…I think I finally feel like an athlete.
Number two triathlon down and it went better than I had hoped, even better than my first one. I’m much, much more tired and a little sore, but the race was incredible.
I am not sure why this race was so much more emotional than my first one. I think it helped that J. was able to be there, but from everything I read, the Danskin triathlons are really pretty amazing productions, and this one was by far no exception. Plus…it was at Disney!! How often do you get to run through the park with only 1350 of your closest friends?
And although, I obviously didn’t meet all of the participants, the few I did meet were so friendly, excited and inspiring…it was really moving.
So the race details – this is mostly for me so I have it all down and won’t forget it, not that I think I will any time soon.
The abridged version: I finished strong and much better than anticipated.
If you are really interested in the unabridged version (and have a half hour!), read on…
We “Disney’d” all day yesterday, and then came back to the hotel and took a little swim, had a little dinner (pasta for me!) from room service, and watched the fireworks from our room. The girls finally fell in bed by 9:45pm exhausted.
Looking back, Mommy and Daddy should have followed and jumped into bed as well, but I was too keyed up. So I used J.’s laptop to go over the course race again and to read some inspirational blogs from other triathletes. I think it was after 11pm when we finally shut the lights off.
And then I was up. every. hour. on. the. hour.
I think it was partly nerves, partly excitement, partly the worry that I would not wake up in time and would be the last person into the lagoon. Oh, yeah. I’m sure it was also some anxiousness about swimming that lagoon, as well. Anyhow. Not a lot of sleep. And then around 4am Addie woke up and was not going back to sleep and woke Em up as well.
I had set the alarm for 4:30am to ensure that I would be able to get to the transition area to set up my equipment and scope everything out by 5:00am. J. decided that it wasn’t worth trying to get the girls back to sleep for 45 minutes, so he turned on cartoons and let them kind of zone out.
I ate my banana and protein bar and kissed them all goodbye. Off to find the transition area.
I thought I would be able to cut through the California Adventure park since that is where the swimming/running was going to take place, so I headed that way through Downtown Disney. Which, by the way, was really cool. Riding my bike, the sun is just starting to come out, and I was pretty much the only person on the street. Well, except for the guy hosing down the “street.” It was eerily calm and peaceful. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t panic a little when I got to the park and the front gates were in fact, NOT open. I ended up riding the very long way around to the lot where we set up our gear. But I guess it was a nice warm-up.
Got to the transition area, got a pretty decent spot about mid-way down the rack. My rack was the fifth one in – so very far from the swim/run entrance, but close to the the pad for the biking. In the end it really wasn’t a big deal, but it was just one more thing to get me worked up.
After getting organized, I got in line for the bathrooms. The ONLY complaint I have about the entire event…not enough bathrooms! I was in line at 5:20 or so, and I got up to the front of the line when J. and the girls found me at probably 5:50 or so. Ick. He called me to figure out where to meet him and I told him I absolutely could not step out of line, I had waited so very long.
We said a quick “goodbye” and I got in line for the swim.
And then it hit me.
First they sang the national anthem and I found myself getting teary. And then there were a group of women who were all running in memory of their Dads and I struggled very hard to not lose it at that point. The Danskin is a fund-raiser supporting the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help find a cure for cancer, and there are a lot of survivors who run the race, and of course a lot of people running in memory of someone. So just standing there among all of these amazing women was pretty powerful and made me very thankful, and a bit more weepy.
Finally I got close enough to the water to really see it, and although I did scope it out yesterday and it looked a little ominous, on dry land it seems not so large – totally do-able. But when I’m standing there in my swimsuit ready to jump into the lagoon, and I can barely see the turn buoy…it made it all a little too real. I kinda freaked a bit.
This is not completely abnormal with me. I am a pretty strong swimmer, and I’ve been working on my stroke and breathing and I felt pretty confident I could do the distance, but I really, no REALLY don’t like to swim in water that is, well…creepy looking. When J. and I scuba dive I always need like a minute to relax in the water, get my breathing, before we head down. And that is in ocean water that I can usually “see” in.
Supposedly the lagoon at DCA has brown food-coloring to make it look “lagoon-like” and has never had any body or thing swim in it. But even telling myself that, I couldn’t stop the freak-out. There was a fantastic woman next to me who had done a few open water tris and she pretty much talked me down from the ledge. By the time I got to the water (they do the start in waves, I was a red swimcap, in wave #7) I was calm and jumped in and sort of felt out the water. The water was really warm, like 80 degrees. I think it would have been better without the goggles though. Warm, brown water…ick.
But then I looked up and could see J. and the girls and I yelled, “Peanut!” and she jumped up and down, “Hi Momma!!” That was all I needed. A little gut-check and I started the swim.
But holy crap the swim was long. It wasn’t (technically it was .35 miles) but I would get behind someone who would just stop, or would flip over and start doing the backstroke, so I felt like I spent a lot more time going “around” people than I did going in the right direction. And around every buoy I kept thinking, “Ok, halfway there.” Wrong. I was not. I never really felt like I got into a good stroke, but finally the end appeared and they help pull you out. It was over, but then I thought that my legs were just going to just collapse. And what did I do? I started running because I was still worried about the “hike” back to the bike. Except, we were running on asphalt (which…ouch!) and it was wet (which…slippery!) so it was an “interesting” little run back to the area.
Swim Time: 14:53 (rank 764 out of 1332…yikes)
My transition time wasn’t too hurt with the slippery slide back to the bike. I learned a few things definitely for next time. (Yeah, there will be a next time apparently?!)
First Transition: 3:29
Then I hopped on the bike, which is totally my strongest event. Again, my bike ROCKS! Oh, I love it so. She and I made up a bunch of time – flew around the parks, passed people left and right – including the people that were walking the hill. And then my back brake started making this really weird, not normal sound. So, I changed up my game plan a bit, and avoided my brakes entirely. Seemed to work just fine.
Bike Time: 36:01 (rank 461/1332…Woot much better!)
My second transition went pretty smoothly. Not a lot of the bikes on my rack were back yet, so I was able to get it up there get my shoes changed, pull on my very green hat (so J. and the girls could spot me) and start to weave my way to the run.
Second Transition: 1:35
Note, I use the term weave very loosely here. It was more like a stumble/forward fall/walk type a thing. It is really hard to run after you have swam and biked hard like that. It took me well into the first mile til I found my running groove. I did stop and walk the water station and get some sport jelly beans. But was able to push through fairly easily. It was so, so very cool to get to run through the park though. At one point I was the only person running through the little Bug’s Life part. So I did stop and just take that in for a minute. I’m certain that is a once in a lifetime thing.
The Disney volunteers were the only ones allowed in the park part at that point but they were so fun and cheering us along – it was helpful, for sure.
Then we broke out of the park and that was it. The finish line! I saw J. and the girls as I came across the line and waved. They heard my name called, I did not – but that is one very cool thing about the chip-timed races. They call your name as you cross the finish line (and I get all of my results broken down for me!)
Run Time: 19:19 (rank 415/1332….getting better!)
Final Time: 1:15:19 and my final rank 427/1332 – and in my age group 82/179
I was so very happy. I kept telling myself that I just wanted to finish. Especially with the longer swim, but I was secretly pleased that I not only beat my goal time (1:40), but I beat my Pasadena time, too.
I know, I know different course, different distances, different specifics. But I am just going to think of it as me getting stronger, smarter and faster. And, me! An athlete!