I woke up scared.
I rode to the event fighting fear that kept me on the edge of tears. My friends and family were there supporting me and telling me I could do it.
And then I was in the pool and they were counting down the time 3…2…1 go! And I kicked off and there was no more fear only breathing and swim strokes.
I did it.
I swam. I biked. I ran. Not fast, not well but better than before I started to train and I took fifth in my weight class (I am an Athena) and second in my age group. My daughter-in-law who trained with me, kicked my butt on times and got a bronze cuz there are fewer Slow Old Fat Triathletes than young thin ones like her. In my eyes she got double gold.
My swim time was pretty awesome for me. I did it in 8:36 (eight minutes, thirty-six seconds) much better than I have ever done in practice. Next time will be better (and double the distance). As it was my first time all the people coming up behind me discombobulated me and I lost time letting the mob pass.
My eight miles on the bike was very slow, the first half of the four mile loop (2 miles) was a slight upgrade and I did the eight miles on my beach cruiser because I really want to take the mountain bike somewhere and get street tires and a check-up after its altercation with a car before putting it in a position of trust. It was slow and hard going. Coming around the first lap and knowing I was into the uphill again the excuse wheel began to spin, but there were my friends holding signs for me and cheering. I wasn’t about to let them or me down and just kept peddling.
My time was about what I expected. I predicted 85 to 90 minutes and completed it in 71 minutes 17 seconds. Again beating any practice times but really sloooooooow.
I used the beach cruiser partly cause of the needing to get the geared bike checked out, But also, and this was a big one, I am comfortable on it’s no gear and no power break turtle type solidness and fear was a HUGE part of what I was facing down in this whole triathlon. I have only been riding a bike, any bike, for a little over two months. I need practice, practice, practice. I need to learn how to use gears and my hand breaks in a way that doesn’t throw me over the bike. I am glad that I took Bessie as there were times when the real competitors were woooshing by that Bessie and I’s sympatico natures kept me from succumbing to fear. The one time I did let fear take over the reins I had a small spill and spent a couple minutes walking my bike before I got back on and finished.
Coming into the transition area my left knee sharply announced it was done and I dismounted a good 100 or so feet before I was supposed to dismount.
My run was the thing most affected by my October falls and mishaps. Dawn was waiting for me as I came into the transition area and paced me the whole way (Mind you AFTER she had already completed the same thing at a dead run) My left knee was screaming four letter words at me by the time I finished biking and did not want to run, walk or really do anything that required it to flex or extend or bear weight. But Dawn was there right beside me and quitting was not an option. I walked more than half of the run, so run time was 9:23. Still better than I predicted.
And guess what, I the Slow Old Fat Triathlete who in June of this year got breathless walking a mile, had never ridden a bycicle, and never taken a swimming lesson, then fell messing up her left knee Oct 3, got knocked down by her Golden retriever injuring her right knee on Oct 8 and THEN got hit on her bike by a car re- jacking her left knee again Oct 13, finished her race. (Yes, I am talking about myself in the third person.)
Better yet, I can’t wait for my next one.
So many thank-you’s to say: Rick, Dawn, and Phil Veatch who were all my trainers (Phil is the official trainer), Dallon as well, Jody and Steve, the staff at Backfit Chiropractic in Gilbert, Sara, Pat, Amie, Ken and Deena, the women in my training group, the nice lifeguard at the pool who got me the ice pack today, and others I know I am forgetting…I could not have done it without you.
..and also a special thank you to James Owen for the audiobooks that were the soundtrack for a lot of walking, running and stationary bike time the past few months. You and my son Rick are the examples that motivate me to focus not on the obstacles I need to overcome but how I will accomplish my dreams.
Lots of love to all of you who have followed the first lap of this journey, and it ain’t over yet! 400 meter, 12 mile ride, 5 k is my next race and I plan to beat my times a lot on my way there.
So I am thinking a lot more training is in order.
But now its time to sleep.
P.S. If I can do it, anybody can!