My brain wouldn't stop. I felt comfort knowing that my family was there with me. I convinced myself that no matter what it took, I was going to finish the race. "Time doesn't matter. Just finish," I repeatedly told myself.
The next morning, I escaped "Mom Mode" and left my sleeping family in their hotel beds. I went out early to set up my bike in the transition area. I tried to shift into "Race Mode". Just call me Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That's when the butterflies began to flutter.:) I looked around at the other competitors and wondered if the look on my face screamed, "This is my first triathlon!"
I am thankful for the girl next to me from Illinois who gave me a few pointers after I told her it was my first time. (I am sure I didn't have to tell her, but she was nice enough to wait and let me say the words.) I followed her example of how to lay things out on the ground next to my bike, and asked her where to get my race numbers written on my body, and exactly what things could disqualify a person from the race. Would crawling across the finish line DQ me?! How about piggyback swimming? My kids do it to me all the time?! :)
Do you think she could tell that I had not REALLY read the fine print in my packet? I am somewhat notorious for that, especially when I'm nervous.
After I had prepared my gear, I headed back up to the hotel room to check on everyone else. Back in "Mom Mode". Kids dressed, hair brushed, etc. (My mother was very helpful with Mary Claire.) Jan managed to snap one shot of me prior to the race. Not the best, but hey, it partially proves this story.:)
That's me! #1457 in the hideous tri-suit! (I didn't have to change between events. This suit can be worn for all three events. Simplicity...)
Back downstairs, I tried to get into "Race Mode". I lined up with the hundreds of others waiting to get in the COLD water, and kept repeating to myself, "Just gotta finish, just gotta finish."
The swim wasn't pretty at all, and not near what I expected of myself. Jan says I am a good swimmer and he's watched me practice some this winter, but I panicked when I swallowed a lot of lake water as I started, and I couldn't seem to get in a groove after that. I would have swam freestyle the whole way and probably would have done it in about 10 mins, but I ended up doing mostly breaststroke and side strokes when I needed to, and it took me about 13 1/2 mins. I will not lie, I was extremely disappointed in my swim and I slightly felt as if I had let my husband and parents down as they cheered me on from the bank of the lake. But I was determined not to quit!
I finished the swim and moved as fast as I could to my bike. I exchanged my swim cap and goggles for my t-shirt, helmet, socks and shoes, and ran my bike out of the transition area. As I exited the area, my mom and Mary Claire were standing by the fence and yelling for me. I could have cried right there. Especially after THAT SWIM!!:)
I started the 12 mile bike, and it was good to be on the bike and put the swim behind me. I got my mind back in it.
About 40-45 mins later, I was back in the transition area for the LAST event. Let me tell you, if you have never ridden a bike for several miles and then jumped off and run, your legs almost feel like they are gonna fall out from under you.:) It is a weird feeling. Jan and Jonah yelled for me as I took off for the 3 mile run! It was good to hear their voices.
Headphones are not allowed, and I typically run with music playing in my ears. I'll be honest, running without music is hard for me. I decided I'd just sing to myself. For some reason, How Great Thou Art was the song that I went with. I prayed for/thought about friends that I knew were going through hard, scary times and I prayed for my own family. I watched carefully for the mile markers and then the finish line.
And then there it was!
I finished my first sprint triathlon in 1:36:00. Not the best time, but a time to work on maybe.
Not sure yet if more triathlons are in my future, but the feeling of accomplishing one is pretty good.:)
After food and a shower, I quickly shifted back into "Mom Mode".:) A funny, but true, thought occurs to me here..."Mom Mode" is very similar to being in "Race Mode" at times. There are times, as a mom, that I get frustrated, scared, or even disappointed, but I can't and I won't give up. Even when it gets hard. I will do whatever it takes to be the type of mother my children need me to be. I won't be perfect, and I probably won't win any 1st, 2nd, and heck, even 3rd place awards, but I'll pray that my reward is in far greater things.
Being a mom is the best prize (and challenge) I've ever been given!
I will run with endurance the race set before me...