Saturday, April 16, 2011


Surprisingly, I slept fairly well last night. I climbed in bed at 10 and read for a little while, then didn't wake up again until 2:30. I looked at the time, then rain. Ok, go back to sleep. It's going to be fine.

When my alarm went off at 3:40, it was pouring buckets and buckets and buckets of rain. Ok, we're heading west, the rain is getting out of the way now. The race doesn't start until 7, I wont get in the pool until closer to 8. It's going to be fine.
I head over to Kelly's at 4:25, a few minutes later than hoped. On the way I hit some standing water on the road and my car almost spins out. Wow, that woke me up!
Kelly had the bikes already loaded on the bike rack when I arrived. I threw my bag(s) in the car and we were off! Wow, looks like we are really doing this. Really?

There is hardly anyone on campus when we arrive. We unload our bikes and head over to the transition area. We make (what turns out to be) the very smart decision to leave our clothes and shoes in the plastic bags we brought. The rain has stopped and the race officials are saying there is a window of time with no rain and hopefully we should get the race in during that window. We put our dry clothes in a locker - one of the benefits of the pool swim - and go wait in the bleachers. This is awkward waiting around in your bathing suit time. We found our friends and met some new ones so that helped to pass the time, they also gave us some last minute tips and assurances.
The typical thank you speech, pre race meeting and national anthem have now taken place. It's time to get started!
They call the athletes down to the pool deck in waves of 50 and a new athlete enters the water every 3 seconds or so. Everyone cheers when the first guy enters the water, and then again as he exits. I'm getting excited, but nervous. All of the athletes so far have been very fast swimmers! As we keep watching all of the athletes, I finally start seeing some people who are slower, struggling, doing breast stroke, and back stroke. I feel better, it's going to be ok.

We are called down and the line seems to move very quickly. All of the sudden we are up! I jump in the water and go! I freak out a little bit at the depth of the pool. The swim is serpentine, so up one lane, under the lane line, then back down the next lane. The lanes are nice and wide which makes passing fairly easy. The water felt very smooth. But it's so deep. After the first lane I switch to breast stroke for the second, then decide to alternate strokes with every lane. This works well for a while, then I switch to half freestyle half breast stroke on what should be my freestyle lanes. The next thing I know, I only have one more lane left! Wow, that actually went fast.

Maureen and I get out of the pool next to each other and run outside to the transition area. Maureen shrieks at we get outside and the cold wind blows on our wet bathing suited bodies. I was laughing and running as fast as I could barefoot on the asphalt to my bike.  Kelly is at the transition area already, her bike is on the rack right behind me. My plastic bags and  towel are wet.  I throw my swim cap and goggles down, pull on my tri shorts, put on a shirt and jacket, wipe my feet real quick, put on my socks and cycling shoes, put on my helmet, unrack my bike and take off running towards the transition exit. When I get to the mount line, I jump on my bike and I'm off!

This is when it starts raining. And it doesn't stop.

The bike course was hilly and the wind was strong - I think 18-20 mph. Most of the passing I did on the bike course occurred on the up hills, which made me happy and increased my confidence. I tried to slow it down a little bit on the down hills since the roads were so wet and making me nervous. I finally got over that and just went for it. Wow, what a feeling! The course was well marked and the volunteers and cops were very nice. One of the hills was so hard I was afraid I was going to start going backwards. I pushed through it and made it to the top. My mantra was "dig deep" during the bike. Towards the end of the bike I felt very proud. I had faced a few of my big fears on the bike: rain, wet roads, and big hills.

I was so happy as I entered the transition area to start the run. This should be easy, right?  I quickly changed my shoes and put dry socks on, thankfully remembered to take my helmet off and put on my hat...and off I go! The run was through campus, an out and back course. It would had been pretty if it had been sunny and not raining! It took about a mile for my legs to feel somewhat normal. At first my stride was so short I felt like I was shuffling. I had to force myself to elongate my stride and just hope I wouldn't fall. I felt pretty good, although I was having trouble breathing at first. I passed several people. Ran in to Maureen, Kelly and Paul each at different points. It was nice to see friendly faces finally! I could finally see the inflatable finish line and ran as fast as I could. I crossed the finish. I had just completed my first triathlon!

I have to admit, the finish line was a little anti-climatic. There weren't many people around it and there was just a table with the medals on it, no one hanging one around your neck like they do after a marathon. I found Kelly and then we found Paul and Maureen and headed to the athlete's village for some refueling. It was so cold and wet out that we went right back to the locker room and put on warm dry clothes before heading out to pack up our transition stuff and load the bikes on the car.

I came home to a beautiful flower arrangement left at my door from my parents, sister and brother-in-law! What a nice surprise!

I took a nice long nap this afternoon and now it's time to go celebrate with some friends with some amazing pizza!


  1. I am soooo proud!!!! Yay you, well done, congrats and so on. I knew you could do it. :)
    p.s. I'm really not a stalker, I just happen to be up before everyone over there and hence get to read this first! ;)

  2. Thanks Jen, and feel free to stalk me anytime! I'm excited that we are both doing things to raise money for MS this year!