Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove 2016

It was a pretty amazing day on many levels.

Friday we headed down to Cottage Grove.  We had decided to spend the night down there so that we didn't have to get up at Oh'dark thirty in the morning.  Joe needed to do a long swim so we went to Cottage Grove Lake where the triathlon was going to be so he could do it as an open water swim.  I had done my two little "keep things loose" workouts before we left home.  So I set up a chair in the shade with a view of the lake and read a book, or sometimes I just closed my eyes and sometimes I watched people.  It was very peaceful and quiet and I enjoyed the alone time where I didn't feel like I had 10,000 things I should be doing instead.

Then we headed to packet pickup back in Eugene.  Things always get a bit more real when you have your race bib and shirt.  :-)

After packet pickup we went and got some dinner and then headed back to Cottage Grove to our hotel.  Lots of cars with bike racks in the hotel parking lot.  Gee, I wonder what they would be doing in the morning?

I asked Joe to take a picture of me with my race shirt like I have done for every triathlon this year.  He was trying to get me to make a serious face knowing that it would just make me laugh more.  Goober.
We got the stickers on my bike and helmet and I did some last minute checks of my stuff for the race and then we went to bed.

I went to sleep fairly easily, which was a nice surprise.  However, I got up at 4:00 a.m. to use the restroom and could not get back to sleep.  lol  So I was still awake at Oh'dark thirty.  But at least I didn't have to rush about earlier and be in the car by this time.  Around 5:00 a.m. I got up and had breakfast and started getting ready.  Then we loaded up the car and went to Walmart to get some snacks for Joe and the kids.  That is something I usually take care of because I'm usually the spectator.  I was so focused on what I needed for the race I didn't even think of it.  Joe doesn't usually take care of it so he didn't think of it either. So we got some water bottles and snacks, grabbed some breakfast and coffee for Joe and then headed for the lake.

We got there around 6:30 a.m. which was nice because then I could do all the things I was supposed to do to get ready without feeling rushed.  Got my number markings and found my spot on the bike rack.  Lucky number 42!  Then I put on my bike helmet and went for a short ride.  I was supposed to ride for about 10 minutes and loosen up the legs and make sure the gears were where I needed them to be for the start of the bike ride.  Racked the bike again and then took a little jog down the road as well.  Got all my things organized and laid out like I wanted and then grabbed my pre-race snack and headed over to hang out with Joe.
View of Cottage Grove Lake and transition.
Cottage Grove Lake before the swim.
Got a big hug from my friend Melissa, her husband Marcus was doing the Olympic triathlon as well.  He's an experienced triathlete, done an Ironman even, so he's an old hat at these events.  He never looks nervous. lol

Next Faylene and Dwayne showed up with my kids Taylor and Meighan.  More hugs!  Then Josh and Wendie arrived.  Goodness was I feeling so loved!  Then surprise!  My friends Chad and Beth came as well.  All of these people taking the time to drive all the way down to Cottage Grove to spend a large chunk of the day cheering me on!  It was seriously overwhelming.  My daughter Bri got there so  I got another hug.  :-)  There is a serious amount of sitting around and waiting for a few moments of cheering for spectators.  So to have all these people taking a big chunk of their day to support me was amazing!  Meighan took pictures with my big camera and got some fun shots.  `
Chad & Beth!  Not only do I get to work with these people but I get to call them my friends!  Blessed!
Faylene asked me how I was doing.  I told her I was excited to start and nervous but not completely scared like I had been at the start of the Beaver Freezer.  Since she was there for that race too she knew what I was talking about.  It was fun to not be completely terrified.  That alone was a BIG win for me no matter how the day went.

There was a big delay to the start of the races because of issues with parking.  The person who was directing traffic and telling people where to park wasn't doing too good a job and cars were everywhere and not getting anywhere.  They delayed the start to give athletes a chance to get parked and ready.  I was supposed to start at 8:28 a.m.  I think it was more like 8:45 a.m.  I got my wet suit on around 8:00 a.m. and started to make my way down to the lake to get in the water and warm up a bit.  On the way to the lake I saw my nephew Justin and his fiancee Kendra.  Kendra's dad and brother were doing the Sprint race and it was their first.  More hugs and good lucks!  It was a great treat to see them and know they were cheering me on too.

The water is warm, 71 degrees!  Much nicer to swim in than the 51 degrees from my first open water swim last March.  The men took off first and then about three minutes later it was time for the women.  Here we go!
I struggled a bit at the start of the swim.  Couldn't find my calm, imagine that, and then I also went a little wide.  I didn't stop though.  I just told myself it was just a swim, like all the other ones I've done in training and to calm down.  By the time I got to the first buoy I was feeling much better and really enjoying the swim.  I may not have been the fastest person out there but I know I was more consistent and had a better stroke than a lot of them.  I saw a lot of people having to stop and do a back stroke or just stop and rest.  I even passed some men towards the end.  That was kind of cool.  I also did not have to stop once!  That's huge!  I cannot think of one swim, open water or pool where I didn't have to stop at least once to adjust my goggles or cap or just catch my breath.  I came out of the water a pretty happy camper.  I knew I was at the back of the pack and I knew that it was very likely that I would be last by the end of the day and I couldn't have cared less.  I had a rock'n swim for me.  It felt really great and was really fun.  That's what it's really all about, right?

Transition time.  It went much better than the swim to bike transition I did at Blue Lake.  I need to practise in just getting faster and I should have had my shoes untied so they were ready but overall I was pretty happy about it.
Got to the spot to get on my bike and could hear my friends and family cheering me on.  I had been so worried about feeling stupid and slow in front of everyone.  Instead I just soaked up the love and support.  Made me smile!  I got started around the corner and I hear my name.  I look over and see my brother Matt, his wife Teresa and my niece and nephew, Jenna and Henry waving and cheering for me.  They live in Redmond and had driven all the way to Cottage Grove to cheer me on.  I couldn't believe it!  It was all I could do to keep from stopping my bike and getting hugs right then and there!  What an awesome way to start off my ride.  My smile got even bigger!  BEST surprise of the day!

Because I was the last wave to start the race, and because I was at the tail end of everyone swimming I pretty much was alone for my bike ride.  The route was an out and back but it went on paved logging roads that were on opposed sides of the main road.  So I didn't even see people that were heading back to the lake.  I was passed in the first couple of miles by the guys that I had passed on the swim.  They kicked my butt overall but it's still kind of cool that I beat them in the swim.  :-)  Had a lady pass me at about mile five and another at about mile eight.  I passed one gentleman who had a flat and his air canister didn't have any air in it.  Luckily the owner of the house he stopped at was helping him out.  I felt bad for him though.  Talk about frustrating!

About mile 10 I was needing to use the bathroom.  I thought I had read that there was supposed to be an outhouse at the turnaround but I couldn't remember.  Normally I can just ignore it but I spent the next two miles rather obsessing about it, I really needed to go!  When I got to the turnaround there was no outhouse.  I decided that the next driveway with some trees I was going to have to stop but then I saw the outhouse.  Thank goodness!

I got in and the damn thing was seriously wobbly. lol I cannot believe how much pee I had in me.  I know, I know, too much information.  But it was rather ridiculous!  Then because it's hard to pull up wet clothing I was making the stupid outhouse shake and wobble.  The whole situation was rather hilarious and wasn't helping my time much!

Got back on my bike and started back to the lake.  Then I start thinking how I'm more than halfway through the bike.  I've done the swim and I'm halfway through the bike!  And I have all these amazing people hanging out just to cheer me on.  Guess what happened then?  If you know me at all or have been reading this blog for awhile you can probably guess.  I started crying.  Good crying.  Good thing I can cry and ride at the same time.

The bike went well.  I did it about as fast as I had when Joe and I did the ride a few weeks ago.  I was hoping for a little faster but there were so many good things about the ride that I really didn't care.  I didn't bonk on this ride.  I drank both of my bottles of Gatorade and got my sports beans eaten like I was supposed to.  I switched the water bottles around so the one I was drinking out of was in the front spot...without stopping!  That was a pretty big deal for me.  :-)  If I hadn't had to stop and pee I would have been able to say I didn't have to stop on the bike ride.  Darn bladder anyway.  :-)

Towards the end of the bike ride the sun started breaking through the clouds.  I was hoping it would stay cloudy until I was done because that would make for a cooler run.  Oh well.

I was coming around the reservoir and I see my sister-in-law waving and cheering for me.  I was a couple miles from the end of the ride.  She was in the perfect spot to see me and beeline it to the transition area and beat me there.
Teresa's view of the road.  I came in from the left and headed up the hill to the right.
I came into transition and you would have thought I was in first place the way everyone was cheering for me.  I dismounted and started to trot down the hill to the transition area.  It was a fairly steep hill, at least it feels that way when you just get off your bike so I ended up walking down it so that I didn't fall down.  Got to my spot and the person on the other side of the rack had put their bike where mine was supposed to go.  I had to slide it over to make room for mine.  There were stickers with our numbers on the rack where I bike was supposed to go so that was a little irritating that I had to waste time with that.

Changed out of my bike shorts and into my running skirt, grabbed my water bottle and took off.  My amazing support crew was right there cheering me on, even made a hand bridge for me to go under on my way out.  Joe had a neck cooler ready for me and then asked if I was planning on running with my bike gloves on.  Oops.  Forgot to take them off. lol
At this point I know I am going to finish my first Olympic Triathlon.  I have done 10k runs before.  I knew I could walk it if I had to and finish.  That's a pretty good feeling.

I started off pretty good.  It was hard but I was doing a decent pace for me on a good day without a swim and a bike ride before.  :-)  I wasn't able to maintain that pace but I was able to do better than I thought I would considering the temperature had warmed up and I was a wee bit tired.   I was trying to run 10 minutes with a one minutes walk.  I think the walks ended up being more like two minutes a few times.  And if there was a water station during the 10 minute run part I got a bonus walk.  lol  The run was an out and back along the lake.  Now I was seeing people who were heading back towards the finish.  Got a tip of his hat from Marcus who was probably at about mile five and almost to the finish which was fun.  I thought for sure he would be long done before I even started the run.  There were a lot more people then I thought there would be.  Made me feel like I wasn't as far behind everyone as I had thought when I was on the bike.

When I got to the turnaround I got really excited.  I had only a 5k to go and I was done.  I can do a 5k!!  That gave me a boost.  Even though I was going a slower pace than I had the first mile I was keeping it steady where I was and not slowing down even more.  That was a win as well for me.  Sometimes when I start slowing down I get frustrated and just say, "Fuck it!" and give up and walk.  I did not do that.  I was not going to doing anything less than my 100% at the end of this race!  My stomach started to feel a little upset.  Probably from all the sports beans I had eaten all day.  Will have to work on switching that up during the run maybe.

Just before the six mile marker I could see the finish line.  I had decided that once I saw the finish line there would be no more walking.  lol  That was the longest quarter of a mile ever!  I saw Marcus watching for me and a "Good job!" from him.  :-)
My faithful crew waiting at the finish line.
As I got closer to the finish line I could see my friends and family.  Then I could hear them.  You would think I was winning the whole thing!  Then, right before the finish line I see Joe.

I didn't care about my time.  That really what this race was all about.

I swerved over to where he was standing and gave him the biggest hug.  And cried.  Oh my goodness I love that man!  He always believes in me even when I don't believe in myself.  He has supported me, encouraged me and occasionally given me a swift kick in the ass when I needed it.   When I say I couldn't have done this without him that is not exaggerating.  He is my partner and best friend and I think we make a pretty fantastic team.  I love being at his races and cheering him on.  It was the most overwhelming thing to have him there doing it for me.

Here's a video Teresa took at the finish:

By far, it was my favorite moment of the entire day.

My brother yelling that I'm ruining my time cracks me up.  Just so you know, he is totally teasing.  :-)
After the race I gave big sweaty hugs to everyone.  Finally got a chance to love on my brother and his family!  Still can't believe they drove all that way!  Lots of pictures and loves.  Our own little party at the finish line.  Since I was near the very last to finish we weren't in any one's way!
My #1 Fan.  My #1 Everything!
Big Bri hug. Love my girl!
Big hug from #1 Son!  Love my boy!
I used to think there was nothing better than being proud of my kids.  Having your kids be proud of you is pretty stinking amazing as well.  Having the kind of relationship with Bri where she could coach and teach me to swim is a precious gift!  If you need help with swimming give her a call.  You won't get the mom rate for lessons but whatever she charges you will be worth every penny!!  Seriously, I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter.  :-)
My brother Matt, fellow Badass with Sparkle sister-in-law Teresa, Jenna & Henry.  AWESOME SURPRISE!! 
Gave out some Yeti & sweaty hugs.  Nobody seemed to mind. :-)
Best picture of the day!!  I am a very blessed woman to have these amazing people in my life!
We said our goodbyes to everyone and started making our way to transition to get my things.  Most of the bikes and gear were gone.  Just a couple of racks still standing for us slowbies.  I packed up my backpack and got things somewhat organized.  Taylor and Meighan had headed to the car with the camp chairs and Taylor moved the car closer so I wouldn't have to walk as far.  :-)

We got to the car and Meighan held up a towel so I could change my clothes.  I really didn't want to wear my workout clothes all the way home.  It was nice to put on clean dry clothes!  Then Joe handed me my cider.  Aaahhhhh.  Dry clothes, a cider and Pringle potato chips.  I'm pretty sure I earned it.

Several times on the drive home the tears would start again.  Just that, "Holy crap, I just did that!" feeling would get so large it would spill out.  :-)

I was trying to send a picture to my coach.  I could not get it or a text to send for almost the whole drive home!  It was so frustrating!!  Joe said they kept him updated all morning long so he knew how I was doing.  But I wanted to tell him and to send a picture from me.  It finally went through.  Yay.  Next to my hubby and family, having Jon proud of me was the best.  :-)  If he had been at the finish line with Joe he would have gotten a big teary hug as well.  I know a big part of why I wasn't scared shitless at the start of the race was because Jon had been there getting me ready so that I knew I could do it.  

Thanks Coach!
Jon told me last week that I should be proud of myself no matter what happened on race day because I worked hard all these months.  That was something to be really proud of.  Here is what I have done since January 1st:
  • 267.3 miles of Running
  • 61.6 miles of Walking
  • 812.8 miles of Biking
  • 73.6 miles of Hiking
  • 50.3 miles of Swimming
Grand total: 1,265.6 miles of activities.  In just under seven months!!  I never imagined this when I started in January.

It was a fabulous day and one that I'm going to remember for a long time.  Two top days for "I can't believe I just did that!" are first Half Marathon and now first Olympic Triathlon.

Official results :-)  
Solid swim, faster than I ever could have imagined a year ago when I started lessons with Bri.  Fun bike ride on a beautiful course.  Solid run at a pace that was faster than a 10k I did a couple of years ago (and that 10k wasn't preceded by a swim and a bike ride!)

I'm going to work at getting stronger and faster but I am going to always be very proud of myself for this race and all the hard work it took me to get here.

Teresa sent this text to me when I thanked her and Matt for coming:
So fun to have people thing I look STRONG & HAPPY!!  That's exactly how I felt!

Thank you to all the people who sent me text and messages before the race!  Every single one made me smile!  Thank you to all the people who liked and commented on my picture on Facebook after the race.  I know I have used this word a lot in this post but it has been very overwhelming.  I don't see myself as inspirational or amazing.  But if I inspire someone else to do something out of their comfort zone that has the bonus of getting healthier then I will take it!

My son posted this on Facebook with some pictures:
See, kids being proud of mom.  Feels freaking awesome! Glad I'm his favorite.  :-)

I know it was a long post.  There was a lot to share.  :-)

I already can't wait for the next adventure.

Photo credit to Meighan Van Veldhuizen, Teresa Ballantyne, Taylor Van Veldhuizen, Joe Van Veldhuizen and Faylene Gardner.

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you, and happy that we were able to share in your day. So fun to read your report, and learn more of the details. You're an inspiration!