Friday, July 3, 2009

Danskin SheRox Triathlon

I know I know some of you have been patiently waiting for this report. As you know my new job is keeping me very busy and with a 2+ hour commute each day I'm exhausted by the time I get home. But, finally, here it is!

Sunday June 28th the alarm went of at 4:05 so that I would be up early enough to get some food in me a few hours prior to the race. I got up, ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich and got dressed. Grabbed my bag which I packed the day before and my bike and off I went. I parked in the lot about a mile from the race site, got my gear together and headed toward transition. I had no idea that riding with a heavily packed bag on my back would feel so different!

I got my transition area set up and did a walk through the race plan with entrances and exits from each event. The water had a small amount of chop but nothing bad. Weather was perfection for racing. I went back to my transition spot and got my wetsuit on to go for a warm up swim. Unfortunately when I got down they told use we weren't allowed to swim but I could get in and get wet at least which I did.

Mom and Gary (my stepdad) just barely made it to transition in time for me to hand off my camera to her and get a good luck hug and then went to line up to start the race. As the National Anthem played I realized it was the first time since junior high that it had been played for an athletic event that I was competing in!

Next thing I knew the elite racers were in the water and the gun went off. I couldn't see them from my vantage point of being surrounded by 1062 incredible women triathletes. When it came my time I moved forward and positioned myself toward the back and outside as was my plan. We waved back toward the crowd as is tradition at this race and then the gun went off. I waded to swim depth and off I went. My asthma gave me some trouble and I started to wonder if I'd make it. I wasn't able to put my face in the water yet which was really hurting my speed and making me more tired. I came upon a woman who was panicked so I stopped to assist her and we got a kayak to her. This break actually gave me a moment to relax and when I restarted I felt more in control. Just before half way I was finally able to swim with my face in the water and started passing people who had been passing me. I came out of the water tired but happy with the swim over all, making my way as quickly as I could up to transition, stripping my wetsuit to my waist as I went.

At T1 I removed my wetsuit, added socks and shoes, helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and headed toward the exit. I know I picked up time here as people were doing all sorts of random things in transition (towel drying hair!). I left transition wading through lots of bike traffic but definitely making up position. I only had a few people pass me on the bike and I was able to pass a lot. I felt good although wish my climbing had been a bit better. Not sure why my legs didn't want to work.

I came into T2 feeling pretty good. I dropped off my bike, switched shoes, grabbed my hat, inhaler, race belt with number and a sip of water and was off. The run was really tough for me. Made even more difficult when about 1/3 of the way through I realized my timing chip was missing. Something about that just dashed my spirits and made it tougher to push myself. Fortunately I saw some friends along the way and they cheered for me which helped. I made my way toward the finish and was able to run the last mile completely.

Nearing the finish my dear friend Gaye was right there and she cheered me into a finishing kick. I passed by Sheila Taormina who is touring with the Danskin race and who I'd had the pleasure of chatting with a couple of times. She recognized me and gave me an extra big cheer and I remembered what she taught us in the motivational talk. "Gambare" means to keep going in Japanese and I'd repeated it many times over the last month and a half through the layoff and training. As I finished I realized that it didn't matter that officially I would show a DNF because nobody could take away the fact that I am now a TRIATHLETE!!!!

The motto of this particular race is "She Swims, She Rides, She Runs, SheRox!" and a week later I still feel like I rock. What an incredible sport to be a part of and I can't wait for the next one.

This VIDEO is pics from the day set to a song that I heard for the first time on the radio while driving to the race. I think it's quite fitting!