The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Tri Truth

Arrive at Lakeside Park, get set up, notice all the really incredibly fit-looking athletes, feel a bit intimidated, but quickly banish those thoughts. Take some photos with my tri-friends and tri-DH. Having fun. Put on my wetsuit, start to feel nervous. I am in the 6th wave, standing on the beach watching how slowly the swimmers are moving through the water and how far away that big yellow buoy seems. Decide I would like to go home. Quickly banish that thought. Line up at the waters edge, all the way at the back of the wave, on the inside. The horn blows and I wait 2 or 3 seconds to let everyone else hit the water and then I very gently dive in. The water is not nearly as cold as last week, and I fall into my own slow even rhythm. Just about the time I am turning around, the faster swimmers in the next wave start to swim over me. I gasp and snort a bit, but keep on moving forward. The swim was mentally the most challenging. I had to keep focused on maintaining that rhythm and not thinking about how slow I was moving. I am in the water for 15 minutes and it feels like much longer. But I tell myself the hardest part is done.

My bike is the only one still on the rack. I feel my confidence falling away, but I remind myself it's my race. By the time I get the wetsuit off and my socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, and glasses on, I have settled down a bit and I'm off on the bike. After a half mile, I am smiling because it feels so good and I feel so good about what I am doing. I am getting passed by athletes with much higher numbers (which means they started way after me). I don't let it bother me because it's my race and they can't take that away from me! I go as hard as I can, hit the turnaround, tried to keep the pace, hit T2, and head out for the run. The run was physically the most difficult. I was hoping the feeling would ease after 1/2 mile or so, but I never really got comfortable. All I saw was the road, and all I kept thinking was keep going, don't stop. The higher numbers are still passing me. Oh well. Then I see one lady really struggling and she is wearing a much lower number. I pass her! Yeah, I passed someone, I won't be dead last! I hear the crowds, I see the finish line! I did it.

I finished in 1:46 (1/3 mi swim, 12 mi ride, 3 mi run). I am 386 in a field of 423. I am 12/13 in my age group. So no trophy. I am slow. I will never be fast. I am convinced that all the training in the world ain't gonna make me faster. It may make it easier, but I don't think I'm going to find much speed. But I feel great and I am a triathlete!


Kttrue said...

Girl, you are awesome. You may have been 12th in your age group, but how many woman your age are there who would never even think of doing what you did? You are 12th out of thousands, millions of women your age who are not nearly as strong and fast as you are.

You rock.

Stillwater said...

You go Girl!!
That is awesome!
We are proud of you for training and for doing what you said you'd do :)
I did one Tin Man years ago and the running was the worst part for me..
Of course I've always hated to run even on a good day. LOL
Well done!

leslie said...

Shelly -- WAY TO GO!!! I loved the race report -- felt like I got to experience it with you. I am so happy for you and proud of you. And your mental game is second to none, girl!

leslie said...

Also, you are MILES ahead of all the women in your demographic, like kttrue said, who would never DREAM of attempting a triathlon!

Vickie said...

Congrats on your race. Believe it or not, the miles will eventually become cumulative and you will get faster. The hard thing about triathlon though is that every race, every course, and every day is different, even if you do the same race year after year after year, so your times may always fluctuate due to all that and of course how much training you put in. You should feel proud of your efforts!

Dee said...

I just happened to come across your blog and read this post. I sooooooooo want to do a triathlon. But I keep feeling like I could never do it. You give me hope that maybe some day I can do it too. Congratulations on being a triathlete!!!