Guess what happened when I Tri’d

So the purpose of this blog was document my goal to complete the Portland Triathlon and I am happy to report that last weekend I met that goal.  Okay, well truthfully the original goal was to do an Olympic triathlon but life rearranged some of my goals for me so I did the Sprint distance, but the revised goal (the Portland Triathlon) was met!

First, I have to thank my good friend, Leanne, who succumbed to my peer pressure and came over to do the race with me.  She was one of the last people to sign up for the race (literally) and I had to sweet talk the race director into letting me sign her up (she lives in Dufur) but she made it and she made my day!!!! Thank you my good, good friend!

On race day we (Leanne and I) were up at 5:00 am, dressed, packed and in the car by 5:40 am.  Despite the closure of the I-5 on ramp from the Morrison Bridge we made it to the venue with plenty of time to get body marked and watch the sun come up over Portland while we set up our transition spots. It was cold and the Willamette River looked cold and unwelcoming, but the energy at a triathlon is pretty fantastic, especially in the morning as everyone is setting up.

My heat started at 7:39 and Leanne’s started at 7:59  (she was doing the Olympic rather than the Sprint).  So we parted ways as I moved down the ramp and into the water. As I eased myself into the cold, dirty Willamette River I looked up at the St. Johns Bridge and thought how much nicer it is to run over it than swim underneath it.  With a few reminders from a race official to keep the buoys to our left we were off! My typical inner monologue when I start the swim part of any race goes something like this “yikes… @!$#… #$%%…!**!… !**!…#$%^&&**#!… “ Its definitely not a “G” rated monologue and it takes a good minute or two to get past it.  Then it evolves into something like this “you are not going to drown, put your face in the water and swim. You are not going to drown, put your face in the water and swim…” This instructive and less crude monologue repeats intermittently for most of the swim.  The race on Sunday was no different, though I did think a LOT about my running partners and us running over the bridge during the past two marathons and how funny it was to be under the bridge this time. With the swim over I emerged from the water with an uncontrollable need to pee… Why I didn’t do this in the water, I have no idea. Perhaps I didn’t want to get the Willamette River dirty…  I had to head to the outhouse in my wetsuit which made my transition time a little on the long side.  The bike ride was a “long” sprint ride. They are typically 12 miles and this was 16 miles. The only part of the ride I was unhappy with was the 18% ascent out of transition and the returning 18% descent back into transition.  The reason for my dislike in this part was that I was going so slow (both on the way up and down) that I thought I was going to tip over. T2 was smooth and I was off for the run! Back up the 18% grade hill, past the folks who were walking and over the St. Johns Bridge I went. The run was smooth and uneventful (just the way I like them).  As I crossed over the finish line at the end I felt good and happy to be done!

Leanne crossed the finish line about an hour after me – she had  a great race and finished strong! Watching her cross the finish line and cheering her on was almost as much fun as doing it myself. I am always so proud of my friends and she is an amazing athlete!

Later in the day I checked on my results:

Overall 222nd / 374                                       Women 61st/ 158             Women in my age group 12th/ 26

Swim: 23 min      T1 (potty break): 6 min                   Bike: 59 min        T2: 3 min             Run: 26 min

Here’s how things compare with other races – the swim was slow but I was swimming upstream for half of it and I usually swim with no current or with the current. The bike was great – I rode the same average speed as my best bike time yet, and the run was great – I usually clock 9:30s but I averaged 8:30s (min / mile) which is awesome! This was a great way to end the season.

I have a sticker in my office at work that reads “The miracle isn’t that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

Three and a half years ago a different friend, Jessica, told me she was doing a Triathlon and I asked if I could do it with her.  I Tri’d and you know where it led me? To a 5K, several 10Ks, two ½ marathons, an urban adventure race, a Spartan race, two marathons, Hood To Coast, and 5 sprint triathlons.  All in the past 3 ½ years… pretty cool… If I hadn’t tried that first triathlon I would never have gone on to do these other things.  The miracle isn’t that I finished, its that I had the courage to start, the courage to try!


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