2 weeks ago, I completed the Nations Triathlon. Well, it was actually turned into a Biathlon because the Potomac’s water didn’t meet regulation for “full human body contact” aka, it was full of poop…. again.
2/3 of a tri? Big bummer. Waking up at 5AM to complete a swim, bike and run? Fun! Waking up at 5 AM to just bike and run? Boo. I seriously considered not showing up until I had a little a nostalgic moment.
On the Saturday before the race, Steven drove me to pick up my packet and help me rack my bike. Yes, this may sound familiar becauseee……
He did the same thing last year at my very FIRST triathlon!
As we walked my bike to the transition this year, I remembered so vividly that first tri, the one that really started it all! I remember Steven parking the Subaru on ohio drive, bike in tow, being SO nervous, speed walking the bike down the street, having no idea how to rack my bike, looking at every other bike there to figure out what I was supposed to do, wondering what I was doing there, regretting ever signing up…I was on the verge of a meltdown.
I also remembered Steven speed walking every step with me, waiting for me to finish checking, checking and triple checking that my bike was OK to leave…then re-checking that I had everything done right and holding my hand as we walked back to the car, reassuring me that my freak-outs were for nothing.
Now here we were, a year later, traveling that same path, but our pace had slowed a bit. I found my number on the rack, threw my bike up and we left. It took about half the time it did before. But Steven was still there, holding my hand back to the car.
“Yeah” i said to myself. “I have to do this race.”
I woke up on Sunday morning, hopped in an uber and headed to transition. Unlike last year, I wasn’t racing alone. I was racing as a part of DC Tri Club AND with my friend Lauren (www.flowwithdelight.com). I met Lauren because of this blog and have really come to value her friendship and encouragement over the past year so I was so pumped we would be starting the race together.
After some putsing around and last minute high fives, we were off! The race began as if we had just finished the swim…except way faster. 3 at a time, we sprinted down the transition shoot and into the bike rack area. I grabbed my bike, clipped in and we were off for a 40K ride.
The ride was exactly the same as last year, except I would be doing 2 loops instead of one. This was really tough, mentally, to grasp. Last year, I struggled through each pull and push of my little bike and I remember at the end, I felt like I was going to die. And that was just 1 loop!
This year, I pushed and pulled (in clipless pedals I might add!) the two full loops 6 miles an hour faster than last year. Did I get passed by a million people? No…
A million and two.
I still SUCK at cycling but I am progressing! Starting in the first wave did not help my case but I still had an awesome time.
The beginning of the run sucked, as bricks normally do. But this time, I had the mental image of having to run a 10K instead of a 5. A big difference after a 40K bike! All was going well, until mile 3 when the sun came out a blazing. I was a hot tamale. A woman at the water stop told me stick ice down my bra and in my hat and I was in no position to judge her methods…so I did. What a relief!
Miles 4 and 5 were still rough. A 76 year old woman passed me and honestly, it lifted me up. That is what I love about triathlon. There is not one BODY that does it. I have seen so many amazing athletes and there is not one box where they fit. I had this one moment to finish, and so, I did.
I crossed the line in under 3 hours, plopped on the ground, met up with Lauren and then we where all athletes go after a race….brunch:-)
I had so many comparisons during the race from year 1 to year 2…the biggest one is how much stronger I felt this year going double the distance. I am so thankful for what triathlon has brought to me: strength, friendships and happiness. Here is to many more years for tri-ing:-)