Sunday, August 03, 2008

In all my thoughts and dreams, I never imagined a day like Steelhead.

I forgot there was a time change in Michigan so getting up for the race was 3am Chicago time. I went out on the balcony hoping to find cooler temps. but it was still warm and 77 with a breeze blowing. The cool front that was expected should have moved through. I packed things and Bino took me to the shuttle bus stop to the race.

As I was waiting to get on the shuttle, my mind was running through the things that I needed and could have forgotten. I looked across the street to see a huge American flag. Even though it was still dark, it caught my attention. The reason for that was that it was straight out from the wind from the North.

After getting on the bus , everyone was talking weather and wind. There were many different perspectives on what lay ahead of us. None of us had any idea.

After I organized everything in the transition area, I put on my wetsuit up to my waist then grabbed my goggles and cap. I began the walk up the beach. As I walked the 1.2 miles North through the soft sand, I kept looking out at the water. There were huge whitecaps. The waves were 4-5 feet. One of the green buoys broke loose and took off. Panic and fear were taking over. I was not sure that I had any chance to swim in this water. As I was walking I was joined by a friend from Master's swim. He was very positive and reassuring. He gave me a few pointers and I felt a little bit better. As we got closer to the start, all the other athletes had turned around and started walking back. The swim was cancelled. Too dangerous with rip currents.

The emotions were overwhelming. My head was spinning. I was relieved not to have to decide whether to swim or not. I was disappointed that I had worked toward this swim since Nov. 1 and I was not able to do it. I was panicking what the distance for the first run would be. My legs were tired from walking through the sand. I headed to transition for information and rethinking the race with 2700 others.

RUN #1
At transition, I poured water on my feet to clean them up to put on my running shoes. The announcer informed us that there would be a 2.1 mile run. We had to walk almost another mile to get to the start. I looked around to see some athletes packing up to leave but the majority stayed.

I ran into Vickie at this point and we walked together to the start. Because of the large crowd they still started us in waves. At 8am, an hour after we were due to start, the race began. I took it very easy on the run because of what layed ahead. The was a big hill near the .5 mile and I walked up it. The course came back down and across the beach and soft sand to the transition.

I drank some water, gel, and grabbed my helment. I saw Nancy nearby heading out also. It felt good to be getting on the bike.

I love my Sugar and I love to ride. Quickly I noticed the rolling hills as we headed north into the wind. I heard at points it was 15-20 mph. I reminded myself it would be at my back on the last 20ish miles. I had salt tablets and gels taped to my bike, my aero bottle was full of water, and I had 3 bottles with G2.

As I rode the main thing I remember is hearing the woosh-woosh-woosh as the quick bikes passed by. It didn't bother me to be passed. I know how fast that I ride and there were a lot of awesome bikers. Iron Snoopy went zipping by on Dory and you could see that it was all clicking today for her. Next Moose,Snoopy's hubby, flew by. He was really cranking along. I think he was trying to catch her.

The way back with the wind behind me was great. I continued my nutrition and hydration and felt good. I loved the course and the scenery. My time was 3:13 hich is 16.7 ave. mph.

There were many cheering spectators as you came back in to T2. I took my time anh headed out on the run.

It felt like things were extremely hot all of a sudden. The first 3 miles clicked off quickly. The heat began to bother me and I focused on finishing. The demons began to speak to me but I was not about to listen to them. I would walk or do what it takes to get to the finish.

I loved the run course. It was 2 loops. I was able to see many of the people that I know out there. I saw Iron Snoopy at one of the water stops. She looked fantastic. I saw Moose heading in for his final 3 miles also.

I do have to say that I walked quite a bit. But I wanted to continue to pace myself. When I hit mile 12, I ran and tried to get my friend from swim to run in with me but her stomach wasn't up to it. At 12.5 miles, I looked down at my watch and knew that there was 8 minutes left to break 7 hours.I turned on the final stretch on the beach and could see the finish and hear the announcer. I do have one complaint running through sand in the final stretch -SUCKS. As I finished there was Iron Snoopy and Moose, both my kids, and several friends from swim. As I grab a bottle of water, there was Vickie coming across the finish line. She looked great!

I looked down at my watch to see 6:58!!!!!!!!!! As Snoopy would say, "HAPPY DANCE"

I was disappointed not to swim but was glad that the decision was made for me. I also know that I could have done it. I got a great feel for the distance and know how much I have to learn including weakness and strengths in my training. It also answer one questions for me about possibilities for 2009 races.

I owe many friends thanks for their sharing of their knowledge and support especially Iron Snoopy(you're my hero)

Waddling on top of the world................
(photos to come)


IronSnoopy said...


I simply cannot say enough how strong you looked all day. You were solid on the bike, solid on the run and you charged the sand on the way in! You were spectacular.

You can do anything you set your mind to.

Congratulations on all of your gumption, all of your early mornings and late nights, all of your learning and excitement with a new sport, your weight loss, your swimming, your biking and your running.

You should be your own HERO! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!

Joe said...

Great a day. Yes, you should be on top of the world!

Sounds like wisdom prevailed in the swim portion...while logistics for the early run might have been better, that was good. You'll have other shots at open swims.

Way to go on the bike and long run. This is terrific. And to have the presence to push it at the end to break 7.

Just awesome...congratulations!!

21stCenturyMom said...

Congratulations! Sounds like you were well prepared and you played the mental game perfectly. Well done!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Good job! I'm so happy for you.

Your bike speed rocks. I dont know if I'll ever be able to pull off a speed like that.

Vickie said...

You did fantastic!!!! I am so honored to know you and to have shared the same race experieces. You are never alone even when you feel alone!

Tri to Be Funny said...

You showed courage and confidence when you needed it most--when a curve ball was thrown your way and the race logistics were changed. That medal is much deserved! COngrats!!

Fe-lady said...

Great report! And again congratulations!
Ride this wave of accomplishment for a while! At least until the next race! :-)

Irene said...

I can only imagine what it's like to have to rethink your race strategy when the swim segment was cancelled. You were very well prepared, though!

Again, congratulations!

Great race report!

Wil said...

Way to go out there! And nice kick at the end, you earned all the glory, congrats!

Anonymous said...

Amazing job!! Your hard work paid off, and it sounds like you really enjoyed the experience. Wow- that's some fast bike split, too!!

You'll get that OW race swim in another time and rock it!

amybee said...


All the race recaps pretty much say the same thing about the swim: They are relieved it was cancelled and a little disappointed all at the same time.

Great finish in under 7 hours. WOO WOO

J~Mom said...

Ahh!! Congrats!! I am so happy for you! Great report!! I can't imagine how tired your legs were walking in and out of the sand!

Sunshine said...

Sounds like you really really did have a good time. Good job on that.

Michelle said...

Congratulations!! Sorry about the swim. They'll be a "next time" for sure :)

rocketpants said...

Congrats!! Nothing you can do about them canceling part of it. You went out and did it and was prepared for all of it. I'm sure in the future you will get to put your hand at at HIM again. Sounds like it is now time to focus on your marathon.