mickey mouse

mickey mouse

Monday, 9 June 2014

Better, Stronger, Farth

I've got a bucket list, and I'm a glutton for crossing stuff off and then adding something else before the ink has time to dry.

For some crazy reason, I had a triathlon on there. The part that makes it really wacky is that I can't swim. Like 'ugly dog paddle, does she need us to rescue her' can't swim.  I spent my childhood jumping off diving boards into pools and flailing my way to the edge and out. I don't like to get my head wet, can't see without my glasses, and sink like a stone.

So after a few years of saying I was going to learn to swim, I finally did. 16 weeks of lessons at the local city pool, two great friends who learned with me, amazing instructors who actually taught me how to do more than barely make it from one edge to the other.

By the end I could do it, still not pretty, but I could do it. I bought a wetsuit and tried it out in the pool, got prescription goggles too. 

Registered for a try-a-tri. (I should mention we signed up BEFORE we started swimming lessons)

Cue the nifty matching outfits :-) 

June 7th, Binbrook ON. 400 m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run.

I'm seldom nervous. I love speaking in public, and I'm happiest when I can do something nobody expects of me.  However this scared the crap out of me. The more I thought about it (open water, can't touch the bottom, tons of flailing people, cramps, can't see, can't finish, have to DNF fished out of a lake). 

Our swim instructor at the City of Hamilton, Cassandra, called to wish us luck while I was pondering finding a paper bag to breathe into. What a great boost of confidence and support, and how cool that she remembered and took the time to look up Lori's cell and call us. 

Somehow we still got there, and somehow I got my stuff racked and me suited up. You can't tell here, but I've stopped breathing almost totally. AND I can't see without my glasses, so like a dork I'm wearing prescription goggles on dry land. 

 They let us go in the water to 'warm up' and I realized at that point that I'd never been in open water as a swimmer, never tried to spot the markers, wear my wetsuit or my goggles in a lake, and that at some point about three feet out I'd not be able to touch the bottom until I reached the end of the swim. Oh, and there's current, something really lacking in a pool.

Oh. My. God.  I was the last to enter the water, and I paddled and plodded along without stopping (YIPPEEE) the entire 400 meters without needing a lifeguard to fish me out. (YIPPEE). The sweet young man on the paddleboard stayed beside me the entire time, coached, cheering, and making sure I didn't go off course. 

I came out of the water about 20 minutes after I went in. The very last person to emerge from the lake. You can just imagine how freaking happy I was, my goggles were fogged with tears of joy. And yes, I WAS lapped by the pregnant woman in the photo above!

Emily cheered me in from her post on the beach, yelling 'be a shark' so loud I'm pretty sure people were preparing to evacuate for fear of Jaws gnawing on someone.  I headed into transition to get on my bike, so freaking happy that I didn't have to swim again that I would have cheered, except I was trapped in my wetsuit and concentrating on getting out.

At this point I was promising myself this was my last Tri, I was going back to nice, harmless half marathons.

The bike was a cakewalk compared to the swim. 10K, a few hills, passed a few people (thank god, I hated having the motorcycle guy follow me as the last place person). 

I got through that too, and met up with Lori in transition. We waited for Kaylee to finish the bike and headed out for our 2.5km run. 

Somewhere in here I discovered that we don't get medals for this race. Are you KIDDING ME? I've been wet, cold, dry, sandy, had my hair pulled by my swim cap and the velcro on my wetsuit and there's NO MEDAL? 

We had a lovely walk around the body of water we'd just swam. Could have run, but we have a 'no man left behind' rule and I was sticking with the people who got me into this (and out), and trying to talk to Lori out of swimming back to the finish. Our friends Phil and Emily were taking photos of us as well, so I'll add those once they send them to me. 

As is the norm with K and L, they dragged me across the finish with their crazy tradition of sprinting like loons for the last few yards.

   overall time
The team at Multisport Canada has a tradition of taking a group photo of the first timers, so we happily hit the podium for the big moment. 

There was a finisher banner you could pose in front of, and these blue and white signs with words written that you could hold. They said 'Strong' 'Fast' 'High' and 'Farth'. Now at this point I was tired, and happy and a little goofy and was pretty sure I read the last wrong, so I read it a few more times.  I figured that I misread it as 'Earth', but nope it was 'FARTH'.

I was puzzling it out, out loud, when the nice group of people standing near us pointed out the banner we were posing in front of had 'ER' on it. AHHHHH  FARTH-ER. Somehow that was the funniest thing I'd ever heard, and I had to pose with that sign.

What's truly freaking insane is that I got home, got bathed and changed and unpacked, looked at myself in the mirror and said 'I bet I could do that faster next time'.  Someone get my pen, I have to add another line to the bucket list.

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