Saturday, May 22, 2010

I’m standing by the pool, watching the first heat of swimmers finishing and thinking “This is it, I’m really doing this. Whatever happens, I want to just do my best.” Then, it was my turn to get into the water. Breathe.

The day of my first Sprint Triathlon was not starting out well. I woke up with GI issues due to making a stupid choice in dinner the night before. A Big Mac with fries. Hello?? I haven’t had a Big Mac in 4 years, why would I have one the night before a race? Bad decision brought on by my evening not going the way I planned. The grease from the burger and fries got things going a little too well in the intestinal area but Immodium fixed it in time. Thank goodness.

The kids, Brett and I pile into the car to drive to the Rec Center that was hosting the Sprint Tri. I’m pretty nervous which happens when I don’t know what to expect. We pull up and there are already a dozen cars and about 2 dozen bikes set up. My IL’s are there, which was great to have them there to support me. My best friend and her daughter and friends came as well. So wonderful to have such great support.

As I get my bike and transition area set up, I notice that most people are wearing flip-flops to walk to the pool, opps, I’ll be making that walk in my barefeet since I only brought my running shoes. Then I realize that I forgot my beach towel. Crap. Three things gone wrong before I even start, I’m doomed. Brett can see that I’m starting to freak so he pulls me aside for a pep talk. Next thing I know, the director is giving us info and it’s time for the first heat to get in the pool. Oh, he mentions that the pool is 69 degrees. Good times.

I’m actually glad that I’m in the second heat because I can check out what others are doing and watch some transitions (when you go from swim to bike then bike to run). There is one guy who looks really good, his mom is there wearing an “Ironmom” shirt, so I’m thinking this isn’t his first Sprint. He’s out of the pool in 6 minutes and on his bike in about 20 seconds. Wow.

After most of the first heaters finished, they had us 2nd heaters get in the water to start. Oh. My. Gosh. It was cold. Take your breathe away, shockingly cold. The girl sharing the lane with my introduced herself, she was really nice. She was wearing a wetsuit so I figured she knew what she was doing. Suddenly, we start. Putting my face into the water was another shock but I just focused on my breathing and swimming. Man, the outdoor pool bottom was much dirtier then my nice warm indoor pool at my gym. Yuck.

I’m feeling really good in the swim. Brett is at one end, counting my laps for me. My cheering section was on the other end of the pool but I didn’t hear them much since my head was in the water. I quickly warmed up, didn’t even notice how cold the water was after a few laps. I feel great swimming and take just a few seconds after every other lap to catch my breath. Soon Brett yelled “10 laps, you’re finished” and I got out of the pool. He tells me my time was 11:30, amazing!! That’s a full minute faster then I’ve ever done before. Woo-hoo!

On to the bike. I hurry to my transition area and dry my feet off, using one of the rec centers towels (Thanks Rec Center!). Got my Garmin on, shades, helmet and shirt. Then I pull the bike off and jump on. I’m excited to be starting the next leg, which is a 12 mile bike ride. Unfortunately, the ride starts with a hill and I get passed right away, darn. But I keep pedaling. I get passed 3 more times but I remind myself that I still have the run to do and I’m pretty new to biking (only have owned mine since March!). The route was hilly but I knew what to expect because I rode it on Thursday. The riders from the first heat are coming back so we wave and yell some encouraging words. The guy who finished the swim first was in the lead on the bike and again, looked like he knew what he was doing, no one was catching him. Most everyone else looked pretty good too. I come up to mile 4 and see my cheering section on the corner, screaming my name. So uplifting to have someone there for you and to have 9 people – even better.

I get to the 6.25 mile turn around and start to head back. I see that there is one lady behind me which is encouraging, I shouldn’t be the last one to finish. I pass the cheering crew again and give them some big waves. They pass me in the car a few minutes later, honking and yelling out the window. So cool! I make the turn to the hilly section and am actually excited since I knew I was finishing up and the hills were good. My legs are sore so I take some Chomps since I still have to run after this. My times are all in the range that I wanted, about 5 minutes a mile. My goal was to finish the ride in under an hour. Suddenly, with about ¼ of a mile left, the lady who was behind me, passes me. Ahh! I wasn’t expecting that! So I get a little serious and push hard to keep up with her. We ride into the parking lot and I’m not smiling for any camera, I’m focused on NOT FINISHING LAST!

The last transition went very quickly, about 40 seconds. I had already stretched my calves on the bike so I switched the Garmin from bike to run and took off. I knew my first mile would be slow, just getting my legs into running form. I see the lady who passed me on the bike and she is obviously hurting so I work to catch her and give her a few words of encouragement as I pass by. Whew, won’t be last.

I get to the 1.5 mile mark and turn around. My legs are loosening up and I pick up my pace. First mile was 8:33, second mile (pause to tie my shoe) was 8:33 and my final mile, once I started feeling normal was 8:20. I see the rec center down the path and start to speed up. I finished the last tenth at a 6:37 pace! My 5k time was 26:00, slowest ever for me but best ever for a Tri!

I’m hurting, sweaty and feeling like crap. But after some water and a bathroom break, I promptly tell my cheering crew thank you for being the best ever and that I’ll be back for another Tri on July 4th!!

I finished in 1:39:08, beating all the goals that I had set for myself. I swam better then I could have expected. Biked 12.45 miles in under 1 hour with only being on a bike a handful of times. And I ran a 5k in a very respectable 26 minutes. And best of all – I’m a Tri-athlete!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Matthew and Yoda finish the preschool year.
Yes, I said Matthew and Yoda. LOL. Matthew's teachers had a pizza party for his class and families today. At the end of lunch, his teachers had all the kids come up to receive a certificate and a sand bucket filled with little goodies. When they announced Matthew's name they said "Matthew and we have an honorary certificate for Yoda since he's part of our class as well". LOL! All the kiddos giggled and Matthew had a big smile on his face. Here is a picture!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kylie the Kindergarten Graduate!

Yes, this year has flown by. Kylie is finishing her last week of Kindergarten. Yesterday was her Kindergarten Celebration. She had one of the lead speaking parts in the opening of the celebration. Her class did a great job, cute songs and lines.

Kylie has just loved this experience, the whole Kindergarten deal. She thinks her teacher, Mrs. Moore, just walks on water and can do no wrong. She has made many friends, both with the girls and the boys. It seems like she is well liked by her classmates. She does get teased, like all kids, mainly about her size. It bugs her so I just try to encourage her as much as I can.

Today was awards day. Kylie earned 10 awards! Super Citizen, Spelling, Math, Homework, Writing, Personal Best, Kindergarten Completion to name a few. Kylie had spelling tests every Friday since January and had gotten every single word right until her last test where she missed "with". The other Kindergarten teacher was giving the test and she pronouced the word "w-iiiiith" which made Kylie think that it had a hard I and needed a silent E at the end. So she missed it and was just crushed. We just tried to cheer her up and let her know that we knew she knew the word and we were so proud regardless. Who would have thought I'd have a child who can spell?!

Anyways, here is a video of Kylie's celebration yesterday:

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Oh the wind. Blowing so hard it felt like it was blowing through me. My hands are shaking, my legs are heavy and frozen, I’m clapping my hands to warm them up. I’m surrounded by 35,000 runners but am alone, running by myself. The lady finishes the National Anthem, I shed my long-sleeved tee shirt and toss it to a volunteer who tosses it in a huge collection bag. Wow, I thought I was cold before, now I’m just wearing shorts, a short-sleeved tech shirt and my new pink arm-warmers and the wind is not letting up. Suddenly, the count-down starts and myself and my fellow runners start to crowd together, anticipating the start gun. Next thing I know, I see the start line and we’re off!
My corral was further back then I wanted so I knew I would need to make some moves to get past the slower runners in front of me. I quickly hop on the median with a few other runners and start passing people. Even though I was passing as many people as I could, I still only ran a 8:48. The wind was brutal and I could feel it slowing me down.
Mile 2-4 went smoothly. I stayed on the left side so I could more easily pass people by hopping in the grass or on the sidewalk. About mile 3.5, I feel an arm around my shoulder and look up to see my buddy, Lynk. He was looking and feeling great. We chatted for a minute and I wished him luck as I got back on pace. My legs started feeling tired which worried me so I took my Gu Chomps at mile 4. At this point the course turned to the west which put us straight into the wind which felt like someone was pushing me backwards. I dug in deep and pushed on, knowing I had a wonderful reason to keep running at mile 5.
I start searching the crowd as I come up on my turn and then I see them – my kids and parents! Kylie and Matthew are bundled up in blankets with huge poster boards, patiently waiting for me. Dad gets some pictures and I gave hugs and kisses to the kids. Matthew said “It’s my birthday.” And I said “I know, buddy, happy birthday!” And I took off, with a spring in my step, heading into the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The crowd along Main Street is fabulous, loaded with fans and bands. I turn into the Speedway, with my legs feeling much better. Mile 6-8.5 are around the track and it’s pretty amazing to run and see how truly massive the track is. My energy and attitude are great, I’m hitting my goal times. The wind is less severe and I know that I’m about ½ way through. Suddenly, about mile 7, I hear a “Hi Mary” at my shoulder. I look over and see my runner friend, John, and just say “John” and smile. I’m thrilled because I really wanted to see him at some point this morning. And he’s looking great. We exchange quick status updates and he speeds off. Next big moment was crossing the famed “Yard of Bricks”. I see some people kneel down to kiss the bricks but I just yelled and threw my hands up as I crossed. And soon, I was leaving the Speedway and heading for the final last 4 miles.
Mile 9-10 were still really good. I took my next set of Chomps and could feel my legs re-energize. I hit mile 10 and know – hello, I only have a 5k left! I try to do the math in my head and know that if I hang at the pace I’ve been, I should make my goal of 1:47-1:48. But by mile 11, I started feeling fatigued. My legs were heavy and I was digging deep to keep going. I haven’t run anything over 11.5 miles since last May. I push those thoughts out of my head and grab a Gatorade. The crowd is on both sides of the road now as we’re approaching downtown. I keep telling myself - you only have 1.5 miles to go, you can’t stop and walk at this point! I see another water stop at mile 12 and walk through that to catch my breath and prepare for the finish. I turn on to the final road, which starts with a bridge over White River. I don’t notice the uphill part of the bridge and I really hit the downhill hard, trying to pick up some speed. But mile 13 seemed very long and I was hitting the wall. About mile 12.5, I started to feel my stomach getting upset so I slowed down a few seconds to let it settle. I know that my dad and husband would be watching for me so I just gritted my teeth and kept going. I don’t see a finish line, only large groups of balloons so I sprinted as fast as I could go and crossed the timing mats. I did it. I finished!
My official time was 1:49:56, just a few seconds slower then last year. I won’t lie, I was very disappointed that I didn’t beat my time from last year. But after considering the extreme wind and coming back from my stress fractures which kept me on the couch for 3 months this past summer, I couldn’t be disappointed for long. I did finish in the top 7% for my age division, 4665 out of 35,000.
Brett finished with a 1:34:15, he placed 1011 overall. My friend Lynk finished 1:52 and John made his goal of breaking 1:40 with a 1:39:58.
I’ll be back next year!!