I DID IT!
On Sunday, September 14, 2008, I finished my first sprint Triathlon in Charlotte. I can't believe it's over! Months of training paid off and I finished faster than I projected in each leg of the race. My total time was
Neal and I arrived at the race site at dark-thirty (5:10 am). The full moon was setting and it was pitch black. I have never been so nervous! I got my body marked (No. 19) on both arms and my age on my right calf. The race instructor told us that it may sound official, but that age was essential during the race. "If you are a 40-year-old like me," she said, "and you see someone fly past you on the run course, check out her leg. If it has a big 23 on it, you just let her go on by." I used that advice several times!
Here I am before the sun even came up, prepping for the swim by posing like an Olympian:
We were sent out into the lake in waves. The open division - the fastest - are sent first and then we were sent out according to ages. I think there were 30-40 women in my wave. Each wave wears a different colored cap.
Above and Below: My smile and silliness contradict my fear.
I'm the one in the white cap:
I finished the swim in 19:35 and ran up the hill to the transistion area where the bikes are stored.
I had to remove cap and goggles, rinse my feet, dry off, put on socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, shirt, watch and shades for the T1 transition. I did all that in 3 minutes. (I bet Neal wishes I could get ready that fast every day!)
Then I'm off on the 17-mile bike:
The bike was my favorite part. It was beautiful and fun. The first half was mostly uphill - about 150-foot slooooow climb. For the first of the ride, I heard a lot of "on your left" as some speed demons were passing. Six miles in, I had had about enough of that and decided to hand out a few myself as I passed some cyclists who looked younger and fitter on the outside - but weren't
like me. :)
I finished the bike course in 1:04:52 - about 15 minutes faster than I thought I would. The run was the hardest part of the race. It was a very hilly 3.1 miles on trails. I beat my projected time and came in at 33:33! I will have to say that this was the most encouraging race. Throughout the run I heard, "you're almost at the turnaround", "you're looking great", "it's downhill just ahead." That kept a smile on my face!
THE BIG FINISH!
The finish party was great. As we crossed the line, they presented us with icy cold water and our finisher's jewelry: a three-strand bracelet with a SheRox charm.
I couldn't have done it without my support team. Cheryl Todd was my mentor for the event. She helped prepare me with encouraging emails and information for every step of the journey. She coached me through the practice swim at Lake Norman last month and kept up with my training (and news of the pups!). She was a great inspiration and she came in FOURTH OVERALL. She REALLY rocks.
I couldn't have done it without Anna, either. She was as nervous as I was on race day! She and Neal both brought their bikes and she was able to catch me at least six times on the route - including mile 15 of the bike and twice on the run! She made me cry lots after the race but she also congratulated me with my favorite bubbly - Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne!!!
I love you, Noonie.
Last, but not least, thank you to Neal. He was my main SAG (support and gear). He kept saying that he believed in me and that I had trained hard and was going to do great (even when I considered going home at about 4:15am that morning). He was the best cheerleader on each leg - I could hear him each time he yelled: BETH, YOU ROCK! I think he does, too.
That afternoon we drove home and I was greeted with brownies and cards (from Dad & Joyce) and Daisies and great Tri stickers from the Websters. I donned my new bracelet (this picture doesn't do it justice) and headed to Trask Coliseum to see SUGARLAND.
They put on a great show and I had the BEST time celebrating! I was on the first row of bleachers and could practically touch Jennifer and Kristian! They were on fire.
They even played the song I was praying for: We Run.
Smells like rain, hits like thunder
A storm is coming, I've got nothing left
So we run, yeah yeah yeah we run
Come undone like a string on a sweater
That you pull but you know better
But doing what you shouldn't's half the fun
so we run .....
It was such a great experience and I can really see myself doing another one! I even found out today that I'm the "cover girl" for the
. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive for so many months of me talking Triathlon. I can't believe it's over and so many of you had a hand in my journey. I am grateful for you all.
There is nothing like the JOY of accomplishing something you NEVER thought you could do.
I am a Triathlete. Holy Cow!