After a few days of mentally absorbing this race I have finally found some time to sit down and write out my race report. I had gone over to the race start on Friday May 20th in order to pick up my race packet. While I was there the crew was setting everything up so I stood around for a little while and tried to make mental notes on where everything was so that when I arrived the next morning I would not be walking around looking lost. I went down to the water where they were setting up the big yellow inflatable marker. I stood there for a while being mesmerized by how far out the marker seemed. I remember thinking to myself over and over “I have to swim that far twice there is no way”. I have said it before and I will say it again I am not a swimmer by any stretch of the imagination. I have gotten better but I am far from being consistently good. Anyway, when I realized I was mentally panicking I turned around and walked away. I found out the transition area opened up at 5am in order for those participating to set up their gear. So I left and attempted to push the swim portion as far from my mind as possible. I went back to the house and had a grill out with my family and some friends that have driven in. I cooked the meal Jason from Cook, Train, Eat, Race sent me, The Blue Line Runner Risotto, which was a HIT I must say. I hung out and talked with everyone before going to bed around 9:30.
Like most people the pre-race excitement had me tossing and turning all night. I got up before my alarm went off at 4:30 and showered, dressed, and headed downstairs to have my cup of coffee and some chow. I think I was only able to drink 1/2 the cup and eat one piece of toast with peanut butter, agave nectar, and a banana. I was just to nervous to eat anything else. My husband, Mathew, had come downstairs by this time and asked me if I was ready. I don’t think I even answered him just shrugged my shoulders and walked to the truck to make sure my transition bag and bike were there.
We got to the park around 6:15 and there were only a handful of people there which I found surprising. I sort of thought we were running late since it opened at 5. Mathew inspected my bike gears once again for me since I had some issues with the front gears the day before and put the right amount of air in my tires (he is just the BEST). I got my bag and bike and walked into the transition area. As soon as I got in I noticed they had names on each spot in order of your number. I was number 21 so I found my spot which was on the outside right by the bike exit (remember this part). I got my spot all set up and one of the race crew walked over and put my numbers on me. I almost had to show the lady my ID when I told her I was 28 not 18. I did not have a clue you had your age put on your left leg I am still not really sure why its there… The only thing I can figure is so that you can look for others in your age group in case you are attempting to place in your AG. (For those of you that know why you are marked with your age can you tell me?) My family, all 13 that came, kept asking me why I had a 28 on my leg and 21’s on my arms =). For some reason the race crew had missed # 20s spot so when he got there there was a little issue with spacing. We were on top of each other and instead of turning his bike opposite of mine he turned his the same way which literally left them touching each other. I thought about switching mine but If I had I would have messed up #22.. so I just left it alone.
Once I was done setting up my little spot I started walking around and stretching. I glanced at the water once but looked away and tried to just remind myself I was not trying to win anything just finish. As I was walking around a camera man came up and asked if he could have an interview. I thought he was joking at first why in the world would he want to interview me. But he was being serious so I stood there and answered his questions. Once he learned this was my first Triathlon he went insane with questions and kept commenting on how “hard” (his words not mine) this course was. Seriously that is not the best thing to hear when your trying not to be nervous. After all that was done it was time to get into my wetsuit and head down to… the dang water. Here we go!
The part I was the most nervous about. I just wanted to get it over with. So as we are standing there waiting on the instructions there was a lady standing next to me who taped me on the arm and said “do we have to swim to both of those yellow things?”. I was looking at her and realized she had just said “both” I was sort of confused because I had only seen one but I looked at where she was pointing and there it was another yellow marker off to the left of the one I had seen. CRAP. I turned around and located Mathew in the crowd I think he saw the fear in my eyes because the next thing I know he was at my side. I pointed at the marker and said I think I have to swim to both of those things… Twice. He said yeah but there is no need to worry you have this gave me a hug a good luck and walked away. To late to worry now I just have to do it however I can find the way to do it. Honestly, I am sort of glad I did not know till seconds from the start I think had I seen it much sooner I would have checked myself in for a mental evaluation. The buzzer went off and we hit the water. I got hit a few times I hit a few people I think that is just par for the course. It seemed like it took me forever to settle down. When I finally felt like I was settling down we had to exit the water, run around a flag, and get back into the water for lap #2. I was still worn out from lap #1 but I got back in for lap #2 which hyped me up again and I found myself trying to settle down once again. I don’t know what else to say about the swim other than I have got to get stronger at swimming. Surprisingly I was not last out of the water. I was SOOOO happy to be done with that part! As can be seen by the smile on my face! I did a whole combination of swimming techniques some of which were made up on the spot but all I cared about was moving and not drowning.
I had gotten my wetsuit almost all off before getting to my bike but I had to sit down and pull the rest of it off. I had to almost crawl under my bike to get my bike shoes because they had gotten hit, moved, or something by #22. I doubt he meant to we were just that close. My family was standing there talking with me about the swim as I was putting my shoes on. That helped calm me down a little. I told them I would see them in a few and started to head out. Well me and my brilliance ran all the way to the run exit until I realized my family was yelling at me that I was going the wrong way. Yep, remember when I said I was right by the bike exit well I screwed that one up. I went to the opposite end had to turn around and go back to the other end. Sigh, I could not help but laugh at this mistake! Live and learn.
That was a tough 25 mile ride. Lots of hills but wonderful views. I was hoping for a time in the area of 1:15 but once I saw the amount of hills I knew that was not going to happen. There was an officer at each intersection during the whole ride to stop traffic for us. I made sure I said thanks to each one of my Brothers and Sisters in Blue not that they knew I was one of them I was just very thankful I did not have to stop. There were lots of turns that were at the very bottom of hills which meant I had to slow down before the turn only to be faced with an instant uphill clime. Due to this I was forced to use my front gears which I have never needed before. Well I must say I found my bikes flaw. When I tried to switch the front gears it was a mess I had to spend time trying to get the gears back in the right place which meant my legs were working on double time. I had discovered this flaw while on a ride the day before with Mathew in the hills. He worked on them as much as he could but said ultimately it was due to the low end of the bike. I see a new bike in the very near future. I was trying to save as much of my legs as possible because of the six mile run I still had facing me but my legs were already beginning to burn esp in my thighs. I passed a few people on the bike leg and was passed by one guy who came out of nowhere (Kevin you will meet him later on). I was impressed at how fast he seemed to be going. I had only taken one water bottle with me and I had finished it just before I turned into the camp grounds. I used one Gu as soon as I got on the bike which gave me the rush I was hoping for and lasted the entire ride.
I ran into the transition area and attempted to lift my bike into place. My bike is very light but for some reason at this point it felt like it weighed 50 pounds. I started laughing because I had to use both arms to pick it up and place it on the bar. Maybe I was delusional I don’t know. I had noticed that the sun was out in full it had to be near 90 at this point because it was HOT out. I grabbed my race belt, garmin, running hat, and switched into my running shoes. Mathew and my mom where there cheering me on. I took off once again.
I am very thankful for the bricks I had done during my training because that feeling of running right after a ride is insane. It took me a moment to get into my stride as soon as I found it I instantly knew the run was not going to go as I had planed. I had not gotten a mile into the run before my left thigh went into fits of cramps. I had to stop mid stride and try to stretch it out. A guy, Kevin (The fast bike guy), came up and stopped to check on me. I told him I was okay just had a cramp and for him to keep going. He told me that if it was okay by me he would walk with me for a little while because he was not feeling so well after drinking so much lake water =). I started walking and after about 200 feet I felt like I could start running again so we started running. I was doing fine for a little while till my thigh began cramping again. So for the rest of the run part I had to do a run walk ratio depending on when I had a cramp. I was passing people and I almost cried each time I had to stop and walk out another fit of cramps. I can’t recall a race in which I have ever waked. Running is my thing and I was counting on that to finish the race strong. Of all the races I have done this was by far the most difficult hill race ever. I would find it extremely challenging just as a 10K alone. I got to the 5 mile marker and told myself I was not going to stop anymore for any reason until I crossed the finish line. I saw another runner a little bit in front of me and I set my sights on their back and took off. As I rounded the corner and the finish line came into view my dad, also a runner and wonderful supporter, was there telling me I was almost done he ran right beside me making sure not to touch me. I was in intense pain my left thigh was in knots and I had acquired a new cramp on the back of my right thigh. I know my stride had to look funny.. My dad, family, people I don’t know went wild yelling at me to keep going. So that is what I did I kept going till I crossed the line.
Overall Time: 3:38:25
I had such a mix of emotions after crossing the line. My family was all there giving me hugs, water, and congratulating me. Mathew greeted me with the biggest smile, a dozen yellow roses, and a necklaces that is a triangle that says TRI in the middle. Seriously, I love that guy to death! My mind was just numb I don’t think I could comprehend that I had just finished something I had once only dreamed about. A finishers medal was placed around my neck and I remember thinking of all the medals I have acquired over the years this one felt truly earned. I felt like everyone was probably ready to go back to the house and get some lunch since they had been there watching me all day but my cousin Amy kept saying “no we can’t leave till after the awards ceremony”. I kept saying there was no need to stay since I just wanted to finish and was not going to be getting any awards. She insisted so we hung out for a while. We made our way to the tent for the awards ceremony and cheered for those that were getting awards. Then they got to the female age group 25-29 and I was talking with Mathew about something when I heard 2nd place goes to Summer Bailey. My first thought was wow that’s odd there are two Summer Baileys… Then it hit me they were calling me. My family went wild and began pushing me forward. I was in shock. The lady who I had met at the swim (the one who pointed out the second marker) came over and hugged my neck telling me how impressed she was with me. She was also doing her first Tri and I had informed her it was my first time as well back at the water. As I was walking away I could hear others saying can you believe that was her first Triathlon.
If I was not in shock already I received an email Monday form the race directors stating there had been an issue with my time chip and after a recalculation I had not come in 2nd place in my AG but 1st WHAT… So they are sending me a gold medal in the mail.
Its been a couple of days since the race and my mind has yet to comprehend what I just did. All I know is that I want to do it again. I want to be faster, better, stronger for the next time. For all of you that wished me luck before the race Thank you. I could not have done it without you! Now to figure out what to do next.