Thursday, 6 June 2013

Race Report: Triathlon

What an experience!

In January, I signed up for a beginner triathlon clinic. I was looking for something more challenging than the 10k run clinic I usually sign up for as a New Year's resolution. The prospect of doing a triathlon, even the shortest distance, terrified me. But I wanted to cross something off my proverbial list. 

As with all my training in all my life, I had one eye on the clock, one foot out the door. I missed a few runs here and there. I didn't do my long rides every week. I slept in and skipped ten minutes of a swim or two. The week of the race, I did all my homework! Three swims, three rides, three runs, three bricks: the final countdown. That was very tiring!!

As someone on the internet advised, I packed my bag the night before. On race day, the alarm didn't need to wake me, I was ready to rock and roll. I put on my UnderArmour sports bra,  swim suit, running shirt and jacket, biking short, helmet, iPhone armband, clipless shoes and head out the door. My bike ride to the race was cool, refreshing and awakening. I was nervous and excited. I was about to do something I had never done before; something that terrified me four months before, but that now seemed attainable.

I greeted my friend, I set up  my transition area, kindly smiled at my neighbours and walked around. I went to the athlete's marking station, got my bike checked and sat down for the athletes' meeting. Some competitors looked fierce. Some looked like rookies. Some were younger than me, others older. It was a relief that there was no cookie-cutter mold to fit into. I should mention that this was a training event. No time was being recorded. There was a sense of camaraderie that made the day so very pleasant.

The quiet before the storm

 During the swim, my lane's lap counter kept saying "good work, Eunice" and that was just so encouraging! I tried not to run on the pool deck, but I was so excited to be done the first leg, high fiving friendly faces like I was a superstar. 

Smiling like a superstar
I get outside and hear my name being shouted! I see Ali with another person (it was Pat, but I didn't recognize her then), I see Jose waving a sign, I see JahJ running to join me, and Nae-J wondering what's going on. I hurry to my bike, gobble some dried apricot for energy boost, jump into cycling shorts, get my shoes, helmet, then shirt on (bad order!) and walk my bike out of the transition area. 

I round the first corner, the second, the third. Now I see what "Ash rd" is made of! I look ten feet ahead of me, push, push- oh look at that! There's a photographer at the near top- ugh! Push, push, smile, push, push. I keep going. Someone passes me, letting me know that there's a downhill ahead. Weeeeeeeeee! I turn the corner on to Gordon Head rd: gulp, another hill! I gear down, get stuck, stay calm. I unclip, fix my chain and ride up the hill. Turn on to Feltham: weeeeee! I go for the second loop, knowing what's ahead. As I near the top of Ash Rd again, there are children with a father who holds a sign "You pushed out two kids! This is nothin'!" So now I'm comparing the burn I feel in my quads to my labours. No, it's not at all the same and I don't know which I would prefer at that moment. Mr Photographer reminds me that it's the last time up this hill. I go up Gordon Head Rd well, not stopping, but huffing and puffing. Weeeeeee, down Feltham. It's 9am, I'm doing well. Back to transition.

Forgive the heel strike!
I wolf down some more apricots, change shoes, drink some water. Run past my cheering squad, high fiving my people. Ali's cheer is distinctive "Give it hell, Martel" as I'm sprinting out to the road. "Alright. Just 4 more kilometers, and I'm a triathlete. I can do this!" The run was pretty uneventful until the end of the second loop. Alex came to tell me where to go. Then he ran off. I was tired, but challenged myself to catch up to the blonde haired boy child. I am pushing, I keep my form, and I just runnnnnn! I passed him. I cross the finish line with my hands in the air. I remember I have to walk it off, so I head to my food/drink stash. I go see Jose, I see my friends. I am a triathlete

That's the happy version of the story! This is how I choose to remember!

I'm beaming on the inside

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