Saturday, October 06, 2012

The last leg

It's been almost two weeks since the triathlon.  About time I finished telling you about the race.  We left off at the end of the bike portion.  On that last uphill, I described my legs as feeling like burning lead.  When I got off my bike, they had turned to concrete, quads so stiff it was hard to lift my knees.  I had to push my bike back to my transition spot, rack it, take off my bike helmet, don running cap, and go!  In my head, I was doing all those things.  My legs were saying, "Not so fast."  They did reluctantly cooperate, however, and though stiff and jerky at first, after about 3/4 of a mile, I realized that I was actually feeling pretty good.  I was running along, lifting my knees, going uphill, and feeling good.  Imagine that!  I also realized that once I reached the cone at the top of the incline about a quarter of a mile away, it would be all downhill or flat the rest of the way!  Happy thought.

Coty appeared at various points along the course shouting encouragement, usually something like, "Drop your shoulders, push hard!"  I tend to tense up my shoulders when I run and I know I needed to relax, but all I could think of was "just a little farther and you can stop."  I had no idea what my pace was.  It felt slow, but turns out it was right on my goal pace.

Once again, my cheering family made me smile and feel like pressing on.  Early in the run portion, Andrew, Thomas, and Kay ran alongside me for a few yards, shouting and shouting.  At another point, they all shouted in unison, "Go, Mommy, go!"  When I crossed the finish line, there they all were and believe me, I felt elated.  I think I just said, "I DID it!"  and couldn't stop smiling.

We got water and snacks.  We hugged and talked about the race.  We walked around a bit and watched more finishers coming in.  And then, it was time for Coty to go to the airport for his flight to Newark/Hong Kong/Singapore/Indonesia.  I am just so glad he got to be there when I finished.  He was such a huge part of the triathlon training, it would have felt very strange, incomplete really, if he'd had to leave before the finish.

And now?  Everyone's asking me, "What are you going to do now?  Are you still training?"

I've been thinking about it.  I loved training for a race.  I learned that training makes me more serious and committed to exercising and pushing myself beyond what I think I can do ... and that's good.  I also loved the excitement of the race itself, with all the jitters and nervousness.  I learned so much about cycling, running, and swimming, and about how to handle the transitions in between, I'd really like to do another triathlon and build on what I've learned.  The race felt like the start of something, not the end.

I think I'd like to do an open water triathlon.  The thought is a little scary to me, but the challenge is intriguing.  Have you ever watched the start of an open water tri.  I know, probably not.  Coty and I watched the entire women's Olympic triathlon and I'd never seen anything quite like it!  (If you click on the link and want to see the start, it's at 4:11 in the video).  Most other open water swims I've watched start with athletes running into the water to start the swim, not diving off a platform as in the Olympic tri.  There are a number of open water triathlons around here, so I'm starting to keep my ears open for one I might attempt next spring or early summer.  But, we'll see.

For now, I plan to keep swimming, cycling, and running.  I haven't done a long ride since Coty left, but now he's home and we'll go for a long ride on Monday.  Yay!  I kept up my membership at the aquatic center and will keep swimming during the winter and of course, I can run anytime.  I don't have a specific plan at this point, but I just know that the type of training I did this summer was very good for me.  My arthritis is much better, due I think, to the low impact nature of swimming and cycling and somehow, the increase in intensity has been good, too.

So, yes, I'll keep training and looking for another race.  And now, time to get outside on this lovely fall day and ride my bike.  And you ...



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