Monday, April 29, 2013

The Ying and Yang of race day

St Anthony's Triathlon, the big event here in the Tampa Bay area.  Thousands of participants, an awesome PRO field, and even Mr, "DWTS" & chocolate milk, Hines Ward was there.

I knew, I wasn't in "race shape" but was peer pressured into doing this race anyway.  I can hear my mother's voice in my head right now, "So if all your friends jump off a bridge, are you going to do it too?" Well, maybe not jump off a bridge, but Olympic Distance Triathlon, sure, what the hell!  Oops, sorry mom.

Now the twenty four hours or so before race start were interesting to say the least.  Saturday morning, Kari treated me like a star athlete.  She cooked an amazing breakfast, which we ate on the patio.  It was an awesome start to the day.  Have I mentioned how wonderful she is?  Another cup of coffee, then off to get with my crew, check out the expo, get in the water for a practice swim.  I packed the bike on my car, she kissed me goodbye  and said "don't forget sunscreen, looks like you're going to need it."   Insert music of impending doom.  (DUM da duh dum, DUMMMMMM, yes pun intended)

I parked my car at the Northshore pool, and was so excited to get with everyone, I jumped on my bike, grabbed a drawstring bag, with my goggles.  Yes you guessed, left the sunscreen in the car.  I found Brad, Nick and Scott jogging towards swim start so I spun around and rode along side them.  We stripped our shirts off climbed down the stairs and into the water.  This was just to get the feel for water, and stretch out.  The water temp felt great, and although a little choppy no big deal, ok turnaround and back to the stairs.  The metal stairs.  On practice, day no one is there to grab you by the arms and help you up, and a swell kind of grabbed me and I smashed my foot (big toe took the brunt of the blow)  and so it begins.  We went back to the expo, watched the pro press conference which was fun.  We checked our bikes into transition and Brad "Iron Goof" gave me the coolest gift, an A-Train tank top that said "Coach Pete"  Then Brad said, "Dude, you need to get out of the sun"  Yes, my shoulders, and neck were toasted.  This should be fun.  Let's see, what else could go wrong, well I'll spare you the details, but I didn't feel well, barely slept, and couldn't eat.  4:00am, this should be fun.

Pete, Nick, Brad Pre-Swim Start
We get to the race site, about 5:30am and can see the trees bending and the water is moving violently.  Oh yeah, this is great.  But, I'm with my friends.  You were expecting a race report, so here it is in a nutshell:   I had a slow swim, a slow bike, and an abysmal run.  Yes it was a lousy race, but, I was out there and it was a great day.

I lost a water bottle out on the bike course, so I ran short of fluids.  My plan was to pick up one more bottle carry it with me out of T-2, drink it and toss it.  But, I came out of T-2 and didn't feel too bad, I knew I didn't have much left, but thought for sure 10 minute miles were doable.  I saw Kari and her niece Katie, who was holding a sign telling me to RUN FASTER.  Some high fives along the way and the energy is flowing.  I hit the grassy area, and that's when the left calf decided it didn't want to play anymore.  Grab a tree, toe raises, stretch... come on.  Ok let's run!  this went on for 5.2 of the 6.2 mile run.  But I love being out there, the words of encouragement, the slaps on the ass, (Thanks Cheryl) Beth, Jaye, Kimberly, Sean, Jon and everyone out on the run course who encouraged me, thank you!  Megan caught me with about a mile and half to go, yes I was walking, actually limping, but she stayed with me and shared the last of her nutrition.  With less than a mile to go, I decided that's it, I don't care anymore, let's bring it in as hard as I can.  I'll spare you the finish photo, it wasn't pretty.

Thank you Kari
What makes it all worthwhile is the finish line and who is there for you.    I cannot believe how many people I heard screaming my name in the finish chute.  Seeing so many awesome friends is the greatest feeling. More importantly its having someone with you from start to finish.  You know that special someone who woke up at 4am to hold your stuff, to cheer you on and be there at the finish line.

Yes, I had a lousy race, but I had a great day!