3:45am came bright and early yesterday morning as I prepared to compete in my first triathlon in Valley View, the Disco Tri. This was my first official open water swim, triathlon and so much more. I arrived on schedule, despite the early wake up call, and prepared my things for the race to begin. My mentor, Bryant, checked my bike as I gathered my things and then I was off to the transition area to set up, receive markings (thanks Jess for having the eyeliner handy as I don't think that Sharpie would have been off in time to attend the wedding) and to pick up my timing chip.
Katy, my teammate, and I walked down to the water where we would wait our turn. This is where I waited and tried to calm with my nerves with Kristen Sudela, a Team Blonde teammate and friend. She was supposed to compete in Disco Tri but was feeling under the weather; however, she is a champ and still came out to support her friends! We sat by the water as we watched wave after wave of athletes begin their race. We waited by the swim finished anxiously for Chelsea, a friend of Sudela's and an incredible athlete, to come out of the 1st leg of her race. To no surprise, she was one of the first female finishers for the swim. Sudela was off to transition to cheer her on and I was headed over to wait for my turn to begin. It felt as though we were waiting forever to start the race but this was probably just nerves. Finally, the countdown begin and we were off. Swimming SO VERY CLOSE together was a different experience for me as it was hard to stretch out and swim. Eventually, I made a lane a began swimming as I had practiced. I think considering everything from that morning it went well, a definite eye opener but still quite well. Running out of the water I could her my teammate, Jess, and Sudela yelling and cheering us on! This was a great push to start off the next leg. Next up, I was off to the transition to get ready for the bike portion. It is a little bit of a blur but obviously I made it through since the next thing I knew I was crossing the mounting line. Dana, another teammate, was volunteering and giving us encouragement as we crossed the line and began our bike portion of the race. I vaguely remember hearing Sudela as I was super focused I guess, but I know she was there to cheer me on! Off I went.. biking up and down the hills, passing others and being passed. I take on the role of cheerleader at times to those biking along side of me and even across the street not sure if I do this to distract me or to just to encourage them but a habit I have. Next thing I knew, I was at the turn around, this meant halfway through the biking portion and have way through my first triathlon. I felt a sense of accomplishment even though I was only half there. A few more miles went on and I heard something hit the road, sounded like a bolt, it was too late to stop now. I mean, what were my options, I had no idea where it came from but I knew I didn't want to walk the rest of the ride back. I just kept pedaling and hoping whatever it was wasn't needed. Turns out, it was a screw from the clip on my shoe (made a note to get replacements ASAP) but nothing I couldn't have made it without, I guess. I was back at the mounting line and headed into transition to get ready for my run. Katy was just ahead of me throughout the bike and was still in the transition area when I got there so we decided we should run together. This was a huge help to me as I needed a push every now and then. My calves were tight and there was nothing I could do but run through it. I just kept telling myself it was a 5K and would be over soon. Then a runner from the Olympic or X-50 division would run by and that would encourage me to push a little harder as they were doing just that. As we got closer to the finish, we could hear the people cheering and see the finish line through the trees, we had almost made it. After a few sips of water and encouragement from Katy, we were coming around the corner to finish! We had done it! I didn't see Sudela but I could hear her yelling, "Go Scoops", from somewhere as I crossed the finish line. We congratulated our teammates and then I was off to find Sudela and wait anxiously again for Chelsea to finish the run! (Which I should mention she killed it, first in the X-50!) A wave of relief and accomplishment came over me as I ran back to transition to gather my things to head back home. On the way home I began to think about what I need to do to prepare for my next triathlon and for the end goal, Nation's! This was a long list for sure but a much needed one. I am so grateful for those who have supported me thus far and for cheering me on. I know I have much work to do before Nation's but I can now say I have one under my belt. So let the insane training begin again and doing so everyday knowing I am making my dad proud! I could see the smile on his face as I cross the finish line for each run race I have done in the past but something different knowing I am training in his memory and raising money to help others like him. I am blessed to have this opportunity and ability. I love you daddy and Disco was for you! Happy Early Birthday! You are missed everyday and I hope I can continue to make you proud and see your smile at each finish line!
Disco Triathlon 2012 Finisher's Medal! I'm Officially a Triathlete!