I woke up Saturday at about 4:30, 4:45 in the morning. I was wanting to get up at five to leave early, but I must have been too warm, had to go to the bathroom, or just plain anxious about not being late. And I was having nervous dreams – like being up somewhere high and balancing about to fall to my certain death or being buried alive in a cave, trapped forever underground.
And being late! Man, that would horrible. I’ve put so much into this, months of training, getting too busy to train, then training hard to make up for the last time. I’ve invested money into this too! A new bike, all sorts of equipment, gym membership, and time. OH MY, the TIME! Hours of being on my bike, hours being in the pool, waking up early to train, going to bed early cause I’m exhausted from the the running, the biking, the swimming. Such an investment can’t be allowed to self-destruct with such lax negligence! Nervous I shall sleep!
I am blessed to have such an amazing girlfriend, that she was at my house at 5:30 ready to go with me to cheer me on (with homemade signs). I am blessed to have two good friends to support me and show up at 5:45. We all loaded up in the car and hit the road.
So we got to the parking lot after much driving in the dark and fog. I unloaded all my stuff and set it up in the transition area, my bike on the rack, my towel out with my bike shoes and running shoes laid out. I when and got my number written with black sharpie on my arm and calf, and had an S 26 put on the back of my calf to tell everyone that I’m doing the shorter race and I am twenty-six years old.
I warmed up in the cold water. Okay, I never really was warm, but I just wanted some blood flowing through my muscles. There was a lot of waiting around, being cold, and being wet before the pre race talk at 8. I wasn’t really nervous, I was too busy trying to be ready. We talked and set up my transition area, looked at everyone’s bikes, and killed some time. The pre race talk was started and we were all down by the launch ramp where the swim segment started. A CHP came up and told the coordinator that we had to delay ten minutes. So more talking we did.
Eventually it was time for the longer race to get into the water and get started. The excitement was pretty high. They counted down then sounded an airhorn and off the “crazy” (crazier) people went into the water. It was my races time to toe the line and get ready. Ten minutes to go. We watched them swim, fidgeted nervously, and then it was only one minute. I put on my swimcap, put on my goggles, and got ready. Then…
IT WAS TIME TO GO!!!!
And into the water we raced! Or walked slowly and kind of swam awkwardly around, trying not to hit anyone, or get kicked in the groin (I did deflect a kick). Swimming in open water is just a completely different thing than swimming in a pool. A 500 yrd swim in a pool is a 5, maybe 6 minute ordeal, with a slight break and a powerful wall push every 25 yards. There’s a nice line underneath you so you can see how straight you are swimming, and you don’t have to do anything extra to navigate. In open water though, it’s just you and your stroke. You might as well just close your eyes underwater, because they don’t really do anything. You can’t breathe right, cause you also have to look to see if you are going in circles or not. You have to avoid running into other people. AND, you have a swim cap on. Which, I found out, makes your head float and makes it even harder to get in the right posture for some good, strong, efficient swimming.
And 500 yards in open water is somehow much more tiring. Maybe it was that I wasn’t completely warmed up by the time it was time to start, or something, but once I got within the last 100 yd, I was tired. I was thinking how much I was going to enjoy stopping and taking a little break at the end and resting. But one little thing I remembered – I’m in my race and I can’t stop!
Yes, it’s silly, but it wasn’t until that point that I realized I was actually doing this thing! I was in it, there was no more stopping cause I feel like it’s an off day like when it was practice. This was the “you only have this one chance” that I have been practicing for, and thinking about since May 14. 5 whole months of my life devoted to this thing. 20 to 30 pounds of my flesh given (gladly given, but that’s not the point) to this endeavor and it’s right here and right now!
With that renewed sense of purpose and drive, I swam to the shoreline, stood up and “jogged” out of the water and to the transition area (it was kind of a funny looking jog). I took off my goggles, my swim cap, dried off my feet, put socks on, put my shoes on, threw my shirt on, my sunglasses and my helmet, grab my bike and took off!
I really enjoyed the bike part. I passed people. People passed me. I passed some of them again. I did ride off the road once, and had my chain come off once, but I finished in what I felt was really good time.
Now comes the fun part. Running.
I got back to the transition area, and took off my helmet and shoes and tied my running shoes on. And I felt winded. Like, “okay, let’s just sit down and wait an hour to get my breathe back. But no, there was that pesky little “race” concept popping up it’s head again. So off I went.
Running sucks. I sucks all the time. It sucks normally, it sucks when I’m being chased by a Dinosaur. It especially sucks when you’ve just swam, then rode your bike for 16 miles. But anyway off I ran. Then walked. Then ran. Then walked. So on and so forth, for the whole 3.1 miles of the 5k part of my race. I didn’t pass anyone and tons of people passed me. Well, that’s not true, cause I passed a whole lot of boy scouts. BUT, they weren’t running and were instead doing team building exercises. Never in my life had I wanted to be a boy scout more. Heck, if I could have stopped running and racing, I would’ve become a girl scout.
So through two camps of boy scouts I ran*, then through two camps of boy scouts I ran back through (*Read run for a while, then walk for a 30 seconds, repeat). I did run through the finish line, and I must say – It was flippin’ sweat. I had people cheering me on, and I didn’t have to run ever again!
I placed 7th out of 9 in my age group, and 38th in Men’s overall with the time of 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 25 seconds. I beat my two goals I had for this race, the first being “not coming in last” and the second being “under 2 hours”. I didn’t beat them by much though, and I am slightly disappointed in myself for that. I’m pretty sure I could have pushed myself a little harder. But, oh well, what can I do about that now?
So what’s next? I don’t know. But not running for at least 2 more days – I’m enjoying my free time a little too much.