Hello everyone! Long time no post. My last post is dated the beginning of June? How can that be? Well a lot has happened since then and I certainly can't put it all in one post so I will start with one of the most exciting things. It has happened; a dream, a hope has become a reality. I am a triathlete!!
[caption id="attachment_244" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Regina Beach Triathlon Finish"]
Sunday, July 28 I complete my first triathlon at Regina Beach, Saskatchewan. Now, true to the usual "me" style- this accomplishment didn't come without a real adventure. I will give the coles notes recap.
My husband and I were planning to leave home quite early Sat morning and drive the 3 1/2 hours to Regina, Saskatchewan. My tri bike had an appointment for 1:00 and we had other things to do so we thought it would be nice to not have to rush. Many of you also have to deal with the city trips as a family; too many stops too little time. So we were ready to leave and carrying our bags to the vehicle when a flat tire greeted us. A flat tire we just had fixed 2 days ago. So, got it fixed in town and left an hour later than expected. 3 miles out of town, a big black bear charged out of the ditch and we nearly exchanged body parts with him. It was only quick braking and driving that kept us from meeting. The remainder of our drive was uneventful. We dropped my bike off at the bike shop to get a part changed that would improve my gear shifting. I also mentioned that my saddle kept slipping down. I had a bike fitting done and the height was perfect but once it started slipping, I didn't know where to adjust it to. I has been happening for about 6 weeks so it has been a source of frustration as I need to constantly adjust and tighten with my Allen wrench or my knees get sore. So my husband and I go to package pickup and get our bags and purchase new helmets in the process (something we have talked about for awhile). We were famished and needed a mid afternoon snack and know the perfect place for it. There is a coffee house that makes these amazing power bars so we bought more than our fair share. Nothing but moans of joy as we stuffed our faces during the 10 min drive back to the bike shop. I went from total bliss to total shock when I was told they could not let my bike leave the shop as it had a crack in the frame. My 1 year old bike, really? It was a safety concern and could not be ridden. My stomach just got sick and I felt like crying. I had planned and prepared and had myself mentally ready to do this tri fore and now I couldn't. It was devastating. The guy that does my bike fitting just returned from lunch then and he assured me that they would get me a bike to use for the next day that I would still be participating. I had 1 maybe 2 more triathlons I was going to compete in in Aug and they said I would be able to keep the demo road bike they were loaning me until mine was finished being worked on. So, deep breath, it will all be okay. The next 2 hours was spent getting the road bike fit to my specification and with the extras like aerobars and water cages. Finally left the shop at 5:30 in time to have supper with no time to do our other stops. Beyond the initial reaction of utter surprise, I felt very positive about the whole ordeal. Sometimes, even though things go wrong, they go wrong in the best way they could. I could have had an accident with the bike in it's compromised position which may have been very devastating. We were also planning originally to bring the kids and the camper and camp close to the triathlon. I was so thankful that we weren't dealing with kids waiting around (whining) and a drive yet beyond the city to the campground with a tent trailer to set up. We went to the hotel, got our stuff set out for the next day, got our tatoos on and called it a night.
The alarm was barking, literally at 5:00 a:m the next morning (anyone else like the dog barking on the Iphone like my husband?) and after our breakfast of oatmeal, we were packed and off to Regina Beach, a 30 min drive. Well, our next hurdle came when we started getting our bikes together and found out that the padding on my husbands aerobars blew off so he had a hard metal piece with screws sticking out. Then we found out that we mistakenly left his bike tire with my bike yesterday at the bike shop. We did have my bike tire though and thankfully the bike shop had set up a checkout area and hubby took his bike there to see what was going to work. Tire was fine but the padding was replaced by paper towel and duct tape with a toque on top for padding. Crazy winds blowing on the hill where transition was and the day looked ominously like rain with clouds and a temp of 12 Celcius. We checked in and got things set up. About 200 people there so not overwhelming with competitors. It was nice that we had tattoos for marking instead of having to wait in line and it was also nice to have an electronic band instead of a bib.
The Regina Beach triathlon has 2 transition zones; 1 at the top of hill where the bike portion is set up and another at the bottom of the hill close to the water where you need to have your running stuff set up. When you come out of the water, you change into your running things and run up a massive hill for about 600-700 meters until you come to the other transition area where you change again into your bike stuff. I knew there was a hill and thought, "really, no biggie." Wow, though seeing it in real life, it was the mother of all hills! I was my usual wimpy cold self and spent most of my time shivering and wondering what in the world I was doing. The Olympic distance was set to start first at 8:15 and the Sprint at 9:00.
[caption id="attachment_283" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Olympic swimmers ready to go"]
Because of lightning in the distance, we were delayed 30 min. Great, just when I convinced myself I wouldn't really freeze. Then I really started to doubt if I could do it and told my husband that I would just cheer for him. He was pumped up and wouldn't let me wimp out, said I was ready and was going to do good. He told me not to kick him too hard in the swim. I have toughness but sometimes mentally, I just cave. He gave me just what I needed.
[caption id="attachment_284" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Just about my turn"]
Next thing I knew we were lined up by the water ready to hear our starting horn. I had made a plan to hang back to one side to try and swim with fewer people around. Not having the opportunity to swim with a group has made me unsure of how to approach the multitude of swimmers and get into my rhythm. I know that I was the last one to get my head in the water and get moving. No one worry- last spot- I've got that covered! Man what an embarrassment. Oh well. I found my stride and started passing people. Wasn't long and I was rounding the first buoy, then the second and working my way back to shore. I may have been last in the water buy sure wasn't last out of it! My goal was to have a steady transition, no doddling but I wasn't in the elite category when things get ripped off and are flying around either. I could hear my husband yelling as he finished his swim and was making his way to transition. He is a strong biker and runner and he felt when the swim was done, he would be home free. The run up the hill was probably the best thing for me- did I just actually say that? It certainly got the blood pumping and while I am usually very cold after a swim, it wasn't a concern at all. As I was running, I had thrown on a hoodie and was trying to get my arm sleeves on slightly wet arms as well as keep my legs moving. I was also re-evaluating my bike riding attire as I knew I would be overdressed with what I had planned. Again, tried to make T2 a quick change from runners to bike shoes, hoodie off and tshirt on, bike helmet, sunglasses and go! The winds were very strong from what ever direction we were headed into and it was a struggle to get a fast speed but I kept my cadence up and kept my head down, plowing away. The turnaround point in 6 miles had us now with the wind at our backs and I had it in the lowest gear and was really trucking. No time to look at my watch to check out my speed but did my share of passing others. Always feels good. I know that for a sprint triathlon, nutrition isn't much of a concern but I have done 2 "mock" triathlons at the lake prior to this and trained with Perpetuem by Hammer and LOVE it! I also love the bars. I have a bar in my bento box in case of emergency and a water bottle on my bike with perpetuem and another with water. The goal during the ride is to empty both bottles. Mission accomplished.
Back in at transition, changed back into runners with my visor on and gone down the big hill to a path along the lake. The trail took us about 1 1/2 miles in and then back to the finish area by where the T1 area was. I worked hard to keep my legs moving fast and my breathing was laboured- I wanted it to stay that way. I saw my husband on his way back when I was close to the turnaround point. I would say I was 7 or so min behind him. One of my favourite things when running a road race has always been when I can hear the music. Obviously it is a great motivator as you know the end is close. This was no different. I picked up the pace a bit and sailed under the blue arch!!
My husband gave me a hug and some water and then tried to plug the hole in the waterworks that was leaking. It is an emotional thing when you have done something you weren't sure you could do.
We grabbed some bananas, oranges and more water then headed to T1 to collect our wetsuits and then up the hill to T2 to get our bikes and load everything up. The sky opened up and the real waterworks started. There were showers available down by the finish area but I heard already they were cold and neither of us was too enthusiastic about waiting in line for a cold shower when we were already wet and cold. We changed in the vehicle then headed for the after race lunch and awards ceremony. Lunch was hot beef on a bun, pasta salad and watermelon. Talked with lots of great people and learned a very important lesson. This to come at a later post.
We drove back to Regina to exchange bike tires then headed home. My goal going into the triathlon was to do the swim in under 20 min, bike in under 45 and run in under 25 so total time without transition would be 1:30. I did not include transition goals because I thought that there were enough time goals. My main goal for transition was to see what and how everyone else did things. The official time is a bit out of the norm as the transition times aren't given but were placed within the biking and running discipline (because of the the big hill run to get to our bikes)
8 1:40:18 109 Women 40-49 Lesley BETCHER Swan River
18:52 (swim time) 50:05 (bike and t1) 22:55 (t2 and run)
I am proud of myself for completely and for meeting my goals for times. My garmin showed my true times for each discipline. I am planning to improve my transition times (mostly by making up my mind what to wear and do and not be so wishy-washy). My husband thinks I need to pump it up on the bike so I will work harder there also. My time put me 8/10 in my age category which really stinks but in my defense, there are so many good and competitive women in triathlon in their 30-50's. Coming in as a newbie, I would need a lot more training to compete with their 11 min swims, 35 min bikes and 20 min runs. Most importantly though, doing this triathlon made me scared, nervous and unsure but in accomplishing it I gained so much confidence, joy and pride! I have only participated in duathlons and running events and I have been told that duathlons are harder than triathlons and now I certainly believe it. Swimming is so much easier on the body that the first leg as a run. I am hooked and there is no stopping me now- I am a lifer.