Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Try. Or Tri. As in…I did it! Part Three. A Triathlon Trilogy.

on June 8, 2013


Finishing Strong Even When You Are Being Passed By a 12 Year Old.

By mile 4, I was really rocking that bike, both literally and figuratively. I was feeling strong, confident and just a little competitive. As I came up on the first bike ahead of me, I called out ‘on your left’ because I thought that was the polite cycling thing to do. I’m not sure that is actually the protocol in a triathlon, since that gentleman just looked at me a little annoyed. Once I passed him, I felt pressure to get a little distance between us. You know when that car passes you in the fast lane only to move over into the left lane and slows down? That’s what I was trying to avoid. I didn’t want to be THAT person!

So, I pushed hard and soon saw my chance to pass a few other folks.  I don’t think these were the same people that passed me in the pool, though. I think those folks were long gone. But maybe not. We were all wearing different disguises on each leg of this race, so it was hard to tell.

One of my fears before this race was that I would get so far behind the pack of folks and the course wouldn’t be well marked and I would miss a turn and actually get lost, never to find my way back. I know. I know. I looked at the course map before we started, but I didn’t have it memorized. These are not streets that I drive often, if ever, so I didn’t know really where I was around town. But, I am happy to say that I didn’t get lost. Many thanks to the fabulous volunteers in purple shirts who were at every intersection. Not only did they point the way, but they rang cowbells and held up signs and yelled out words of encouragement. I’d also like to make a shout-out to law enforcement who came out to help during the race. They, too, did an excellent job of stopping and controlling traffic for us in those tricky places. A few officers were cheering us on as well.

During the last two miles of the ride, I passed a father who was riding along with his 12 year old daughter. I know she was 12 because we were all wearing our ages, written in large black permanent sharpie markers (that would actually last all. week. long!) on the back of our legs. First, I was super impressed that this young lady was competing like this. Then I thought it was such a wonderful bonding experience for her to do this with her Dad. Before I realized that this little kid must have kicked my rear end in the pool which was why she was in front of me, so I allowed myself to feel just a little smugness as I passed them by with an “on your left.”

We turned the corner and climbed a steep hill, I could see the end of the ride and I for the first time, started thinking about what comes next. Dismount the bike at the line. Walk it back to my spot. Park the bike. Take off my helmet. And then…yeah, start running. 3.1 miles.

The thoughts of running a 5K next, distracted me from the fact that the little 12 year old that I was just so proud of, came up behind me, obliterating any bit of smug that I might have been feeling and passed me in the last few feet of that ride. I think her Dad put her up to it. She can brag at school on Monday about finishing ahead of a 40 year old. But she probably won’t. I’m pretty sure that won’t impress her 6th grade friends. 🙂

In a blur, I dismounted, parked the bike, took of my helmet…and then stood there for a second. The only thing left to do was now run.

I turned to start on this last leg (Ha! See what I did there?!) and tried to move these new blocks of cement that were attached to my hips. It was the strangest feeling. My legs felt like jello that had been mixed with concrete and stirred together to create a new type of gelatin. A gelatin that I was supposed to now run on. I just kept picking one up and putting one down and thought, this isn’t so bad. I just have to run three miles and then I’m done. A triathlete I will be!

Following the directions of the purple shirts, I headed toward the end of a street, where a woman told me that I would see her again on my 2nd lap. Wait. What? There is a 2nd lap to this course? I turned and was trying to figure out exactly where I would be running, when I spotted him.

Up ahead, already wearing his blue medal around his neck, was my Felix, who had come back for me. (I think he was really just relieved to see that I had made it out of the pool, too!)

He asked if he could run with me, knowing that I’m usually a loner-type runner, but this time we had so much to catch up on. We ran and swapped some, ahem, war stories, of our triadventure together, yet apart.  It was fun to hear about his swim, ride and run. We congratulated and encouraged each other. I realized that this was such an amazing thing to be able to do this (kind of ) together.

I did indeed, see that purple shirt lady again as I made the turn for the 2nd lap.

Felix, who had just ran an extra mile or more with me, stopped and said, “You go ahead and have your finish line.”

How awesome is he, I ask you?

So, I did. I kept running. I felt good. I was proud of myself. As I came down the final stretch, the announcer called my number and name! I threw my hands up in a nonchalant celebratory way as if, ‘Yeah. That’s me. I do this. This triathlon thing.’ I might have even ‘WhooHooed’ a little bit.

I crossed that finish line.

They crowned me with my first triathlon medal. My first swim, bike, run bling.

I did it. I completed a 300 meter UGLY swim, a 10 mile bike ride (lost to a 12 year old in the last seconds), and then a 5K run on concrete jello legs with my Felix.

And I accomplished all three of my goals.

1) I did not drown. Check.

2) I finished in less than 2 hours. Check.

3) I did not come in last place. Check. (Oh, and I did check to make sure there were still lots of folks behind me!)

I am.

A triathlete.

(Later, as we were packing up and nibbling on some oranges, Felix very casually asked me if I would like to do another triathlon. I very casually answered, “Yes. Yes I do.” …

But I really need to take some swimming lessons first!”)

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10 responses to “Try. Or Tri. As in…I did it! Part Three. A Triathlon Trilogy.

  1. Lead Our Lives says:

    Congratulations on the completion of the tri and for this beautifully written series! I cried at the end. Like any good story with a happy and triumphant ending, I felt it. How wonderful the support from your husband. A blessing indeed. Write on! Tri on! 😉

  2. Jan says:


  3. sanstorm says:

    Oh well done. I am inspired. I am 40 also and have signed up for a big event in August (not a triathlon – I am not a swimmer!) . Your post has encouraged me 🙂
    Great stuff!

  4. 43fitness says:

    Nicely persevered. I rarely get out of the gym for any workout so I applaud your journey out in nature!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Thanks … it was an adventure. The kiddos are going to do a kid version next month. I’m not making it to the gym at all right now…so the only thing I can do is be outside and do work!

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