Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tri time with the fam

Two weeks ago, my brothers and I competed in our first ever triathlon. Now I know you all are very impressed with this information, since you never see me on a bike or in the pool. It turns our that one can triathlon (I just verbed that noun so hard) without owning a bike or being able to swim. The solution is a triathlon team. And that's what we did. My youngest brother loves biking and my other brother is a decent swimmer so I turned our little motley crew of athletes into a functioning tri team!

It was a perfect day down in Vernal for the Dino Tri. The weather had cooled just a little from the previous weekend, which made me nervous for the open water swim, but we made sure my brother had a wetsuit so that the cold wouldn't be as much of an issue. We also had a bit of a scare when my biking brother thought he would have to be out of town for work the weekend of our event. He managed to work out a win/win compromise with his boss though.

We arrived at the hotel for packet pick up and got our body markings. For those who don't know, in a triathlon, they mark your number, age, and in our case, an R for Relay, on our arms and legs. I still have a faint R on my leg and it's been two weeks. When it says "permanent" marker, it's not playing around. There was a man there giving mowhawks to the guys doing the race. I was unaware that the mowhawk thing was a tradition of this race and hadn't prepared my brothers for this. They both had a bit of a fit and refused to let shaver anywhere near their heads. They weren't the only ones who didn't get the hair style, so it wasn't too big of a deal to refuse.
Now if they could have pulled this off...

After packet pick up, we had to drop the bike off at the start. We ended up driving out on a beautiful road we had never been on before, heading out to Red Fleet Resevoir. The road had some very twisty sections so I knew the bike ride was going to be an adventure. The resevoir itself had sheer rock walls on one side, where lots of swallows had made their home. They were swooping over the water, grabbing up mosquitos in the late afternoon sun. It was a very pretty picture. The water looked calm and peaceful. My brothers, however, did not. My swim brother was staring at the water, wondering just what it was he had done by agreeing to do this while my bike brother had a tiny meltdown over the fact that there were so many super expensive bikes there. Where there are super expensive bikes, there are super competitive cyclists.

You all know the type. Competitive cycle-y types. Like this. 

We spent the rest of the drive back into town trying to build up our confidence for the next day. Everyone was a little high strung about it, me included. I was worried about how my brothers would do, even though I knew they would be just fine. It's one thing to race on your own and another completely to rely on the skills of others. Not that we were out there to win, we just wanted to live through it. We had dinner and went to bed, not that anyone slept all that much. My mother was so nervous about the alarm not being set correctly, that she was up at 4 a.m. to make sure. There were no mishaps and my brothers made it to the shuttle with no problems.

The swim start!

Run! Run to transition!
Now go! Go and bike!
His orange jacket leads the way!

For once, I got to stay in bed a little longer, since I couldn't ride up to the start. I had to meet them at transition 2, which was also the finish line. I got there pretty early, since I wanted to avoid the road closure that would happen later in the morning for the run. I was there early enough to see the first place guy come through. It was fun to be at the transition area and cheer for everyone. My bike brother came through sooner than I expected. He and my swim brother had both done better than they anticipated. We swapped the ankle timer and I took off on the run course. In the excitement, I ran my first mile in 9:58. Oops. That was WAY too fast. It was staring to warm up and I don't do well in the heat. I took a walk break to try and get my heart rate down and then started up again, finishing the second mile somewhere around an 11 min/mile pace. Oops. Still a little fast for me when the sun is beating down. That made my last mile really miserable. My heart rate was too high and I couldn't get my breathing to settle into a rhythm. But I finished with a pretty standard 5K time for me and there was much rejoicing!

I'm floating! Whoooooosh!
We hung around for the awards ceremony, which was nice. I usally finish so slow that I miss them... The race had provided a cooler full of Aggie Ice Cream and we made sure to partake while we waited for the awards. The guy who won the Olympic distance congratulated us when he saw us. My mom told me that he had been very kind to my bike brother at the start, helping to calm his nerves and giving him advice. It made me so happy to hear that. Things like that always restore my faith in humanity all the more. For the most part, endurance athletes seem to be kind and helpful. Sure, there's one or two that can make a bad impression, but mostly, we're nice people.

 My brothers were a little bummed that we didn't place in the team division, but it was our first time. My bike brother did have the second fastest bike time in the relay teams though. He took some comfort in that. We are now looking at doing some more of these in the future. Everyone had a really good time and suprised themselves with what they were able to accomplish. It's always nice to get that kind of confidence boost.
Team T-Rex! 

This last weekend, I ran my 43rd half marathon, the Utah Valley half marathon. The previous two years, I had run the full marathon. But with my ultra coming up this weekend, the full marathon just didn't seem prudent. And I have to say, I loved the half. The temperature had dropped significantly thanks to a cold front sweeping in. And I reveled in every cool, perfect moment of the race. I ran very well and felt great throughout. I didn't set a PR, but it was still a very tidy effort. It was fantastic to get to the finish line and there was still stuff there! Like spectators and chocolate milk and booths with food. When I run the marathon, most of that stuff is gone by the time I cross the line. I enjoyed the half so much, I may never run the full marathon at this race again. Time will tell.
After the race, my mom missed me at the finish.
 And now it's almost ultra time. Just a few days and I'll be toeing the line at my first 50K. I feel ready. I was able to get in all my long runs during training, and with how good I felt after the Ogden Marathon, I know I can do this. I am still in the excited stage, which will turn to the terror stage once I get my bib on Friday. And that's okay. The terror stage is all part of the experience. You have to take those feelings in stride so you can enjoy the dizzying high of accomplishing a new feat. I am going to enjoy this, no matter what.

Until next time, happy running!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear about your experience at your 50K! Hope you had a great time!