Monday, September 10, 2012

Triathlon recap #2

Once again I will start my triathlon recap by briefly going through the night before the race.

Friday night:  Left work early (and stressed out) to give myself plenty of time to get to the Olympic Basin at Parc Jean-Drapeau to scope out the event site and pick up my race kit. I walked around the transition area which was still not fully set up, watched the swimmers in the water and had a quick look at the exhibition booths set up. Double checked at the wetsuit tent that that was where I would need to go for my wetsuit pick-up on Saturday.  Attended pre-race meeting and then headed home. Managed to get home and get some food into me before Nick showed up. He let me flap around as much as I needed (and also reminded to breathe) and we said goodnight around 10:30pm.

Saturday, race day:  Was awake around 3am thanks to the drunken fools leaving the bar around the corner (and this with earplugs!). Possibly the cops showed up. I was just glad it wasn’t me that had to call. Dozed for a bit but by 4am I was really awake and really nervous.

Earlier in the week I’d checked last year’s race results and was astounded by the times. They were fast. If I did the same race this time as I did last week, I would place 28 out of 30 in my age group. This was hard to take. I knew I didn’t want to be last but I thought if I just pushed myself a little harder, maybe, if I was lucky, I could manage 25 out of 30. In all honesty, I just didn’t think I had it in me. I remembered the words of former IronMan Champion (several times over) Pierre Lavoie, who I’d heard speak Friday morning, when it gets tough, think of the people supporting you, even if you can’t see them or hear them. Do your race, not somebody else’s. So I said, OK, I know I can do a 1:40, and if I push myself the same way I used to in a dragon boat competition, I’m pretty sure I can do it in 1:30. Why not? I’ve been training. I have the distances down. I have no serious injuries (and my shoulder can easily be ignored for a few hours). I’m healthy. I can do this! So that was it, I decided I would do it in 1:30. I knew I would have no idea how I was doing in the swim but I could watch my time on the bike and run and push it when I needed to.

Forced myself to stay in bed until 6am and then got up for some coffee, another coat of nail polish and some kind of food. Nick got up an hour later and convinced me to eat a bagel. It was hard to get it down. I was so nervous I could hardly swallow. We left just before 8am and headed over to the Basin.

Just like last week, we scored a great parking spot. This time right beside the F1 track so we were able to see the first IronMan participants on the bike course. Nick was in awe. I was knock-kneed with nervousness. On site I picked up my race chip, got my body marked with my bib number and age, then went to set up in the transition area. Nick had a look at the expo and the pricy gear and accessories for sale. He was worried it would be an expensive day for him.

We walked around a bit. Watched the bikers at the hairpin turn and then had a seat in the stands for a bit. At 9:45am we headed over to pick up wetsuit. Next thing I knew it was time to get that on. Just as I was heading over to do that, we ran into an old dragon boat friend, also doing the Sprint Tri, and she told me a great tip for the swim:  keep to the right and watch for the cord that goes along the bottom of the basin, it’s attached to the buoys. By following this cord, I’ll be able to swim in a straight line without having to sight so much. Nice. At about 10:20am, Nick had just zipped me up and I’d handed him my flip-flops and was heading into the swim area when I heard my mom calling out to me. There, practically beside me, were my Mom & Dad! They each gave me a hug and kiss and it was time for me to go in. I warmed up my shoulders a bit and then got in the water. Did a short swim just to get some water in the wetsuit. The water in the Basin was so murky! And it was colder than Mooney’s Bay last week. They announced 2 minutes until start time. Kept moving. 30 seconds and then the horn blasted. I was off.

This time I made I started closer to the front of the pack and was determined to stay to the right side. I didn’t want to swim any further than necessary. The first few minutes were terrible. I couldn’t swim. Couldn’t get a proper full stroke in. Kept hitting people and got hit plenty myself. Not in my face, thank goodness. Couldn’t believe how murky the water was. Gross. The bottom of the basin just looked slimy, not sandy and clear like last week. Space around me was opening up now. Good. But the waves! What happened to the nice calm water? It was gone. There were waves all over. I choked down a couple of mouthfuls as I tried to breathe on my left. Tried to breathe on the right; same thing. Ugh. Kept swimming. Breathing on the right was better though because I could see the buoy beside me. It was close. Moved over to the left just a little. No need to get a penalty from the refs just now. Going around the first buoy to cross the basin, as I sighted ahead of me I could see there weren’t a lot of people ahead of me. I kept running into a woman in front of me. Felt bad, tried to keep myself straight. Swimming back down the basin suddenly it was so much easier to breathe. Felt good. Kept my eyes on the cord along the bottom of the basin and followed that. Coming up to the last big orange buoy, I remembered that Nick told me to start kicking hard here to get the blood flowing back into my legs. I would need it to get myself up over the bridge when I got out of the water. Last big orange buoy appeared and I started kicking. Crazy but I could actually feel the blood in my legs. My legs were feeling hot all of sudden. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to walk. Who cares? Crawl if I need to, just keep kicking.

Came out of the water and my parents and brother Eric were right there in the corner shouting to me. Awesome! I’d finished the swim. As I crossed the mat after the swim, I started pulling down the zipper of the wetsuit but it got stuck. I saw Nick and shouted for him. He tried to help me and got it down as far as he could. He struggled with that and told me to get my arms out. Once I had that done, I kept going through to transition. Here’s where I got into problems. I managed to get the wetsuit over my hips and down past my knees but even though I was sitting down, I just couldn’t move it past my ankles. Took a deep breath and tried not to panic. Saw some women come into the transition area and get changed fast. They were off. I cursed to myself. A. Lot. But slowly, slowly got the wetsuit past my ankles. It was torturous. Now that it was off, I threw on my heart rate monitor (why I bothered at this point, I don’t know), t-shirt, race belt on, dried my now filthy feet to get some of the sand and rocks off, got my socks and shoes on, tucked in my laces, helmet on, gloves and sunglasses. Got my bike off the rack and started running with it to the mount line. Got on it and didn’t worry that my feet weren’t in the cages. Knew I could get them in without looking.
Finally, onto the track and hit my watch to track the time. Going up the reverse direction of the track was disconcerting at first, and keeping to the left also pretty disorienting but I quickly settled into the bike. Had a few sips of water and settled down a little. I knew it had taken me a long time to get changed and was frustrated no end. But I had to get over it and focus now on the bike ride. Going up the river side of the track it was windy but I was able to maintain about 25km/h on Nick’s bike. Wild. Maybe I’d be able to do this in 40 minutes! Came across the top end of the track after a short incline and then started going downhill. Picked up speed, more speed. Changed gear again. More speed. Hit 35km/h. Hit 40km/h. Wooohooo! Felt better now that I knew I could still have a good race on the bike. Coming down into the hairpin turn I hoped to see my family and I did. There they were! Shouting out to me, “Go, Stef, go!” That was awesome. Slowed down a lot to get around the turn (stay on the bike, stay on the bike), stay on the bike) and just as I thought I’d be able to pick up some speed again, the wind slammed right into me. Crap. No speed here. Maintained a steady 24-25km/h again on the second lap up the river side of the track. Pushed it harder going down the straight-away, got the bike over 40km/h in two spots. This track is incredible! This bike is fantastic! At the end of lap 2, my family were there again. Shouting out encouragement to me. Started lap 3. Again with the wind. Ugh. Really felt it now. Maybe the wind was picking up. On this lap I noticed small twigs on the track, along with the leaves that had already fallen. Started thinking about what would happen if it rained. Repeated my mantra:  stay on the bike, stay on the bike. Coming down the straight away kept pushing, passing people but no matter how fast I went, there was always somebody else passing me. Whatever. Just do my race, don’t think about them. Kept pushing. End of lap 3, see the family again and try to give them a smile, if they’re taking pictures. Not sure if they’ll see it. Start lap 4 and the wind is definitely picking up. Pretty sure I dropped down to about 22 or 23km/h. Yes, it was my last lap but I still had to run 5km and my legs were tired. Had a sip of water. Started worrying about the run. Bad. It was too early to think about that. Got my focus back on the bike. Noticed more twigs on the track. Some bottles that had fallen off bikes. Stay on the bike. Stay on the bike. Coming down the straight away decided to push it as hard as possible. Never mind what else was coming. Knew I’d hit about 46km/h but quickly got my attention back on the track. Now wasn’t sure if this was my third or fourth lap. Crap. Where was I? The bike computer said 17 something kilometers. My watch said 33 minutes.  33 minutes? But that’s not possible. Did I still have one more lap to go? Started calculating in my head but I knew that if I did another one I’d be over 20km and I knew that the course was short. Came up to the hairpin turn and shouted out to my family “Am I done?” My mom shouted back, “YES!” Taking her at her word, I pulled to the right of the track and headed back along the road towards the dismount area. Checked my watch. 35 minutes?!  Oh boy, I sure hoped I didn’t have another lap to do. But I’d made it, stayed on the bike. Started running with the bike through the transition area. Yikes, there people everywhere. Volunteers shouting to keep the path clear but I wasn’t sure if they were yelling at me or what. Made my way over to my spot. Got the bike on the stand. Pulled my run bottle out, got that into my race belt and turned it around.

My transition spot was as close as possible to the start of the run, so I immediately started running. Felt awful. Legs were like concrete. Might as well have been walking. Ugh. Running along behind the hangars there was dust and debris flying all over the place. Had to cover my nose just to be able to breathe. Up the small incline and onto the track along the top of the basin, beside the seaway. It was my first time running up there. I had no idea it was just a dirt and gravel track! Ugh. More wind, more dust. Kept running. Short and quick. Short and quick. Nick’s running advice was still in my head. Kept my strides short and quick. Don’t know how quick they were but I was passing people. Slowly but surely. Of course there were a few passing me too, probably just to keep my ego in place. Kept moving. Saw the casino across the basin. Knew I’d done 1km and that meant only 4km more to go. Thank God. Legs still felt heavy and I realised I never did any spinning on the bike before getting off. I didn't give my legs a chance to get that running feeling while still on the bike. That's why this felt harder than last week. Or maybe I’d overdone it by pushing so hard on the bike. Maybe I’d kicked too much on the swim. Kept running. Bad thoughts in my head. Couldn’t get rid of them. Somehow I kept moving and made it to the far end of the basin. Seeing the 2000m marker made me realize (duh) that I was more than halfway finished the run. I only had another 2km left to run. I could run 2km! Yes, I can do this! Checked my watch. Huh. It looked like my time was OK after all. Maybe I could pull off a 1:30. I would try. No pain, no glory – I remembered Chuck, my old dragon boat coach telling us that one night in the gym. Yes, dragon boat – think of all the people cheering me on for this:  Janic, TT, M-Pi, Anne, Annie, Panoy, Chuck. And my family. And Yvette and Cecilia. They would want me to push it. Nick, who’d told me to push it. Now was the time! My legs felt OK. Picked up my pace a little. Lots more people on the track now. Some people walking, some running fast, some slowly but everybody was moving. Yes, I could do this. Sip of water. Watched the markers on the side of the basin. 1500m, 1000m. That meant only 1km left! I really could do this. 500m. Picked up the pace again. I could totally do this! Just over 2 minutes in a dragon boat. I’d told Nick I would sprint the last 250m and when that marker came up I said (possibly out loud …) “In 3, 2, 1 – FINISH!” So I sprinted that last 250m and I gave it everything I had. There was a guy ahead of me and I gave it a little more just so I could catch him at that last stretch going into the finishing chute. I saw my family by the rails and they shouted out to me. There were right there! It felt like I flew past them and then I was through the finish and a volunteer was handing me a bottle of water and taking the timing chip bracelet off of my ankle. I was done! I did it!

Walked out of the finishing area and waited for my family to catch up to me. In a minute they were all there; Nick, Eric and my parents. They took some pictures and started telling me that I’d finished my swim in less than 15 minutes! Incredible! That meant that if my watch was right, I may have actually done it in 1 hour 30 minutes. Too much! We chatted for a few minutes and then Eric and my parents headed home while Nick and I picked up my gear. First I got my lunch from the participants tent, then picked up my gear, returned the wetsuit and we headed home.

At home Nick took the seat off his bike and put it back on mine while I had a shower. When I came out he asked me to look at something. He was looking at his computer screen and showed me what he had up. It was the race results. Are you ready for this? Because I wasn’t!

My final times:
Total:  1:25:16.5
Place:  313 out of 592 participants, 14 out of 28 in my age group (women 40-44) [Editor’s note:  who was worried about placing 25th???], 109 out of 264 (gender place).
Swim, 750m:  13:50.9 – 2nd out of 28!!! (I very nearly cried when Nick told me this)
Bike, 20km:  46:08 – 23rd out of 28 (thanks to all that time lost struggling to get out of the wetsuit *sigh*)
Run, 5km:  25:17.9 – 11th out of 28!!! (if I’d done a sprint from the 500m mark, I might have shaved 13 seconds off my time and finished the run in the top 10, but STILL, 11th place!)

I really don’t know how, but I managed to beat my own personal goal by a full 5 minutes. That is just incredible to me. Wow. What a day! Even with the wetsuit fiasco, I still placed far better than I ever hoped I could. Too much.

Now that it’s all over, I can say I’m proud of myself.  I set a goal and reached it. Good for me.

Special thanks to Nick for coming into town just for this, and of course for loaning me Eric’s old Peugeot bike. Huge thanks to Eric and my parents for trekking all over Montreal on the metro to come by and catch a few glimpses of me over the course of a few hours on a Saturday morning. It meant the world to me to have people I care for cheer for me and me alone. Because I’ll tell you, it’s just not the same when a volunteer at the race shouts at you to keep going. It made all the difference in the world to me. Thank you.

Triathlon #2 (or where I put another check beside Life List #97)

Still lots of stuff going through my head since Saturday's race.  It was an incredible experience and I'm glad I had the first race in me to help me through the complete unknown factor of racing a sprint triathlon.

This time it was a bigger competition. There were 28 women in my age category, not just 11. Somehow I finished smack dab in the middle at 14th place. This is beyond my wildest dreams. Last week I had gone and checked the results of the race in 2011 and discovered how fast the times were. At first this intimidated so much that the best I possibly hoped for was to finish 25-30th place. Maybe if I hadn't read those 2011 results that's what would've happened. But I did read them and that competitive edge I learned from dragon boating asserted itself. I placed myself closer to the start of the swim, I swam faster, I ran through transition (even if I did get stuck in my wetsuit but that'll be another post), I pushed it on the bike (hit 46km/h!) and after what felt like a lame first 2km run, I pushed it on the run too.

The result?  I finished in 1:25:16.

1 hour, 25 minutes, 16 seconds.


Last week, Nick asked me if I could do this week's race in 1:39.  I said yes, I would aim for that and I knew it was totally do-able.  Friday night/Saturday morning I had decided that I would aim for 1 hour 30 minutes, which I already thought was pretty aggressive. I don't know what happened but I knocked another 5 full minutes off that time as well.

For now, I'm quite happy to put another check mark beside Life Life #97 - Complete a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon.

I'll write my post-race analysis soon but until then, pictures from the race are here. Special and huge thanks to Nick for coming in from Ottawa just to watch and take pictures.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Post-race analysis

My brother Nick has very nicely analysed my race from Saturday (thanks, Nick!). He's good at this stuff and it makes me happy to read.  Here's what he says:

In my age group (women, duh, 40-44 years old), I was:
6th out of the water
6th off the bike
2nd in the run

[Editor's note:  What the what?!]

He goes on to say:  "That’s insane. You had the SECOND fastest time in your age group on the run. By THIRTY seconds. You missed third by two and a half minutes, BUT you only missed SECOND by THREE minutes. Are you kidding me??? That’s insane. And it was your first."

How cool is that, people?

Notes from Nick regarding this coming Saturday's race (oh help, it's in 2 days!):  I should have "a relaxed swim, be a little quicker in T1, push the bike nicely, be quick in T2, and push the run."

Notes from me about this Saturday's race, other than "oh help, it's in 2 days":  Worried about the rain and how far I'll slide if I fall off the bike. Also, after checking last year's race results, the times are FAST, so after the main goal of finishing, the next one is to stay on the bike and finally, have fun.  Oh yes, and breathe.  I may have my priorities mixed up a bit right now but they'll sort themselves out eventually.

PS - start doing sun dances or something for Saturday, please and thank you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Triathlon recap

In case it wasn't clear in my last post, pictures of the triathlon are here.

Now onto the breakdown of the day (warning: this will be long and boring for a lot of people, just so you know), starting of course, with the pre-race day.

Arrived in Ottawa 3pm, picked up wetsuits, went to site, picked up race kits, attended Nick's pre-race meeting, figured out how to move from transition zones, late dinner, unpack and repack bag for race, prepare drinks/water/food, celebrated Wesley's birthday and my own with some belated presents and slept 2 hours. The following 4 hours or so were spent going through each part of the race in my mind, over and over and over and (decided somewhere in there to change from a white sports bra to a navy coloured one, more on this later), you get the idea.

Race day:
Gave up trying to sleep. Nick and I left early and arrived on site to score a prime free parking spot. As we were pulling our stuff out of the van, I asked Nick if it was too late to back out now.  But I did not back out!  Set up bike, wetsuit, gear for transitions, finished drinking my smoothie, went for a last stop to the bathroom and slithered into the wetsuit.

7:30am:  pre-race meeting at the beach. Nerves mounting. After Nick left me at the beach, took some wise advice and did a short 2-3 minute swim warm up. Good thing - found the sight and feel of the weeds quite overwhelming, felt panicky, short of breath, turned around and swam back just using breast stroke. Watched the 2-3 races start ahead of me. Was surprised by the sound of 100+ people running into the water all at once. Kept rotating my shoulders, swinging my arms, trying to keep my upper body loose.  A woman asked me how I liked my wetsuit. I told her I really liked it and she asked how much I'd paid. She was surprised to learn I'd rented it for only $30 for the day. She complimented me on how it looked. Admittedly, I thought it made me look incredible.

8:10am:  horn sounded, found myself toward the end of the pack and waded in with the other 118 women. Started swimming breast stroke up to the turn around the first buoy before heading straight out to the 300m mark. The weeds were gone by the time I hit the first buoy and suddenly I knew I could do this but my breathing was too fast and I couldn't wait three strokes to breathe, had to breathe every two and found this comforting. A few strokes of crawl and found I keep running into people. Weird because I really didn't think I was moving fast. Changed to breast stroke to get some space and then onto crawl again to pass a few more people. Then continued onto crawl and tried to sight every 10 strokes. Swimming all over the place, far to the left, then far to the right, then touching up beside somebody. More sighting but could only do it on the right because of where the sun was coming up on the left. Good thing I can breathe on both sides. But all of a sudden I'd passed a bunch of people and then realised that the person beside me wasn't wearing a wetsuit and it was a man. Passed him and then soon found myself at the turn around point. Going around that I passed another man, then onto the back stretch and passed another guy there.  Huh - didn't the men start 10 minutes before the women? Anyway, on the way back down the course swam way off course to the left here and thought I was about to end up in the middle of the river but finally lifted my head and swam back in. Kept to the left of the crowd and was able to swim past more people. Coming up to the last buoy, passed another 2 guys discussing whether they were supposed to swim past a certain buoy or not. Did my turn and swam up so far that all of a sudden my arms were hitting the sand. Came up onto shore and spent a good 10-15 seconds hunting for my flip flops that Nick said he'd leave for me beside a tree. Nothing to find because apparently I was about 10 minutes early finishing the swim and Nick wasn't even back down at the beach yet. Started running up the path, over to the Transition Zone and discovered that running in a wet wetsuit is heavy. Did not expect that.  Later I saw pictures that an official race day photographer had taken and was glad the navy sports bra won out because there would've been some embarrassing pictures if I'd kept to the white one. (Enough about that, right? Right.)

Transition 1 (or T1, if you speak "Tri" language): Found my transition spot easily enough thanks to my Swiss flag flying at my spot. Pulled the wetsuit down past my knees (as practiced) and then sat down on my towel and managed to pull each leg out, slowly, but without panicking that I couldn't get the suit off. Dried off a little with a second towel, got my socks/shoes on, got my heart rate strap around me, t-shirt on, then watch, smeared some sunscreen on my face, lip balm on my lips, pulled on my bike helmet and clipped it closed, sunglasses on and gloves. Ready to go.

8:33am: Ran over to the Mount/Dismount line and started the 30km bike ride. Within the first 5 minutes the laces on my left shoe fell out of my shoe and got caught on the bike pedal. Wondered if I should pull over and fix them or not. In the end decided to just do it before I did have an accident and would rather lose 20 seconds than have an accident. Pulled over to the side and tucked them back in securely. Back on the bike, felt the headwind Nick had told me about but managed to maintain a speed somewhere between 27-28km/h. The bike felt good. Spent a few minutes adjusting to the different feel of it. Let some people pass me as I worked on my breathing and trying to control it. Felt nervous again and knew I had to just get over it and remind myself that this was a race - a RACE, not just an early morning training ride.  Took a couple of deep breaths and shrugged my shoulders and honestly, before I knew it I was coming up to the first turn at the 7.5km mark. The ride back was good. Started passing people. A few people passed me, then I would pass them and we played that game for a bit. Came up to the start of the 2nd lap and found that it had taken me 33 minutes to do the first 15km. Had to laugh at myself a bit as I remembered my panic late last week when it took me 25 minutes to do 7.3km.  Things were moving much differently now.  The second lap seemed to go pretty much as the first. Pushed a bit going down the hills so I could gain some speed, also was able to change gears without looking down - hooray!  As I was coming up to the turn-around point, I could feel I needed to pee and remembered there was a Johnny-on-the-spot at some point on the course. Wondered if I would see it early enough to have time to jump off and use it. As it turns out, I was moving too quickly (!) when it did appear and I figured I was close enough to the end that I could just hold it until I was back in the Transition Zone.  I did worry about the state of my legs and how quickly/slowly I'd be running if I kept up this pace, so I started spinning out my legs a bit earlier than I should have. Oh well. I still managed to finish the 30km in 1h 04m (according to my watch). Apparently it took me another 4 minutes to go from the finish of the bike, through the dismount and down the path into the Transition Zone. I did try to run at first, with my bike, but couldn't do it. The grass was so bumpy and my nerves were back, making my legs wobbly again. Decided to just walk it through. In the end I'm glad I did. I avoided falling over or otherwise muddling things up.

T2: Back at my spot, got the bike handle bars over the bar securely and let go of my bike. I was so worried about getting disqualified for touching my bike without my helmet that I think that was the last thing I took off before heading out for the run. Anyway, turned my race belt around and got my run bottle in place, put on some more lip balm and was all ready to try to find the bathroom when I realised I didn't really need to pee as badly as I thought while on the bike. Figured it was just the position of being hunched over, and I knew I could hold it for 25 minutes, so I decided to just run. As I ran out of the stadium, I quickly tried to see if my family was in the stands. Didn't look like it, so off I went.

9:44am:  Legs felt heavy, heavy, heavy. Heavier than any of the bricks or practice tri's I'd done previously. Told myself to take it easy to start with, got my breathing under control again and just kept moving. Passed a few people, some older, some younger - that felt good. Just kept moving. Onto the street portion of the run, felt very much alone, there were people coming back the other way but not many heading out ahead of me. Got onto Revelstoke and there were suddenly a few people ahead of me. Slowly I passed one, then another, then another. Kept going along this road looking for the turnaround point but it never came. Followed the road to the end and there was a lone volunteer cheering on each racer as we turned around at this point. Felt good to hear somebody shout out my name. Now that I knew I was at the halfway point of the run, I knew I could finish this and feel good about it. I'd already done the hard work. Kept my pace steady, had a sip of water, kept going. The way back seemed shorter somehow. Probably because now I knew where I was going and just how much closer I was to the finish line. Coming back through the park, passed a few more people and then noticed I was on the path with some people coming out the water from their swims. That meant I was really close now!  And I was. Up the little hill, around the corner and into the stadium.  There was a woman a few seconds ahead of me. Looked up at the stands to see if my family was there yet but it didn't seem like it. Last few metres and that was it.

10:10am:  I finished a sprint triathlon in exactly 2 hours and 58 seconds (didn't know that at the time).  Had some water, a banana and picked up my finishers medal. Walked around in front of the stands to see if my family was there and I'd just missed them. Nobody around. Went back to the athletes area and finally went to the bathroom. Back to my transition spot, reapplied some sunscreen, topped up my water bottle and sat down to stretch for a few minutes. Wasn't quite sure what to do at this point, didn't know where the family was so headed back to the main area. Walked in front of the stands again, walked around the registration tent and gear sales tents. Couldn't see anybody I knew. Back to the stands and waited. Finally around 10:30 my mom showed up and that's when we realised that they had missed me on the bike and they thought I had had an accident (not unheard of for me, haha), so they were still waiting at the bike dismount zone. Mom took me to get a coffee and a cookie, then back to the stands to wait for the rest of the family.  A few minutes after that Sue appeared and my Dad showed up with my niece and nephew.

They told me how Nick was doing in his own race (half Ironman, if you please). He had done well on his swim and was into his ride and ahead of schedule. They'd all seen him and were able to shout out to him.

Closing in on the end of the morning and I wanted to get home for a shower and a change of clothes. So that's what we did.  We came back in the early afternoon and were able to see Nick at various stages of his run and for his big finish. He finished his race in 5 hours 35 minutes (I think. Sorry, if I got that wrong, Nick.)

Later in the afternoon, one of Nick's friends was able to tell me that I'd finished my race in 4th place (!!!), out of 11 women in my age group, and 51st place of 119 women doing the sprint triathlon. Wow. Just wow. I never in a thousand years thought I could finish so well. It's true I didn't want to finish last but squarely in the middle of the pack, with women of all ages? Nope. And 4th for my age group?!  Never. It never even crossed my mind that I could be in the top 5.

All in all a great day. Yes, there were a few things I would change, but I cannot complain at the final result.

Now all that's left is to finish Saturday's race here in Montreal. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

#97 - Complete a Triathlon (Sprint or Olympic distance)

Item #97 on my Life List was:  Complete a triathlon (sprint or Olympic distance)

I say was because - I DID IT!!!  I can't believe it but I really did it!  Yesterday I completed my first ever sprint triathlon.  And next Saturday I'm going to do it again.  I swear, I hardly even know who I am anymore ... pictures of bikes and running shoes to represent me on facebook, two bikes and a bike pump sitting in my dining room.

So yeah - I've thought a lot about what I might say about doing a triathlon and I still have some more thinking to do before I write about it.

For now though, huge thanks to my family and friends for supporting me with words of encouragement or equipment over the last few months, and listening to me gripe and complain about all the aches, pains and early wake-up calls to go and train.  I couldn't have done it without you.  As cliché as it may be, here are some lyrics taken from a wonderful little John Lennon/ Paul McCartney song, "I get by with a little help from my friends, I am going to try [tri - sorry, couldn't help it!] with a little help from my friends."