But before I get to that incredible birthday gift from God, I have to tell you about my first duathlon experience!
I had already done a 5k in April. I came in about 10 minutes faster than my original 5k time the previous July!
I was excited about the Duathlon the first weekend in May. I knew that I was as ready as I could be. Here's my journal entry about that day....
Charis and I setting up our transition areas.
As I fell asleep on Friday night I remember thinking, “God has this all under control. No matter what happens tomorrow, I'll have done what He asked me to do and I need to rest in that!” After 3 nights of not sleeping well at all, I finally slept a solid 7 hours before the duathlon. I woke up thanking God that after all I've been through in my life I'm still healthy enough and my body still works well enough to pursue this endeavor. I thanked Him for creating me to be who I am and for granting me this opportunity. I reminded myself that I really do want to live for Him like I'm jumping off a cliff and envisioned what that looked like today. If I messed this up, He was gonna catch me anyway.
I ate two eggs on a tortilla for breakfast with some yogurt and a sprinkle of granola on the side. I made a shake to take along if I'd need it later and the blender broke up just as it finished blending. Seriously, the little spinning mechanism completely disintegrated- fortunately that part wasn't in the shake!
I put my bike and gear in the car and Kirstin and the girls too and off we went.
I followed Matt and Charis and it was nice to not have to think about how to get there. Besides, I had to continue to concentrate on relaxing and remembering to breathe!
I remember pulling into Cannon Falls and feeling my stomach flip over. We turned a corner and I could see the orange cones along the street.
Abigail and Lydia started to chatter and ask tons of questions. I love it when kids ask questions. They are all framed in the context of their own world. “Are those cones for your race, mom?” Then we saw the fairgrounds and all of the banners and the transition area and people getting set up and everything became real. Kirstin started asking me questions that I couldn't answer and I had to ask her to just “go with it” today!
We had to pull over for a potty stop before we parked. It was going to be a bit of a hike back from the car and Charis and I had both been downing water since we left. Then we parked the cars and unloaded everything.
I reminded the girls that Kirstin was in charge and they needed to ask her any questions or tell her if they needed something-I would be unavailable! I handed her $20 and the car key, just in case, and told her to “just take care of the girls and enjoy the morning!”
As I put my bike back together and checked everything out I noticed that the front brake was sticking-again! I concentrated on relaxing and asked Matt if he could help me out-he is an engineer. Good grief! I prepared myself for changing a tire tube, but don't understand much about the brakes! Matt couldn't do much without a screwdriver, which we didn't have, so he explained how I could reach down and give it a little tug if I needed to. I had to plan to just avoid using the front brake. Super. That's the first thing I learned that day about what I need to work on!
We hiked everything down to the transition area and figured out what to do there. Well, as much as we could. Charis has this philosophy about just doing what everyone else does and she really looks like she lives flying by the seat of her pants (which is why she's so good for “must prepare for everything” me), but as she was laying everything out it looked like she knew exactly what she was doing and I said as much. She then informed me that she had watched a video the night before and thought about calling me about it, but she didn't want to freak me out.
Well, she was right.
Besides I didn't have much to lay out. My helmet and my gloves and figuring out what the most efficient way to point the bike was.
I pinned my number on my shirt. I got my ipod out and strapped all the cords where they needed to be. Charis was looking around and I heard her say, “Good, we aren't the only ones with ipods...” We checked in and they wrote our numbers on our hand and arm! We were official! We proceeded to potty stop again, warm-up, stretch some and take off our long pants and jackets. They had this little briefing about the course. Why do they do that to me. The few events I've done they say you are responsible to know the course. It just adds to my anxiety. I don't ever feel like I know where to go or turn or not turn. Didn't understand this time either.
We headed over to the start line. Charis asked if we wanted to stay together. I assured her I didn't want to hold her back. I think we run pretty even, but I knew she'd smoke me on the bike. As I stood there waiting I thought, “I'm doing this and there's no one to tell me I can't and it's o.k. for me to do it just for me, just because I can. Thank you God!” I seriously almost started crying. Then we were off.
That first 2 mile run was easy and fun. I wasn't thrilled about the little potholes everywhere. Charis and I stayed together. She kept asking me about my heart rate to compare to hers and then she'd inform me of our pace. Which I think was between 10 and 11 most of the time. She informed me later that she didn't stay with me on purpose and that I keep a good even pace. Our little cheering section was screaming and hollering and Matt was snapping pictures.
I couldn't find the water stop as we were coming into T1 and I was still trying to decide on whether or not to wear my jacket. I didn't wear it for the run, but it was chilly and I knew the wind was going to be harder on the bike. I decided against it, and my transition was pretty quick. Helmet, gloves, tuck away the ear buds. Charis told me not to wait on her and I told her I wouldn't. I knew she'd pass me anyway. And she did pass me at about the 1 mile mark. I told her to “GO, GO, GO!” I pushed pretty hard to about mile 4 and passed several people. I realized that the hills we were going down we'd have to go back up on the way back! I just didn't know how my legs would hold up. I didn't want them to not want to run! I kept 1 eye on my heart rate monitor and tried to gauge more by that, knowing that my legs are pretty resilient. I did the best I could to manage the gears and the hills and accepted that I'm going to have to get a lot more practice with this bike thing. I know I can do better. I was happy with how I was doing when I came to the turn around and then-the wind hit me. It was fierce!! I was so glad that I had my sunglasses on. Even with them my eyes were tearing up! Then I realized the item I forgot...chapstick. I put that on my mental checklist for next time.
Yep, I'm still thinking I want to do this again!
I was able to get some water, then I dropped my water bottle and had to retrieve that. The wind didn't help! A couple miles later I felt a tugging start at my ankle. My shoelace was wrapping around the pedal!! Immediately my mind went to how to get the bike stopped without falling over and which foot would have to do what. I got stopped safely and out of the way. Then I had to figure out how to get detached from the bike! I backed it up enough to loosen the lace to get my foot out and unwind the rest of the lace. I'm not sure how long that took me! Then I had to get the shoe back on. I did it and I stayed calm. I even passed a few people on my 7 mile trip back. Of course, I lost track of how many people passed me by during the shoelace debacle!
I could see my cheerleaders jumping up and down screaming for me and waved for Matt's picture. I came in to T2 thinking, “Great, just 3 more miles to go!” I felt pretty good. I dropped everything off and downed half of one of those gel things and some water. I pulled my earbuds out of hiding and off I went!
Headed out of T2...yes, that's my muscle.
My legs felt like wood for about a mile. I just kept going. I remembered reading about that. After they loosened up I felt like I could just keep running. I saw a lot of people walking. I passed Charis coming the other way at about mile 1, so she was a good mile ahead of me. At the 1.5 mile mark I walked about 4 steps to drink whatever it was they were handing us.
I ran and ran and ran and I LOVED IT! It felt so good. At that point I knew I was going to make it to the end-no problem.
I kept thinking about how hard I'd worked for this. I began thanking God for His healing in my life, for my freedom and my good health and for partnering with me in this desire. I thanked Him for Charis (and Matt), Paula, and the Homfit guys.
Then the finish line came in sight and there were my girls and Charis holding out their hands to me as I went by. I crossed the finish line and my girls gave me huge hugs. Charis did too! The time on the clock said 1:58 even...and I can't believe how confident I am that I can do better next time! Matt got more pictures and we drank lots of water and had snacks and stretched. I drank my shake. We packed up our stuff and we watched the awards while enjoying the beautiful, though windy, weather.
My cheerleaders and me!
Kirstin (friend first, nanny second!), Abigail, Me and Lydia.
I just kept thinking, “I did it, I really did it! That's awesome! I've gotten this far...I've got to keep going! This was an unknown, I can make it through more unknowns.”
We headed home and I certainly felt grungy by the time I got there. I looked at that number on my arm and my hand while I stood in the shower. I couldn't make myself scrub it off! There will be more numbers. Just this once I wanted to hang on to it, to savor it for 1 more day and be reminded. If God and I could do this-what else could we do?