Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Straight to the finish line?

Really, I am a great starter. I am a professional at starting 15 projects at once and it usually takes an intervention of my patient husband for a project to come full circle.

When it came to the triathlon, it was no different. I mentioned the idea to Joe knowing I had always wanted to do one, but didn't think right now was exactly the time. When he got excited and was encouraging me to commit, then I knew I was in trouble.

I had left a little place in the back of my mind open in case in the end it was just too crazy to do it all and I could respectfully bow out. Regardless of how many excuses I gave, the bowing out part never happened. I even pleaded with Joe using my laundry list of reasons NOT to do it. Didn't work.

I was so nervous the couple of days before, my stomach was in knots. The night before I laid in bed counting down the minutes.

Usually Joe is not the photographer, but he went picture happy during the race. I thought I would share some pictures and tales from the race so that some of you who have shared with me that you want to do a tri will be a little more prepared than I was.

Click on this link for the training program that I loosely held to. I mainly tried to make sure that I got in one "long" training time in a week. Even that was questionable.

Before I get into the race, I have to give a shout out to my incredibly supportive mother. She woke up early and came to cheer me on (and she is a R.N. so if I were to keel over right there, I was thankful she was there). I sadly didn't get a pic with her, so this one will have to do.

When I got to the race, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I had NO idea what to do. Here's your heads up:
- When they give you a number, its for a reason :) One for your bike, your helmet, and your body (for your run).
-They also mark your body with a permanent marker with your number and your age
-You have to pick up your chip from the registration table and put it on your left ankle.
-Lastly you set up your bike and other gear in the transition area.

When Cindy saw me completely clueless, she said, "Why didn't you ask?" I had NO IDEA what to ask. We had a good laugh.

If I am going to do this thing, then my first goal was to finish. My second goal was to not be last and my third goal was to be under 2 hours. Did I mention that more than anything I just wanted to finish.

The race started at 7 so the sunrise was beautiful. They send you out in waves based on age and since I will be 30 before the year is over then I was in the 30-34 group! Really? already!?! I was holding out to be in my 20s for a little longer.

I'll claim this as my first act for my 30s. Start the decade off right, right?

We were in the second wave and each wave is 4 minutes apart. The swim part was pretty intense. A lot of women swimming all in one direction in open water means large amounts of water sloshing into your face and legs and arms intersecting with yours continually. I didn't drown. Bonus.

Once, we swam 300 yards (actually it was more like 350 yards because they said that the buoys drifted out), then you run to the transition area where I put on my biking shorts, shoes, helmet, and downed a little gatorade.

I really haven't biked since junior high when that was my primary form of transportation. Those were good days. I was green without evening knowing it. Every time since then, I can't ride longer than 5 minutes because my butt hurts. I would hear this antagonizing voice chant, "why would someone choose to have a sore butt for three days." I just didn't get it.

Then, I was introduced to a super sweet road bike. Apparently, there are bikes and then there are bikes. Thankfully, a generous guy from church let me borrow his bike for the summer. My butt still hurt but it was so exhilarating to ride that the wind in my hair and the pavement passing quickly beneath my feet made the pain the first couple of rides seem more tolerable. Then I got a callous on my hiney and we were good to go.

Here's Cindy sporting her skills!

Here's me on my bike. About a mile into the race, something happened with my chain and it fell off and got stuck. Are you serious!?! I just learned how to ride and now I have to be a bike mechanic. I was in trouble and what I really wanted to do was just turn around and quit, but instead I just picked up my bike and ran praying someone could help me fix it. There was this kind gentlemen who helped get my bike in order. This is what he taught me- rule of thumb with bike trouble: Turning it over does wonders. Rocket science.

Remember how they "body mark" with your numbers. They put your age on the back of your calf so that every single person who passes you taunts you with their age. As each calf passed me it was saying, "Can you keep up with me even though I'm 24?" or better yet, "You're letting a 47 year old woman pass you."

I kept reminding myself to hold steady. Slow and steady finishes the race. That was my goal.

My father-in-law had text messaged me the night before and at the end he said, "Push for His glory." It stuck with me and encouraged me along the way. All throughout the swim and bike I just couldn't stop smiling. Those few moments in life when you push back your junk, bad habits, preconceived notions, and excuses and be free.

"Not that I have already obtained all of this but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Ph. 3:12

When the run started, the Houston heat began to kick in. The sun was beating down and honestly, I was ready to be done. I just tried to make myself run and pleaded with God, "Help me to finish strong."

I didn't sprint to the finish line but I wanted to. Maybe next time. I may have finished 250th and in an hour and thirty minutes but I finished. Glory to God.

The hottest training partner.

Now, Cindy Marie on the other hand totally took names and finished in 1.16- rock star. We would love some tips in the comments ;)

Now I'm working on pushing back other excuses, hindrances, and hurdles in other areas so that I can learn to be a finisher there too.

A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish line. Prov. 15:9 MSG


Cindy said...

You are too cute, Mel. I am so proud of you & and so glad that I got to be a part of your first triathlon...you did it, and no one got hurt :) Must get that last picture of you and I together, as you know my hubby is not camera savvy either!

The Durham's said...

Wow, friend!! I am totally impressed!! I so wish I had your dedication:) This is an incredible accomplishment and I could not be more proud of you:) Way to go, mama!! YOU are the rockstar in my book:)

Anonymous said...

So excited for you! Wow! You are an amazing woman. I hope you feel strong, brave, victorious! I love you! Jan G

Nicole said...

The coolest mom ever! That is who you are...just think one day Isaac will be sharing with his friends how his totally cool mom did a triathlon :)
I am still so way impressed! You are a mighty woman :)

Courtney said...

I am completely encouraged! I may start smaller (I'm thinking 5K-half marathon), but WOW Mel!! My first thought when I read this (second really, because my first was that I was uber-impressed) was "I want to be THAT mom that does triathalons after her 2nd child!! That's so awesome!" Way to go!!

CBS Broadcast said...

you are hilarious...NO IDEA what to do! the first tri is always daunting, I must say I was worried about WHERE exactly the finish line was. sure enough, I missed it, and ran an extra 2 miles in the worst Austin heat! Congrats on your first tri...do you have more in your future? This year I've traded in tri-training for puking all day the last two months. oh well, there's always next year!