Thursday, September 2, 2010

An evening of successes

Last night's race was full of win! Not the podium type though. No, not even close. In fact, I was the last athlete in. By a large margin. Most, if not all, had left already even! But did that bother me?? No!! I was SO proud of what I did. A few things about the race: they started late so I was already concerned about making it to the finish line before they closed the course and starting close to 30 minutes late meant I had that much less time!! I was already a nervous wreck and that didn't help...

Helping was the fact that the race was all run through a local park - the course was 2 laps around the buoys in the lake, 2 identical 1.55 mile laps and 1 more longer lap to total 1000m swim (.6 miles) and 8k run (5 miles). So I knew if there were signs that I was going to completely run out of time, I could just stop at the completion of a lap and not do the full distance.

I was still super nervous.

God bless my husband, he decided to come with and cheer me on. I was tempted to just leave at so many points before the start but he kept encouraging me in subtle ways I'm not even sure he was aware of.

We got there nice and early and I turned in my waiver and got my body markings: race number in large print on my arm and my AGE on my calf. Eeek!

We wandered about, more people arrived. The registration line was really long and the start time was rapidly approaching. I got nervous about the cut off and asked the organizer if a late start would extend the close time. They assured me it would. But it still threw me off a little. Also working against me was the fact that out of probably 300 entrants, I was one of about a dozen without a wetsuit. Errr...the water isn't that cold but I'm beginning to see the advantage. Vanity prevents me from embracing the idea. Wearing Lycra is a brave move for me. Neoprene is just one giant mental leap farther.

But I digress.

Finally they call the mandatory meeting down by the lake, announce the waves (long course men, long course women, short course men, short course women - the keep it simple method - I completely approve!)

Lined up with the long course men in front of me was a gaggle (a posse? A gang?) of men in speedos. The other non-wetsuit contingency. Except these were the local high school water polo team. When did they start making high schoolers that looked like that?! I'm certain that the number written on their calves represented the number of years I would spend in jail if I didn't stop staring at these YOUNG men. Oh lordy.

Ok - so we were sent off in our wave and I started swimming.

Not bad, the water was certainly cold but I knew I would warm up and appreciate it. And I did. My goggles on the other hand were a total pain in the butt. They filled with water right off the bat and fogged up when I emptied them. Ugh. Losing battle and morally defeating. On top of that was the fact the I was really struggling with putting my face IN the water - a requirement of swimming with ANY speed. Sigh. I was ready to give up and I hadn't even reached the first buoy.

Breast stroke it was - with my head held awkwardly out of the water. But I kept going. I was next to last getting on the beach at the first lap and checked with the volunteer if I had time for the second lap.

Remember there were TWO swim laps? My husband noted later that a great number of the long course swimmers did NOT head out for the second lap. But I did. With my no wetsuit awkward stroke. And finished it. With the safety patrol by my side "just in case you need a break" they kept telling me.

My internal dialog at this point went something like this "you know you don't have to run? You know getting a rise on the canoe wouldn't be so bad? You know you don't have to do all 3 running laps? You know that you CAN quit?"

I fought the voices, um, I mean the "inner dialog" (sounds more sane if I say it that way!). I argued with them. I Can do this. The WHOLE SWIM and i bargained that we would talk about the run later.

I hit the transition area among cheers from the volunteers as well as other athletes hanging out in there, drying off, packing up. Many of them admitted to quitting. Not doing the run portion at all. Not me. I had just swam nearly alone for my second lap, was next to last out of the water (the guy behind me dried off and headed home), and after that monumental swim effort, frankly running sounded easy.


Back up Sally! What did you just say?

Yup. Compared to the craptastic swim, I was ready to run. Me, yes me.

This was huge for me. A definite shift in thinking. I had a positive voice finally speaking up among the voices I've grown used to. I was ready - and excited - about running.

My legs on the other hand were pissed at me. WALK! They demanded. And I set off at a brisk jog, ignoring the sluggish response from my waterlogged legs.

At this point, given the repeating laps of course, I was among a constant stream of runners. It was motivating to know that they weren't aware of my "dead last" status.

*to be continued* (sorry!)



Blubeari said...

haha, can't wait to read the rest!! I have always wanted to do something like this, and it's so exciting to read. :-)

Dr. Fat To Fit said...

Inspiring! Can wait for part 2