Ten on Tuesday: Triathlon Edition #2

1. Emily and Jenni picked me up a few minutes after 5:00am on Sunday morning. We were all nerves and adrenaline. But, it should be noted that despite our preoccupation with race day excitement, we did take few minutes to gush about how great our beautiful daughters did in their Saturday afternoon dance recital.

2. The elite triathletes swam out at 7:00am, but our waves weren't for nearly an hour and a half later. More time to be nervous and rehash strategy and field phone calls from our equally nervous husbands! They joked later that no one gave them a medal for getting small children out of the house at the crack of dawn and having to wrangle strollers and such from their ridiculously far away parking spots.
The ballet moms
3. The worst and best moments of the day both happened just before Jenni and I had to line up for our waves. For a spell it seemed that Jenni's husband and kids were not going to get there in time, and I felt so badly for her. I had gotten kisses and cheers from my family, and hers was nowhere to be seen (that parking situation really was a bear). And then, there was Marcus with the double stroller and ergo coming around the bend in a near-sprint. The race could have been a total bust and it would have been worth it to see the relief on Jenni's face.
All ready to go!

4. As I lined up I was acutely aware that it was Sunday morning, and I was not at church. Even when I am on vacation I usually go to worship somewhere. It's just what I do. I sang the Doxology in my head and suddenly didn't feel so disoriented.
Singing the doxology

5. The swim. Oh, the swim. I did quite a bit of swimming in preparation for this, so I was genuinely surprised that it started out so poorly. I couldn't seem to take a deep enough breath. I don't know if my suit was constricting, or the water was colder than I'm used to, or if my nerves got the best of me. But I could not swim comfortably. I was hoping to do a mix of freestyle and breast stroke, and I could barely do the breast stroke. I started to feel kind of panicky, but all of a sudden it dawned on me that the last time I was immersed on a Sunday morning was when I baptized Codyanne. It was such a welcome thought I wanted to think about baptism some more, so I ruminated on Lee's recent piece at Fidelia's Sisters, and just thinking about it displaced my panic with peace.

6. Apparently you can take the nerdy pastor out of church, but you can't take the church out of the nerdy pastor.

7. I was way more tired than I expected to be after the swim, which was why I was so thrilled to get on the bike. I loved just about every minute of the bike ride, so much so that the Willis girl crazy smile thing happened. Normally this is a situation that arises when we're watching something funny or happy - our faces essentially freeze in an exaggerated, open-mouthed smile. I hadn't even realized I was doing it until one of the police officers guarding a road closure yelled out something about keeping that smile on my face.
Ben captured the crazy smile!

8. The bike ride was pleasant in part because on a bike you have the luxury of thinking a little straighter. You are, after all, sitting down. I mostly thought about people. I thought about how grateful I am to have new friends in the ballet moms (even the ones who didn't do the triathlon - we'll work on them for next year!). I thought about our neighbor Jeannette, who gave me a good luck bag stocked with energy bars and Gatorade. I thought about Kirsten who sent me a note in the mail, and Kerry who lent me her bike shorts and worked out with me all year, and Tammy who lent me a triathlon suit, and the women I run with and the women I ride with and Andrea and Alan all the way in India. I thought about how important it would be to tell Andrea and Alan I thought about them, all the way in India, while I was on my bike somewhere in Naperville. I thought about Ben and Juliette and Genevieve, and what a thrill it was to see them along the course. I thought about how grateful I am, how lucky I am. I thought about how I wasn't thinking about my book.

9. The bike was great, but the run was my favorite and my best. It was, pardon me, hella hot on Sunday. I was so well-hydrated that I wasn't especially thirsty, so at every water station I availed myself of the water and ice to completely drench myself. I ran the first mile slow to give my legs a chance to recover from the ride. I ran the second mile a little faster, and marveled at how close I was to the end. Somewhere toward the end of the second mile I saw a sign that said something to the effect of "Women inspiring women... you're one of them!" and I was completely moved. I once again mentally rehearsed the litany of people who had something to do with this, in particular the people I know who have done or were at that very moment doing a triathlon, and it dawned on me that I could potentially inspire someone to do a triathlon. My "one word" for 2012 is inspire. This was enough to unleash an overwhelming burst of adrenaline, and between that and my carefully conserved energy, I busted OUT that last mile.

10. I did it. And I did it 9:20 faster than my goal, which was two hours. I hoped my swim would be under 20 minutes and did it in 18:32. I hoped my bike would be under 60 minutes and I did it in 54:51. And I hoped my run would be under 30 minutes and I did it in 28:38. Tack on a few more minutes for transitions, and my total time was 1:49:40. My other goal was to be on the fast side of average... made it by less than a minute! Victory.
I'm hooked.

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