I will be quite frank, my husband had convinced me to do a triathlon with him and it was Maine 70.3. I agreed but I had a really tough time beginning to train for this event. I have been a runner for the last 4 years and had gotten on my road bike about half a dozen times since I bought it 5 years ago.
Prior to signing up for this race I had been training for a weekend of running for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. My original plan was to do that race and get back into lifting. I really wanted to take a break from endurance sports. well My better half got the best of me and it was right back into training after my in Disney.
After the Disney I had injured my hamstring and was unable to compete in one for the races and had a horrible time in another race I had in March. I was truly not off to a good start. The injury nor my mentality were what was needed to take on this crazy challenge. Once I found a few training programs and created my own I got into a grove.
That my husband and I had never ever done a triathlon we decided it may be smart to sign up for a sprint. I did quite well in it and the positive thoughts started flowing. “I COULD do this!” The thoughts stayed until we went of vacation and we practiced open water swimming for the first time in the lake. I was doing great, I felt great until I couldn’t see anything and all of a sudden my chest got tight and i couldn’t breath. I got on my back for a bit then tried again. Every time after that initial freak out I could not have my face in the water. Despite being a strong swimmer from July to the race I was not feeling too confident about the swim.
My thoughts from then on out was I just have to complete it.
Wednesday, August 23 we climbed into the packed car and headed to Maine. Training had been going well but the reality that the race was here didn’t hit until we were walking into town and saw them setting up Ironman Village.
The plan was Thursday to go on an early morning slow 3 mile run, Friday off completely and Saturday morning join the group swim. The run was good and the swim was ok. I THANKFULLY did not have the tight chest or anxiety, but when I looked at my watch when we got out I yelled to Tom “I’m slower than what I had hoped” This amazing woman over heard and reassured me that I would be fine. She told me how the first leg is the hardest as you are going against the current and told me every tri she did in her first year she side stroked the swim and finished everyone in the time cutoff. That definitely made me feel better about going into Sunday.
That afternoon we went to the athlete meetings and put our bikes into transition. Keeping the advice of the coordinator in mind I made mental landmarks of where my bike was racked to hopefully help me on race day.
We decided to have our big pasta dinner on Friday, so on Saturday we made chicken, broccoli and rice while being mindful that we need to have a substantial amount of carbs on our plate. After dinner I put all our race gear out, While doing so I found the blue AWESOME bracelet that the REV3 races include in race packets so the athletes can give them to someone who has been AWESOME either throughout their training or on race day. Tom and I decided that although our parents definitely deserved them because we could not have gotten in our long training weekends without them taking our little princess, that the bracelets were truly meant for her. This little girl had been such a trooper. From going on training runs with me, being dropped at the gym daycare for the max 2 hours or shoved in front of the TV so I could train, to being dropped off which seemed like almost every weekend with a grandparent. It didn’t hit me how much she was sacrificing until she asked my husband and I “you leaving me again?”
Tranistion opened at 4:30am, we planned to get there for then. Not to long after thanking our little munchkin for being AWESOME we left her in my mom’s hands and headed to bed. Alarms were set for 3:00 and 3:30 am. The alarm went off at 3:30 I took my thyroid pill and started to get out of bed. While waiting to be able to eat I rolled out, stretched, and did a little yoga. Once 4am rolled around I made an almond butter, banana and honey sandwich. While eating and sipping my coffee and praying I would poop before heading off to transition we made our bottles and packed them up. Around 4:30am we headed down to transition to set up our area. I knew I had way too much food but would rather be safe than sorry. I set up everything as neat as I could, we found my former student who was doing the race and headed down to the water for a practice swim.
As we walked down to the beach, I munched on some Skratch raspeberry gummies, tried to not think about how cold it was and just watched the sun rise. The beach was packed. I was trying to just do some deep breathing. We got into the water and it was cold, 60.3 degrees. We swam a bit then hopped on out and waited till they told us to go.
The swim start was suppose to be a self seeded with putting two athletes into the water every 2 seconds. It unfortunately did not go as planned. There were no markers to help us indicate where we should line up so became more of a first come first serve. Tom and I stood side by side waiting and waiting. About 6:40 am I started my watch and together we ran into the ocean.
I tried my best to stay towards the right but kept ending up closer to the bouyes. I was getting trampled over, shoved, pushed around, it was a stampede and if you were slower than the pack you better be watching out! It didn’t take long for me to have to get into a side stroke position. Trying to catch my breath and at this point just telling myself to move, I did not have high hopes in completing this endevour. I truly thought I was going to need to get pulled. I side stroked for a while then tried to get back into a crawl stoke. I kept at this until I made the first turn. Once I finished that first leg the group of swimmers seemed to have thinned out. I was able to get out to the right side and just swam. It was the best I felt out of the three legs. The water was a bit choppy (or at least it felt that way) and I swelled a little bit of water causing me to side stroke only a few time on that second leg. Once I turned onto that third leg I tried to just go and put in all my effort. I again started to get clumped around people and the anxiety started again. But at this point I could see the shore I just needed to keep on swimming!
I got out and looked at my watch. Pissed because it had taken me a minute longer than my pool trial I headed to the wet-suit strippers. Wet-suit off, I thought the guy was going to help me up but I was surly mistaken and as I went to get up the calf cramped up a little bit. I ran (more like trotted) to transition. I hit my watch as I got into transition and it had gone to bike. I must of accidentally hit it while swimming or getting off my wet-suit. At that point I was like “Whatever just go!” I knew I was the second section and I ran into transition and ran down the second row. “Where the hell is my bike! Oh shit, I’m in the wrong row!” I quickly got to my bike, but was frazzled from the swim. I shoved a half of ABJ down my throat and as I was putting on my shoes I saw Tom running in and I knew I was slow and needed to speed up. Shoes on, I got my helmet on and grabbed a 2 rice balls, 2 Skratch gummy bags, 2 apricot date balls and a half of ABJ. 2 Skratch hydration bottles and 2 SIS jels. Once I got myself together I ran out of transition an on the bike, T1 had taken me 13 minutes. As I left T1 my watch had somehow gone into run mode which actually helped as I was able to see my mile splits (knowing what I usually average I was able to gauge the bike).Thwas a crash right around the corner. All I could think was crap, that looks so bad. Just go! Just go!. I got into a grove that felt good. Personally I felt the hills for the first 25 miles. It was tough from me and I was having chain trouble. Every time I chained out of my granny gear the chain wouldn’t move and if I didn’t chain up (I think that’s the right lingo) quick enough in both the big and little gears the chain would fall off. It was a total of 3 times I had to get my chain back on. About every 45 minutes I was eating something. At the rest stops I grabbed water and a half of banana. Otherwise I ate what I had. The only think I wish I had more of was ABJ. I was hungrier than I thought I was going to be. I pushed hard during the flats and hills to try and make up some of the time I lost on the hills, fixing the chain and pee break. Nutrition for the bike was: 2 SIS Apple Jels, 1/2 ABJ, 1 Skratch gummy package, 1/2 banana, 2 honey sesame rice balls, 2 bottles of Skratch passion fruit hydration, 2 bottles of water.
I pulled into T2, looking at my watch and I was just at that 4 hour mark. I had projected it would take me a full 4 hours but of course hoped for something a little quicker. I again pulled into the wrong row, once I got to my area I racked my bike, I ate the apricot balls as I was quite hungry, grabbed 2 more and some SIS and Skratch gummmies.
Thinking of my training and my last half marathon I made sure I was fueling ever 4 miles and more if needed. I also made sure to stop and drink water at every test station. As I knew I was sweating a lot and didn’t want what happened in Disney to happen today (I was extremely dehydrated at the end of the race as I did not hydrate properly during). I was feeling great, flying past people who past me on the bike. Then mike 9.5 cam and the legs said “yeah your done!” I have never experienced my legs feeling like cement bricks before but, I guess there is a first time for everything. As the run course was an out and back I knew I wasn’t far. I decided for the next mile just go at what’s comfortable. Mile 11 came and I started to push. At this point if I have anything left in my I need to use it. I DID NOT want to cross that finish line thinking I could of pushed a little harder. Mile 12 came and I pushed some more, I pushed as mush as I could to the finish line. I heard those who finished cheering me on and it was pure motivation. Then I hear a guy from my summer running group yelling my name cheering me and waving. I can see the peer, I cross the street and there is the finish line. I cross at around 7.5 hours and who do I see my mom and Ari cheering! It was seriously the BEST way to end having my mini me so excited saying I won the race!
The days following I surprisingly was not as sore as I had anticipated. Making sure I was moving I walked and incorporated 2 protein shakes into my diet for the next 3 days to help aid in recovery.