We woke up early and headed down to the transition area. It was full of triathletes, go figure. They weren't smelly though, not yet anyway. I waited in line to get my number stamped on my arms (278) if you want to play the lucky three and then returned to my bike to pretend I knew what to do next. I did a short run, put on my swim cap, and headed down to the water. Nerves, sweat, excitement, good lucks and other such rah rah go teaminess happening.
First out on the swim: professionals. I was in the 2nd wave, men 39 and under. I waited. We started. It was chaos. We were supposed to self seed ourselves so faster participants would be in front. It was chaos. We weren't even 1/4 of the way through and I ran into someone floating on his back. Really, less than a 1/4 of the way through? People kick each other, push each other, I heard rumour of someone biting (might have been a shark in goggles though hard to say). In time, I learned to push, kick through hands on your feet, and you learn to tell the difference between a grab and an accidental brush. It's rough. But I saw a turtle! Maybe the same turtle, still floating between the coral and the sky, watching 900 two feeters (turtle slang for humans) swim overhead. The course was an M shape so as I got tired about 1/2 way through you can hear the crowds chantings, a great motivator. It was also when the women started to catch and pass me, also a great motivator. When you move slow, you can see a lot under water during the stroke, but I digress. I finished the swim 35:40, which I was happy with.
Remember in my last post when I promised myself no water for 15 minutes? I ran up the beach and grabbed a water and a gatorade. And I drank them both. Nutrition plan be damned. I threw the cup, missed the trash can, walked on lava rock to pick up the cups, and nearly passed out when I bent over. I always have a little adjustment after the swim. I got to my bike, put on my shoes, almost fell over again multiple times, remembered they told us to sit to put on our shoes, almost fell over again, the rest room, got my shoes on, and headed out. A 4:29 transition, the winner had a 56 second transition. I might need to work on that.
I got on the bike and I immediately started drinking more water I was out on the road and I noticed my finger was bleeding. My mentor passed me and after cheering me on said, "Oh and you have blood all over your face." I screamed into the wind, "A shark attacked me" but she was already gone. The bike out was great, people passed me, I passed people. Lava fields on the left and right, ocean to the right, rolling hills. Beautiful. Not even 1/4 of the way and I'm almost out of water and my stomach is water logged. Right, that's why I don't drink water right away, now I remember how it feels. Slow down on the water and eat a cliff bar. I hit the bike turn and head back.
No wind. Yeah! I make it to within about 4 miles of the resort and 30 mph head wind! Ok, prepared, keep pedaling. At this point, I'm looking at my watch thinking, I can break 3 hours if I really push it. I figured it would take 1 hour for the run. It's close, so I start pedaling harder into the wind hoping this won't cause quad or calf cramps during the run. I make it into the bike to run transition at about 2:08, 1:29 transition because all I had to do was put my bike up, no fancy bike shoes for me.
50 minutes to break 3 hours, my best case time. I run hard, hit a spot with no wind and realize it's hot. I'm in HI! I'm getting close to finishing my first triathlon. I feel strong, I speed up. My quad cramps up. I slow down. I drink gatorade at mile 2. I feel strong. My quad cramps up. I drink gatorade at mile 3. I figure if I run really hard I still have a shot at 3 hours, feeling great except for the quad cramping, but I seem to be working through it. I pass a few teammates. The last mile or so is through the resort, over a lava rock path most people walk to avoid ankle sprains, past sun bathers, another lava rock path, I can see the finish line down the path, through some trees, and along the beach. If I sprint, I can break 3 hours. Have you ever run on sand? It's horrible. Seriously. All sorts of muscles hurt, especially at that point. But I think about why I'm doing this (Leukemia and Lymphoma S), the pain other people feel, donors and people who believe in me and ultimately I remember that things like this come down to mental toughness. I'm tough. I stop crying like a 7 year old girl and keep going.
I'm running strong again, tears are again streaming down I'm so happy and tired, the turtles are out watching me, whales breaching, a sea gull shatted upon a competitor for me, people take pictures, people cheer, I feel strong again, I finish in just under 3 hours and I'm so happy! I see two camera men for my great finish and I just stare at them as I cross the finish line and they snap my picture. The pictures are horrible, I have almost no emotion in them. I'm like a robot. I should have been like a 7 year old girl. I'm a fool.
Ah well. I have a good happy picture on the bike a moment on the beach locking eyes with a sea turtle before he was so inspired by me he went out and mated. It was a nice day, one of us should have. I finished the run in 50:16 for an official time of 2:59:36. I'm awesome!
Afterwards, I was happy. I ate cookies. I drank beer. That night we danced and drank and we might have kept dancing. It was a great experience and I want to do another. Thank you all for donating and reading this and just being the best yous yous can be.