- Keep a steady pace with the crawl stroke for the swim, and don't drown in the pool
- Stay on my bike and keep pedaling during the bike portion.
- Run the entire run, no matter how slow the trot.
I would be lying to say I wasn't nervous, but I was more excited than anything. So excited that I yelled out, "We are going to have so much fun!" while waiting to check in. (Extroversion sometimes can get the better of me).
The swim took place in an indoor pool. There were three-hundred participants and eight lanes. EIGHT. A new racer started every eight seconds and swam up the lane, back, and then moved to the next lane. Watching this was horrifying as clearly there were some faster swimmers than others. There were four people abreast in a lane at times. I was bib number #119 and was in the pool before I knew it. Keeping my limbs long and my stroke even, I tried to roll with each breath as to keep my head even with my body. Fortunately I had room to get in some kick turns at the wall almost every time. I even passed three mo-fo-ing people. To say I was Phelps-like is an understatement. It. Was. AWESOME. 400 meters in TEN MINUTES. I f*cking rocked the swim. It felt amazing and was by far, my favorite part of the whole race.
It was flipping cold out this morning. When someone from Maine says it's cold, then you know it's friggin cold out. We were given the option to use the locker room to towel off and put on our clothing (if you as a racer wanted to take the extra time). I was not doing this race for speed, so of course I went and changed in the locker room. I quickly dried off, stripped off my bathing suit and threw on my shorts and top on over my sopping wet sports bra. Being a bit of a genius, I threw my hair up in a turban with my towel before I ran out to the "real" transition area to get my bike. There were a lot of laughs from Rob, Jeff, and the race officials, BUT letting the cottony absorption work to my benefit before I put on my helmet was just plain smart. (Rob later informed me I was the only racer to come running out with a towel on their head. I'm really not surprised I was the only one fabulous enough to come up with this idea).
I came to the realization today that I am not a huge fan of riding a bike. Especially half wet and freezing. I really don't like it when there are lots and lots of "fun" hills to conquer. As easy as it was channeling my inner Michael Phelps, my inner Lance Armstrong was NO WHERE to be found. He was busy tuning into the thirty or more racers that ended up passing me. I'm not exaggerating. I passed ONE guy, who then passed me about two minutes later. When I came upon a sign bearing the number 5, I was a bit confused. Then I realized that was the mile marker, and I feared I would be on my bike THE REST OF THE DAY. Around mile 9 on a stretch I referred to as the "Hill de Hades" (the "Hill of Hell", per my Tour de France lingo) the chain came off my bike. Awesome. Thankfully I remembered what Jeff had told me to do in that situation and I had it back on in a matter of seconds. With my chin up, I just kept thinking to myself, "I'm just this girl, out here, riding my bike." It helped me find a rhythm and get through the fifteen plus miles of many hills.
I was so excited to get off my bike, because as fabulous as my seat is, my crotch was killing me. The sweet escape was temporary as I realized my legs were frozen and felt like noodles. I retied my hair, threw on some sunglasses, and as I passed a handful of volunteers and my support (Rob & Jeff) I rallied with, "Alright bitches, let's do this."
The first half mile I was just going through the motions of running. My legs were cold, numb, and exhausted. I kept at it and somehow, I found my stride. It was an odd feeling. My body still had some push, and I went for it. Running along, listening to the rhythm of my stride, I no longer cared about who passed me or vice versa. Just like in the pool, on the bike, and then jogging along. It was all me. My pace, my race.
I began to think about how critical I am of myself when it comes to life. Being the right size, a good wife, and definitely the perfect mother. Running along I realized the only person I need to live up to is me. I'm the only me there is, no matter what size I come in. I'm the only wife Rob has (hopefully), and I am irreplaceable as Grace's mother.
I crossed the finish, having ran the whole while (and thus completed all my goals). Right before I finished I made myself a promise. I will remind myself more often that I am not just "good enough," I'm great. In fact, I'm actually fabulous.