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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Olympic Hopes

I wrote this shortly after I finished my Olympic length triathlon, so it is written from that perspective. I didn’t want to go back and change the whole thing and would rather have it read fresh, the way I originally wrote it.

Sunday 9/9/12 marked 3 years since I began losing weight. I have come a very long way both mentally and physically. To commemorate this anniversary I did something that fat girl never would have dreamed. I completed an Olympic length triathlon.(1500 meter swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2 mile run)

To say I was nervous would be a drastic understatement. I was on the edge all week. Sunday morning I reluctantly woke up, early. Despite having gone to bed early my nerves kept me up most of the night. We were running a little late but nothing too terrible, until we came across some road closures. J.R. wasn’t able to find a way around to the parking. We both began to panic and this did nothing to calm my already on edge nerves. It was definitely not a good way to start the day.


We finally arrived and I was thankful they had not closed the transition. I hurriedly put my things in order and was off to the start line. The one good thing about running late was I didn’t have time to sit around and be nervous long. As I stood at the starting line, the usual thoughts came to my head. “Really? What have you gotten yourself into? Why do you keep doing this to yourself?”

Scared out of my mind!
 As I jumped in the water my nerves were gone and I simply focused on what I had to do. Swim. Thankfully the water wasn’t too terribly cold (I haven’t gotten so serious as to have a wetsuit…yet.) We had to swim out to the start and I was soon on my way. I know that I am a slow swimmer so I let everyone pass me by. The swim wasn’t really a struggle at all which was nice. I just took my time.

There were two things that irritated me about the swim. One, the amount of salt was unbelievable. I needed water just to get that taste out of my mouth. Second was the fact that all the buoys and markers were on the left. This poses a problem for someone who breathes solely on the right. I never knew if I was on the correct course or not. I had to continually stop and look up to make sure I was going in the right direction. This made getting into any kind of rhythm difficult. At one point I felt a tap on my foot. I looked up and someone was pointing me towards the buoy the other way. I’m sure I added a bit to my swim. (Must learn to breathe on both sides.)

A bit more than half way through the swim I began to get bored. I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t sore. I was bored and just wanted the swim to be done.

I was soon out of the water and off on rather wobbly legs. My transition was smooth and easy. I was off on to my favorite part of the race, the bike. I love the bike simply because I don’t have to think. During the swim I am constantly concentrating on my stroke. During the run I have to concentrate on my posture and form. Cycling comes naturally for me and I enjoy just going without a thought.

Unfortunately, I was barely into the ride when faced with the only hill, only to shortly make a U-turn and have to climb the other side. My legs were already a little tired from the swim and hadn't warmed up to the bike just yet. My legs certainly did not like that torture. The ride went well and was over before I had a chance to get bored with the loop I was riding. Toward the end one guy passed me and said, "You and me, back and forth all day. You get me on that hill every time." I laughed and told him, "Yeah, my legs were built for hills."

I finished the ride and was off on the dreaded run. I started off slow. I wasn't out to win, only to finish and maybe make good time for me. I took the run nice and easy. Right as I began the run the top of my right foot began to hurt.

A couple weeks before I bought trilaces so that I wouldn't have to tie my shoes. When I initially tried them out, the right shoe was too tight. I tried to loosen it unsuccessfully but ended up hurting my foot. I took it easy the next week on my runs, allowing my foot to heal. I even did a short trial run with the laces again. However, as I began this run the pain was back. I stopped a couple of times to loosen them, but nothing helped the pain. So I just gritted my teeth and kept moving.

I made my way through the first loop and onto the second. I wasn't winded or out of breath, which was nice. However, I was beginning to get tired. Every so often I would stop to walk a little. This frustrated me a little, as I know I was capable of running the whole thing. However, I was trying to conserve energy so I allowed myself these little breaks. In hind sight, I realized I didn't fuel as much as my body needed to get me through the entire race. I should have eaten something during the run and not only before.

As I neared the end, there was a large crowd cheering everyone on. This was a great boost. However, once I made it to a more secluded area I gave myself one last break before pushing myself to the finish. It apparently wasn't as secluded as I thought, as I soon heard "Come on 895 you're almost done, push through it! Let's go!" Ugh. A coach from a rather large team was there cheering me on. So, of course, I began to run.

As I ran down toward the finish line, tears began to well up. I began to think about where I was 3 short years ago and how far I have come. The thought of doing even a 5K back then was not even on my radar much less completing an Olympic length triathlon. But complete one I did! It was and is such an amazing sense of accomplishment.It is why despite my negative thoughts at the beginning of each of these events I continue to push myself.

I wasn't first by a long shot, however I wasn't last either. My goal was to finish under 3 1/2 hours. I finished in 3 hours and 22 minutes 11 seconds. Not bad for my first. Next big adventure? A half marathon. Ugh. Yes I am crazy. Thankfully that bit of crazy will wait till the spring. (I start training already! Yikes!)

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