Monday, October 18, 2010

Triathlon Finisher

Hi. My name is Lynn and I am a triathlon finisher.
One large R.V., two families and a labrador left for San Diego on Saturday.
We met up with my daughter, Lauren who is also a triathlon finisher. And my friend, Angie, pictured here in the middle. We have a great support group started...

We went down to the bay and got our race packets, swim caps, and our numbers. I have to confess. Having the numbers written on our arms and calf was pretty cool. Like way cool.

Kinda makes you feel like a real athlete.
 We listened to a talk on the course and found out that at least half the women there were first time triathlon-ers. I loved it. There were women of every shape, size and ability. Old and young, intense and not intense. (Like us!) 
Here was our swim area:

Yes. I did do a double take. Then we looked at each other and said, "Nah, it's not that bad. Totally doable."
We were to swim out to the GREEN Buoy, hang a left and go straight across and follow the RED, round buoys until we reached the ORANGE buoy. Then swim to the second ORANGE buoy, cut over to the dock, around that and up to the landing. It was a tread-water start. See those little orange flags? We were to all begin right there. 

My friend, Angie kept saying, "Oh, this will be fine. We can do this!" She said it a lot.
She also didn't sleep that night. Neither did I. Lauren did. 
Sunday morning, our alarms rang at 5 a.m., or as known in our house: 0-dark-thirty.
At 6, we met up with 1,100 of our newest best friends in pitch-dark drizzle. 
I think that is where I began to get discombobulated.
That's me in the green jacket. It lights up nicely with the flash, don't you agree?

Angie and I were in the very last wave to go out, for the -ahem- 40 and over age group.
Our area to rack our bikes and put out all our gear was waaaay in the back. They forgot the lights back there. I guess since we're over 40 we must be blind anyway and not need the light.
Very discombobulating.
I had all of 30 minutes to put out my stuff and put on the dreaded wet suit.( In the dark.)
Doug kept leaning over the fence and telling me how to lay out my gear. Helpful suggestions like, "Honey. Not like that. Put it out like that woman did over there."
And, "Hey. Tell me again how to work the flash on this camera." 
In between that the announcer kept yelling how the women who had experience with triathlons should look for the other women that were new. We could be found by our bikes. We either had a mountain bike or a kick stand on our bike. The experienced, wise ones were to come and and give us a hug and some kind words. Mr. Announcer must have said it 200 times. 
That was discombobulating to the point I thought I just might barf. 
Thank goodness, no one saw the kick stand on Angie's bike, so we were spared kind words and hugs.

I am happy to report that I did get the wet suit on in time. Without scraping my knuckles. Or even swearing.

I am also happy to report that we were ready to rock and roll by 6:45. Just like we were told to be.

Gorgeous, yes??

We then proceeded to wait until 970 of our newest friends launched into the water.
We waited a long time.
We waited until 8:00 a.m. until we were launched.
By then, I was so nervous, I thought I would chicken out. I literally stood rooted to this spot the whole time.

I did come to my senses when Lauren lined up to go out, and then I came out of my stupor to watch my child launch herself out into the open water with about 40 other women to swim 1/3 of a mile.

The event actually had what were called "swim buddies". They were the fabulous people in the white caps. They were available to swim with you the entire distance.

Then it was our turn.

I have to tell you -the water was FA-REEEEEZING.
I began to get more discombobulated.

Why am I smiling here? I really have no idea. I should be looking like Angie.
At one point, Angie looked at me and said, "You never TOLD me I would still feel the water inside the wet suit!!!" Darn those wet suits.

She forgave me, though.

The next thing we knew, we were OFF!

Don't we look good?
Let me tell you the real truth.
I had someone pounding on my foot for the first few minutes that I couldn't get away from. I wasn't sure where to swim because there were too many people in my way. Did I mention how cold the water was? And mucky? And salty? And cold?
Then I started the not being able to breathe-thing. 
Talk about being discombobulated. I could NOT get it together to swim more than 3 strokes at a time. I would thrash, gasp, roll to my back and then to the front to see where I was. (I was SO, SO thankful that Angie and I were swimming together. ) It was so frustrating!!! But there were lots of other women doing the same thing. I remember one gal hanging onto the life guard's paddle board and the life guard asking her if she could swim some more. Then, before I knew it, I had thrashed my way to the first orange buoy. The life guards were encouraging us the whole way. And directing. Angie would swim straight as an arrow and I would hear someone saying, "this way-swim this way." When I would look up, I would be on some other course and would have to thrash back into the mainstream.

At the last orange buoy before we swam for the dock, several swim buddies were still in the water. They were so encouraging!!!! We would hear, "You're doing great, ladies, doing great." "Keep going! Almost there." And, "Swim this way...you will be doing another loop if you keep going that way." Yeah. That one was directed at me.  Then it was "Swim toward my voice, swim toward my voice." I think that helped. It was a heck of a lot better than doing an extra loop. Between gasping, thrashing and letting out several "aaarrrghs", we made it to the end. Really and truly!!!

I think I speak for Angie as well when I tell you how unbelievably GLAD I was to get out of that water.

Even so, there were a couple more things to be tackled!!!
Off we went to get out of our wet suits and put on our shoes and shorts to hit 6 miles of bike riding.
Did I mention besides being discombobulated that I had to use the bathroom? Our loud announcer friend mentioned something about using the bay. Ha. It was too flipping COLD. (Thank goodness for port-a-potties on the bike route.)

Sometime during our bike ride, Lauren came in from her run!! She finished in under an hour.
Go, baby, GO!!!!

The bike ride was nice in that there were bathrooms along the way, and most of the Sprint people were finished, so it was mostly us Super-sprinters and the course was wide open. It was wet and rainy, so it was pretty slippery at some points, but there were lots of volunteers along the way to tell us when to slow it down.  I just so happy to be wet from the drizzle and not the ocean, I would do anything they said. I thought the bike ride seemed short, Lauren and Angie both thought it felt longer than 6 miles. Like I said, I was so happy to be out of the ocean....

When we came back from the bike ride, we were into the home stretch!!! I don't know how people jump off of a bike and start running out of the bike area. Our legs were screaming at us that they needed to acclimate for just a second and we were happy to oblige.
When I did begin running, I was so surprised that I kept going. I might have mangled the swim, but doggone it, I ran that whole 1.5 miles!!!

I can't say I was the most put-together runner as shown by this photo that my sweet husband took,
but I did it!!!

Now, when Angie came in...
She was by far the happiest person to be finishing!!! She was so amazing to watch at the finish!

Her goal was just to finish, even if it meant coming in dead last.
Well, let me tell you-she sure wasn't last!!!!!
We both made it in 1 hour and 20 minutes!!

Thank you, friends. Thank you for joining me on this crazy adventure.

I have so appreciated being able to laugh through this with all of you.
Your encouragement has meant far more than I can express.

It has just been a blast having you with me during this time.
Until the next adventure....


  1. YAY! How great! I've been waiting for this post! I knew you could do it and I love the happy smile on your faces! Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  2. Way to go Lynn!! Angie and Lauren too. You all did such a great job. Much more then I could do. You all did an amazing job and smiled the whole time too!

  3. I want to stand up and cheer!!!

    I hung on every word of this and just loved it. I'm so impressed with all three of you!!

    I giggled about the kickstand. Oh yes... that would be Debbie in that circumstance, I'm sure.

    You must feel empowered. That's how I would feel.

    OK, tired.
    But empowered nonetheless.

    Way to go, blogfriend!!

  4. I hope you are glowing in your complete AWESOMENESS!!!

  5. Way to go! You should be so proud of yourself! I don't think I would be able to smile while wearing a wetsuit, let alone smile while wearing a wetsuit in the cold water while about to compete in a triathlon! :) A big congrats to you!!!

  6. You Did It... How exciting.. That is so cool, and so inspirational..
    I had a big smile on my face the whole time I was reading this post.. It makes me want to try something like this.. all the pictures look great.. Way to go!

    Hugs, Linda

  7. You did it!!! And lived to tell about it!! So proud of you.

  8. HURRAY! I'm so proud of you. High fives to you, Angie and Lauren. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

    By the way, "Bird By Bird" is one of my favorite books. I just love your artwork.

  9. Wow! Yay You! I'm am so impressed! You go gurl! Wow. OK, found out that the Cancer Alliance is doing a colon cancer run...can't make it this year, but might try to go for it next year. You are my inspiration indeed! Congrats girl!


  10. You. Are. All. AWESOME!!! So amazingly awesome that I can't think of any other way to describe it.

  11. Wow! You girls are AMAZING! I could never do something like that! Bravo to all of you!

  12. I am crying. I am so thrilled for you!

  13. WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!! Hey everybody, that's my baby sister who did all that swimming and biking and running. Isn't she amazing??? I've always thought so. And her daughter and friend are waaay amazing as well...and the rooting section of husband and other daughter are beyond cool. WAY TO GO!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

  14. amazing

    I enjoyed each and every word
    and the photos were superb too

    You are all awesome!!!!

    Standing ovation and well
    there really are not enough words to cover it all!

    thank you for taking us along on this VERY special experience!!!!
    Such a Triumph!

  15. Your sister Carol is absolutely correct. You are AMAZING! I'm so inspired by your accomplishment that it made me think I might want to try this too. (You did hear me say "think" right?) I'm very proud of you.

  16. I'm so proud of you. It's been fun reading along with you on this adventure. Great job.
    April @ HomeHinges.com

  17. Wow, you totally ROCK!

  18. I am SO impressed! I don't know if I would ever even consider doing something like this much less actually finishing in 1hr and 20 min! You should be VERY proud! Congratulations!