Do you know that feeling when you finally book your vacation and it is months and months away? You feel like that moment is so far away. You feel like it will just never get here. Well, that is exactly how I felt this past January. My sister, Ellen, called me and asked if I wanted to participate in the Outdoor Divas Triathlon with her. What?! Me?! A Triathlon?! Then the words just flew out of my mouth..."Sure! I'll do it with you!" What?! Me?! A Triathlon?! Oh no!
I looked down at my overweight body and let out a deep depressing sigh. How in the world am I going to get ready for this? Well, the event really isn't until August. I have plenty of time to get ready for it. So, I signed up for Weight Watchers and started training. At first I was just trying to get the weight off. Trying to get my body ready for the abuse of a tri.
As August neared I started to get anxious. I started to doubt myself. What was I thinking? August was still so far away. I have plenty of time.
Ellen would call me about once a month to see where my progress was. Neither of us had gotten in the pool yet to train. Ellen was a lifeguard as a teenager and we have always been good swimmers. She has done lots of cycling trips and living in Denver, CO they can bike just about anywhere. I've participated in many 5k races and feel good about my level of training there. Again, August is so far away. We have plenty of time.
As July 4th rolls around I realize that I only have about 6 weeks left to train. Yikes! I start my swim and bike training. I'm surprised how much fun I have swimming laps and riding on the greenway in Charlotte. Ok...August is approaching and I think I am getting close to ready.
As my parents come to my house to watch the boys while Tod and I head to Colorado for the Triathlon, I realize that the moment is here. The panic sets in. Am I truly ready for this?
Ellen and Jim had a fun Friday night planned for us. We head to Red Rocks to see Rodrigo y Gabriela in concert. Tod and I have been wanting to see a show here and it was such a bonus to be able to see Rodrigo y Gabriela!!
Here we all are during the show. Tod, Me, Ellen and Jim
We pick up our race packets at the Outdoor Divas store. It is now official. We have all of our goodies and our race numbers.
The morning of the event I wake having slept maybe 3 or 4 hours. Ellen and I quietly get ready while Jim loads our bikes in the car. I cannot tell you how many times I have packed and repacked my bag for the tri. I've mentally checked and double checked everything in the bag. What if I forgot something?
The 45 minute drive up to Longmont, CO was full of nervous laughter between Ellen and I. We watched a beautiful purple sunrise rise over the plains to our right and shine on the Rockies to our left. We approached the reservoir where the event took place and the truly fearful nervousness sunk in. We are actually doing this. We parked....immediately found the porta-potties...then unloaded the car.
The first order of business was to get inked. Volunteers wrote our number and our age at the end of the year on our arms and leg. I don't think I will ever forget the number 1154.
We set up our bikes in the transition area. There were 500 participants. All women. All nervous.
Each participant got a little piece of real estate the size of a towel next to your bike. I laid everything out in order of when I would need it. Questioned my organization and rearranged it several times. This was the final layout.
The announcement came that we all needed to go to the START area for an event meeting to explain the course and get hyped up for the race. We slowly herded ourselves to the waterfront where 500 women stood with nervous smiles. There were obvious seasoned veterans and obvious first timers. Women of all shapes and sizes.
As they explained the course it was so quiet. All of us paid close attention to what was expected of us and what we expected of them. Then they said..."5 minutes until the first wave!" Oh geesh. Here we go. We were in the 4th wave to start out of 8 waves. Right in the middle. The horn sounds for the first wave to go.....cheers follow.
Our turn. We enter the water and get ourselves used to the chilly water. It is a waist deep start for a 750 meter swim. "One minute!" My heart starts to pound. I can feel it in my ears. I cannot even catch my breath. "HHHHOOOONNNKKKKK!" Ok...here we go! Ellen and I start in the back of the pack on purpose. We want to stick together. I got a good kick in the side followed by a very friendly, "I'm so sorry...you ok?" Every participant was so sweet and supportive. But, I couldn't find Ellen. I yell her name and she is struggling. I talk to her and encourage her to keep moving. It is hard to swim when all you see is open water and the shore is behind you. We stay together and make it through in under 24 minutes. A record for me.
We have an easy transition to the bikes and start our 12.4 mile ride. It took me about 1/2 mile to get used to my bike. I rented it out there and it is very different than my little Target bike that I trained on. This bike is lighter and faster. We are able to stick together on this portion of the race as well. The route was very flat and fast. We finished in under an hour!
Now for the run portion. At this point I feel good. I feel like I can run 10 miles. I'm surprised at how good I actually feel. Then before we hit the one mile marker I start to fade. I just cannot get enough oxygen into my system. I tell Ellen that I have to walk for a few feet. She says that it is the altitude that is getting to me. This is the most strenuous portion of the tri and I need to make sure I can finish. After we pass the one mile marker we run again. Ellen encouraged me all the way. She kept saying.."we will run to that rock, ok...now we will run to that white truck, ok..now we will run to that orange cone...." I needed that support just to get me to the finish.
Here we are just before the finish line. And yes...those are smiles!!!
I am still in a bit of disbelief that I actually participated in a triathlon. Yes! Me! A Triathlon! And we were able to celebrate!!
I must thank Ellen for all of her encouragement and support throughout the event. She kept saying, "It's not a race! It's an EVENT!!" and "Just going for a swim in the lake!" and "Just gonna go for a quick bike ride!" and "Just going for a little run through a corn field!" I needed that kind of casualness to calm my nerves. Thank you to my parents for helping us with the boys. It was exactly what I needed to have Tod there at the finish line rooting me on. Thank you to all of my family and dear friends who supported me. I had all of your encouraging words with me the entire event. I also want to say a big thank you to my doubters. Yes, there are always doubters. After losing 30 pounds and completing a triathlon, all I want to say is... HA! In your face! Ahhh...that sure felt good.
I have stepped way out of my box. I mean WAY out of my box! As a reward to myself for completing the Triathlon....I got my nose pierced! Yay me!
It's official! Jacob is a second grader!! He looked so different going off to school this morning. He looked so much older. He wasn't nervous, scared...just excited. I have to admit....I kinda miss him already!!
Last week I went blueberry picking with my Mother. We drove up into the mountains off a little country road and up a dirt driveway to find a little brick house and two small pups to welcome us. There was a little old man with coveralls walking toward us from the back part of his property. My Mom shouted, "We are here to pick blueberries!" He shouted back, "Well, help yourself!" We started walking back toward the street. I finally noticed the dozens of blueberry bushes. They were huge! Probably 8 feet tall and just as big around. These bushes were loaded! Loaded with bright purple-blue berries.
My Mom started picking right away. I decided to get right in the middle. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by blueberries. All you had to do is put your bucket under a branch and run your hand along the berries and they would just fall into the bucket. The unripe ones left on the bush for later picking. I only found one inch worm and a couple of spiders. No snakes - thankfully. It was perfectly peaceful.
After picking 3 gallons worth we walked up to the carport and paid the nice man. My Mother asked him how old his blueberry bushes were. He said he planted them in 1975. Holy cow! I am two years older then those plants!
I now have all of these blueberries. I will need to learn to bake a pie! For now we are enjoying blueberry smoothies.