We stayed in Galt, CA near Rancho Seco Park the night before the race to avoid a two-hour drive in the morning. Good thing because I didn’t sleep and the three of us were the first ones at the race site besides the volunteers. They weren’t quite ready for us so we wandered around transition determining the entrances and exits and locating the prime real estate. We made our decision and racked our bikes. After getting our race packets and swim caps, being body marked and setting up our transition areas, Pam, Kim and I made 30 or 40 trips to the restroom! We weren’t taking any chances.
The age groups were in increments of five so it made the waves relatively small. I was the second wave out. While waiting for our start I got tangled in grass in the water. I have an issue swimming with fish so this freaked me out a little but I got out of it and over it just in time for the start. My sister warned me about being used as a launch ramp by faster swimmers so I was mildly concerned I would be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Much to my surprise I was the one swimming over those in front of me. I went around one woman, then another. I looked up to see four yellow caps in front of me and thought, “is this possible?” I never really got a good breathing rhythm but maintained a good pace and swam relatively straight. The woman who swam next to me, on the other hand, didn’t swim so straight (at least it’s easier to blame the crooked swimming on someone else). I tried to pass her, she sped up, I slowed down to let her go, she slowed. Hmm, just keep swimming. Hey, I just passed a white cap…and another…that’s the first wave…not too bad. I get to the shore, run out of the water and have to stop to give my number to someone. As I’m running I look to my left because out of the corner of my eye I see someone else running with me. It’s my husband cheering me on and taking pictures. What a great guy, I almost cried.
Into transition, wetsuit half way off, I sit to get it all the way off, dry my feet, socks on, shoes on, helmet and glasses on and off I go with my bike. I crossed the mounting line and mounted my bike the real way, without crashing. A very proud moment for me. Before I exit the park I’m passed by another 32 year old and say out loud “bummer!” I catch up and pass her, she passes me, and back and forth a few times we do this. It’s a great ride, rolling hills, fast. I pass a ton of bikes, mostly mountain bikes; I’m on a road bike and feeling strong. There are a couple of traffic issues but nothing serious. The leader passes me going the other way when I’m at mile five but she’s the Xterra champ so go figure. Passing more and more, breathing hard but loving every minute. Back into the park, I’ve lost my pacer, she took off and I can’t see her anymore. Oh well, keep it up she’s not too far ahead.
Back into transition, dismount the bike without crashing (yahoo!), rack it, bike shoes off, running shoes on and off I go. Whoa! I keep a good pace for a while but it’s not so smooth. My cycling pace car comes up behind me (guess I got out of T2 before her) and asks where I’m from because I would be a good training partner. We’re on the same pace, she says. This is highly complimentary for me as this is my first race and I’ve just learned she has finished two Ironman Tri’s!!! We run together for 3 or 4 minutes but I can’t keep up. The run leg is my most difficult, I’ve only been running for six months and I’m slow and it’s not so fun yet. She takes off, I keep shuffling along. I ran the whole way but my time and the pictures show the survival shuffle.
As I near the finish line I spot my little girl walk towards the chute, she wants to run with me but my mother-in-law holds her back. Her sweet face is what I need to pick up the pace and I cross the line in 1:41.33. I’m exhausted and exhilarated as I fall into my husband’s arms. This is my first race, I have met and exceeded every goal I set for the day and I can’t hold the emotions in as I break down and cry.
This is the culminating event that I have worked towards since my weight loss journey began 17 months ago. I finished 9th in my age group (30-34) and 30th overall in a field of 201!!!
Another Proud Moment in a Year of Many!