Last February I decided to take on the challenge of competing in the Wildflower Triathlon, one of the nations most difficult Triathlons,which took place in May of 2006. The distance I would cover included a 1.5K (1 mile) Open Water Swim, followed by an intense 40K (25 Mile) bike ride and finishing off with a 10K (6 Mile) Run. I finished this race in 5 hours, since then I have continued to document my journey.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sunday, July 30 2006; SF Marathon

Before the race started I was SUPER nervous because I felt completely under prepared and I didn't want to get a DNF. The day before the I was calling everyone I knew to find out if they wanted to take my race number. When I finally found someone I was a little sad. Fortunately she called and changed her mind. Thanks Amber!!!

The morning of the race I thought of telling everyone that I accidentally slept in. I'm not a quitter and I just couldn't do it so I reluctantly went. I was seriously lost at the start of the race. I couldn't figure out the bathroom lines, I didn't know where to go, I was a mess. Fortunately, someone in the crowd spotted me and it turned out to be Lisa from our TNT group. Of course I was too nervous to recognize her but thank goodness she recognized me.

When the race started I expected it to be a slow crawl for a couple of miles but people just started running. After the first mile I realized that I was doing a 13 minute mile pace. I don't run that fast?!?! After mile 2 I was still around 13 minute miles. It really felt good. I kept doing the math over and over again and I always got the same results. I didn't feel like I was pushing it...that was just my pace. But I don't even run that fast on the track?!? Then I realized all the calculations I was doing in my head kept my mind off running. Hmmm...math helps running. Did you ever realize how much math was involved in running?

1. I need to do 16 minute miles to finish before cut-off. I'm on mile 8 so I need to be faster than (16 x 8) / 60 = 2.13
2. I'm on mile 8 and I have been running for 2 hrs 4 min so my pace is (2.04 x 60)/ 8 = 15.3 minute mile
3. I need to take a cliff shot block every 20 minutes and I took my last one at 9:00 = 9:20 (easy but still math)
4. What time will I be finishing if I continue at this on and so on

I was doing math the whole time. I like math but wow. At one point I was going to ask someone if they had a calculator.

Everything else is pretty much a blur of calculations and zoning until mile 7 when I saw a guy in a roman soldier costume who was doing the full marathon in his medal costume. It was amazing. Full body armor including the big headress and a sword. Didn't he realize that we are in the middle of a heatwave?!?! I was hot in my singlet and tri-shorts.

After mile 10 I started to fade and slowed to a snails pace (maybe because the calculations were getting too complex) Just at the right time someone screamed "Go Team" to me and handed over a packet of Starbursts. I was confused at first then he said "I'm on your team too" as he pointed to his TNT hat. It turns out he was there cheering on the SF run team. Those Starbursts hit the spot and pushed me to the finish line. I must have been bonking. I think he suspected as much. Thank you Mr. TNT angel wherever you are!!!

Shortly after I saw the ballpark and grinned like a fool. I love our ballpark. I looked around and everyone else seemed to grin at that same point. It was priceless. We ran up another of several hills then around the park. It was pretty cool to see baseball players practicing while we were running. Sooner than I expected the finish shoot appeared. I ran through and got a medal and a handshake from a Navy soldier in full uniform. It was a great way to end the race.

I now know that a Long Course tri is within my reach. I won't be doing it this year but by next year I think I'll be ready. Like I told coach Harold...just add swimming and biking to marathoning and the race would be perfect.


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