The months and months of training have finally culminated in today’s race. April 28, 2012 – The Olympic Triathlon.
The adventure began by checking in to the Quality Inn (which should definitely be prefaced with the word ‘low’). Problem 1: The check-out time is dead smack in the middle of our triathlon. Problem 2: We have been given a smoking room, and all other rooms are booked full of triathletes. Utilizing my finest negotiation skills, a late check-out is bequeathed upon us, and we go on our merry way.
After a triathlon meeting and dinner, we head back to the hotel to prepare for the looming race, where I realize I don’t have any place to hold my bike pump, meaning I am SOL if I get a flat tire on the ride. A few minutes later, as I’m filling my tire up with air, my front tube explodes. I only have one spare tube, which makes the lack of a race day bike pump a moot point.
Whitney sleeps like a log while I have a fitful night’s sleep, endlessly worrying about getting a flat on the bike portion of the race, or getting punched in the face during the swim.
The next morning, Whitney and I wake bright and early, and discuss our breakfast options. I declare I am going to eat the Chobani Greek yogurt from yesterday’s tri meeting, because why would they give it to us, if it wasn’t good race food? Halfway through my dairy breakfast (which I previously thought might be weird to eat before I race, but I’m no expert!), Whitney reads aloud from our triathlon packet “And, we’d like to thank our sponsor, Chobani yogurt….” Oops.
Whitney and I arrive to the race site, set up our bikes and gear and head down to the lake entrance to jump into the open water. A few minutes later, we’re off! The race is ON!
Within two minutes, I cannot see Whitney, and I’ve convinced myself she is ahead of me. One mile later, I run out of the water, and I further convince myself Whitney is ahead of me, as there are legitimately no spectators left, cheering people on. As I sprint out of the lake, I can hear the crickets chirping, and then a lone male voice shout “You got it girl!!”, in a slightly sorry-no-one-else-is-cheering-for-you, kind of way.
I make it to my bike (no flats!), and begin racing to catch up to Whitney so we can ride together. 15 miles later, I finally spot Whitney! Going the opposite direction, as she is actually behind me; I was ghost chasing the whole time!
As it turns out, Whitney had a minor panic attack within minutes of the open water swim, and had to float on her back for a while, finding her happy place. As per the usual, Whitney overcame this obstacle and sought to catch up in the bike portion.
I, on the other hand, am feeling great! Until the halfway portion of the bike, when I turn straight-on to a strong headwind, and begin to question the life decisions I have made (such as, but not limited to, training for a triathlon). Then comes the cramps. It begins to dawn on me that the remainder of this hilly course will be a fight against my body. But will I give up? No, I won’t!! I will prevail! Until I get a flat….
Just kidding. I make it back to the bike corral, switch into running shoes and head out for the last leg! As I’m rounding the first corner, a stranger starts yelling at me “You can do it, girl! Do NOT give up. You fight until the end! You don’t give up, sister!”, to which I can only think “How slow am I going?!?” I had no intention of giving up; clearly, that stranger did not know me very well.
A few minutes later,I cross Whitney on her bike, call out for her to grab body glide in the transition, as I am horribly chafing, and we conduct a body glide pass off a few miles later. As I grab the body glide, I shout out “good job, Whitney”, to which she growls, “eff, where in the hell is the turnaround?” I think she is ready for this to be over.
One hour later, we are finally finished! Whitney and I have somewhat successfully finished our first triathlon! Final times:
Shortly after the race, I’m surprised with a first place award for 23 year olds; there may or may not have been any other 23 year olds racing, and I’m 24, but I’ll take it!
After Whitney and I clean up, we head to Austin for our sports massages! My massage therapist navigates around my numerous bruises, tells me I have a runner’s build (how unfortunate I don’t enjoy running), but am splayed foot (that explains my tendency to lose my skis while skiing!), and sends me on my way.
Next up for Whitney and I? An adventure that isn’t prefaced with the phrase “Let’s get this over with”.