Photos of me, taken before and after today's Valley Girl Triathlon. :)
I've been home less than two hours and am a combination of exhausted and elated! I did it. I DID IT!
My swim was strong and really amazing. I've never done an open water swim before, but I took it relatively easy, did some freestyle but mostly breaststroke so I could see better. Other than the seaweed, which is just disgusting, I couldn't believe how fantastic it felt! I was winded but jazzed when I got out of the water, and chatted briefly with someone while we put on our shoes and helmets. I was a little worried about putting on socks with sand between my toes, but it was fine. I could soooooo easily have rested awhile but didn't!
We walked our bikes from the transition area to where we could mount them and I'll tell you what, that was not an easy walk. My legs were still shaky from the swim. And once we got on our bikes, the first part of the ride was UPHILL. Argh! I was breathing hard and hoping and praying it would level off soon so I could catch my breath. Eventually it did, and I caught my breath, but man that was some grueling pedaling.
The ride went well. I am very, very slow and that's OK. My bike did great! I did pass one person and got to say, "On your left," so I was happy because I'd heard 100 others say it to me. :)
No question that getting off the bike, walking it into the transition area, then starting the run segment was THE HARDEST part of the triathlon. OMG! My ass was sore and my legs felt like rubber hoses filled with lead! I asked someone if at some point your legs get back underneath you again. She said yes and she was right but it took a good 1/2 mile. I wound up fast-walking with Laura from Kalispell, MT -- also her first triathlon -- and thanks to gabbing in no time we passed the two-mile mark. We started running with 1/2 mile to go and there was not much gas left in my tank. But I read what someone wrote on the pavement nearing the finish line -- FINISH STRONG -- so I dug deeper and finished running as strongly as I could.
My Mom was there at the finish line cheering me on! When I crossed the finish line I heard them announce my name and number and time. That was cool! Then people started taking things off me -- my anklet timer, part of my bib -- and my Mom handed me a big colorful beautiful CONGRATULATIONS, WAY TO GO helium balloon and I collapsed in a patch of shady grass, tears falling.
I am beyond thrilled to have done this. Beyond proud of myself.
Both of my parents were volunteers, and I saw my Dad before and during the event because he worked the transition area. He always requests a position wielding the most possible power. :) Marla also gave me great big hugs before the swim and after the finish. I first saw my Mom on the bike ride, then they were both there at the finish with hugs and smiles and pride. That was seriously incredibly special!
Also incredibly special were the cheers and encouragement before and during the race. Your comments, emails, phone calls -- my friend Lisa called at 5:30 a.m. this morning just to wish me good luck! All throughout the race, other participants and spectators cheered us on the entire time. The very best, though, were two little girls at the running turnaround point. Probably 6 years old. They sat under a big pink sun umbrella in lawn chairs, eating yogurt, with pom poms, yelling "Good job, girls! Go Valley Girls!"
So, I did it. It was fantastic. I will do it again, and again, and again. But for now, my body is tired and sore and I am glued to this cushy couch the rest of the day! I booked a 90-minute massage tomorrow afternoon as my reward. Although this feeling of accomplishment inside? That's the best reward of all. That's the gold.
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