Monday, July 28, 2008

I am a triathlete!

I did it. Yesterday, I completed a triathlon. At 40. I am a 40-year-old triathlete. I just keep repeating this to tell myself it's real.

Yes, I'm proud of myself and maybe a bit too much, but heck, I did it.

And it was hard. First of all, it rained. First rain this town has seen in nearly five weeks, and just for a few hours, but the hours I was racing. I had to be there at 6 am, which meant I took our family's only car up there, so my hubby and the kids couldn't come watch.

I had to lay out all my stuff in the rain. Good thing I brought a garbage bag. But it was cold, and I had to stand around for two hours after they closed the transition area (where the bikes and clothes go) until my swim start time (those who would be quickest started first). But then, at last, I put on my bathing cap, was marked all over with my race number, and they told me to get into the pool.

My swim went very well. I felt strong and consistent, and even passed a few people, but didn't really have problems with people passing because the lanes were pretty wide. I did my last lap and got out of the pool and walked quickly out of the pool toward the transition area, and then I saw them. My husband and the boys were at the pool exit cheering me on. I nearly cried I was so happy to see them.

I raced to my bike and began doing my clothing change, which went fine and no one saw me slip off my bathing suit under my towel. And I was pretty quick. Onto my bike and off I went, out of transition, up the hill onto the biking route. It was four laps on the blocked-off road. The way there was pretty much uphill the entire way, and the first lap I was going pretty slowly, because I was darn tired. But the way back was easier and more downhill, which gave me more strength for the next uphill. By the end of the second lap I felt faster and stronger and I think that's the point when I knew I'd finish this thing. Then it started to pour. Up until then the rain had either stopped or trickled to nothing. But during my third and most of my fourth lap, it poured. Yet I soldiered on, until I got to the end of my fourth lap and headed back down the hill to the transition area again.

I parked my bike and helmet, grabbed my hat and long sleeve shirt (I was soaked and cold by then) and headed back uphill for the run. Well, I didn't quite run yet. My legs were very, very sore. And while I'd practiced this, and knew it would be tough to get running (it was the same road, still uphill, just over to the side of the bikes), I didn't know it would be so tough. But my kids were cheering so I ran past them and tried to keep running. But I couldn't. My breathing was okay and my energy was okay but my legs hurt. So I walked. I kept trying to run uphill, and managed a minute here and there, but for more than 10 minutes into the running part, I couldn't make my legs work. Then finally they did. So I ran. And I ran as well as I could. I tried to go faster, especially at the end, but as much as I could soldier on and keep running, I just couldn't make my legs go any faster. But the finish line was in sight, and I pushed on, until I came around the last corner, heard my kids call out and I crossed the finish line to hugs from my sons.

And now, I am a triathlete. I didn't break any records. I finished 133th of 146 women, but I wasn't last, which was my goal. And I finished in under two hours, which I was really hoping to do -- 1:54:16. It's not earth shattering, but it's not embarrassing either. And my favourite number is 18:26. That's my swim time, including the time it took me to get out of the pool, walk the length of it out the other end to the exit and across the timing mat. And that time is a good minute or two less than I had ever done in training.

But I'm pretty sure that was my one and only tri. I would swim again, and bike again, and swim and bike again, but the run was too hard for me, and frankly, I just don't enjoy running enough to do that all again. I'll probably keep up a weekly run with my clinic group, but to do the three again, I don't think so.

There, cross that one off my list. I'm 40 and I completed a triathlon.

Now what will I do for 50?

1 comment:

Connie said...

Congratulations! I got to your blog from Suzanne's (GenXpert) and completing a triathlon is definitely an accomplishment to be proud of.