Ok, so anyone who knows me personally-even a little bit, or is friends with me on facebook knows that I recently competed in a very big race this past weekend. It was something that I have been working towards for a long time. Almost immediately after I competed in my first triathlon 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to do more. Bigger races. Longer ones. And my ultimate goal was to be where I was on Sunday. At a half-iron distance triathlon, called the Toughman, which included a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. I thought about doing one last year, and a friend of mine tried hard to convince me, but I just didn’t feel ready. Not physically (I could have gotten through it-it might not have been pretty, but I think I would have been able to finish)-but mentally. My mind wasn’t there. And I truly think that your mental preparedness is almost as important as your physical. However, this year, I felt ready. I put in the work. I had gone over it in my head. And over. And over. And over. And then again. I imagined myself swimming-and getting kicked and elbowed in the face but not freaking out. And then again on the bike-where I was comfortable and in my groove. And then on the run, which is my least favorite, but I knew I could do it. I was ready. And I trained. And trained hard. I swam so hard I almost fell over getting out of the pool. I biked so hard that I was chafed in places that make life difficult for days. And I ran. And ran. And ran. I was ready. However, even after all that, when it came to the days leading up to my race, I was a nervous wreck. I could barely eat. Sleep was impossible. I had to take a Valium the day before because I was such a basketcase. I relied on one friend in particular to talk (text) me through my nerves, as she’s a triathlete herself and knew what I was experiencing. The thing she kept saying over and over again was “YOU GOT THIS.” It took me until the morning of the race to realize, but when it hit me, it really hit me. I DID have it. And it went something like this:
My sweet husband got up with me at 4am, took the hour drive to the race site, and stayed all day. He tracked where I was so he knew when to be ready with the camera. Unfortunately, his memory card was full by the time I crossed the finish line. So no money shot. I also had two friends come up to support me-they left their houses at 5am and were there to see me exit the water, and also stayed all day long. Those two are old pros at these things and brought chairs to nap in. But when I finished, they were front and center cheering me on. My parents brought my kids to see me finish-and I couldn’t help but hear “go mommy!!!!”, which completely made my day. However, all of it didn’t come without consequences. I have some major back issues, and being on my bike hunched over for 3 1/2 hours put me in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully, there were massage therapists on hand post-race.
All in all, it was an amazing and life-changing experience. As soon as I was finished, I couldn’t wait to sign up for the next one. I feel so fortunate to have found something that I love doing so much. Triathlons are challenging, exhilarating and completely addictive. And I am proud to call myself a triathlete.
And now I promise I’ll shut up about it.