Members of Team SJS just minutes before the start of the 2010 Fox Cities Half Marathon!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Triathlon Day

Well, today was a big day!! I completed my first triathlon in 4 years and since getting sick. My original goal was to finish and finish strong, and I think that's exactly what I did!

The weather last night was stormy and I was a little concerned about the weather forecast for today, but it held up fine for the entire event. It started out a little dark and cloudy, but the sun came out just in time to start the swim; which was in a man-made pond that was warm as bath water! Ok, maybe not quite that warm. It was a 400 yard swim and honestly I haven't been in the water to do any type of training in over a year. Being a swimmer in high school and always feeling like it was my strongest event, I wasn't nervous about it at all. When the horn blew for Wave 4, I ran into the lake and dove forward, hoping and praying my goggles would stay in place! I wasn't worried about the swim, but I was worried about my eyes!

As I pulled my way through the water, I noticed the lack of vision in my left eye. I don't really notice it normally, but I did during the swim today. It was a bit awkward and I was conscious of it for the entire distance. I pushed on and and finished the swim feeling good.

Running to transition from swim to bike, I felt the pain in my foot from my toe. I had to run on sand and then grass and the ground was very uneven. I made it to transition, threw on my shoes and helmet and grabbed my bike. Luckily, the foot felt fine on the bike and I didn't think about my toe again until the run. Now, the bike! What do I say other than I plain ol' stink at it! The bike has always been my toughest event, which is kind of unusual for a triathlete. I just don't have the power in my legs that I need! So I chugged along while people continuously passed alongside of me. I felt a little frustration building, but focused on the odometer reading instead. The course was fairly flat, only a couple of notable hills, and surrounded by farm country. It really was a beautiful ride and for most of it I was all by myself. Pretty much bringing up the rear, accept for the two bikers I happened to pass! As I watched the miles getting closer to 15 on the odometer, I realized that I was still quite a ways out of town and only a few miles left until 15. What the heck? I was reassured that I hadn't taken a wrong turn by the orange cones along the road, but thought for sure something was off. Well, by the time I reached transition 2, my odometer read 24.5 miles! Ok, something was definitely wrong with my dang odometer!!! Uh, frustration continued!!!

So it was bike to run and I had to get my legs under me. There's no other way to describe the feeling of getting offf of your bike and breaking into a run other than your legs feel like wet noodles! That and you feel as though you are running in place since you aren't moving any faster than a snail's pace! As I trotted along, I saw my best friend running towards me. She had already nearly completed the run and I had just started! She kicked my ass today, but encouraged me to keep going as we passed. I noticed the pain in my foot, but by this time, I was so numb that it didn't much matter.

I just kept on, wanting to walk but not giving in to that feeling. I knew that eventually my legs would loosen up and the run would somehow get easier, and it did. People were encouraging me, saying I was looking good and that the turn around wasn't much farther. It was hot and humid as the sun beat down on us and it was all mind over matter at this point.

Within the last half mile, a young woman came upon me and began running next to me. I decided to try to just keep up with her and run alongside so that I had some sort of a pace. She looked much stronger than I was feeling and I'm glad I did just that. Her name was Micky and this was her first triathlon. She was from Milwaukee and we laughed about how she went to school in Oshkosh while I went to school outside of Milwaukee. Small world, we thought. I told her it had been four years since my last tri and we talked about my past experiences with the sport. I told her about having to start over with my training and how that all happened, the SJS story in an abbreviated version. Her response to me was very supportive and we ran the last bit together until she was met up with a friend and I told her to sprint it out!!! And they did!

The finish line was a few yards ahead of me and I could hear my husband cheering, my friend yelling encouragements and could see my dad taking pictures. It all began to hit me as I took those last steps; I had just completed a triathlon! I had conquered yet another fear - swimming with my prosthetic. I had taken back another of my old life's passions and it felt just as good today as it did four years ago. That uncontrollable smile came over my face yet again; making me feel incredibly stupid! But I was proud! Proud of my accomplishment. I had done it; and I had done it for me. It was an incredible day, an incredible accomplishment, an incredible feeling! Yet another step forward.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible accomplishment is right! You should be VERY proud of the things you keep accomplishing. It is such an inspiration to the rest of us!

    - Brian S.