Thursday, June 14, 2012

SheRox Triathlon - Learning to Fly

4:30 am wake-up call.  It was unnecessary.  I was up. Ready to go.  Let's do this.

Day before race with Sara
Sara was already up for awhile.  I got myself together and we were out the door just after 5 a.m. and at the race start before 5:30.  First relay at transition.  Got a nice end spot for our stuff.  Started to take it all in.  We were going to do a triathlon.  As a relay.  Together.

Lisa arrived shortly afterwards.  She was teary eyed.  Tears streaming down her face.  I asked her why.  She said because she was just thinking about how amazing all these women were that were doing this triathlon.  I felt it too.  We both cried.  Tears of happiness.  Of being inspired.  Of being proud.  Of all those making the effort.

The Beach
While Sara changed, Lisa marked my body with a few "suck it cancer"s.  And, I headed off to warm up in the water for a bit.  The Beach is an old quarry in town that has been a great "pool" for many years here.  It's a great place for an open water swim.  I needed, however, to be refreshed on how the visibility was here.  I was quickly reminded that it was about zero.  Alrighty then.   When I came out of my quick warm up Lisa was nowhere to be found.  Ummm..... Lisa? Lisa?  Uh, Lisa?  I walked around the deck area for 10 minutes before I gave up.  I was starting to panic.  Transition was closing in ten minutes.  I had to get up there and get anything I needed (which turned out to be nothing).  So, I ran back.  Made Sara call Lisa.  She was sitting 10 feet in front of the area I had left her.  She never saw me get out.  Yeah..... not our only miscommunication of the day for us virgins.  Oh, well, No big whoop.  I only had a slight freak out.  Ha.

So, then goodbyes to Sara and Lisa headed with me for the swim start.  Oh. My. God.  I was going to be racing in less then ten minutes.  Just at the start I finally found my sister and ten year old niece.  This was nice.  The first time my family has come to my races (as an adult).  My friends, however, all bailed on me once again.  I was happy to see my niece.  She's a rockstar swimmer and did the Chicago Kids Triathlon last year and made me so proud. She was a breath of fresh air and made me relax.

I was so grateful we were starting in Wave #3.  First of all, because of the heat.  Secondly, because we didn't have to wait around for almost two hours to start racing.  I got in my corral with 2 minute before start. I looked around at my corral.  Picked out a few that I could easily identify as swimmers.  The girl next to me, one I had identified as a swimmer, asked me, "How far is this swim?"  I said, "You ask this now?  It's a half mile".  She said she used to swim the mile.  Oh no.  This did not bode well for me.  A sprinter.

The Elite wave went off.  The cancer survivor wave went off.  We were next.  I jockeyed for a front position.  I got it.  In the water we walked.  3, 2, 1........ BEEEEEEEEP!  We were off!  It was a roller derby free for all for that front position.  The Miler Girl and me were battling it out.  She won the battle.  Got along the lane line first.  But, half way down that first lap I overtook her.  See ya.  However, as I did so, I also kicked someone behind me.  Someone was behind me. Not for long.  Shortly she was on the other side of me.  Then in front of me.   I let her go.  No way I could continue this fast pace for an entire half mile.  I needed to go steady and strong.  But, not all out so soon.

The lanes were HUGE.  So, I ended up doing a lot of zig zagging when I lost sight of the lane lines.  I could only see to the end of my hand in front of me, if that far.  So, if I wasn't right along a lane line I tended to get off course.  I had to do a lot of breast strokes to keep an eye out for slow swimmers ahead or turns in the course.  When I hit the Survivor's wave I had a very hard time getting through.  They were packed pretty tight across the lane.  These women friggin rock and the last thing I needed to do was claw my way through them.  So, I dodged and weaved the best I could until I was free and had plenty of clear water ahead.  I could see two other relay colored caps ahead of me.  But, they were closer than they had been.  I had caught up.  One last lap.  I gave it all I had.  I was beat.  But, I put my head in and pulled.

I thought about the survivors I just passed.  I thought about them not giving up.  I thought about a that weird doode friend of mine that runs silly miles in a pink tutu to raise money to find a cure for cancer.  I didn't care how tired I was.  I could do this.  I could finish strong.

Soon I could see the bottom.  I was close.  I stood up.  Ran out of the water.  Yes!  I was done.  Oh, wait, never mind.  I had to then run to our transition area for our wave.  Up a hill.  Through a parking lot.  The entire transition area.  I could barely breath.  I was exhausted.  I was running in a friggin bathing suit for crying out loud!  Oh, dear Lord.

I got to our transition area.  I was confused.  I couldn't  find Sara.  I was in our lane.  But, she wasn't.  There were other relay teams standing where Sara should be.  Lots of them.  Blocking the area.  But, where was Sara?  I ran up and down the area looking for her.  Finally I ran back to our transition.  Yelled her name.  She stood up.  She was adjusting her bike.  The other ladies were blocking her.  I couldn't see her.  She wasn't expecting me so soon.  Ha.  We got our shit together, she got on our chip, and off she went.

I met up with Lisa.  Wished her luck. Then headed out to try to catch Sara as she rode my for the second loop.  We weren't sure how fast she'd be.  So, my sister, niece and I hauled ass 3/4 mile away to catch a bit of the biking.  We waiting a bit (thankfully, because I was STILL out of breath) and there came Sara!  Wheeeeee!!!!!  She looked fantastic!  Yeah!  Then, all the way back to transition for us.  I jumped back in and talked to Lisa a bit and recapped my swim and a bit of Sara's leg.  Lisa's husband and kids arrived and Lisa was able to get some pre-race hugs from them.

Sara came flying in carrying her bike.  Looking exhausted.  But, strong.  I could tell she gave it her all.  Lisa grabbed the chip and off she went!  Wheeeee!!!!  After Sara caught her breath we joined our cheering crew at the finish to wait for Lisa.  It was so exciting.  We couldn't wait for her to arrive.  Then, around the corner, through the trees, Lisa. Sara and I got on either side of the finish chute. As Lisa came in, we grabbed her hands.  And crossed that finish line.  Together.  Team Tridiots.

It was an amazing moment.  Lisa also gave it all she had.  Everything.  I was SO proud of her.  It was really hot out already.  She did great.  And, then we hugged.  A team hug.  For completing our first relay triathlon. As a team. This was my favorite moment.

We did it.  We did our first triathlon as a relay.  We made some mistakes.  We learned. We are hungry for more.  Out of 58 relays teams we finished 7th.   1:29.55. I'm thrilled with our results.  I think we did great.  And, I think we can easily improve on this next year. Next year we will fly. 

We did it.  For us.  For my dad, who died from cancer ten years ago.  For Lisa's mother, who died from cancer two years ago.  For Sara, who is kicking cancers ass with one more week to go with her chemo.  We did it for us.  We did it for them.

We did it.  Team Tridiots.

Suck it cancer.


  1. You three (and everyone else at that race) are all so inspiring. What an amazing story- it was truly an honor just to have read it. And you told it so well. Not only is your team wonderful, but you also rocked out that race. Nice job all around! Oh yea, and suck it cancer!!

    1. Thanks Steve! It's a pretty inspirational race. I was just along for the ride.

  2. Awesome RECAP! SUCK IT CANCER! Have two very close BF's fighting the battle right now, thanks for racing for a cure, and what a KILLER race it was!

    1. Thanks Deanna. Good vibes being sent your friends' way too.

  3. Love the recap!!! Congrats again to the 3 of you!

  4. Nice job...! That race looked like a lot of fun. suck it.

    1. It was fun. Next year I will win that relay swim portion. 18 seconds is bothering me. Ha. And, perhaps, someday, I can be a wee bit awesome and do one all by myself, just like you. Well, not JUST like you. But, ya know....

      Thanks Nathan!