Saturday I finished the Wet Dog Triathlon. That was my goal. I decided that I was not going to be as concerned about time today as I was about finishing since I had not finished Buster Britton. As I was driving home I realized (though I should have thought about this before), that this was the first triathlon I have finished since my first injury last August. Overall, that makes me pretty happy.
One of the differences this morning was that I got in the water before the race started, actually a couple of times. The swim for this race is straight out, around a buoy and back. The water is only 10 feet deep at the deepest point – not even as deep as two of the pools I swim in most of the time. The difference is, of course, it’s open water and I can’t see anything. It helped a lot to get in and get used to the water.
Before the swim I went back and got my bigger goggles because I kind of figured I might get kicked by someone. It was a good call on my part.
My number was 423 so I had a while to wait before I was in the water. I talked to some of the people around me and discovered a few people who are also coming to do the Hot Hundred next weekend.
I had decided that I was not going to stress and I was going to just take my time to finish this swim. I didn’t count on getting boxed in by other people though so I could not move around them. The first 100 or so that is where I was. I finally managed to get around the guy in front of me and move around to the end of the rope and to the buoy. It was not the best 200. The 200 coming back in was much better. I managed to get a rhythm to my swim and breathing and keep going until I got fairly close to shore.
Out of the water there was a run up the beach, up a short ramp and through the water park entrance to the transition area. My final time for the swim was not fantastic but I finished, like I wanted to do.
I have finally managed to wear my bike shoes without socks. I had a much easier time getting my shoes on today than I had at Buster Britton. When I looked back at previous races I realized that both of my transition times are getting better. I still need to work on timing but I was happy to see the progress.
The bike has become my favorite part of the race. This was a fast, flat 9 mile out and back route. I felt like I was doing really well and I passed a lot of people. I thought my time would be a little faster than it was but it was about the same time as what I did a 6 mile route earlier in the spring, so it’s progress.
I had two favorite moments on the bike. One was I actually, for the first time, managed to get my water bottle and drink while moving. (Laurie Bonnici will be so happy to hear that since we had a near crash last time I tried.) The second was as I was approaching the last turn. I heard “on your left” from behind which means someone is going to pass for those of you unfamiliar with triathlons. A few seconds later I heard, “guess I won’t be passing you.”
I have to lose the socks for my run which means I need to figure out what is rubbing on my right arch in my shoes. My T2 was a little slower than T1, but still faster than previous T2′s. I had a little trouble getting my shoes on but I managed and without sitting down to do it. I just need to practice this more.
My run started out feeling more like a shuffle. I was walking and trying to get going on the run but having a hard time. I started feeling discouraged and thinking negative thoughts but I caught myself and stopped. I knew whatever I did today was ok and that I will improve. I came up to Ashley who I had met before the race and we ran together for a little bit. I was alternating walking and running and was finally feeling like I was doing more than shuffling when I started running. The run course went back and forth on trails and paved trails and roads. I felt a little confused a few times but there were lots of Jaycees out there pointing us in the right direction.
When I was in the last mile I heard a voice calling my name and saying he had been looking for me. It was Eric Doehrman, one of the E3tri coaches. Eric came to run with me the rest of the way in. And I did run the rest of the way, thanks to Eric pushing me. Closer to the finish John Hanna and Dana DeBardelaben joined me too. I ran across the finish line.
I’ve written about the importance of support before. Today was one more example of the supportive people who I am blessed to have in my life. The e3tri coaches, John, Eric and Karen, have become an important addition to my continued work with Sam. At Wet Dog I met several of the other athletes they work with as well. It’s a wonderful group of people and I am looking forward to seeing them at future races.
Sam continues to be an important part of my support team as well. He has been pushing beyond my comfort zone recently. We both know that I can push myself harder and I have had more examples over the past week of this than just on Saturday. When I was somewhat stressed on Friday about the swim, he just looked at me and asked, “about 400?” because I had just finished 1000 in the pool. I got the point and knew that I would not return with a DNF this time. I did another 1300 before I was done.
One of the best things was finally meeting Dana DeBardelaben. Dana found my blog a year ago in April before we were both scheduled to do the Frank Maples Triathlon. It was the weekend of April 15, the first big tornado in Tuscaloosa. I was stuck in the library and then really needed to go home since the tornado had gone through my end of town that day so I didn’t make the race that weekend. We have followed each others progress ever since and have cheered one another on. When I connected with e3tri, I discovered Dana was working with Eric in Huntsville. She is amazing. Click on her link above and read her blog.
I had notes from Kelli Eldridge and Lisa Goines last night too. This made me realize that I once again have made connections with people all over the country because of a passion I have developed. Indeed, I am blessed to have these women in my life and many others.
First things – the most important point for last
I began Saturday morning reading Philippians 4. Verse 4:6 reminded me where to place my priorities: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Paul wasn’t writing to the Philippians about triathlons but, still, this was the verse I needed yesterday. There isn’t any sense in worrying so much. I need to trust and go do my best. I’ll wrap up this post with photos of the e3 athletes before the race and after we all finished.