Saturday, August 22, 2015

Race Day

After months of working to get ready for a triathlon it's finally here!  Today was race day.  I had my alarm set for 4:45 in the morning and I was all kinds of nervous.  I didn't sleep well last night because I was so anxious.  Around 4:30 I heard Lily wake up and go to the bathroom and then go back to bed.  I knew it had to be getting close to the time my alarm went off and I couldn't resist getting up to look at the clock.  It was 4:35 when I got out of bed, so I just decided to get up and start going, which turned out to be a good thing.  I needed the extra time.  I made a breakfast of three scrambled eggs, leftover hash browns, a banana and some almond butter.  I made Matt breakfast too.  I was pretty full after breakfast but I knew I wouldn't be racing for several more hours and I was going to need the energy.  I had already packed food and stuff for the kids the previous night so I got the kids up at 5:15 and off we went.  Of course neither of them went back to sleep during the two hour drive up into the mountains to the racing site at Buffalo Creek.

We arrived and were able to park super close, checked in with no problems and got our numbers written on our arms and an R on our right leg to say we are in a relay.  We picked up our racing packet and our gift bag which had a shirt, and some promo items like a power bar, cliffe bar, and some energy gels.  I wasn't really planning on eating any of it since I was going to have a two hour break between events.  My in-laws arrived about 20 minutes before the race was to start and I got into my wet suit.  My heart was all butterflies by this time.

The color of our swim cap designated which wave we were racing in.  Mine was red and that meant I was in the first wave.  I was really nervous about that, but there wasn't much I could do about it.  We were allowed to do some warming up in the water which was good because the water was pretty cold and putting my face in the water took my breath away and I was gasping for air after just a few strokes.  In the picture above we are at the race start listening to the pre race speech.  At 8:15 I lined up waist deep in water and we were off!  The adrenaline in my system was enough that I kept pace with everyone until the first buoy when I couldn't breath anymore.  My heart was racing too fast, and I was thinking "oh crap".  So I had to do a few breast strokes and let my heart rate and breathing slow down and then find a better pace because that was just way too fast out of the gate.  My goal time for the swim was 45 minutes.  I had no way to know how long I was out there.  All I knew was that the waves were being started 3 minutes apart and that I was behind most of my wave and that about half way down the first side the people from the next wave started passing me.  I did pretty well sighting.  I had to breath every other stroke instead of every three strokes.  The air was thinner and I was not used to the constriction of the wet suit.  I made it down with no further incidents and rounded the corner.  About half way back I started getting passed by the green caps which were the third wave.  So I'm trying to mentally calm myself down saying it's ok, the important thing is to finish, it doesn't matter that I'm getting passed by people who started six minutes after I did.  And I kept swimming, and swimming, and counting buoys and trying not to die from lack of oxygen.  I had my eye on someone with a red cap that was swimming fairly close to me the whole time and tried not to let them pass me.  When I was getting close I powered my way to the end and burst out of the water as fast as I could (I probably touched down a little too early as I was still pretty far under the water and couldn't walk very fast).
  I ran out of the water and picked up my sandals which I had left nearby when I went into the water for my warm up swim.  It was weird trying to get out of the water and go run because I couldn't find my feet under me!  I kept tripping and when I bent down to pick up my sandals I almost did a summer salt.

That's me picking up my sandals that were on the side and then running back to the tarp to go into transition.  I met Matt in transition and gave him the timing chip and off he went on the 22 mile bike ride (The longest bike ride of any triathlon in the nation, making this triathlon the longest triathlon in the nation.  Crazy!  Glad I wasn't doing it).  I was shaking so much from adrenaline after Matt left and when I saw my father in law I just burst into a huge grin and gave him a big hug.  He said I did awesome.  I wasn't sure of my time exactly but I looked at the clock and it was 8:55, that was about 5 minutes after I got out of the water and so I figured I swam it in 35 minutes which was awesome!!!  I was so stoked that I swam that fast!  It also made sense that I was so out of breath lol.

While I waited for Matt to bike (we figured it would take him 2 hours since that was the time he did it in two years ago) I ate some carrots and almond butter, and a peach.  The kids played in the water and had a good time.

Until they got cold and tired

Just before 2 hours after Matt left on the bike we went over to the transition area and I waited for him with the kids.  Lily took off up the running path and I had a heart attack trying to find her.  Thankfully another woman said she had seen a red headed kid go up the trail and I went running after her.  I had to yell at her several times before she would turn around and come back.  That girl is FAST and who knows how long it would have taken me to catch her if she hadn't turned around.  I was really upset she ran off like that, but super thankful I was able to find her.  Then we waited in transition (by the fence because the kids weren't allowed in transition) for another 20 minutes waiting for Matt to come in.  He had a really bad leg cramp coming up the last really big hill and that slowed him down a bunch.  Poor guy.  He finally rolled into transition and at least he was in one piece and I got the timing chip and ran off.  I was so ready to get rid of the kids by that point!  I went up the trail and was just having a great time.  The two trail runs I did really helped prepare me because the first part was a trail run and the second half was running on a dirt road.  I loved the first part the best even though the first part was more hilly.  Everyone was talking about the really steep hill at the beginning but I hardly noticed it.  I guess that is a bonus for me living where I do, there are tons of steep hills around that I've been running up and that hill was nothing compared to some of the hills I've trained on.  Once I got to the top of the hill I was just flying down the trail!  I felt so good and so happy and just felt awesome.  I passed a few people on the run, mostly men who had gotten leg cramps.  One of the guys in front of me fell flat on his face.  I stopped for a few moments to make sure he was okay and he said he just had a leg cramp and that I should keep going.  The second guy I passed who had a leg cramp said the same thing.  Both guys were doing the whole race although with Matt also getting leg cramps it made me wonder what was up with the men today.  I loved the first half of the run, it was through the trees and a good trail run.  The second half was on a dirt road and that was less fun.  At least the last two miles were entirely downhill haha!  That was a bonus.  I grabbed a little water at each water station which was perfect to wet my mouth but not an overkill.  I did have a bug fly in my mouth, that was gross.  I felt really good the whole way and ran through the finish line!  My goal for the run was 1 hour for the 5 miles.

I felt so good and so happy and so proud of myself.  I had just run 5 miles!  Not walk, not shuffle, but I actually ran the whole way!  And I didn't feel like I wanted to puke afterwards.  I remember in highschool after the 5k races I would dry heave for a while. (and that was only 3.1 miles)  This was a totally different feeling.  Maybe it's because I've been training harder, maybe it's because I have a better mental attitude, maybe it's because I've cleaned up my diet, whatever it is, I felt great.  It was a feeling I haven't experienced before, just an overwhelming happiness that I finished and I did the best I could.  All my training paid off and my body just felt good.  In that moment my weight didn't matter.  In that moment all was right with the world.  But there was one more surprise in store for me.  We went over to the score board to see our official results (they break down your time by each event and how much time you spent in transition).  My official swim was 33 minutes 41 seconds!  Wow!  So much faster than my goal time.  I blew that time out of the water! (pun intended hahahahahaha) Then I saw my run time: 49:09!!!!!!  Holy Crap!  I knew I was doing well but I didn't think I was doing THAT well!!  That is under a 10 minute mile!  I saw that time and could hardly believe it.  Everyone was impressed with how well I did.  I was impressed with how well I did.  I was amazed.

It was the best race EVER and a really great day and a really great experience. I'm glad I was able to do something like this with my husband.

We left pretty quickly after we finished.  The kids were spent.  They fell asleep in the car in about five minutes.  While we were driving down we saw some people who still hadn't finished the bike course and I was just glad that wasn't me.  My fears of coming in dead last were unwarranted.  I even finished the swim with a great time.  There were a lot of people who came in after me.  My training had paid off and I was feeling really good.  Matt said to me on the way home that he was really impressed and that he never thought I would be doing triathlons.  He said he remembered when we first started dating that I would expire pretty quickly if I had to exert any physical effort like when we went on hikes and when we went biking.  I remember that and he is right.  That was during my weight gaining years and I became less and less active over the years.  Then he says "and now you're a beast!"  haha.  He makes me smile.

I'm grateful that I was able to complete this today.  I'm grateful for my body and for my health, and that I was able to feel so good today despite lack of sleep.  It gives me a much more positive outlook on the future.


  1. That's awesome!!!! Good for you :)

  2. For as long as I've known you I have believed you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. You are amazing, Jenna!!

  3. Whoa. Thanks for sharing your amazing race results... you nailed it!!!!

  4. Way to go! So happy for you!