Monday, September 12, 2011

Swim, Bike, Run = Fun!

 3:45 a.m. ~ Wake up and look at alarm clock which will go off in 15 minutes.  Lay there and wonder if I actually got any sleep (I did!), and then turn it off so it doesn't wake Robert up.  He's got a big day of preaching, teaching, meeting, and greeting ahead of him!

3:55 a.m. ~ Get out of bed, put on bathing suit and over-clothes, grab prepared backpack, and head downstairs for more packing and breakfast.

4:10 a.m. ~ Open my Bible and read Psalm 106...

Praise the LORD! 
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, Or can show forth all His praise? How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation, That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance....

Thank the Lord for the grace of a healthy body that is able to exercise ~ it has been such a source of restoration and healing for me ~ a lifter of my heart ~ a tool for transformation of mind and perspective ~ a spark plug for joy.  Thank Him for friends to join with in races and other adventures.  Ask for His strength and help.  Ask for His presence to be known at church and His Word to be powerfully taught through Robert.  Ask that Jessica's memorial be meaningful testimony of God's sovereignty...

4:30 a.m.
 ~ Put toast in toaster, start water for hot tea, grab a couple of bananas. Remind myself not to forget my bike helmet.

(Can not get those lines to STOP being highlighted in white!?!?)

4:45 a.m. ~ Jenna and Jennifer quietly knock at my front door.  They were a bit early, because they were planning to grab some coffee at Dunkin Donuts, but it doesn't open until 5a.m.  Jenna has already eaten her oatmeal; Jenna is drinking her homemade berry and yogurt smoothie.

4:50 a.m. ~ Make myself 2 fried eggs, butter one piece of GF toast, put tea in to-go mug, and head out to the van with J & J.

5:00 a.m. ~ Drive to pick up Betsy (just a couple of blocks away) and discover on the way that I DID forget my helmet.  Get Betsy loaded up and head back to my house to get my helmet.  Make sure everyone else has helmets, towels, running shoes.

5:05 a.m. ~ Betsy prays for our trip to Connecticut and for our safety and endurance in the race and that the Lord would be glorified in all of it.

5:08 a.m. ~ Be the first customers of the day at Dunkin Donuts for Jenna's Latte Lite.  Begin the 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Farmington, CT.
6:15 a.m. ~ Arrive at Winding Trails Park in Farmington, CT, park, go get registration packets, and then head to the body marking station! Your bib number is written on your right arm and calf, your AGE is written on the back of your left calf.  There were some in our group less than happy about that last part.  I won't mention any names, but I will tell you that their names did not start with J's.

6:25 a.m. ~ Trip to lovely blue porta potties.

 6:30 - 7:00 a.m. ~ Unload van of bikes, helmets, backpacks, water bottles, etc. and head to "transition area" to set up.  Learn a few things by watching the pros: how to hang bike on rack, strategic placement of towel, shoes, socks (one in each shoe ~ not in a ball!), helmet on bike, bowl of water for washing feet?!?! (This must be because it was 30 or so yards from where you exit the lake after swimming to the transition area where your bike it ~ plenty of sand, dirt, and grass between the two.)

7:10 a.m. ~ Another trip to lovely blue porta potties.
7:15 a.m. ~ Gather on beach with all participants. This triathlon was for women only, which I though was especially nice, and it was fun to see all of the different faces, ages, and groups of friends.  Each age group had its own color swim cap!

7:20 a.m. ~ Silently watch a color guard come through the crowd of women with the flag.  They were led by a man playing the bagpipes.  Hear female announcer welcome everyone, recognize the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, and lead everyone in a prayer.  (To God!  In New England!)  Listen as a man read a short biography of another man who lost his life on one of the planes that crashed on 9/11 ~ 33 years old, from Sudbury, MA, businessman, college shot put and discus champ.  Hear the bagpipes play Amazing Grace, and join in silent prayer as requested by the female announcer.

7:30 a.m. ~ Final porta potty trip for some of us!

7:40 a.m. ~ Swim waves begin.  Yellow caps first, then pink, green, white, blue, etc. ~ 4 minutes apart.

7: 48 a.m. ~ My swim wave begins.  The water is actually WARM ~ Hurray!  I'm slapping others and getting slapped myself, but it's not as claustrophobic as I feared.  The sun breaks through the clouds, and I thank the Lord for that gift, as well as the gift of strength without panic.  I actually feel GOOD swimming for the first time! (Every training swim at Puffer's Pond was cold and dreadful.) It takes me about 23 minutes to complete the 1/2 mile swim.

8:15 a.m.(ish) ~ Jog to transition area to dry off, pull on tights, t-shirt, shoes and socks. Serious triathletes try to accomplish the "transition" in mere seconds.  Mine was more like 5 minutes!  Jenna waited for me, so we could do the bike and run parts together.

8:30 a.m. ~ Biking and enjoying the scenery ~ beautiful homes and farmland.  Passing some, but hearing lots of "On your left!"  I'm behind Jenna on her mountain bike.  She's pedaling like crazy, but the road bikes just go faster.  The bike ride was 12 miles total.

9:00 a.m. ~ Transition time again!  Hang bike on rack and begin the 3 mile run.  My legs feel like bricks and rubber all at the same time, but Jenna and I finally hit a good pace on the wet, muddy-in-places, rocky, root-y, leaf-y trail through Winding Hills Park.

9:15 a.m. ~ Still running and even passing some of those "On your left"-ers now.  Every time we pass someone, we hear an encouraging "Way to go, ladies!" or "Lookin' good!" or my favorite ~ "You guys aren't even breaking a sweat!" from the other runners or walkers.  I loved that the whole atmosphere of the event was so encouraging and supportive.
9:29 a.m. ~ Finish line!  As Jenna and I cross together, Betsy and Jennifer are waiting for us.  Hugs and congratulations all around.  I stand in amazement of my friend Betsy, who started her swim in the wave AFTER me, (which, ahem ~ means she's older than me) and finished the entire race 22 minutes BEFORE me!  I never even saw her pass me!  (I think she swam underneath me!) That's Betsy for you ~ she is lightening fast.  I am SO proud of her for finishing 7th in her age group and 74th out of about 500 overall.  
(I was more like #353.  My time was something like 1 hour & 52 minutes.)

9:40 a.m. ~ Food and other freebies time!  We grabbed bananas, bagels (well, for J, J, and B), chips, wraps, chocolate bars, and  Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee.

9:50 a.m. ~ Pick up all gear from transition area and load it into van.  Pack bikes in and on the van.  Change into fresh dry clothes and marvel that it's not even 10 a.m. yet!

9:55 a.m. ~ Porta Potty!

10:00 a.m. ~ Photo session on the beach as requested by me ~ must have numbers and swim caps!  How can we NOT capture this moment of fluorescent, flat-headed, fun?  Even the buoys are fluorescent orange, but they had already been retrieved from the lake, so you can't see our swim loop.  It was basically a triangle from one part of the beach, all the way across the lake, back to another part of the beach.   

10:30 a.m. ~ Back to finish line area for more free food ~ Jennifer is ready to eat chips now, and I somehow missed the chocolate the first time around. One more round of iced coffee for everyone, too!  (It was either that or beer, and no one in our group had a craving for THAT at this time of the morning or after the challenging race we'd just finished!)
10:45 a.m. ~ Walk back to the van, but not without stopping for a photo of the famed blue porta potties ~ a necessary evil of every race in which one participates.  Pretty sure Jenna holds the record for number of times visiting the pretty potties!  :)

1:30 p.m. ~ Arrive back home after one flat tire (yes, really) and dropping Betsy and Jenna and their bikes at their homes.  Jennifer drives herself home from my house ~ bike fastened to roof of car.  Unload bike, backpack, water bottles, etc.

2:00 p.m.  Get a text from Robert who is still at church:  "How did it go?"  I respond, "It was great!  Challenging, but really fun!"

2:05 p.m. Get a phone call from Robert next asking me to pick up my kiddos from church as he has meetings for a while longer.  Thank the Lord for a great triathlon experience and adjust mindset to "Back to real life"  wife, and mommy mode!

5:00 p.m. ~ Robert is finally home and we all head to Goberry to celebrate mom's triathlon!  Goberry is our new frozen yogurt shop in town.  Local, grass fed cow's milk yogurt, only lightly sweetened, amazing flavors (chai! coconut! blueberry! java!), and fresh fruit to top ~ or chocolate or toffee or's my current addiction! (Oh ~ and big self-serve bottles of honey or chocolate syrup!)

5:30 p.m.  Let the family know that the yogurt they just ate is going to double as their dinner.  This mama is tired now!


Anonymous said...

Way to go, Mel!! We're proud of you!
Amazing what you can pack into a day!
It doesn't matter what place you finished. What matters is that you "See His face, feel His presence, and trust His love" as you swim, bike and run. (taken from 7 Days in Utopia.) We love you. Blue skies from K&J

Gina D. said...

Hello! I came across your blog when I googled "Winding Trails" as I am thinking about doing a Tiny Tri on August 14 there. This was a great blog for me to read as I have never done a tri before, but feel like I really want to do this. Well thanks again and God bless you!!

Melanie said...

Hi Gina ~ thanks so much for leaving a comment! We "enjoyed" last year so much that we're planning an Olympic length one this August in Manchester, CT. I hope you have fun with yours!

Gina D. said...

Wow, that is great!! Good luck on that one later this month!