Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Gory Details Part II

Big day 4am. Alarm goes off. I'm a little groggy from drugging myself so I could get a little more sleep then the night before. I need coffee pronto. My fabulous husband is in charge of coffee and kids. I just need to get myself ready and out the door. WE don't need anything forgotten because we know that has never happened before (note extreme sarcasm). 
For breakfast I had a pre made smoothie ready to go, coffee, and a banana that I'll eat 30 min before swim. 
Kids were in for a treat today. Because we felt guilty having them sacrifice their entire day to mommy my husband took them to Tim Hortons for breakfast. 
Everyone is ready. Off to the race site.

I arrived at 5:10am. I wanted to ensure I could check my bike, drop off my special needs, use bathroom, get wetsuit on and eat my banana and of course check in with all of my buddies.

I honestly cannot even begin to explain how truly blessed I was feeling. I had so many friends here supporting me. So before I forget a big shout out to all of my support at the race:
Steph, Rikts, Johny, Colleen, Danna, Wendy, Gretchen. My awesome Soas Sistas that reassured me all weekend: Laura, Jackie, Jenna. You 3 kept me so strong when I needed an extra lift. And of course my family- Jordi, Sadie and Lola.

These lovely ladies did many swims and rides with me.

Once things were settled I had a chance to just be with myself. Take it all in. I'm doing a full distance triathlon. I'm really doing it!

So I wandered down to the water start and got in for a bit of a warm up. I chatted a bit with some of the swimmers and got myself ready to go.
To be honest the start was really uneventful. I couldn't really hear what they were saying on shore and next thing you know the cannon went off. So I just swam.
My swim wasn't awesome but it was good. I did 3.8km in 1:12:24 (unfortunately my official time says it was substantially longer but according to my garmin and my husbands iPhone the 1:12:24 was more accurate.
Out of the water and into transition. I've never done a race where I have to grab my bag head into tent and then to find my bike. This was all new to me and I liked it. I didn't have to fight for space by my racked bike.

Unfortunately my T1 transition was not so fast. I definitely took my time and I couldn't get my arm warmers on and I really needed them today. It was cold out.
So 20 min later I resurfaced. My friend Johny thought maybe I took a dip in the hot tub ; )

I was feeling super positive and really enjoying things. Because the halfers started 30 min after us we were all emerging at the same time. The bike course was a little crowded to begin with.

It was really hard having all of the halfers whizzing by me in those first 20 km or so. I wanted to keep up so bad but I could hear my coach Jasper in my head to listen to my heart rate and it will work itself out. So I did, and it sucked. I could not get my heart rate down. I don't know if it was the excitement of being out on the course, trying to keep up with the halfers or battling against the most brutal headwind I've ever encountered. Seriously, this girl is from Pincher Creek, Alberta. Windiest place in the WORLD! When I saw my average pace I started crying.
Basically we had a headwind from Penticton all the way to Osoyoos. I kept peddling and felt like I was going nowhere. Once we turned at Osoyoos and headed west on the number 3 I started feeling a little better. Everyone warned me about Richters Pass, I was a bit worried. So I do what I do best and just road. I actually passed a ton of people over the pass. No one believes me but Richters Pass was the easiest park of my ride. I kid you not. This is how brutal the wind was. Best part about Richters Pass? 

This special lake. At the top and to the left there is this bizarre looking lake. I had never heard about it. I took a mental note of it to ask the husband and kids about it later on. Surely they had seen this place too. It is called Spotted Lake. Apparently there is all sorts of history. This lake has massive healing properties (should made a pit stop there) and people from all over the world come to bath in it. 
Turns out husband and kids did not see it, they were too busy looking for me.

Once I got over Richters Pass I was feeling a bit better about myself. I mean who doesn't love passing people on the so called hardest part of the course? Then we hit the rollers. When I hear "rollers" I think short easy climbs that then turn into downhills and you have enough momentum to ride into the next hill. Nope! These are not your normal rollers. Lets be honest folks, these are just plain old hills. They are not rollers. There I said it. Anyways, it sucked. Shortly after I came to special needs. I needed a fresh application of HooHa Ride Glide. I needed to switch out my fuel and I needed to go to the bathroom. If you are sensitive to lady type discussions I advise you to skip ahead. For those of you that don't care I discovered in the port potty that I got my period. Awesome! I was not supposed to get it for a few more days. Nothing like adding insult to injury. So after dropping a few f-bombs I gathered myself and just continued on. What else is a girl to do.
Once I got through special needs on the bike one of the guys that I saw a lot of out on the bike course got a flat right before special needs. I felt so bad for him we were only 60km left to go. Unfortunately I couldn't wait for him so off I go all by myself. 
Last big climb of the day is Yellow Lake. Honestly it wasn't that bad, I was still feeling the effects of that brutal headwind. These hills had nothing on it.
Jordi and the girls were waiting for me right at the beginning of the climb. My husband could tell I was not happy. 

Yes that is an unhappy person.
Pretty much after Yellow Lake it's all downhill. I clocked speeds over 70km/hour. Unfortunately it still didn't help me with my overall time. What should have taken me 6:30:00 took me 8 hours. I was feeling pretty deflated.
Once I handed my bike off I headed back into the tent for T2. I was a little more speedy this time around but did have a small tea party with fellow competitor in my age group Andrea Oliver. We both got our periods today. How awesome is that? Same name, same age group, same day for menstruation. Awesome!
Off I go on the run. My goal was to run the first 21km without stopping. 

The one thing I have discovered about doing long distance in triathlon is that after a long bike ride I actually look forward to getting out on the run. 
I was looking pretty awesome in all of my Soas gear. Seriously best trisuit ever. I know lots of women change in and out of stuff during long course but with a Soas trisuit it isn't necessary. Absolute comfort the entire time.

Running through town was definitely a highlight. My friends and family were at different spots so every few kilometres I saw a friendly face. 

I was super happy to see the family.
Once I passed through town and out towards OK Falls things started creeping up on me. My quads were starting to seize up a bit. I wanted to walk badly but I am a very stubborn woman and I vowed no walking before 21km. Once I got to special needs I switched out my water bottles (next time I don't think I will use my running belt. It was a lot of extra weight that I was regretting later on). I did have some other goodies in there but I really didn't need anything else. I had my Torq Gels and my bottles with Nuun. That's all I needed... at least that's what I thought.
Once I hit 26km it all started falling apart. I missed my family, I hadn't seen them since the 14km mark, things were hurting and my stomach was starting to get very angry. Next thing I see is my truck drive past honking at me. They didn't stop, I started crying. I slowly slogged away another kilometre and low and behold the family is at the side of the road cheering me on. I burst into tear again. (Pretty sure I got out an entire year of emotions today).
I tried telling my husband I can't do it. I can't carry on. He is my rock, and he assured me that yes I can continue and I will. So I did. The last turnaround was at 29km. As I headed back to town feeling like I was dying my other friends showed up. The trio raced the half as a really and they were patiently waiting for me to get back to town. They were beyond amazing. They supported me, encouraged me, believed in me. They kept me going.
Since I was taking so long during the run, ahem, I mean walk Jordi and the girls ended up offering their volunteering services. Some of the aid stations were thinning out of volunteers. I was so proud that they stepped up to the plate.

Super duper volunteers.

So after about an hour of walking (attempting to run every so often and then realizing I was still walking faster) something snapped deep inside me. I was still in a lot of discomfort, I was still exhausted, I was still emotionally drained but a switch went off and I felt the urge to run. So with about 6km left to go I slowly started running, gaining momentum as I got going. For the last 5km I somehow started running a 6min/km pace. How did I do that? I have no idea. I had tunnel vision and my only focus was that finish line. It's funny, when you get into that zone you really don't see what's going on around you but I could hear people cheering and I could hear people saying "wow look how fast that girl is running". It wasn't until after the race that I realized they were talking about me. Sure it wasn't that fast but in the grand scheme of long distance races at 14 to 15 hours into the race it was a lot faster then the rest of the people out there. When I got to that peach I kicked it up further. A volunteer yelled out that I must not have left it out all on the course looking so good. Ha! If she had only known I just walked for what seemed like forever. I ran hard, I was afraid if I even slowed down a second I would collapse. 
I came in at 15:09:13
2 hours slower then my coach and I anticipated. It was a very tough day. I did it. I finished despite all unforeseen circumstances.

I would have had my family run across then line with me had I known they were right there. Jordi said he was so close he could have touched me, he said I was still in the zone until I was over that line.

The fabulous Laura Siddall promised me she would be waiting for me at the end and she kept that promise even though I was a few hours late.

Despite all of the pain I somehow still managed a smile.

Even Challenge Penticton noticed I kept on smiling... they even tweeted about it.

And of course the bling. That medal is huge!!! 

I can't say I was happy with my time, I'm not going to lie I was disappointed but I was not the only one. Remember my new friend Andrea that I hung out with in T2? Well she came in 3rd in our age group. In fact the top 3 in my age group were all Andrea's. That's right in our age group we were the only 3 that actually finished. All the Andrea's are hardcore!

Now before I sign off there is a lot more to this day then meets the eye. I was dealing with other issues on top of the pre race stress. However the support I had made up for it.
I want to thank everyone who help me achieve my first Iron distance race.
First and foremost my awesome coach Jasper Blake from B78 Coaching. He took me on with only 2 months before the big day. He is AMAZING!!!
Marilyn Arsenault who has been coaching me on my running for the past year. 
Soas! Seriously awesome team and Stephanie makes the best tri suits on the market amongst other fab products. My team mates have been so amazingly supportive. Best group of ladies ever.
Again my family. My husband has been so supportive throughout this entire journey. He has even learned how to do laundry!
My parents who came out to visit and I put them right to work as soon as they got here.
All of my friends that have pushed me to keep going, watched me swim in the pouring rain, listened to me bitch and complain on the days I was just too exhausted to realize my life is actually pretty darn awesome: Sandra, Steph, Rikst, Dale, Colleen, Jake, Valerie,Wade, Margo, Amanda. There are so many more people that have just touched me on my journey. Really every little bit helped.

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