The last race that almost didn’t happen!

My triathon season for 2017 is over. It’s been a long one (since April 2 and through Oct 8). Yesterday I did the Ramblin Rose in Chapel Hill…that’s where this whole journey started back in 2009. I’ve been talking about this particular race with some friends since the beginning of the year, literally since January. I had signed up for several events and just ASSumed that I had also signed up for this one since I was planning on being there. This pic shows that I finished, but this is how it started…

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Well, come 3:30pm on Saturday I go to check my bib # and it’s not there. All my friends have a bib #. But not me. So I start checking my emails to confirm my registration and there are none. Nothing. The time of 3:30 pm is important because packet pickup ends at 4pm and it’s in Chapel Hill, about 45 minutes away from me if I had left that second. They had said that you could still sign up at packet pickup. There was literally NO way for me to get there and sign up in person. There was also literally NO emergency contact info (name, email, phone, etc) to find anywhere. On Saturday afternoon, a few hours before the morning of the race, I did not know if I was going to be able to participate in my last race – and one of my favorites – of the season.

I was freaking out!! The only thing I could do was to send a message via social media on their FB page. I did. And I waited. I kept trying to formulate a Plan B in my head. IF I can’t race tomorrow, I’ll cheer for my friends. I’ll take pics. I’ll be the best cheerleader ever! But I’m super F pissed at myself. How could I NOT sign up for something I’ve talked about since January!? Just how crazy AM I!?

Somewhere later the people at Ramblin Rose message me that yes, I can sign up at 6:30am onsite. (No cost mention, just that I can.) So for the bargain price of $100, I’m back in the game! My friends meet me at 6am, we drive over, I sign up paying nearly double what I thought I was going to, all is good.

Swim? good. Bike? good.

WAIT – it was good until half way through and I get a flat. Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump thump. Damn. I have no tools, no tube, no nothing. Shit. It’s over. I just paid $100 to swim 5 laps today. Awesome. My first DNF.

I tell a rider passing me while I’m on the side of the road to let the next volunteer know that I have a flat. Maybe someone can help or at least give me a ride back so I don’t have to walk it 4-5 miles back. Then an athlete named Shelley stops & says she can help me fix it! …really?? Well, she could have – but the tube was totally gone. Neither of us had a tube even though she did have tools. She tried putting in air with the co2 cartridge, but it wouldn’t hold air. So, after some time, I thanked her profusely and told her to finish her race! Don’t waste any more time here, it’s over for me but go!! I call Jason from the side and, still cheering for others passing me, I tell him it’s over. I’m totally flat, no extra tube, no tools, no help. Lots of cussing. I’m so pissed. IMG_2274

And then, someone from the sag/helping crew shows up. Her name is Sophie & she has tools AND A TUBE. She was like an angel mechanic. While she’s working on it I call J back and tell him that I might be back in the game…if he doesn’t hear from me again then I’m back in! She magically fixes it like the badass that she is, and soon I’m on my way. I thank her as I’m riding away. The kindness of strangers at this event was really amazing. Such support and genuine concern for everyone on the course. I ride away. Come into the transition & see J with the boys! This is the first race they have been to so it was exciting and also very emotional given the way things have gone with this event.

rose 2I’m off on the run. About half way in, someone calls my name – it was Shelley, the one who helped me first on the bike. She recognized my TriMafia gear/shirt. She runs up to me & high-5s me, saying she was so glad to see me and that I made it back, got help, etc. Then, as I’m coming back I see Cathy starting the run. And then as I’m rounding the finish I see Parker and he wants to run me in through the finish line. I told him I needed his help & he was ready! So for the first time, I ran the finish chute with my youngest.

 

I know ONE thing I’m doing during the off season. I’m learning how to change a tire! For real this time. No messing around.

But here are some pics of my first 2009 Ramblin Rose. I printed everything out, making sure I knew everything and was prepared. I found this folder when I was looking for something else this summer and it made me smile. This is also my first little one, Ethan, at 11 months. This is how it all began!

 

 

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Ramblin Rose Raleigh 2017

Ramblin’ Rose Raleigh was on June 8, 2017. This is such a great venue for any woman starting out in the triathlon world, wanting to just try it out and see what happens. It’s also great to come back repeatedly to grow in your speed and ability. Can you really do this? Is it impossible? Is this the last, or is it the beginning of something bigger…the initial steps to a life long relationship with endurance sports (like it was with me).

Rose Raleigh 2017

Ramblin Rose Raleigh – June 2017

Doing things that feel impossible are such amazing growth tools. It’s hard to get out of our comfort zone, holy moly that is hard. Ditching the bed for an early swim, or running/walking knowing it might rain, or keeping a commitment to yourself or someone else to meet for a ride is not easy. But those things do get easier. They do. And the more you do, the more you can do.

The Rose event was great!! I had coerced, I mean wrangled, a few friends into doing it. Most of us did it as a team, with each of us doing one or two legs. And one person who does not see herself as a triathlete yet did the whole thing! (You know I’m talking about you Lady J…) This year the swim was outside which meant that it was easier to watch everyone. The bike was really, really hilly. And then the walk/run – and it was done!

Bling!!

Here are the bigger accomplishments, progress, & outcomes from my friends this weekend, using just initials for privacy:

  • TN is talking about ways to improve her swim and be less uncomfortable in the water
  • KP learned how to swim about 2 months prior and finished the swim!
  • CS is considering doing TWO more triathlons this summer – one with an open water swim!! And she’s getting a road bike this week!
  • JH just signed up to do the October Ramblin’ Rose event!
  • AK volunteered to learn more, and is committed to the October Rose along with several others who didn’t participate in this particular event

…but the biggest outcome is the belief in progress and the believe that they can move forward in a challenging sport. A sport that can be very tough on long courses, and one that can be very hard to get comfortable in. You have to learn how to be ok with being uncomfortable, sweaty, and tired – but in the best and most accomplished way!

 

Closing the season with the best!

The first time I did the Ramblin’ Rose Chapel Hill sprint tri was 2009….I had a almost-one year old. Last weekend I did it again and I had an almost-8 year old. It was the same course, the same everything… but so very different this time around.

I think the first several I did I put myself in a swim group of 4 (out of 10 with 10 being the best). Last year I think I was in a 6. At the beginning of this season I was a 7…..and that’s right, I ended my season in the swim group EIGHT! Two people passed me in the pool right at the beginning. But that was it! I hung with the pack and held it together in the “8” group. Eight out of ten. Last summer I couldn’t even believe it when I was able to swim freestyle the whole 250 without retreating to breaststroke. It was a small miracle! This summer I didn’t even consider doing that. I knew I could do much more than 250 freestyle, a lot more.


I’ve never had to use the portapotty during an event, but I guess there’s a first time for everything! It was a great season being part of the TriMafia ambassador team with Velocity Sportswear. I always got comments on my kit and how it was easy to see and just a lot of fun. It’s super comfortable, made by Epix. Great stuff!!

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I’ve already got 4 events paid for and on my schedule for 2017. One involves a 1.2 mile swim leg on a team, one is an ocean swim in South Beach, FL and a sound swim in the OBX, and one is a sprint event I’ll do for the 4th time. I’m sure I’ll have a few more thrown in too. I need undies that say Triathlon IS Therapy…true in about a billion different ways. I’m sad the season is over but looking forward to next year!!