I decided that Maumee Bay would be my first Oly Tri because I was already familiar with the course and I knew it was flat and not very technical. I'm still not great at riding my tri bike on hills and I am well aware that my handling skills need work. I was pretty nervous to move up to the next distance because I wasn't sure how my body would respond and though I thought I had put in enough milage, I know nothing about quality training and since I can't afford coaching I have no idea if I'm training "right" for longer distances. However, I wanted to enjoy the day and was looking forward to building my confidence.
Saturday was the kids' races and my 7 year old worked hard to better herself on her duathlon and had a good race. I'll spare you the proud mommy 10 paragraph write up and just post some pictures and say that she paced herself running, passed several people on the bike, and then was a little too tired to run as fast as I would have liked her to on the last 1/2 mile, but she did sprint to the end after some encouragement.
Biking towards transition
Crossing the finish line!
And she won 1st place in her age group again! We know that there were at least 2 girls in her age group. One girl quit on the bike portion. The other girl finished, but we wonder if she was in the wrong age group? She was never called during the awards for the 8 year olds even though she had an 8 on her leg.
We hung around long enough to pick up my packet and then headed to lunch and home to rest. I went alone the next morning because I knew it would be a long day for my hubby to keep 3 kids happy. Happy Father's day to him!
I should mention at this time that I started getting sick on Friday. I wasn't exactly sure if I had a cold or a sinus infection. I slept with lot of vicks on and it helped break it up a little. I did the same Saturday night, but Sunday morning I was still congested. Thankfully my mom suggested a generic antihistamine that seemed to help me a bit with the pressure. Nothing could stop the cough fits though.
I arrived at 6:45am and got marked and picked up my timing chip. I got my bike in transition. I made several trips to my car because forgot things or didn't think about how to keep a car key dry while I was tri-ing without someone there to keep it for me! I managed to get it all figured out and got my wetsuit on in time to walk out into the water and cool off. I talked to a few women doing the Oly so I could understand where exactly we were swimming to and from.
When it was time for our race to start I was relaxed and ready to go. As much as I hate to admit it, I was a little happy that I was "sick" because I knew I could use that to convince myself to take it easy. It was my "out" to go my own pace. I hate to admit it, but I'm very competitive. The bad part is- I'm not very good and I get depressed that I don't do well in my age group! When really, I should just be happy that I finish!
The swim was nice and easy except that I ran into the slower men about 1/4 of the way though and then the faster wave of the 70.3 caught up to me about 1/2 of the way though and so I was sort of turned around trying to navigate the washing machine effect when I started my second loop. It was hard to turn the corner and swim with the masses and have the sun blinding you while you tried to sight. I managed to get back into my groove and pick up the speed until the very end when I ran into another group and couldn't find a decent way around them. I was the second in my age group out of the water and only missed being 1st by 10 seconds. I was pretty happy with my swim. I estimated 40 minutes and was out in 32 minutes. I was extremely excited to look at my watch and see a 31 as I was running up the beach. The timing mat put me at 32:00 when I crossed into T1.
Unfortunately for me, being sick meant that I was also struggling to breathe the entire swim and deep breathing after the swim meant I started coughing. Once I started coughing, I couldn't stop. I sat in transition longer than I wanted, but I knew I needed to get my breathing under control. My T1 time was over 4 minutes, but I had to stop the coughing. I kept telling myself- It's MY race and I wasn't racing anyone but myself.
I went out on my bike and saw a new friend at the mount line. I was so happy to see someone I knew. She hugged me and wished me luck and off I went. The wind picked up on the bike and I think I passed only one person the whole time, but I felt like I kept up a decent pace for me. I was passed by a LOT of people. That's generally what happens when you are a good swimmer.... all of the people who are not good swimmers get out of the water and then bust a$$ on the bike to make up for it and pass those of us who swam well but suck on the bike! My bike average pace was slow in comparison to everyone else, but a decent pace for me considering it was windy. It's where I will continue to focus my work. When I got off the bike my friend was there taking pictures and ready to hug me again! It was such a welcome sight for me because everyone else had family there and my family couldn't be there.
Again, I was coughing and I spent more time in transition that what I should have, but I wanted to be sure I was ready to head out. It was MY race. I wasn't going to win and I wanted to enjoy it. I calmed down and went out for my run.
The run was hard. My legs were tired. I was tired. It was HOT. The sun was out and there were very few clouds in the sky. The volunteers were sweet and trying to be helpful, but all I wanted was to pour water over my head! I kept coughing and unfortunately when I coughing I couldn't stop. I had to keep stoping to cough because when I got into a coughing fit and couldn't stop, I would end up throwing up anything I recently had to drink. People were worried about me, thinking that it was that I was sick from all the "work" I was doing... nope, just coughing too much! I would try to explain it to them between coughs, but they just looked confused.
Eventually, I'd get myself moving again and I kept repeating to myself, JUST. KEEP. MOVING. FORWARD. I saw things along the way that motivated me too. I saw a bird's feather that reminded me of my girls because they were picking them up the day before. I saw a pretty bird that was singing sweetly and that reminded me of my friend Kim who love birds and would have loved to hear that bird. I saw a guy watching for a runner that looked just like my dad and I could have sworn it was my dad until I saw the guy's face. All of those things made me feel like God was watching over me and urging me forward for those that love me.
I made progress. Sometimes I ran (slowly) for awhile and then I had to walk. I spent a lot of time thinking. I kept thinking back to when I decided to sign up for the Rev3 70.3 at Cedar Point. I was scared when I made that decision. I've been scared about that decision since the day I signed up, but during the race, I suddenly had peace about it. I wasn't sure why. I certainly felt like CRAP at that moment, WHY would I suddenly be ok with 70.3 miles??? It didn't make sense to me.
I did a lot of wondering and searching for the answer to that question and realized that the longer distance gave me confidence because I didn't feel the anxiety of a RACE. Sprints make me feel like I have to race other people. The longer distances are more about dealing with those struggles that come from within. I knew I could finish the Oly on Sunday. It wasn't about finishing FAST. I gave myself the permission to not finish fast and so the only struggle I had to deal with was the mental battle I had to wager with myself. At CP 70.3 I am VERY well aware that it will NOT be about going fast. There is no chance that I will finish in the top 3. I'm more concerned with finishing at all. CP 70.3 is more about the metal struggle that I will endure. I am more excited about that than I am "racing" anyone. I don't enjoy racing. I don't enjoy the spring races because I don't like losing because I can't control how good others are. I can only control how good I am. BUT, when it comes to endurance, I CAN control when I keep going and when I quit.
I absolutely love longer distances than I do sprint races. I am 100% sure that I would prefer to do an oly over a sprint race and I am 100% sure I will enjoy the 70.3 and want to do more....someday.
I mean....look at how happy I was just before the finish!