the fact that I had 13.1 miles to run. I spent the first mile trying to convince myself that it was okay and that it was possible. I knew I needed to just keep moving.

The course was two loops. 6.5 miles each. It helped to break it down that way - I run 7 miles every Tuesday, so I just mentally pictured it like that. The first half of the loop was pretty flat, the second half was a big hill - up, then down, turn around and back up, then down.

At this point, I saw Trevor. I had about 7 more miles to go, he had about 3. He said he was hurting, but he looked pretty good. I felt great and knew I had 7 more miles in me. My pace was pretty steady and I felt strong.

I passed the finish line and made my way onto the second loop. I started to get excited because I was half way done! On the second loop, no one passed me - I passed a lot of people and almost all of them were walking. Some were totally falling apart. I tried to give encouragement to all of them. One guy said to me "its just so hard". I said "that's the point, isn't it?"

In every event, there is a point where I realize that I am going to do it. I am going to finish what I started. As I made the turn at the 10 mile point, I realized that I was going to do it. As much as I wanted to walk, I didn't. Walking only means longer until I'm finished. And I was ready to get to the finish.

I was shocked at how good I felt. I wasn't falling apart, I wasn't made. The F word didn't go through my mind even one time today - which is a total shocked. I was focused and calm and kept my wits about me.

About half a mile from the finish, I started to think of everything that led up to today. I thought about all the people who had supported me and helped me. I thought of all the mornings I got up a 4:30 am when I didn't want to, all the Saturdays that we spend riding the bike for 3 or 4 hours. The nights at the pond, the mornings in the pool. It was very emotional for me.

I made the turn to the finish line and it was all I could do to not totally break down and start bawling! I saw Trevor and as I crossed the finish line these words went through my head "you can do anything you set your mind to". Nothing is more empowering than that.

Run: 2:23:21
This is the same time that I ran the Helvetia Half Marathon two months ago. Not bad.

TOTAL TIME: 7:04:12

I figured I would take me 7 hours and I was right on. Trevor took 6:38. He didn't feel as great as I did, he was battling his injury and that foot. But he finished and we were proud.

I had the best time today. It was one of the best days of my life. I liked who I was today - the entire time. I was who I want to be. In my mind, that's a good day. There should be more of those, I think.

This was quite an adventure for us. I will totally do another on of these. As far as tackling a full Ironman - Trevor had this to say "not interested". Right now, I agree with that. I cannot imagine doing more than what we did today.

Here are some pictures. Nothing feels as good as being done!!!

Our friend Rob - only his second triathlon!

Trevor saw a pizza delivery truck while he was running and was thinking how he wanted to have pizza for dinner. Come to find out they were delivering it to the finish line!!


alaina said...

OMG! So proud to know you! WOW. An inspiration. xo

Portland Constantly Golfing Type Girl Person said...

BRAVO. It has been an honor just to watch you set goals and knock them off one by one. You don't let the little things bog you down - you keep pushing. Inspirational to be sure.