Monday, August 29, 2005

My Virgin Olympic-Distance Tri


VM has always tried to convince me to do this distance. Even after I signed up for this race last October, I still hemmed and hawed at the commitment until the deadline for making the switch to sprint distance passed. Training for me isn’t anywhere near the science that it is for VM. Quite simply, I shoehorn it into my single-mom schedule whenever I can. Would I be trained enough in time? Will I bonk? Will I walk at the end?

I committed myself to two things: Enjoying the experience. And NO walking. My finish time would be insignificant after these.

And overall, I had a great time at this race! The swim was beautiful. Biking on Lake Shore Drive was scenic (though bumpy!). And the run was … well … tough, but fun with all the people around. Great crowds everywhere! Here are some of my random anecdotes …

· My favorite pre-race ritual: Getting a manicure and pedicure. I won’t win the race, but I will win “Best Dressed”! It’s all about going into the race feeling great, isn’t it?

· Goggle crisis! Long story short, my favorite Baracuda goggles were suddenly out of commission. A million thanks to the knowledgeable saleswoman at the pre-race expo who sold me a new and different pair of Baracuda goggles that fit right immediately. Oh to be a fly on the wall as I tested them out in my hotel room bathtub the night before. Simulating choppy open-water conditions was quite fun!

· And many thanks to the vendor who gave me his last few dabs of sunscreen, so that my shoulders would be protected. And stupid me for leaving my sunscreen in the closed transition area. Argh.

· Highlight: the gorgeous waters of Lake Michigan that day! What a great swim!

· Lowlight: a full porta-pottie …

· Hey girls! What do ya do when it’s two minutes before your swim wave goes off, and you’ve suddenly broken the small gold chain around your neck as you attempted to loosen your wetsuit’s neckline? And there’s no family around to hand off your broken chain corpse to? Easy! You loosen your wetsuit’s neckline again, drop the chain down your cleavage, and hope for the best! Then, when you’re safe within the confines of T1, and running with your bike (‘cause you almost forgot to deal with this as you were donning your helmet), you stop to fish it out of your cleavage and secure the broken gold chain to your bike. (Gotta give the transition volunteers something to laugh about!)

· The aid stations were great, and in abundance, with many volunteers tending to them. Though the Gatorade and water were warm (yich!), the water felt great when splashed on my head … a ritual at each pass.

· Gel is good. Gel is great. Gel is something I appreciate!

· My parents are great! They did their darndest to get to the race before I took off (I barely saw mom beforehand). Then they missed me at T1 (they didn’t recognize me as I tore out of the water --- let’s see, I was the one with the blue swim cap and black wetsuit …). I was a flash running past them as I headed out of T2. But they did catch me at the finish line. And as I made my way over to where they had set up camp, I discovered that they were quite comfortable over those few hours they waited for me. They were sitting under a nice shady tree … drinking screwdrivers! My parents know how to make lemonade out of lemons! (Or screwdrivers out of orange juice…)

· Hamming it up at the finish line is a great time! Turning the last corner and seeing so many people at the finish, I suddenly felt the urge to make a complete spectacle of myself. So I began waving my arms upward to get the crowd excited, and the announcer gave me full credit. That finish line was such a great sight for sore eyes … and sore legs …and sore everything else! My father captured the moment in a great photo.

Seriously though, I learned that when you’re running, it’s hard to cry. I had such intense pain in one of my hips (a chronic condition with no known relief), I really wanted to break down and let the tears out. But each time, my breathing got all out of wack. My biggest goal for this race was to run the entire distance---no walking! So no crying! I knew the pain would subside as soon as I crossed the finish line. I was right. The euphoria of crossing that finish line after having met that simple goal erased all my misery instantly. Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

Favorite post-race ritual: eating anything!


Comm's said...

hey thanks. learning a little bit more about you with each blog post.

1. Likes to draw on cute guys.

2. Doesn't like to walk.

Tri-Geek Kahuna said...

nice job. congratulations!

Keryn said...

Very nice job. I can't wait to hear from you more often.

Flatman said...

Way to go, ITP!

Now, where's that finish photo, so we can put your name with your face?!

Shelley said...

Way to go ITP!!! So when do you sign up for the next one??? I know exactly how you feel at the finish's always so much fun!!!

tri-mama said...

A woman after my own heart, you gotta celebrate the finish line-that's what the fans are for. Way to go at that distance!

mipper said...

great report! congrats on your first oly!

I Can Tri said...

Nice writing, ITP!

I hope VM does as well when he writes about his first skydiving experience.


Sorry, bro, I couldn't resist...

Wil said...

"I learned that when you're running, it's hard to cry..." Between that and fishing in cleavage, I think that maybe we're related! Now VM just needs to talk you into IMMOO!!!!