Monday, September 12, 2011

The power of Sam, Team Fexy and my first DNS (almost!)

September 11th - my first Olympic Triathlon. The Reston World Championship. Sam and I signed up for this race almost a year ago. It sells out fast, but we really wanted to do it since it was local and it would be an Olympic distance at the end of the season. I was very excited.

July 2011 = Diagnosed with Lyme's Disease. Exercise pretty much came to a halt. I worked out zero for the first few weeks, then I worked out about once a week. As the Reston Tri got closer I was trying to decide if I should back out. I am not the kind of person that can easily walk away from something I said I was going to do - money aside - I feel guilty and embarrassed. I decided for safety sake not to race. I emailed the race director and he told me to pick up my packet because there was going to be some sweet swag and that he would guarantee my place in the race next year (but I'd still have to pay). That sounded great and I was feeling better about not racing. 

Sam and I went to pick up our race packets on Saturday. It was a beautiful day and we picked up packets at the race site. This is also where our team does Wednesday track workouts. Of course I was happy and proud to cheer for Sam the next day - but I wanted to race too! They canceled the swim due to all the flooding and debris in the water. I felt like without proper training the swim was the most dangerous - but now it was out!

I picked up my packet, got my helmet checked (yep, I brought it) and decided to race. My mom took the boys for the night and brought them to the race the next morning. Cue butterflies and nervous poo.

Race morning: We woke up at 4:45, got dressed, and headed to Reston. We set up our transition in the dark and then hung out with our team. My team. Team Fexy. I had said I wasn't racing, so when people saw me ready to go I got a lot of high fives and "yeah Ann!" That felt good great! I did not race because I thought my team would be disappointed - they are way more supportive than that. Being part of a team does make me feel special though and my team has an awesome way of bringing it to a race.

First run: They canceled the swim and added a 2.3 mile run (ugh!) I went out nice and easy, no pressure to RUN. I hung with some dude that said we were the same pace and we talked most of the way. Sam passed me at mile 1 (whoa!) and then I caught up by T1.

T1: just change those shoes, grab a helmet and go!!!!

Bike: 23 and some odd miles. Three loops. I had not done much on the bike outside, I did mostly trainer stuff. The debris on the road made me nervous (I can't change a tire yet!). So the first loop was slower than the rest, but I got it done! I saw Coach Rob and a few other Fexys out there the cheer me on. For alot of the bike I was sort of alone, so I just pretended I was in 1st place - that must be what it feels like....leading the pack. :)

T2: Just change the shoes and take off the helmet. Pretty easy breezy. I did have to sit down - my quads were toast!

Second Run: 6.2 miles. It was getting warmer, but the run was through the woods and mostly shade. It was also hilly - not terrible though. I walked the bigger hills and just kept going. I saw TONS of teamates running through the woods. Lots of high fives, "go Ann!", and "Catch Sam!". I can't tell them all enough how much just seeing the jersey, hearing the cheers, and knowing - really knowing - people out there helped. I can't say it gave me more speed :) but it kept my head up and made me feel proud. Around mile 2 I got emotional. I was tired. I needed to see Sam. I had no clue how far up he was, but I needed to see him. At the turn around I saw him! I tried not to cry, but I told him I couldn't do this without him - "will you walk so I can catch up?". He told me to hurry up and I'm doing great. I went a little further and turned around to start on back to the finish line.

I honestly never thought I'd catch him. I didn't know if he would keep going or wait for me - sometimes you just need to keep going. At the next water stop - there he was! He had doubled back to find we could finish together (tear). I had to walk for a minute to catch my breath......crying will do that to you. I was just so happy to be with him. Sam is a pretty awesome person - probably the most supportive person I know.

We made it through the rest of the run with a walk jog - we actually passed a few people - and got to where we could see the finish. To get to the finish line you had to run most of a lap around the high school track. It was just us. We ran side by side around that track and were greeted by our kids, cheers from our team, and the announcer saying our names together! It.was.great.

I could not have done this race without the support of Sam. He rocks. I also could not have done this without my Team. They are so supportive, excited, passionate, and genuine. Seeing someone screaming, jumping up and down, and yelling your name is pretty awesome.

So I finished my first Olympic Triathlon/Duathlon. I'm sore today, but so glad I did it and so proud of myself. Thank you everyone for your support!