Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fortunately Fast Fabulous and Fearless

Fortunately I have a friend who loves to run. 
Unfortunately she is now 7 months pregnant and not running with me anymore. Fortunately she took me running many times last year. 
Unfortunately? I had an unexplainable desire to enter a triathlon. 
Fortunately I decided to swim all winter to prepare. 
Unfortunately I slept in all winter and was not a super swimmer as planned and... awoke in the spring entirely unprepared. 
Fortunately I had a friend who talked me into entering a sprint triathlon with her anyways.
Unfortunately she got the flu the night before the race and couldn't attend.
   ...I did train, I really did, I swam and swam I even took adult swimming lessons in the kiddie pool I spent so many hours swimming I should have been able to swim a marathon, my skin has smelled like chlorine for months, when I wear white clothes they come off whiter than when I put them on -okay maybe I'm getting a little bit carried away but I felt like all I did all spring was fight my way face down through the water.  I am a stronger swimmer now, but I do have a very long way to go. That's okay though because I can train all winter!  I rented a wetsuit because I heard they were buoyant and I was not too concerned about fast transitions and all that, I was planning on completing all parts and finishing triumphant in whatever place that was. I was very surprised at just how buoyant wetsuits are, it's a good thing no one told me that they are the sleek equivalent of a full body life jacket or I may have not even bothered to practice my swimming at all! I would like to say I swam a quick 1/4 mile front crawl but no such luck, there is this thing called smooth controlled breathing while swimming in water the color of rootbeer with other racers kicking and splashing and whapping all around like so many drowning fish. I settled into a nice rhythm of 8-10 strokes of back stroke interspersed by a few seconds of breast stroke so I could make sure I was heading in the right direction. It was a nice way to start this crazy race by peacefully looking up at the clear blue sky and swimming for dear life. 
   I was excited for the bike portion because I didn't even train for it, unless you can call hauling the bike cart around town behind my mountain bike with a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old in it filled up with random bags of beach toys and snacks and enough water to hydrate an elephant. I totally counted it for training as I figure one mile of that is worth at least 10 miles on Nathan's fancy speedy road bike which he kindly let me borrow for the race. Needless to say the bike part was very fun and fast and I really felt like I could have kept going for the olympic distance which I guess means I either overtrained or didn't go fast enough or both. 
   I run quite a bit, mostly early in the morning when I drag myself out of bed so I can hear the birds singing before rush hour traffic sends them into their daily depressed silence so I thought that not many things could make running harder than a cold, barley light, rainy, early morning but no nothing N-o-t-h-i-n-g can compare to trying to run-who am I kidding, nothing can compare to trying to move your legs after swimming then biking it really felt like I had no legs. I was running on stilts, and there was a whole row of us running on stilts though we weren't running we were shuffling-so- so -so- slooowwwlly. 
   I was worried when I started the race that my shorts were going to rub my thighs raw when I ran but I had no need to worry as I could have been running in a mini skirt with my knees duct taped together that is how s l o w  I was shuffling so incredibly slow and I simply couldn't find my legs to run faster. It took me a mile and half to feel like I could run again. 
   A mile and a half is a very long time to contemplate things like, how if I were to walk, it would probably be a faster pace. Or the fact that if there was something dead and rotting on the road I would not bother to go around it or avoid it, as that would take way too much effort. You know you are doing something that feels like it will never ever end when you start comparing it to childbirth. The only things I compare that to is getting laser dentistry done with no freezing and getting my blood drawn (I really hate getting needles). I also compared my run to childbirth and decided that I couldn't decide which was harder so that was probably my lowest point, around the end of mile 1, this was probably because I passed the sign that told me I had only run ONE mile and I had a whole 2.5 miles left to go-which isn't very far but it felt v e r y very very far last Saturday.
I expected the finish to be right when I got back to the park but like most foot races they make you run the spectator loop of shame where they stick you on a nice gravel track in the heat of the sun with all the people watching and waiting and cheering and all you want to do is stop drop and die and you realize you have to run the whole way around before the end. But the finish was in sight and I finished strong which was one of my goals- I also didn't drown, crash the bike or walk on the running loop so all in all it was a very successful race. 

Womens Sprint Triathlon. Age group 30-34. 7th out of 20. Overall Womens Sprint 41st out of 158. 
Time Details:    Swim 1/4 mile 0:11:09.2
                      Bike 13.6 miles 0:48:45.2 /16.7MPH
                      Run 5km (approx. 3.1 miles) 0:28:08.1 /9:15M
                      Overall time 1:30:32.9

Oh yes this race was sponsored by a chocolate company so they give out water bottles filled with chocolates and bowls of chocolates and boxes of chocolates. I'm sure they count on the fact that no one is going to want to eat hoards of chocolate after hours of exercise. Fortunately Benjamin was there to bring the chocolate consumption back into balance