The night before Capital View Triathlon I assured myself that I was ready for an adventurous race. When I used the word adventurous, I was referring to the weather. The forecast showed 50% chance of rain, 12 mph wind, 60 degrees, and thunderstorms starting at 11:00. Adventure I got, but it was not with the weather.
The weather turned out to be delightful, and the water was relatively calm for my swim. I like how the swim has become a strong suit for me. My wave, F30-34, felt overly congested. The first 600 yards was a cluster of bodies flailing. A girl even dolphin’ed onto my head. In past triathlon swims I’d swim outside of the group, but I choose to stay in the crowded area to get practice with what it will feel like in the Ironman mass swim start. I survived, I flipped onto my back once to catch my breath, and once we turned the first buoy I was cruising. I did my 1500 meters in 25:32, a 3 minute course PR from last year. Good stuff.
The bike is when the adventure began. At mile 3 I heard my back tire pop. I calmly sat in a ditch removing the tire from the frame of my bike, and began to pry the tire off so I could remove my popped tube. I noticed a hole in the tire and wondered if putting my spare tube on would even work. Nonetheless, I continued fighting with my tire, trying to take it off of the tire rim. I could not. I need to lift more weights or something, I can’t get the tire off if my race depends on it! Or maybe I wad distracted by all of the other racers zipping by. Except for John, husband of the year.
He stopped, got in the ditch, no hesitation and took over. As he pulled the trigger on the CO2 cartridge he said, “I think it’s going to pop” …. POP!!
My spare tube popped.
Husband of the year offered me his tires, I said no, he then offered his bike. I again said no, it’s his first triathlon, he should go on, I’ll walk it back in. Then the support van found me. A guy got out and I told him that I was done and my spare tube popped.
“Are you sure you’re done? I’ve got spare tubes! Can you continue the race?”
Oh! I hadn’t considered that an option anymore. I didn’t hesitate and said, “Yes, of course I can finish! Hook me up!” Thirty minutes later my hole was patched, I got a tube, and I was good to go.
Good to go in absolute last place.
Not a soul behind me. Not a soul in front of me that I could see.
I checked out of race mentality, having lost 30 minutes to a mechanical issue. Instead I thought of the positives, “I need to get the miles in anyway, this is just training miles, my legs are still fatigued from the fast 23 mile group ride on Thursday, I didn’t taper, I kicked ass in that swim, it turned out to be a beautiful day, my husband is awesome, I get to have margaritas after the race!”
I even had to laugh out loud when I realized the sag wagon was following me back in. I would have never thought I’d ever be in last place in a race, it was humbling. Before I knew it, I was back in transition two, still smiling, because what else could I do?
The run course in this triathlon is the worst. It’s on trails with dozens of climbs, parts on an open field, and ugh, I’m just not good on trails! I slogged on to the best of my ability, and within a mile I passed two girls. It was confidence boosting enough to keep me propelling myself forward, yay I won’t finish last!! I walked a lot of hills, but managed to pick off people, slowly, but surely. When people cheered for me, I triumphantly cheered back “Flat tire survivor!!” which put the fun back into this awful run. At mile 5 John and Becca were waiting to cheer for me. John, again, exceeding his husbandly expectations asked me if I wanted company for the last mile. OF COURSE I DID!!
He ran the last mile with me, exchanging battle stories from the race, slowly picking off more people, and then finally the sweet, sweet mile 6 marker was there! I came down the finish chute with a smile, it was finally over!
Hard day, but I kept my chin up, smiled, laughed, and finished proud. And now I get to cuddle with a triathlete, because John finished his first triathlon!