So, I've survived my first ever triathlon...as you can tell by the fact that I'm even writing this blog. What an experience! In order to tell this story, I have to start a week ago...bear with me.
Sunday, May 13th, was Mother's Day. The weather was nice, so Mark (my husband) suggested we take a family bike ride - what a nice idea! And it was, until the flag flew off the bike trailer. Mark had been pulling both girls in a bike trailer for about 7 miles at that point. He had also pulled them to the top of a pretty steep hill. The steep hill was where we lost the flag...at the top...the very top. I had already climbed The Hill twice, but, being the kind wife that I am, I told Mark to take the two screaming girls home and get their dinner started. I would climb The Hill once more to obtain said missing flag (again, super wife). I went to clip back into my pedals, only my foot slipped off, and the bike jammed forward into my tailbone...HARD! Feeling instant pain radiate throughout what felt like my entire pelvic bone, I mouthed an expletive to my husband, fought back tears and told him to go on. I took several deep breaths, clipped myself into my pedals, and started chugging up The Hill. Needless to say, the flag is back on the bike trailer; I made it home in one piece, albeit riding in my drops the whole way and cringing every time I hit a bump (and there happened to be A LOT on the way home). Ice and ibuprofen were my two best friends for the rest of the week leading up to the race. Thanks to the help of my husband (super husband) and my mom, I was able to rest the following two days to some extent.
Wednesday morning, I decided to swim. I figured that would be the least impact on my tailbone, and it would be a good way to gauge what else I could do the rest of the week. Fortunately, my kick is weak anyhow, so I didn't rely too much on that as it was. However, it still hurt. I did my workout, got out of the pool and told myself I was NOT riding my bike later that day. Thursday I ran...slow to start, but I surprised myself with an 8:30 mile at the end. Not sure where that came from! During that run, I had an epiphany: I'm going to do this race and really do it just to finish. Because I had to go out a little slower than usual, I was forced to really take in my surroundings that night. The fresh air, the smell of freshly mowed grass, the sun on my skin, the pavement beneath my feet, and the people I passed. What a joy running was! Why not just have fun with this race and all future races I do? Sure, competing to set a PR is ok, but what happens when you just go to complete it? That was my plan for the triathlon.
Friday, we attempted another family bike ride; this time, we avoided The Hill. We had fun taking the girls to Peace Valley Park and letting them stretch their legs by wading in the lake. When we got home, I could feel my tailbone enough to make me take notice, but not enough to lay me out on the couch for the rest of the night. I was healing, and my body was telling me that, come race day, I'd be ready for it. Saturday was a nice 3.5 mile jaunt with my Fleet Feet No Boundaries buddies, and then a great afternoon filled with vegetable garden planting and yard work. I was in my happy place.
Then, 8:30PM rolled around and my nerves took over. I'm very good at procrastinating, so I had just tried on the shirts I had borrowed to wear the next day (Friendly Tip if you do a triathlon: Don't wait until the night before to try on your clothes). I started freaking out! Two of them were too small (I thought), and one was too big! Now what? Do I go to Kohl's or Walmart to find something else to wear? Do I wear my bathing suit and pull my shorts on at transition? Do I suck it up (or in) and put a t-shirt on before the bike so my flab isn't waving in the wind? So many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there repeatedly trying on the different tops I had. I called in the patience and reality check that I knew my husband would provide. Mark told me that I had nothing to worry about, that I looked fine in either of the small(er) tops, and that it wasn't about what I was wearing - it was about what I was doing. Point taken, Super Hubby! I settled on this matter and continued packing my transition bag. Mark went over a checklist with me before he put me to bed (he literally had to tell me to go to sleep), and I set my alarm for 4:30 the next morning. I laid there, wide-eyed and staring at the ceiling for awhile, but soon I drifted off to dreamland.
The next morning, I rolled over and said to Mark, "I don't want to do this." Essentially, he told me to shut up (Note: author has taken liberty to paraphrase the previous remark) and get ready to go. I got dressed, went downstairs for breakfast and coffee, and then headed out the door with Mark, all the while going over a mental checklist to make sure I had everything I needed. We got about 10 minutes from our house, and I blurted out "I forgot my ID!" I had not picked up my race packet like a good girl the day before, and I needed my photo ID in order to even get it. God bless Mark. He calmly turned around, drove home, and patiently waited in the driveway while I went in to get what I needed. On the road again.
And then, the race was on.