Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trailblazer Triathlon

What a team! After our busy morning cheering the kids along in their very own triathlon at the Trifusion Kid's Tri, the "big kids" got a chance to have some fun at the Trailblazer Tri in Medical Lake that same afternoon.

I'd never done this triathlon before, but the course felt very familiar as it mirrored the Wunderwoman and Medical Lake Kiwanis triathlon courses. After a long day on my feet, I was surprised by how quickly my body responded to yet another of my crazy demands. As a low-key race, I kept telling myself all I had to do was have fun. Quite frankly, that's what I did. Craig Thorsen let me borrow Erica's race wheels to see what they felt like. While they made my bike look fast, I no longer have enough spare money in my pockets to afford something so fancy.

Left to right: Bryan Rowe, Ronnie Crenshaw, Natalie
Gallagher, me, Mike Winnet, and Dave Erickson. On our way
to the other side of the lake for the swim start. The bed of that
truck was HOT!
Despite receiving some flack for it later, one aspect of this race that I won't forget was the swim start. Some chose to swim across the lake to the start, but others and myself chose the alternative: to hang off the back of the pickup and let someone drive us over. It turned out to be a fun experience, but next year I'll probably just swim. A sharp contrast to a few weeks ago, the lake felt much like the water in Boise. And when the gun went off, I hung onto Nate Duncan's feet for as long as I could until he lost me half way across the lake. Nonetheless, I came out of the water behind a few of the faster swimmers, slipped (literally!) out of my wetsuit, and hopped on my bike for a quick 12 miles around the course.

Picture by Aubrey Winnet. I'm headed out to chase down
Ronnie and Steve. I never could catch Ronnie, but I enjoyed
closing down on him and hanging on for a short time.

Picture by Jessi Thompson. 

I followed (not drafted) Ronnie Crenshaw out on the course for quite some time. The target on his back was what kept me motivated to keep working harder than I probably would have without someone in front to chase. I knew of several guys chasing me, one of whom, Russel Abrams, soon caught me and flew by to chase Ronnie down as well.

Picture by Aubrey Winnet. Finally! The finish line
seemed it would never arrive. My Timex kept displaying
an incredibly elevated heart rate and a pace that felt
slower than it actually was. 
Of all runs I can remember that followed my bike leg, I don't think any one of them have hurt as much as this one did. I don't know if my tired legs were the result of a harder effort on the bike or the time on my feet all morning at the kids tri. Nonetheless, I felt sluggish, and the heat of the sun as well as the blister forming on my left heel didn't help. There is something so worrisome about continuing to run on a blister you know is only getting bigger. As I write this, 4 days later, it's still agonizingly painful to run and bike. I can only hope it heels sooner than later and can definitely say I won't be running barefoot in my bright yellow Asics racing flats again!

I can't complain about the sun. If anything, it demarcates the beginning of what will be a long couple months training in hot weather to prepare me for Las Vegas. I've always preferred to run in the early mornings. Not anymore!

In the end, I flew through to the finish thanks to the encouragement of Erica, who met me at the corner and followed me in on her bike. Jessi Thompson took some great photos and hollered me into the finish. Tons of other teammates and their family members cheered me in, and I couldn't help but feel so thankful for the great group of friends I've been welcomed into. I was happy to know I'd only come in a little over 2 minutes behind the great Haley Cooper-Scott, my friend and fellow classmate. Another classmate, Kari Budd, also raced and had a great time at her second ever triathlon. 

In just three days, I'll have the opportunity to cheer in many of my teammates and friends competing in Ironman CDA. I can't wait to be able to experience the atmosphere I crave each year that is created by the amazing athletes and spectators drawn to CDA. We are a great group of people, devoted to each other's care, fitness, and well-being. 

Doctor of Physical Therapy ladies! Me with Haley, Kari,
and Becky Iden. We had lots of fun on a warm and sunny
Saturday afternoon.

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