Tri this: Race Day!

I planned on an early start, leaving the house between 6:15 and 6:30. I didn’t anticipate that Lucy the cat would begin her alarm services at 3am. Hardly unusual, but she usually settles back down better than she did today. No matter, I’d had enough rest and got up around 4:30, drank my coffee, read a little and eased into the morning, which is my preferred approach. I’m a morning person, but not a quick moving or social morning person. Spaciousness is good.

By 5:30, the cats were full of their morning medications and BA was up as well. I puttered a little and then loaded the rest of my gear (I do like checklists), ate a light breakfast and by 6:15, I was on my way to the race. I was greeted by a gorgeous sunrise and I tried to really take in the beauty of the early morning.

racing sunrise
The sunrise that greeted me as I drove to to my first triathlon

Arriving at the venue, I was happy to see I still had plenty of time to get set up. I unloaded my bike and took an easy ride over the run course, which I knew only from a map. I was glad I did, as it clarified the route for me as well as landmarks on distance. It was a lovely little ride, and nice to move a bit.

Returning to my car, I got the rest of my gear and headed to the transition area. Now that was a bustling and crowded place, as we each found a spot on the racks, which were labeled by swim heats. I laid out my gear, borrowing arrangements from those nearby who appeared to have some experience. Then, I got marked up, with my competitor number written on an arm and leg. Now I am a triathlete!

Marked and semi-organized, I headed to the gym, which was the swim staging area. We greeted each other “heat 5, lane 1” and then sorted ourselves into swimming order based on anticipated times. After that, it was a bit of hurry up and wait, as we all hung out, chatting, stretching, warming up as we waited for our heat to be called. That my fellow competitors were friendly and welcoming made this pleasurable, and kept any nerves I might have had at bay.

Our group is finally called to the water. We walk single file to the deep end, receiving high fives of support from the spectators as we pass. My sister Deb and BA are part of the cheering section, and I feel happy and excited, ready to go. Then heat five is in the water, swimming away. My swim went as anticipated, steady pacing and comfortable.

Out of the pool, I jog over to transition, get dressed and put my helmet on, grab my bike and I’m off. Two laps of the course; and I’m feeling pretty good, pushing myself a little, even passing a few folks. The big time road bikers fly by, those of us on more modest bikes with less trained bodies trade places back and forth. Back into transition, I find my spot, hang up my bike, take off my helmet and begin the run.

Oh, these are the brick legs I’ve heard about. Heavy, calves wanting to cramp. Distinctly unpleasant. I walked, then jogged, then walked, and finally hit a decent running rhythm towards the end of the first mile. I’m chugging along, noticing the warming day, and quite aware of my minimal running training. Then I’m around the final corner, heading up the hill to the finish. The end is in sight, I can do this. BA and my sister cheer me on as I finish. I did it! 

After water, some hugs and a little rest in the shade, enjoying being done, I head over to check the results. I finished 5/7 in the 60-64 female group, and 50/79 women overall. This suggests that the older women entered are a tough group. My time is 1:20, which is a pleasant surprise. Based on my training times, I had hoped for 1:30, not including time for transition. I was pushing harder on my bike ride than I realized, which could explain the brick legs. Happy and tired, I collect my gear, load things up and head home where I celebrate with a rejuvenating shower. A fine mornings work!



8 thoughts on “Tri this: Race Day!

  1. Congratulations Steph, this is so amazing. You look so proud and happy in that picture–and so STRONG 💪🏽💪🏽. It’s been so inspiring to follow your journey and to now see you see it all the way through–I read this whole thing with a big smile on my face.
    Enjoy your success–this was a big one! Can’t wait to hear what’s next–whether it’s racing or life 😉. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice job Steph! My forst tri at a mini tri, I, like you, found that passing a few women on my bike really pumped me up!! From then on I looked for others ahead of me and enjoyed the building momentum. I was excited to have official numbers on my arms and legs.
    I kept my tyvex numbers for years and they hung on a wall near my bike:-)
    Yesterday morning 4 years ago Beth died in Flagstaff. It seems much longer ago than that. I miss her lots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its kind of a fun thing, being part of the race, isn’t it! Not sure what I’ll do with my number. At the moment its in the pile on my desk. Time will tell.
      Hard to believe its been four years since our river trip, and Beth’s dying. Seems both yesterday and a very long time ago. I imagine that she has left a huge hole in your heart. I really enjoyed knowing her, even if only for a week. Love and hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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