On Sunday, I competed in the Orange County International Triathlon in Mission Viejo. I signed up for this on May 1st, when I returned home from my 1/2 Ironman. I was so disspointed that I didn't complete the swim and this seemed like a good way to redeem myself. An Olympic distance triathlon is: 1.5/40/10 km or, in miles: .93/24.8/6.2. While the bike and run portions are a little more than 1/2 the distance, the swim is still almost a mile. I was excited when I hit 'submit' and paid the $183...confident I would get my training in. That's the thing about signing up for races: then you're obligated. Usually, the fear of not doing well motivates me to put in the hours of required training. I thought I would have plenty of time to get in an open water swim before race day when I signed up. But, I had Mother's Day and 15 miles one weekend, trip to LA and 18 miles the following weekend and - well, that was it - it was here!!! Excuses, I know, because you can always make time...but in any case, life happened and there I found myself: on the morning of, so nervous that I thought I was going to throw up.
I ran 14 miles on Saturday and made it to the expo just in time to pick up my race packet and drop off my shoes in T2 (transition area 2) just after 6pm. Ususally, there's one transition area and you set it all up the morning of, but this one had us biking to - and running from - a different area. They had someone stationed there, watching the shoes throughout night. When I got home, I started packing all my gear for the morning, since I would be short on time and half asleep. Before a marathon, I lay everything out the night before, careful not to forget anything. But, for a triathlon, there's so much more stuff! And, if you forget something like your hemet you're out.
My friend Delia picked me up at 5am, and we drove to pick Darra. It was still dark outside. When friends come out to support and cheer you on, it means a lot. When those friends have to get up at 4am in order to do so, it means even more. We parked by the lake and they helped me lug all my stuff to T1. Constantly, the only thing on my mind was the swim. Mom called and, knowing I was nervous, told me to imagine that Isis was on my back and would drown if I didn't finish. Darra said that if I didn't finish the swim she would drag me back out there. They both told me I could do it, yet I remained doubtful. I was in the third wave, at 7:10. As the first wave went, and then the second, I became more and more nervous...which you wouldn't really think was possible considering how nervous I already was. I can't even articulate how scared I was and what it felt like entering that water. Even now, remembering it, I get butterflies. Seeing where I had to swim made it even worse: to the other side of the lake, to the right and back. It seemed impossible.
|I'm in there somewhere.|
I continued on, and the wave behind me passed me. All the faster guys. And then all the slower guys. And then, the next wave. I stayed to the right, in the water slow lane equivalent. By the time I made it to the first buoy I could tell I was going to make it. I stopped less and continued on. As I was approaching shore, I heard "Go Megan!" every time I stopped to orient myself. Delia, Darra and Ardy were standing on a dock, waving and cheering me on. Although I was one of the last ones out of the water, it felt so good to be back on land! If I could just get the swim over with, the rest would be a piece of cake.
Not true. I stripped off my wetsuit quickly, realizing almost all of the bikes were gone. As I started out on the bike, my legs were tired and it was difficult. The only person that I passed on the bike portion was missing a leg. I'm not kidding, he was operating a hand crank bike. The ride was stunning, through Santiago Canyon, which I have never been to! I could not wait to get off the bike.
|He must've heard I was directionally challenged.|
Nearing the finish line, I picked up my pace. And, I had a huge smile. It tooke me just over 4 hours and again, Delia and Darra were there. To my surprise there were no medals. I assumed there would be a medal, the thing cost enough! But instead, I have an experience I will never forget. There's a cheesy cliché about overcoming our fears in here somewhere, dying to come out, but I'll leave that to your imagination.
|Delia, me, Darra|