I did it!  Not only did I finally beat the amazing Bonnie Armstrong, I had to overtake two other ridiculously fit women to WIN my hometown triathlon!  If you missed the first post about my Humble TRI you can catch up, but it’s really just fun to read the re-cap of the victory…how sweet (and hot and sweaty) it is!

This is how I was feeling the morning of the TRI because I was consumed with thoughts of swimming (and drowning) in the lake:

I'm FREAKING OUT!

I’m FREAKING OUT!

Luckily I regained my composure by the time I got down to the beach and set-up my bike, got my timing chip and realized that there were too many lifeguards for me to drown and die.

Let's DO THIS!

Let’s DO THIS!

Then, a funny thing happened when that gun went off – I relaxed.  I was calm.  The sun was out, the lake water was warm and it was just a nice morning for a swim.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I was still sticking my head out of the water like a dog and moving at a somewhat slow pace but I wasn’t panicking.  My swim time: 6:37 (about 10 seconds faster then last year and I will take that as definite improvement!)

As soon as my feet can touch that mucky bottom, I start running to the beach.  My good friend Josh gave me the best tip – no socks!  Now, I’m sure this is a relatively common thing with triathletes but it was news to me.  I went sock less and definitely cut my transition time: 46 seconds.

Thank you TEAM OLIVA!

Thank you TEAM OLIVA!

Once on the bike I feel pretty confident but there were already several women ahead of me.  I started making a game of picking them off one by one.  I assumed (yep, like a total ass) that Bonnie was the first woman.  I passed her around mile 5 in the bike and thought “I’m gonna win!”  Then I got to Minor Hill.  It’s a cruelly named hill because there is absolutely nothing minor about an 18% grade!  Luckily I had an amazing cheerleader (and chalk artist) waiting for me there with this message:

Woot! Woot!

Woot! Woot!

Spectators are such a HUGE part of the race…at least for me.  When my friends and family (or total strangers) shout encouraging words it totally gives me an added boost of energy.  Just knowing  someone is waiting for me at the finish helps me to finish strong so THANK YOU to everyone who was there and helped me along.  It means more then you know!

So, as I get up and over the Minor Hill beast, I spot another woman.  WTF?  Damnit!!  I thought I was winning!?  Shit.  The chase is on again.

I ended up passing her during the final mile and then BAM, what do I see?  Another woman who is already running!!!!  Really? Shit.

Oh, I almost forgot – bike time: 37:14  which was about a minute and a half faster then last year.

And now I’m on the run…

I'm coming to get you!

I’m coming to get you!

My aunt, who is by far my number one fan, was yelling to me at the transition: “There’s one girl ahead of you but just by 2 minutes.  Go get her!”  Now my aunt is amazing and I love her dearly but she has NO IDEA how far ahead 2 minutes is in running!  My heart sank.  My legs felt like two tree trunks, it was about 175 degrees out and I had to chase the lead woman.  Ugh.

So, I just did what I always do – started talking to myself like a crazy person to get through the last three miles.  I honestly didn’t even care about winning in that moment.  It was so hot and I was so tired that I thought “I’ll run my pace and do my best and whatever happens, happens.”  And then I spotted her!  She was definitely in striking distance.  My thoughts then turned to “I’m a runner!  This is what I do!  This is my ‘hood!  I’m gonna WIN!”

I passed the final woman at mile 2 and then had a hill climb before the final turn to the finish.  I crossed the line in 1:06:30 – 4 minutes off my time from last year and good enough for 8th overall!  I completed the run in 21:24 – yeeeehaawwwww!!!

It was such a great day, the best part being when I could finally stop running in that heat and start soaking up my victory with so many great friends who also ran great races!  Plus, I won a very cool pair of New Balance kicks and a shiny medal that the kids are fighting over.  I have to figure out a way to get two medals at each race!

Sweet sneaks!

Sweet sneaks!

And then finally went home, showered, ate (a ton!) and then sat on my front porch and had a beer!

Ah.....sitting is good!

Ah…..sitting is good!

Until next year!  I can’t hardly wait…

 

How do you push yourself through the tough part of races?  What do you do to reward yourself?  How do you feel about your cheerleaders?