The prequel to this post: Swim. Bike. Run.
I had to be at the race by 6:45am. I was up early and on the road before Tim usually wakes up for work.
I was all nerves driving to WI yesterday morning. My stomach was in knots and I was nauseous. I was able to choke down a piece of toast with some pb and a banana. I knew I should eat more but my stomach wouldn’t allow it.
When I reached the final turn that led me into the park I took a deep breath, turned on my left turn signal and knew once I made the turn there was no turning back.
I noted the 8 mile sign on the way through the park and all the sudden the 10 mile bike became all too real. I drove down the steep windy road to where the starting area was, all the while screaming in my head, “Sh!t I have to bike up this monster of a hill!” The hill was intense but the least of my problems….
I got my shirt, a lovely shade of neon yellow that will look swell with pale skin come the winter months. Next a volunteer took a permanent marker to both my arms and legs and marked them with an 8.
I walked my bike over to the transition area and tried to follow everyone else’s lead.It was like the first time in the school cafeteria when everyone is a freshman, no one knows what they are doing but they won’t admit it. That was me and many others around me. It was the blind leading the blind. It was comforting that I wasn’t the only one that was clueless.
See the bike below? That is my new bike! It is awesome!!! Thank you Grandpa Bux and Grandma Moo for the birthday money. I was able to splurge on a nicer bike because of your generous gift. My fifth-grade Schwinn would’ve never made it.
Check out that bright yellow swim cap. I bet my folks never thought they would see me in one of them again!
The next step was to head over to the water’s edge and face my mucky water fear head on. And boy was it mucky, gross, weedy and cold. Perfect for huge-ass, nasty, fresh water fish to make themselves at home and make me their dinner. I didn’t get a pic of the water before the swim but the people who put on the race shared some pics. This is the best one that shows the weeds we swam through.
They did the pre-race announcements and then one of the volunteers sang the national anthem. I cried because I am my mother’s daughter and there isn’t a national anthem that I don’t sob through. Plus my nerves were in overdrive because the last announcement they made before the lady started singing was that we were suppose to line up in numerical order.
Don’t forget. I was number eight.
The only way I was keeping myself calm about the fish and the mucky water was that I would swim in the middle of the pack and everything would be ok. Growing up, my dad promised me again and again that fish don’t like bubbles. As long as I keep kicking they won’t come near. If I was in the middle of the pack they wouldn’t come near me.
8 is nowhere near the middle of a pack of over 100 people.
I donned my swim cap. Took some deep breaths and ran into the water and across the starting line. (every racer wore an anklet that monitored the break down of their race.)
About 50-100 yards in I started to panic. Full on, heart racing, couldn’t breathe panic. The water was thick and I couldn’t see 3 feet in front of me. Weeds were touching me and every time I put me face in the water I couldn’t get it out fast enough. It was so bad one of the life guards they had treading water swam up and asked if I was ok. I nodded and kept going. I knew I just needed to find my stride and free style was not going to work. I started breast stroking knowing it was slower but at least I could gain control of my breath. Every time I put my head under I closed my eyes in fear of seeing a fish. I passed people left and right. Once I got going, I rocked the swim. I never fully relaxed and almost got stuck in a net of weeds the last 20 yards, but I did it.
My time for the swim was 10:20. If you look at the results, there were very few that did it under 10 minutes. I am happy that even with the mild panic attack that left me gasping for air and seeing tunnel vision I still rocked the swim.
The bike is a whole ‘nother story. I was not prepared for the bike at all. In no way was I ready. First off, my new bike is incredible but I didn’t have the slightest idea on how to ride it efficiently. There were people who I passed on the swimming cruising by me with no problems as I cursed while pedalling up the first GIANTLY STEEP 2 mile hill. I will keep this part short by saying I did not like the bike portion. I hated not knowing where I was. It felt like I was riding farther and farther away from the finish line. I had no idea where I was until all the sudden I saw a landmark I had seen 40 minutes earlier. The course made some sort of loop and I was almost back to the hill that I started at. At the eight mile mark (at the entrance to the park) I my spirits lifted and I knew it was all down hill from there. Literally. It was the fastest I have ever gone on a bike and it was nerve-wracking. Those bikes can cruise.
Just before parking my bike I saw Tim and the kids and I fought all the emotion that welled up in me and tried not to cry when the boys started cheering for me. Elise reached out and started waving. I love my family.
I parked my bike and started back toward the run and Michael shouted to me, “After we see you park your bike we get to go back to the park!”
I laughed and so did everyone around me.
It took me about a 1/4 mile to get my legs back under me. Running after a long bike is challenging. Your legs just don’t quite know what to do.
The run was a lot of jogging and walking. I had nothing left in my tank. It was then that I understood why people were squeezing those nasty looking gel packs of energy into their mouth. The run/jog/walk was probably the easiest part because there wasn’t mucky water or giant hills. It was just putting one foot in front of the other. I walked quite a bit. But I finished running.
Michael and Patrick ran out onto the course to greet me just a few yards from the finish. All I wanted to do was grab them and hug them but I had to cross that finish line so I gave them a quick half-hug and ran. across. the. finish. line!
My goal was to finish under 1 hour and 30 minutes and this is what my watch read when I stopped it after crossing the finish line and receiving my medal.
Official results said my time was 1:29:56
Talk about just under the wire!
I set a goal and I achieved it. Is this an all new Meg? I hope so! Next time I will check the water conditions before setting a goal!
I am kicking my Twenties Bucket List’s Ass!