I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post an update. I am currently in Rochester, NY at a conference and have found it hard to get some downtime. This blog is my reward for meeting 3 very big goals tonight. (yes, I write to reward myself from writing…)
On Friday, as you all know if you read my last post, I left for Miami and had a little bump in the road getting started. I finally arrived in Miami around 1 am, got a cab to the hotel, and went to check in. At my check in they said the computers were down so there were no keys for the rooms. For that reason, I had to have an escort to my room and have someone unlock the door and lock it behind me. That was interesting.
I slept really well Friday night, woke up Saturday morning just in time for the Swim clinic.
I was nervous about the ocean swim before the swim clinic began but once I met a few people there and we all swam in the ocean together like a team, I felt a lot better. After the swim clinic, I headed across the beach to the transition area to pick up my rented bike, set up for Sunday and pick up my registration packet.
So while I set up, I met many people. I met a girl from Brazil, a guy from England, and people from Miami beach who were doing the Triathlon along with me! They were all so nice. I suppose I had a lost puppy look when I was setting up my transition because people approached me to welcome me “Oh, I see this is your first! Don’t forget to enjoy it! You’ll never have a first again, you’ll always be chasing this high”… I got something to that effect repeatedly… I thought to myself: this HIGH? I just hope I don’t die out there... Especially when I asked for advice and was told “don’t forget to enjoy it! You’ll never get this again!”
I was especially nervous about the biking, given my awesome balancing skills (ha! thanks, Meniere’s disease!) and my lack of practice due to weather (thank you, indoor bike machine!) I was most nervous about the bike. What other people considered the easy part is my greatest fear… Biking 20 miles and breaking my skull along the way… because i planned to finish whether I broke something or not. No matter what, the kids at St Jude deserve a finish!
My prerace meal:
So, the morning of the race I woke up and ate some very non-nutritional food because it’s what I had with me. I was very nervous so I put my tattoos on (we have to temporarily tattoo our numbers on ourselves so they can identify us during each event), put my clothes on, grabbed my to-go bag and headed to transition.
I tried to follow the directions the best I could. The timing chip was a Velcro on our left ankle, it felt REALLY weird to swim in. I’m glad I took a dip before the race started just to get a feel!
When I got to the start line we were let out to the ocean in waves. First, waves of gender, then age group, then 4 by 4. The girl next to me became my friend in 5 minutes after we had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: Hi i’m Sara! Who are you?
J: I’m jasmine! Nice to meet you!
M: Is this your first time? It’s my first time!
J: Yes! I’m nervous!
M: You come here with someone?
J: No, alone.
M: ME TOO! Everyone keeps calling me brave but i’m terrified
J: ME TOO! I just hope i don’t die out there, but people keep telling me to enjoy it… We’ll never get another first…
Anyways, Jasmine became my best friend, we even posed for picture at the start line, seconds before jumping in the water and the photographer tragically cut my face off.
Here’s me posing again:
The swim was my favorite part. I loved it. It took me double time because we were swimming against the current. I only got kicked a couple of times and I’m pretty sure I kicked someone when we were at the last 100 meters, but I wanted to get to the biking part!
So as we came out the water, we ran straight from the beach to the transition area where our bikes were set up. It took me 8 minutes to transition from the swim to the bike. This was an ENTIRELY Ridiculously long transition. I’m not quite sure what took me so long. I was a little disoriented from the transitioning from the waves to the land, but I was fine. I took a GU, put my helmet on, my shoes, and walked my bike to the road.
I won’t lie, friends. the biking was pretty rough. I was banking that Florida is FLAT, but it didn’t occur to me that bridges are not flat. Over the 20 mile bike ride, there were 8 bridges. EIGHT. Eight very tall bridges. Very curvy, hilly bridges. I saw other bikers walk their bikes up the bridges but I refused.
The kids at st jude want to ride their bikes up bridges, so I rode mine.
About 10 miles in, my butt really started hurting because that seat is horrible! At one point I tried to drink water, but my water bottle fell on the ground so I had to stop every time I wanted water- That slowed me down a little bit, but it didn’t make me lose my smile.
At one point the biking became so difficult and I had been passed by so many people that I remembered that during my training I have worked on memorizing Psalm 27. So for about 15 minutes I quoted Psalm 27 to myself by memory again and again.
My favorite lines are
“Though and army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid,
Though a war breaks out against me STILL I am confident..
I have asked one thing of the Lord, It is what I desire:
To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple”
I made it through though. It took me 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When I finally hopped off my bike my knees buckled but I caught myself and ran my bike back to transition. I grabbed some Stingers and headed off for the run. 4 miles. The run wouldn’t have been so bad but it was around 10:00, so by that point it was 85 degrees or so. Hot. Humid. Sun shining down. Trees were there on the run to block the breeze and provide NO shade. I wanted to chop them down (i’m sorry, trees). The heat made me angry and determined, I stuffed stinger after stinger in my mouth and plunged forward.
Around mile 3 I got a second wind, the kind where you forget you’re running and you just keep on. You pass people and things and see right through them. The endorphins pump, the adrenaline is going, and.. you’re almost to the finish line…. (the crowd in my mind went wild…)
Yes. The crowd went wild until i hit a half mile from the finish line and found myself running through SAND. Whoever put shifting non-packed sand at the end of a triathlon needs a brain scan. But the girl next to me, my same age (our ages were on our legs)…started to pass me.
So I got mad and gave it a final kick. I crossed. I crossed. I ran accross the finish line. I saw people waiving St Jude signs and cheering! “GO ST. JUDE HERO! GO GO! GO GO!”
And I made it. I made it…
but you know who really deserves the cheers? You guys do. Do you know why?
Because up until the morning of my race you were fantastic donators. You guys raised $2,770. YOU surpassed the required goal by $1,770. YOU did this. YOU won a much bigger race than I did, because giving to St Jude so that kids can swim and bike and run.. and hopefully one day memorize scripture to help them get through their life challenges…
Because of you, a child can live.
Because of you. a family will have groceries.
Because of you, they have housing.
Because of your giving.
Because of YOU.
Thank you. Thank you.