After a super busy weekend (more on that in another post), Monday morning rolled around. My transition area didn't open until 7:15, so at least I didn't have to get up quite so early. I like to give myself plenty of time though, so I got to the parking garage shortly before 7. That meant I had plenty of time to wait before my 9:15 start. I got set-up, did a little stretching, and then watched the pros and para triathletes come out of the water and transition to the bike and run.
|I finally have my set-up down to a science.|
I learned two important things during the 2 hour wait. 1- Amateur triathletes are a very obnoxious group of people. (This video is an entirely accurate portrayal of them.) 2- Para triathletes are the single most inspiring thing I have ever laid eyes on.
The CapTex served as the Paratriathlon National Championship this year, so there was incredible representation. With every athlete I saw head out onto the course, I was just amazed at their ability to overcome any obstacle.
|The man on the left is blind. He completes the swim/bike/run with the help of a guide. Talk about having faith in someone! What an amazing/selfless gift to give someone by serving as a guide in the race.|
|One of many athletes who competed with prosthetic limbs.|
|There were also many athletes who competed with hand cycles and racing wheelchairs.|
Hunk and a friend of his were there to cheer me on, and it was nice to have the company while I continued to wait for my start time. We watched the Olympic distance group do their swims starts, and finally it was my turn.
As soon as I was in the water, I knew it was time to get down to business. So much of my race would rely on how I felt in the swim. I didn't train much, but knew I could rely on the fact that I've always been a pretty good swimmer. 750 km later, I came out of the water in 18 minutes and 40 something seconds. I was totally okay with that, and felt good jogging into the transition area. Next up- a 40 km bike. I was most worried about this, as I did the majority of my training on a stationary bike at the office gym. One lap down and I was feeling pretty good. There are only two short hills, and one very technical turn, so overall it's a great bike course. I kept my eye on the time, and realized I could complete the bike portion in just around 45 minutes. This was huge, because it was the only leg that I knew I could shave some time off. I made it back to transition after the 2nd lap, and had about 29 minutes to complete the run if I wanted to finish the race in 1:45 (a time I would be MUCH happier with).
I did my best to make a fast transition, and headed out for the run. The rap version of "Sweet Home Alabama" was blaring on the speakers, and it was just what I needed to get pumped up for the run. My legs felt good the whole first mile (which is usually the worst), and I was greeted by Hunk and the Gazelle's water stop just out of the gate. Gilbert himself was there handing out water, and I loved getting to high-five him. He has been such an amazing coach, gently pushing me to keep pushing myself. Yet another inspirational person to help me finish that last leg. I loved seeing Hunk out there, taking pictures and cheering me on. Sharing a love for sports has been such a fun part of our relationship, and having him out there to support me just made my day.
The volunteers and supporters for the race have always been fantastic, and this year was no different. All the fun signs and cheers make such a huge difference. I saw a triathlete friend Chris out on the course too, and his cheering and encouragement was great to hear as well. It wasn't my fastest run, but when I saw the final turn and knew that I was just seconds from the finish line, I kicked it into my highest possible gear and finished in 1:44:32 (according to my watch). Final results have not yet been posted, so I'm curious to see what my official times were.
The most important thing is that I finished the race, I stayed safe, and I had a great time doing it. That was all I needed to refuel my love of the sport, and motivate me to get back into training. Hunk asked if I would be signing up for any more races this year, and the answer was a definitive YES!!
No good triathlon is complete without an indulgent meal to reward your hard work. So we headed over to Shady Grove for a cold beer and some green chile cheese fries. Yum!! Thankfully, there was nothing else on the schedule for the day, so I got a much deserved shower and rest time on the couch. A perfect end to a really fun weekend!