Strathmore Women’s Triathlon – 2nd go round

Posted on September 11, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

On August 19, 2012 I participated in my second Strathmore Women’s Triathlon.  Now ask me how many triathlons I’ve done…  You guessed it – Two.  I noticed things were different this go round.  But the differences I saw all boiled down to I’m a different person now.  After the race was over and we got back to the house, I read my recap of last year’s race.  It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come in a year.

I go and pick up my race package and already I’m seeing a change.  I confidently walk into the Tri store and over to the table where Deanne (race director) had set up.  Rather than feeling like I didn’t belong in the multisport world and shyly asking for my race package, I visited with Deanne and showed my Alberta Triathlon Association card.  Last year I did not get the membership and just paid for a day pass.  Who would have ever thought that I would need a membership in a triathlon association?

I got the race package home and was just as excited as last year to go through it.  Seeing my personalized race bib once again made my heart flutter, but this year there was not any panic.  Thoughts of “Oh my God, what have I’ve gotten myself into?” didn’t even enter my mind.  As race day grew closer, I did have a few butterflies in my tummy, but 98.372% of my emotion was pure excitement.

August 19th was going to be hot (by Canadian standards) and our day started early.  We were up and out of the house by 6am.  By the time we arrived in Strathmore, transition was opened and I was able to set up my bike and run gear.  I went to get body marked while Brandon and the boys went for breakfast.  The atmosphere was different this year.  While I’m no seasoned pro by any stretch of the imagination, I felt more at home than I did last year.  I wondered around waiting for my swim heat to start and actually had newbies come up to me and ask questions.  I smiled as I watched some fret over how they laid out their transition, how well they would swim, or if they were going to be able to finish at all.  It took me back to a year ago when I had the same thoughts myself.

My swim heat was called and I was on the pool deck ready to go.  There were two heats for a predicted swim time of 14-16 minutes and I was in the first one.  My swim time was going to be close to 15 minutes.  As I stood on the deck, my nerves started to increase, but only a little.  I was very happy to see that I was going to be in an outside lane – much easier to swim in.  As I eased into the pool, the feeling that I was home came over me and my nerves quickly dissipated.  I kicked off and found my rhythm.  The swim is a continuous feed with four swimmers in a lane.  I think I was on the faster end of the group I was swimming with.  I kept getting caught in mini traffic jams where I had to slow down.  The swim seemed to take longer than last year, but as I exited the lane, I felt alive.  I felt so alive that I was able to run to my bike after I left the pool building.

I took a quick look around for my cheer squad, but they were nowhere to be found – guess they were still at the playground.  I throw on my jersey, helmet, and shoes.  The strap on my shoe comes off and I had to fiddle with it to get it back on.  I grab some Honey Stingers and put on my race belt.  My belt won’t buckle.  I realize that one of the buckles had come off.  I don’t even spend time to think, I just tie the belt in a knot around my waist, grab my bike and go.

Once again the bike course is amazing.  I’m so thankful for the man that hand sweeps all 20K of it.  The course is an out-and-back route that is a gentle downward slope going out.  I feel like I’m flying as I’m making my way down the road.  I pass several people and play leapfrog with one chic.  Coming back, as you can imagine, is NOT a gentle downward slope.  If you ask Deanne, she’ll say it’s a “gentle incline”, but there really isn’t much gentle about it.  I did not have to go through all the gears like I did last year, which was good.  I also didn’t have the series of sentences rolling through my mind on a continuous loop:  “Don’t stop pedaling – if you do, you’ll fall over.” “Don’t stop – if you do, you’ll never get started again on this hill.” “Don’t get off the bike – if you do, you’ll never get back on.” “You. Got. This.”  When I reached the “big” hill (not really that big in the grand scheme of things, but it seemed like Everest to me) I had to tell myself to keep pedaling, but all in all, it was a good ride.  It still amazed me how supportive everyone is.  The athletes, volunteers, and even people driving down the road yell encouragement to you.  I remember how big of a boost it can be so I hollered to everyone I saw.  I still felt good when I pulled up to the dismount line and was able to quickly rack my bike and get into my run gear.  I even managed to run out of transition – which did not happen a year ago.

Last year the run portion was pretty miserable.  It was crazy hot and about a kilometer in my “second knees” cramped up on me.  This year it was hot, but I wasn’t dying.  I stuck to my 20:40 ratio and was able to finish strong.  The “second knee” on my right leg started to protest around kilometer four, but not too loudly.  Some people were kind enough to water the sidewalk and we were able to run through a couple of sprinklers as we approached the turn around.  One neighbor brought out cold-water sponges for us to use.  These people were a Godsend.  The feel of the cold water gave my energy a good boost.  I mentioned that I ran with a 20:40 ratio and to keep track of that I have a Gymboss.  I was rather surprised how many women responded to it.  I got several “Gymboss!” with high fives as we passed each other.   I make the last turn in the course and enter the homestretch.  About 50m out I see Brandon and Zachary cheering me on.  Zachary comes to run with me.  Last year he was behind me and I slowed down a little and kept looking back to make sure he was still coming.  This year he sprinted ahead of me and I had to step it up to keep up with him.  There was a finish banner that was held for everyone to cross.  Zachary got to go through it and you would have thought he won the whole race – in his mind he did.  I stopped and got my medal from one lady while someone else was taking the timing chip off.  Zachary was very excited when he saw my medal.  Last year he was excited and kept saying “You won, Mommy!”  This year…  he was just as excited and wanted to know where HIS medal was.  He did win after all.

As I made my way to the food table, I saw Jackson.  He came up and gave me a hug and said “Good job, Mom!”  I was so glad my boys were there to watch their mom do something like this.  While waiting for the banquet to start, Zachary got on his bike.  “I’m ready to go on the bike course that Mommy did!”  I guess it didn’t register with him that he had already “won” the race.  Once the results were posted, I made my way through the crowd to check out my times.  I thought I might have beat my time, but I wasn’t sure.  Just because I felt better throughout the race doesn’t mean I went faster.

Swim: 500m – 14:39 (Imagine how much faster I could have been without the traffic jams)

Bike: 20km – 1:05:48 (this included T1 and T2)

Run: 5km – 43:59 (I should have pushed a little harder here)

Total: 2:04:24.9

Last year times:

Swim: 500m – 14:53

Bike: 20km – 1:08:09

Run: 5km – 44:54

Total: 2:07:55.5

This year the race wasn’t as emotional as last year’s – there was never any “pool water” in my eyes – but that’s not to say it didn’t mean as much.  I beat last year’s time by 3.5 minutes, which is amazing.  But even more amazing was how I felt throughout the entire race and afterwards.  I wasn’t dying or so sore that I could barely move… I felt great.  Anytime that I can do something like this amazes me.  I’ve never been athletic nor have I really had the desire to be.  However, the tri bug has bitten me.  In fact I have one on September 8th, my first open water swim in the cold Canadian waters of Banff National Park.  This will add a wetsuit and a whole other level of hilarity and accomplishment to my life.


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3 Responses to “Strathmore Women’s Triathlon – 2nd go round”

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High five! So proud of you and all three of your boys.
Ms. Dixie

[…] ok in the weeks leading up to the event.  I had done the Strathmore Women’s Tri in 2011 and 2012 and after the second one I felt really good.  I knew that it would be a different race, but I […]

[…] line with me.  It was a very joyous occasion full of smiles and tears of happiness.  I did the same race the following year and once again my little one crossed the line with me.  He was ahead of me and […]

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