Sunday, August 7, 2011

What did you do this weekend?

15 weeks ago I set out to complete a triathlon.  Yesterday I did just that. 

I think it may have been March that Doug told me about our local Kenai triathlon.  I was so excited until I found out it was on a Sunday.  I got on the internet and started searching for Saturday triathlons and the Why Not Tri in Wasilla is what I found.  It's over 4 hours away, but still "local" considering our location.  I even looked at flying to Utah so Brenden and I could do a triathlon together.  The Kenai triathlon had a kids' race and I wanted so badly for him to do it.

And so, for the last 15 weeks, I swam, biked, or ran 6 days a week.  I had forgotten how much I loved to swim, developed a new obsession for biking, and a tolerance for running.  I still can't say I love it, but it is what it is.  As I said before, it is a good thing it is light in the summer in Alaska until all hours of the night, because there were many nights that I was out riding my bike at midnight or at the track at 11:30 - because I might be able to out-bike a moose (I doubt it), but I certainly can't out-run one.  Doug gets home around 10:00, so that's about the time my training started.  Next time around, I might opt for getting up early, but I can't guarantee it.

Friday we drove the 4.5 hours to Wasilla, with a stop at REI, the store that my children groan when we pull up to.  (Brenden once told me that I wasn't ever allowed back there because I wasted 3 hours and $400, so now we couldn't buy him any more Pokemon cards.)  We drove the bike and run routes and found the incredibly nice triathlon coordinator to ask all of my questions.  I have heard it said before that triathletes are some of the nicest people on the planet and I truly believe it now.  That night, the coordinator, who had to have been stressed out of her mind, put me at ease and two volunteers, who happen to also be triathletes, looked through my lists and mentally walked me through my transitions.

We found some dinner, headed to the hotel, and then I decided I NEEDED a lap-counting watch, so I went to Fred Meyer at 10:30, when I should have already been asleep.  I found a watch, went back to the hotel, freaked out for a while, and then tried to sleep.  And tried.  And tried.  And tried...  And Doug snored.  And snored.  And snored.  Finally, around 7:00, I got up, showered, had breakfast... and freaked out some more.  Doug dropped me off at 8:30.

I set up my gear like REI.com told me (with some help from lots of youtube videos too and the friendly volunteers).  And then I stood there and stared at it while I freaked out quietly inside.  Eventually I asked the girl next to me if she had done a triathlon before and successfully made a friend to spend my day with.  The race meeting was at 9:30, with a start at 10:00.  When you end up with number 330 though, you get to stand around a lot.  Stupid me, I actually STOOD around instead of sitting and resting.

My new friend and I went in search of food around 11:00.  I would come to find out later that this was a bad idea.

I had to be on the swim deck at 1:00.  I waited in line (again, freaking out quietly inside) until there was an open lane and then did my thing, totally forgetting to start my lap counting watch that I HAD to have.  Somehow, in my opinion, I ended up with the worst lane.  It was connected to the diving area and the kiddie pool.  My depth perception was off and I completely missed the wall once on my flip turn.  I was getting waves from both directions and I just felt sloppy.  My swim time was significantly slower than any time in the last 2 months and I was disappointed.  (Actually, I hopped out of the pool, my timer told me my time and instead of nicely thanking her, I said, "Oh, that sucks.")
The swim to bike transition is included in the swim time, which is why I wanted the special watch - so I could keep them separate.  I ran to my bike, got dressed and rode off.  I couldn't get clipped in, I couldn't get my breath, and I couldn't make my legs move as fast as I wanted them to.  Within the first half mile, I was re-tasting my sandwich.  I got into the groove a little over a mile into it and felt pretty good for the most part.  I would like to try a longer bike race someday, 9 miles is about the point where I feel like I am really getting into it.  And then it was over.
I rode back to my transition area, changed to my running shoes, and I was off again.  I really wanted to run the whole thing.  And then I saw people walking and I thought, "That looks really nice, and this is a really big hill."  So, I caved to peer pressure and walked briefly.  I'm not kidding - it was a pretty big hill and the turn around was at the top.  I ran all the way back though.
Along the bike and run, I kept seeing my white suburban drive past, with little people yelling, "Go mom!"  During my first transition, my whole family was standing nearby yelling, "Great job mom, get going!"  Doug pulled off every now and then and hauled everyone out of the car to stand on the side of the road and cheer me on.  During the run, the boys hopped out, gave me high fives, hopped back in the car, drove ahead, hopped back out and gave me more high fives.  I had several people comment on my cheering section.  I couldn't have done it without them.  I know it was a long day for Doug, but it really made my day feel more special to know he was there with the boys rooting for me.  I dressed everyone in orange so I could pick them out easily.  I bought myself a pretty orange bike jersey and decided to call us team orange.  They were such an important part of my team and I love them for all they did for me.
I finished and my kids swarmed me.  They wanted to see my medal and they told me over and over how proud of me they were.
I looked over the results right before I left.  With only maybe 5 people left out on the course, I was 1st in the swim (including the transition), 8th in the bike, and 20th in the run putting me 8th in my age group.  I kicked myself for walking, but I was pretty happy with the whole thing.

We arrived home very tired around midnight.  I walked in the house and the smell of natural gas hit me.  We have smelled it off and on for a while, but as soon as we thought it was bad enough to call someone, the smell would go away.  It was bad enough this time.  We called the gas company and they sent someone out who told us that basically every connection, valve, knob, whatever on the boiler and water heater leak - and probably have for a while.  Even the meter outside was leaking.  He took everything apart and we are without heat (glad it's summer) and hot water until we find a plumber and new appliances.  The joys of home ownership. 

I did sharing time today.  I am tired and now it's early Monday morning and I am not asleep.  Goodnight!

14 comments:

Susannah said...

Well done Erin!!!

The Porter Family said...

You are amazing!! I've always wanted to do a tri, but I can't swim. Great job Team Orange!

KBlack said...

Way to go. You truly are an amazing woman!!

Emily Hurtado said...

Oh my gosh you're awesome.

Nola said...

I love triathlons although yours seemed much longer than the ones I have attempted. I am glad you had a good experience! PS-I didn't recognize your boys. They have grown up so much this summer. PPS-We are avoiding home ownership for another 2-3 years because we are chickens. Luckily upcoming rent will be free!

Alicia J said...

Erin you are officially a triathlete! Congratulations! I love the support from team orange. The first triathlon I did I finished faster than I expected and it took Jared longer to get the kids ready than he expected (doesn't it always). So he got there about 15 minutes AFTER I crossed the finish line. I still tease him about that occassionally.

Nolo and Lauren said...

Serious props. That's awesome.

Naomi said...

Congratulations Erin! Funny, if Ayla was actually born on her due date we would have been up there cheering you on too. What an accomplishment!

Marinda said...

Wow - you are amazing! Way fun to read about your accomplishments! We're so proud of you team orange!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing! So proud of you! Jamie

Koren said...

Gee, I thought no one was blogging any more. I guess I should check more often. I am so proud of you and wish I had come later to have seen the real event instead of you jogging the track in the rain with all the kids wildly peddling behind. Great job! Of course I'm not surprised because I knew all along you could do it!

Anonymous said...

Erin, you are my hero. I love how you get up and keep going, even when the times are tough. The triathlete in you shows in your life accomplishments, in your children, and in your dedication to your callings. I Love You very much. Dad

Alaska Law said...

Way to go! You are amazing!

Melissa L. said...

U go girl! Wow! You are awesome! Full time mom and a triathlete! You inspire all of us!