Monday, when I went into Walmart to get all those things you get in Walmart, it was nice outside. When I came back out less than an hour later, it was summer. I don’t know how that happened and how I missed the weather report that it was going to be scorching that day. But it’s summer, complete with disgusting humidity. As much as I was looking forward to running this week, I am dreading it now. Blech. Here’s a little recap of whaz been goin’ on here in the ILM lately. I been BIZZY. PLEASE, if anything, make sure you read my huge news at the bottom regarding the fundraiser for the UNCW running teams.
Honestly, I don’t know the last time I wrote. I think was half way (it totally wasn’t half way, it was whole) freaking out about the triathlon or something and I’m just too lazy to go back and look at my last post. I tried and tried to come up with a way to get out of that race. I really did. Beach erosion from Tropical Storm Ana? Cancel it. Too dangerous. Not enough participants? Cancel the thing. Big dark scary cloud? No way, don’t mess with storms. Increased chance for rip currents. No way, Jose. But there was nothing LEGITIMATE about my fears (except for the sharky ones), and there was no reason to cancel that race. But I sure get an A for Effort 🙂
But I’ll get to the tri here in a minute. Let me back up. Friday morning, a friend of mine and her training buddy asked me to join them on a practice ocean swim and bike ride in prep for the tri. I figured it was the best thing I could do, so went for it. We rode our bikes first and then headed to the beach. The waves were not small. They weren’t “Hawaii 5-0” waves or anything, but it took some effort to get past the breakers. It seemed the end of the breakers never came. I struggled a little, swallowed a good amount of sea water, but it was a very good indicator of what Sunday could be like – not easy, but doable. The confidence came as soon as I got out of the water, but when I was swimming, all I could think was, “No way, there’s no freaking way, this is bull$shit.” But I made it through.
Saturday morning was a proud day. It was my Stride boys’ 5k. We got up bright and early and headed to the start to meet our team. They all arrived on time, and we joked, got our numbers on, and then warmed up. I got attached to those kids, and I will miss them! We posed for pictures and did our warm ups. I reminded them about pacing, taking it easy in the beginning, then charging at the end. It got pretty warm that morning. I had originally wanted to do somewhere close to 22:00, but I just didn’t think I could pull that off. I figured I’d just do the best I could and not worry about it. For the first time in a while, I did not care.
When our race started, I was very mindful of seeing my team out on the course. I passed many of them, complimented them, and then half way scolded one of the competitive ones for cutting in front of me multiple times. In all the race prep I gave them, one thing I totally forgot to do was teach them about race courtesy. Oops. My bad. I finished in just over 23:00, which I was happy with. I realized that I hadn’t looked at my pace more than one time, which is refreshing when you are just running to run. No pressure, and I knew I had a pretty big day ahead on Sunday. I got some water and parked by the finish line so I could cheer on my boys. They all finished strong, and I was so proud of them. I think they were proud of themselves too. They were sweaty, tired, but they smiled. (Only one threw up.) It was a very good ending to a very good season. I ended up winning 3rd overall Masters division with my time, so I won a gift card. Score.
We left the race, washed up, and took off for my son’s last soccer game. He rocked it. It was his first season playing soccer at all, ended up playing goalie 98% of the time, but he did very well.
After that, we went to the beach a few hours to waste time before my packet pickup was open. It was an absolutely delightful day, and I enjoyed those few hours totally unplugged. When it was time to get my triathlon stuff, we scoped out the course and realized how easy it was going to be to navigate. Then we headed home. My soccer son had a birthday party, so we got ready for that, picked up his friends and took them all together. Then we took our youngest to eat and had a few drinks. We headed back to pick up the rowdy boys from the party, took them home, and then my friend picked all the kids to spend the night at her house so my husband could Sherpa for me the next morning without getting the kids up at o’dark thirty. I checked over my triathlon supplies and went to bed. What a day.
Sunday. Triathlon day. My first sprint race. I woke at 4:00 am. I had a lot of my things ready already. It was a swim, run, bike, run, swim format, so transitions would be very simple. The transition from swim to run was in the sand, so I put my running stuff in a bucket so it didn’t get covered with sand as other racers came through. I was signed up as a novice master, so all the novices started last. I was determined to place in my division, the new/old division (novice master female). The fact that I was the only one in it had nothing to do with it. Haha!!
The sunrise was gorgeous, and I patiently waited, with very little anxiety, for my start. Maybe not feeling nervous is a good sign. That’s how I felt before my half iron, and that race went well, so I figured that having too many nerves could waste much needed energy, so as much as I was dreading the double swim, I knew I just had to take one stroke at a time. The waves look smaller than how they felt, that’s for sure.
I won’t get into the details of the race, but when I started, I just went. I channeled all my energy and focused on each stroke, each breath, getting to the first turn, second turn, and then transition. I did the entire tri without a Garmin, so I had no idea how long it was taking me, my pace, distance (except on my bike, I knew my mph and time), and it was a really nice way to race. Just focus and go. The run was 1.5 miles, and the transition to the bike was fast. The bike course was a closed road, and it was smooth and very fast too. I pushed, but I didn’t want to wear my legs out for the remaining run and swim. I ended up going just over 19 mph. My second run was a tad faster than the first, and when I got to the beach to head out for the final leg of the double sprint, I smiled. I was almost done. We had to run down the beach to the start, and when I entered the water, it felt delicious. I don’t really know what happened, but I wish I was wearing a Garmin just to see how different the swims were. The first trip was probably a rectangle, as it should be. The second was probably more of an amoeba. I ended up going way around the first turn buouy, and it seemed to take me a long time to get to the sight bouy. But I was doing it and making progress. Then all of a sudden I was turning back towards the finish and was washed up onto the beach. I ran to the finish line and crossed with a huge sense of accomplishment.
I did it. My first sprint tri, a double sprint with two ocean swims, DONE. And I had three spectators, just for me. Who wouldn’t love that? Thanks for being there, Andy, Stacey, and sis, Randee! And just as I planned, I won first in my division, bringing home a really nice set of grill utensils. Two prizes in two days, gotta love being a Master!!!
Two hours after I finished my tri, I headed back out to take pictures for my new venture. One word: coaching. Here, look at the picture of me being all coachy.
I had a date with the couch for the rest of the weekend. I was tired. I dozed for a while and truly enjoyed opening my Miller Lite later on that evening. Bedtime was early, but I had even more going on the first few days of the week.
Monday was our Stride pizza party. I printed pictures for all the kids and had them come up so I could say something about them individually. At the party, I was given a check to pass along to the UNCW running teams. In case you missed it, the university decided to cut the track and field teams unless the community could raise $250,000 by the end of May. People, my little Title I school, the school that gets ignored and doesn’t even have room for the Kindergartners to attend in the building (they’re bussed to a different site), the one who has the happiest staff I’ve ever been around, the kids and the teachers and the staff and the parents came together and raised $7800 to help save the teams. That is a HUGE amount of money. I’d already planned to have my brother-in-law make a big check for a photo op, so the kids could see picture proof of what they did, but one of the Stride parents put another idea in my head, and of course, the staff made it happen. On Tuesday morning at 8:30, three UNCW coaches came to the school, were then walked back behind the school to find the entire student body around the little track, just so they could see for themselves what their fundraising did. I was able to keep my wits about me and give a little speech about how a little idea could come together to make something big happen. It was one of my proudest moments and I knew how lucky I was to be a part of this school and community.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
As of Wednesday, the teams have only $10,000 left to raise to meet their goal within 10%, which we all heard was enough to keep the team for another year. If you can, please donate to their cause.
And for the holiday weekend? I’m heading to Raleigh for the Dave Matthews Band concert Friday night, then I really have no idea what I’m doing besides my long bike ride. Sounds perfect to me!
What about you? Swam in the ocean before? Scared of sharks? Ever been overwhelmed by the generosity of people? Running this weekend?