It’s hard not to flinch when I look at my finish time for St. Anthony’s, but that’s the time you get when you’ve decided just to travel happily through a triathlon, not racing anyone in particular, not even yourself really, and you’re just out there enjoying the scenery on an adventure toward the finish line. And quite an adventure it was.
It’s not normal for me to do this in this manner, mind you, I usually at the very least get the minimum amount of training in so as to be competitive at least and bust a gut trying my hardest and fastest to beat and pass everyone I can. But I wouldn’t necessarily call my 2-3 workouts a week (if that) even the bare minimum in “training” for any olympic distance triathlon. Although I did have a pretty good start to training this year, somewhere over the past three weeks it just sort of fell off.
And well, despite my lack of training, I figured since I am going to be out of commission for at least the next 6 weeks, I’m going to have one last hurrah for a while and go out with a bang. And not care about time.
And so I did.
So after we got there and everything went smoothly through transition (I remembered my sports bra and everything!), my husband and I headed down the beach toward the starting line.
I stood as I always do on the shore as the sun rose and twinkled on the water and I breathed in deeply. God I love triathlon. The energy of a race and the varying degrees of triathletes around me invigorates me. It always makes me feel so alive.
It’s different than a running race, for some reason (that is great in its own way), I think it has something to do with the fact that you’re literally immersed in your surroundings throughout the day: from the water, to the wind and then to the pavement, it all becomes a part of me and I LOVE THAT.
My husband’s wave was a whole hour before mine, so I cheered him on as he took off then I put on my swim cap and goggles and squiggled into my wetsuit (which is never a good look for me what with all the crouching and the bending and pulling and such) and then I went out to practice for about 15 minutes. I like to get a good hard practice in so that once we start, I don’t have to get my cardio under control, I’ve already done it. It’s like the first 15 minutes of any run THAT SUCKS because it takes that time to get into a breathing and running rhythm. This way, I get it all out and I’m ready to rock and roll.
So I went out to practice and the water felt beautiful. I love the ocean. I swam, I basked, I did some floating. The absence of fear was quite refreshing.
Before I knew it, it was time.
We ventured out toward the buoys, all the women, 35-39 in our yellow caps. It was an “in the water” start, which was super calm, none of this running out into the water business and awful bottle neck around the first buoy, we were already there. I really liked that.
The horn sounded and we were off and I just swam.
I wasn’t swimming particularly fast or anything, just going. For a while. There’s really nothing exciting to report here except to note that I didn’t see any wildlife and that was good. It was .9 miles and it seemed to take a while because I was tra-la-la-ing along (fyi: training is always good so that the wave of swimmers behind you doesn’t eventually catch up to you) and eventually I got out and ran to my bike.
For some reason when I was unpacking my transition stuff, I found one of my boys’ tiny socks (how did that get in there?) and so I thought I’d just leave it there on my transition mat for some inspiration and I’m glad I did because I saw that little baby sock there and smiled when I got back from my swim.
I hopped on my bike and off I went.
This is always my favorite part.
The first half went pretty quickly, I remember looking down and feeling comfortable pedaling at about 19.5 mph and I thanked God for letting me race on this day, for my boys, for the wind on my face.
I cried a little in a thankful way and kept pedaling.
A few minutes later a guy passed me and yelled, “ISN’T THIS RIDICULOUSLY FUN???????”
To which I responded, “Actually YES!! YES IT IS!!!”
And I laughed.
The second half was slower than the first on account of the wind, but I love that course and I was having a good old time and I thought also that this is “the cansuh’s” last hurrah ever in this body of mine so it’d better be enjoying itself since on Saturday it’s going to wherever the cansuhs go (where do they go anyway?) and hasta la vista to you!
(FYI: The lack of bike training was evident here not so much in speed but for the crotch soreness. Training really helps in toughening that guy up. Just saying.)
The bike came to an end and I ran into transition, put on my running shoes, hat and shorts and headed on out for the 6.2 miles of party.
Which it was.
Don’t get me wrong, it was actually hot as hell and I had to pee real bad, but I was taking my time and I even took a potty break which I normally don’t do. What I usually do has something to do with pouring water on myself while I’m running to mask the fact that I may or may not have peed while running, you’re welcome. Oh shush, lots of people do it. Sometimes even on the bike, too! (not me though.) We all pee in our wetsuits though. Don’t believe anyone who says they don’t. And be wary of that if you rent one. Just saying.
I did a Jeff Galloway-ish walk-run thing throughout this run course. It is an out and back with beautiful huge waterfront homes on both sides with beautiful landscaping and the residents come out with their hoses and their music and some of them even have St. Anthony’s parties and get drunk while they cheer on the runners and spray us. I allowed the hose spray from everyone who had one, Kelly Clarkson was in my head on the run and my feet moved to “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
I secretly cursed the 7 year old who said, “You can walk at the finish line!” when she caught me in my 1 minute of walking. (Oh YEAH??? YOU can walk at the finish line! Or whatever other mean comeback I have because I can’t think of one!)
I took two waters at every water station, one to sip and one to pour on me and one wonderful spectator had a beer table out and they were giving out beads too and so I stopped for some beads and some beer, YES I DID!
And that was lovely.
I promised myself I would enjoy the entire course and I did.
For a little while a butterfly flew with me as I ran (Hi Grandma!)
The best part of the race was coming down the finish chute and kissing my husband real hard before I sprinted across the line. And being totally overwhelmed with happiness.
Oh sure, I do still have to remind myself that I chose not to go balls to the wall and that I chose to take my time when I see my total running time. After all, you can’t really kill it when you didn’t really train to kill it.
Still, you know what? Bodies are amazing. At the end of the day, mine can still pull out a 3 1/2 hour workout. And I’m VERY thankful for that.
Besides some crotchal soreness from the bike and some overall tiredness, I feel pretty freaking great today.
And that, my friends, is my tale of traveling happily through a triathlon.
34.17541 miles of bliss which comes with a shiny medal.
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