Well, folks, it happened. I swam. I biked. I ran. And I lived to tell the tale.
I came in 387th place. Try not to be jealous.
We got back from Denver around 7pm the night before the race. When we left Seattle 5 days earlier, the city had been in the middle of a heatwave. Sun-maggedon. Seattle-ites going crazy. Pulling out every fan in the house, grownups flopping around in kiddie pools, crazy. So I was shocked when I woke up before dawn last Sunday to find it raining. What the what?!
It was a just a light sprinkle, though. No biggie to us racing-type folks. We can roll with it.
My friends and fellow racers, Shane and Hannah met me at Jack’s house near Seward Park and we all walked over together.
My wave started at 7:35am. I, of course, had been ready to roll for a solid 45 minutes before my start-time. I like to be prepared. Which meant, though, that I had to peel off my wetsuit AND my super-official triathlon leotard thingy inside of the porta-potty twice during that 45 minute wait. Nerves, people. It couldn’t be helped.
My friend, La Verne, was at the starting line for the swimmers, snapping pictures. Jack had taken off 30 minutes earlier so she had seen him off and then waited for me. I had no idea she would be there and I was so happy to see her. One of my people! Thank goodness I wasn’t completely alone with all these ridiculous triathletes, acting like we’re all excited and happy to be standing in Lake Washington at 7 in the morning.
The water was still pretty warm from the aforementioned heat wave so things were off to a good start. I noticed, though, as I swam along that people don’t have a CLUE where they are in the water, myself included. So not only do you have to look up regularly to make sure that you are staying on course, but folks be bumping into you right and left! When a woman ran into me, or I her, we’d pop our heads out and say a quick “sorry” before getting back to business. The guys, though? They just plow ahead like you aren’t even there.
This one guy near me swam the whole way (1/2 mile) doing a modified breast stroke. Basically he was dog-paddling. He was actually
annoyingly surprisingly fast. But for whatever reason, we just kept knocking into each other. And twice, I literally ended up on his back. It was… awkward. But he didn’t even look at me. He just powered on, intense and completely determined, while he dog-paddled along. Maybe I should have stayed on his back?
On the flight home from Denver, I drew myself a diagram of my “transition” towel. I envisioned this nice big towel spread out with my helmet, shoes, socks, water bottle, etc, all laid out just so. But yeah, there are about a bajillion other bikes in the same area so you’ve basically got enough space for a small backpack and that’s it. So much for my lovely diagram. I just piled all of my things on top of each other and hoped for the best. And my towel? I used it to cover up my pile to protect it from the rain.
The 12 mile ride went well. The only problem for me was the temperature. I was FREEZING in that stupid leotard. I was told that as soon as I started riding, the “tri suit” would dry and would actually keep me from getting too hot. I hadn’t even considered that it might be raining on race day. It had stopped drizzling by the time I started riding but it was windy and I was pretty miserable. The best part was riding through the I-90 tunnel. So warm in there! Who knew?
Jason and the boys were waiting for me right around this bend. It was so fun to see them! The boys looked like they had both been bawling their eyes out just moments before but… whatever! I couldn’t speak so I just waved heartily as I rode by and they cheered me through the second transition.
I grabbed my jacket (thank the stars) and Gryffin’s good luck hat and I was off. My goal for the race was to finish without stopping. I wasn’t trying to clock a PR (that’s sports-talk for “personal record”) or make it on the podium (obviously) so I just focused on being present and enjoying the race. It worked for the most part. I enjoyed
riding on that guy’s back the swim and besides being cold, the ride felt like I was just out cruising Seattle on a Sunday morning (albeit in a leotard) but the run was hard for me. Oi. I knew it would be. It’s my weakest of the three. But I tried to enjoy the view and keep my legs moving.
All in all, I didn’t feel too shabby. Even while I was doing it, though, I felt sort of… out of body. I couldn’t really wrap my mind around the fact that I was doing a triathlon. It seemed surreal. The feeling of accomplishment was pretty great, though. And I’ve been back in the gym twice this week already. I’m hoping to keep up the habit of working out and I certainly don’t want to start back at square one.
When we got home after the race, all I could think about was EATING, a HOT SHOWER and MY BED. In that order. My victory lap, if you will. The sweet, lovely rest of a true athlete. As I sat at the kitchen table, though, eating my celebratory croissants and sipping my latte, Jason said, “welp, I’m off to my frisbee game! See y’all in a few hours.”
So the hardest part of the day was actually watching our over-tired, travel-weary, they had been bawling all morning boys AFTER running a race. Next to that, the triathlon was a piece of cake!