Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Triathlon #4 - The Greatness and the Pain of It

Last month I participated in my fourth sprint triathlon. It seems a little nuts to me that only two years ago I was finishing my Very First Triathlon having had experienced the greatest physical challenge in my life. Yes, even more than birthing my children.
Last year I finished my Second Triathlon , Swam a Mile as a part of a triathlon team, and then my third triathlon. I didn't blog my third because even though it was a good experience, I didn't have any pictures and I pretty much crashed after a long training season.
This year my challenge has primarily been the achillies tendonitis that kept me benched all spring and most of the summer. I had minimal training time before this last race, but I was confident that I could participate well in two of the three events.
Here is how it went:
I left for the race at 4:45am so I could be there when the transition area opened at 5:30. I got my bike set up and my numbers written on my body. My friend Rick the "Rocket" wrote my participant number on my arms and then we joked about this being the only time he could ask a woman's age without getting slapped since he had to write it on my left calf. 
Meanwhile, my Love and my three fellas ate the blueberry muffins I baked the night before and came to cheer me on. They had to take a shuttle bus because the parking is minimal where the event is held. This is them, standing in line, waiting for the bus.
I visited with a few friends who were racing as well, prayed for a teary eyed friend who was getting ready to do her very first tri, and joyfully hugged a friend I haven't seen in years that happened to be participating as well.
I got in the water, got some seaweed in my mouth, spit it out and got busy warming up. My white belly stood out above the other more modest coverings of my competitors but I decided to just go with it knowing the people that love me don't care, I am fully covered and those who might be disturbed I wouldn't likely see again. Until next year.
The swim started and I felt great. The only problem was I kept getting sandwiched between two women who were doing the breast stroke and their frog like kicks kept catching my arms, abdomen, etc. It was rather irritating even though they kept saying "sorry" and were quite polite about it. I had to stop several times to let them go by or try to see past them to an empty spot in the water.
My swim finish time was 11:32 (my stopwatch said 10:48 but I hadn't gone across the timing chip mat yet). My 2011 time was 12:36. I was very pleased with that.
I walked up the hill to the transition and just took a few minutes to settle down. My adrenalin was pumping like crazy and I knew I couldn't ride my bike all shaky and spastic! I dried off my feet, got my socks and shoes on, drank some electrolyte drink, took a gel and headed out on the bike. I saw my family at the beginning of the bike yelling and cheering for me. It was great!

 I had an amazing bike ride! I passed MANY people, felt strong and powered through the hills. It took a good couple of miles for my legs to get warmed up for biking. AND there was a dumb headwind that made me feel like I was pushing harder than I should have to.  I felt incredible. I felt like some extraordinary athlete - until I looked at the pictures.

 My fitness has always been based on what my head wants and how my body feels, not how it LOOKS. It is only when I see how I look that it freaks me out. I am overwhelmed by my size and how I appear to others. Most of all, how I appear to my family. I don't believe for a second that I have to be a size 4 but, it is really hard to see what my body looks like in reality instead of in my head.
 I had to walk almost all 3 miles of the run. My achillies tendon hurt pretty bad. I decided to finish before I started - so I just kept going. You can see how much I love a challenge!
The joy inside of me is definitely coming out. When I see these pictures I can look past my body to the power inside of me that gives me what I need to finish well.
 My lil fellas are so proud of me. That is a gift in itself.
 After I finished we headed to have a meal together before my Love had to go out of town to work. My middle fella took this picture. It isn't my favorite, but it will do. I took the guys to our church for our chili cook-off and finally crashed for the rest of the day at home. Even with taking my time during the transitions and walking the "run" I still finished under two hours. That was my goal. It was a great day!

For a couple of weeks after my race I sunk into a deep depression. I knew what it was. I just walked through it and knew I would come out the other side. I have. For some reason this is common. The pictures didn't help with my despair, but again, my body is what it is right now - a work in progress. Just like me!