Hello again. It has been a long time. I have been a traveling maniac over the last four weeks, and I am not done yet. This week I have spent a lot of time sick and recovering. I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that training for my race next weekend is non-existent. It will be what it will be. Perhaps I will get in one each of a swim, bike, and run during the week. Perhaps not...
Four weekends ago I dropped my youngest child off at school in Chicago, thus the "empty nest". We had great flights, a nice hotel, some amazing food, and saw some of the sights of the city. I absolutely love the city of Chicago, and I hope Dave does too. We did some really touristy stuff like Navy Pier and we ate at the original Uno's. We shopped for dorm supplies and just had some great bonding times which were both bittersweet and exciting. I am so proud of him and this step that he has taken to be a man on his own. I look forward to the holidays when I get to spend time with him again, but I know that it will never be the same as before. He is forever changed and I must be too. I returned home to an empty house (okay, to be fair I do have two wonderful puppies and some fish in my aquarium) on Wednesday.
No sooner did my plane touch down and I was off to Pennsylvania to compete in my first Olympic distance triathlon. My friend Michelle and I hit the road on Friday afternoon, got to our hotel late, and hit the sack. The next day we checked out the race venue and we were both quite daunted by the size of the hills in that section of PA. We didn't even bother to check out the run route, we were just dazed by the bike route. We bought some food and then ate, hydrated, and rested for the rest of the day. On Sunday morning we woke up early and hit the race hard.
The swim was a .9 mile river swim with the second half all upstream. I half expected to see salmon swimming along side me. I used drafting to my advantage to get a little rest before pushing ahead to the next group of swimmers to draft off of. I made out okay and felt I finished the swim strong. I got on the bike and headed out knowing that it was going to be a long 25 miles. The hills were daunting but they were made somewhat easier by the Army National Guardsmen that were at every turn and at the top of every hill offering encouragement with every turn of the pedals. There was only one hill that did me in - the one at mile 5. My heart rate got so high that I had to push up the second half of it. Funny thing was that some of the people riding weren't going all that much faster than I was walking. At the top, I got back on and did my thing for the rest of the ride. I exceeded my mph goal for the ride, felt good about that, racked my bike and headed out on the run. (run is a term that I always use very loosely) The run was 3.1 miles uphill followed by 3.1 miles downhill. I walked most of the first half and a little of the second half (whenever I hit the slightest incline).
My goal for the race was to finish, even if I came in last. 4:00 hours would have been sweet, too. Well - I finished, I came in 5th from last, and finished in 4:07 (including a bathroom stop). What amazed me is that at no time during the race did I wonder what I had gotten myself into. I was just thinking "I can really do this thing" and "Thank you Jesus!" and "Wow, I think I'll do this again!" and I will, but not in Pennsylvania. Give me the hills of New England any day.
We arrived home on Monday evening and on Friday I headed off to Venezuela for 9 days for a missions trip. Stay tuned for more about that amazing experience.