Thursday, August 20, 2015

Enell Ambassador Race Report: The Sylvania Triathlon

Note: I did not ask Enell to pay my entry to this race because I wanted to wear my Team Toledo shirt, but I was still well supported through the entire triathlon by my Raspberry Zest bra.

Hi! It has been a while since I posted. In between starting a new job and leaving my old one, training hard for triathlons, and working on my Hashimoto's with a new doctor (more on that later), I have been pretty busy.

I did the Sylvania Triathlon on August 9. This is the big race that went by my house every year starting when I was about 10 years old, the one that made me want to be a triathlete.

I had done the race once before, a dozen years ago. I had high hopes of matching my former time from those days, when I was obviously much younger and also about 20 pounds thinner. I knew it wasn't likely, but I had hoped that all of my hard training would result in a new PR.

At the very least, I told myself, it would be my master's PR for this race, because the last time I did it I was under 40.

Instead of wearing my Team Endurance Fusion kit, which chafed me quite a bit during my last race, I decided to go back to my old one-piece trisuit. No all-spandex outfit would be completely flattering on my body, but at least with this one, I didn't have to worry about the top riding up. I added a technical t-shirt for the run, both so I didn't have to pin my number to my trisuit and to make me feel a little less self-conscious during the run. Also, wearing the Team Toledo red during this race meant that a lot more people would be cheering for me.

It has been fun having a team to train with this year. I felt a lot less nervous before the race because I could meet up with my friends and know we were all wishing each other well. In this photo, we actually have the overall duathlon winner (on my left), the master's duathlon winner (far left), and an age-group award winner (far right).

My mom put this sign out for me and my friend

I had a good swim (just under 31 minutes in the water), a great bike leg (averaging more than 17 mph), and then... I finished the run. I haven't really been doing a lot of run training, so I knew the run would be rough, and the day was hot and humid. I started out completely out of gas from my killer bike leg, and things got worse from there.

There were cones along the course, so I played a game where I would walk for a certain number of cones and then set a goal to run a certain number of cones. I added rules to my game to require me to run when I passed certain markers (a fire hydrant, a red arrow marking the course, a stop sign). I was really struggling just to make it through the last few miles.

Two things brightened my otherwise dreary run leg -- one of my Team Endurance Fusion friends had set up a dunk tank on the course, and was letting the runners dunk him on the way by. I got to see him and some other friends and get some much-needed encouragement, and got some splashes from the dunk tank.

Another guy I know from my early days of Team Toledo (he doesn't train with them anymore) was out on the run course under a highway overpass, playing his drum. I gave him a big, sweaty hug.  That helped raise my energy level for a little while too.

Other than that, I had a couple of gel packs, and was doling them out little by little at the water stops. I had my JumpSport headband from Fitbloggin, which I got wet and put around my neck to help cool me, and refreshed at the water stops. And I had my sheer determination that I was going to finish. That was pretty much it.

A lot of people I had beaten in the swim and the bike passed me during this long, hot slog. I clocked in just over a 14-minute mile pace. But I finished.

I waited to write this post because I was waiting for my medal. I was one of the last twenty or so people to finish the race, and they had run out of medals by the time I crossed the finish line. I was a disappointed that I didn't get a medal on race day because one of the big-deal things for me is that race-medal photo. Most of my friends had finished way before me and were getting their awards when I finished.  I borrowed a medal from a stranger to get a race-day medal picture, but Jesse didn't check it before I gave the medal back, and my eyes were closed with a ridiculous expression on my face. I deleted it. I'm very happy to have the medal now to add to my growing collection.

I'm not fast, especially on the run, but I think this race proved my determination. I was actually most proud of the run, because it was the hardest part. I wanted to quit about a million times, especially when I realized I had blown not only my PR goal but my secondary goal of beating 3:30, but I knew I wouldn't forgive myself if I gave up.  I was going to get across that finish line if I had to crawl across it.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07