Seriously, who's the worst blog slacker on the planet? I know you're thinking it...and it's true! ME! I suck at blogging. But that's OK. I have about 10 or 50 things to blog about, but I'm only gonna blog about one tonight. I bet you can guess what it is!
One of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only for the fact that I DID it. But because I got to do it with 4 of the most amazing women EVER!!
4 months ago, my sister Dixie sent a little question out to the blogging world about who would possibly be interested in joining a training group because she had the itch to train. We'd be training for a triathlon in May. I (being the blog slacker you know and love) am afraid to think of what would've happened if I hadn't checked blogs that week. I could've been left out of this group! I don't check blogs as often as I'd like, but I just happened to do so that week. I immediately commented that I would definitely need to be one of her "groupies." Luckily, the blog gods were with me, and I was included.
The group consisted of my 3 sisters (Dana, Allyson, Dixie), myself, and my cousin Wendy. (Actually, we had 5 people to start, but Amy Howe was oober busy and had to drop out). Dixie called a meeting, set us up on workout regimens, and gave us weekly challenges. We had several meetings throughout that helped to keep us motivated, and even had our own Biggest Loser challenge (that Dana kicked butt on and won hands down). My body hates me as you may or may not recall, and has continued to horde those extra pounds even as I have tried my darndest to wrench them free. Whatever.
When I started this journey I was completely NOT a runner. I remember my first 2 minutes of running...my butt and legs were like jello jigglers, and my lungs were on fire. I had to stop and walk after TWO MINUTES. A few months later I was able to complete the Ragnar Relay and ran 12.4 miles! I joined a running group, and even joined a gym called Competitive Fitness to help me on this journey of weight loss and overall better health. I started waking up at 4:30 am to get to the gym by 5. If I missed, I'd go after work. Dana and I would go to Lifetime Fitness together to swim and bike. Dixie started us on Saturday morning bike rides and runs. It was like this whole other world opened up for me, and suddenly I saw what I had been missing for so long. I had been letting life pass me by! I had been the one in bed on the weekends wondering why the heck anyone would be up before the sun. Now I was the crazy! Only, guess what?? I didn't feel crazy. I felt GOOD. I felt HAPPY. I felt HEALTHY. And I felt READY TO LIVE!!!
Wanna know the craziest part of this, though? (And really the best part). This overall amazing feeling began to spill over to the rest of my life. I suddenly didn't want to regret all that wasted time with my kids. I didn't want to look back and only remember sitting on the couch watching TV or going out to movies. I wanted to remember connecting with my kids and creating the kind of family I knew I was supposed to. So, Troy and I started talking. We set some goals. We came up with a family mission statement. We made a goal to TURN OFF THE TV and LEAVE IT OFF any time we were with our kids. When they're awake, we're "WITH" them. Not just in the same room, but actually connecting with them. Playing games. Playing catch. Going for walks or bike rides. Going on hikes. Talking. Laughing. Cooking. Doing projects. Whatever. The point is, if any of you know Troy at all, you'll know that this right here is MIRACLE #2 in our family. (#1 was that we had Brooklyn and she changed our lives forever and we actually liked each other again!!). Troy is addicted to TV. He never wants his comfort to be compromised, or his downtime to be bothered. He doesn't really care about much...food, TV, and sleep. He's changing, though. So it didn't just affect me, it affected him, and us.
Even better...we've almost read the entire Book of Mormon this year as a family--before school! We hardly ever missed all year. We started Family Home Evenings again. We've just been enjoying each other more, and it feels good. So this exercise thing? It's not just physical. It's spiritual as well. I never want to go back.
Anyway, I'm getting long winded. Sorry. (It's cuz I haven't posted in ages). So...Saturday, May 9 rolls around. I know I'm ready. 2 weeks before we actually went to Tempe Beach Park and rode the trail for the bike, and ran the trail for the run. I did it NO PROBLEM. I ran the entire time and could've kept going--I felt that good! Tuesday of this week I went running with my marathon friend and we ran 5 miles (in the heat) and I was fine!! Could've kept going. So I know I'm ready.
Here are a couple of things that could have foreshadowed some problems ahead...#1 I took my bike in on Friday for a tune up and to be sure it was "tri-ready". They took my water bottle off and didn't put it back on, but of course I didn't notice that until that night at 10. I had NO water bottle. Dixie assured me it was a short enough race that I'd be fine without it. #2 It was like the blazes of hell at 7 in the morning. Already. hmmmmmm....
8:15 BAM! My wave is off! I'm swimming in the nastiest lake water ever. It's totally green or yellow (whichever it was I just know I could see ZERO when my face was in the water). However, I didn't let that stop me. I kicked butt on the swim! I was one of the first to finish in my wave, and even passed up lots of orange caps (the wave before). I got out and found my legs a bit wobbly beneath me, but I was still ready to go! I was super thirsty already and thought it was not a good sign, but what could I do? No water bottle. I took a quick drink. 18 minutes after I started, I was off on the bike!
The bike was seriously a bit harder than I expected, and I'll tell you why. It was full of some serious hills...and I was PARCHED! Picture the driest your mouth has ever felt. Then picture watching other people with water bottles and camelbacks while you just try and swallow the dry straw in your own throat! It was agonizing! My bike helmet clip felt too tight because I couldn't swallow. It was not good. However, I persevered. I finished in 55 minutes (which really is about what I'd been doing in my practices...maybe a couple minutes slower).
As soon as I racked my bike I took my time in the transition because I HAD to get some fluids in me. It was 300 degrees and I needed water. I even drank some nasty Gatorade, which I HATE! I rinsed and spit and drank some good long drinks. Off I went to my run. As I exited the transition area my whole family (Mom, Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, husband, children, bro-in-laws, nieces, nephews) were there cheering me on and I am serious - I ran past them bawling. I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and so completely elated by their support. It was AMAZING! Can't describe it.
As I start running I keep thinking: Your goal is to run without stopping. No matter what, don't stop. Keep going. Fight it. Fight it. Fight it. Crap...I'm gonna die. Gotta stop. NO! Don't stop. You are going to hate yourself if you stop. Fight it! You CAN DO THIS! You just ran 5 miles. Oh my gosh, I'm gonna die. Cramps. Breathing hard. Is it seriously 110 degrees? Just a little bit further....dang it. I stopped.
I'm still so disappointed in myself on the run. I stopped, and I had the hardest time starting again. I ran probably half a mile, then walked half a mile. Then ran half a mile, then walked half a mile. I ran the full final mile, but seriously I was dead. Dehydrated, SUNBURNT like you cannot believe, and just exhausted. However...
I got to the final stretch and my boys were waiting there with big grins (and I swear I am emotionally broken, because I keep crying over this whole event...even as I'm typing this), and they cheered me on and started running in with me. I could see them with water bottles for me and a bouquet of flowers, and proud smiles on their faces. I ran in. I crossed the finish line. I. Did. It.
It took me 1 hour and 55 minutes (10 minutes longer than my goal). But I did it. No one can take that away from me. And no one will ever be able to take away from me the feeling I had of seeing my whole amazing family there, braving the heat, cheering me on, and making me feel like a rock star. I didn't come in first. I think I was actually 252nd! But it didn't matter because I was a winner to them.
The worst part was for my sister Allyson. Her stupid tire blew on the first lap of her bike ride. I rode right past her and it was terrible. It took 40 minutes for someone to finally come and help her. She just stood there crying, waiting for help. She finally got done with the first lap when BOOM! The other tire blew. Two stupid flats! Luckily Dana finished her bike ride right then and switched out with her, so Allyson could finish. But when Allyson came through the transition from the bike to the run she was bawling and it just about killed me. So I went on the final 3.1 mile "run" with her (after I'd finished), and it was worth it. She's AMAZING! She finished even with 2 flat tires and a blister the size of Texas on her foot.
My sisters (and my cousin) are all amazing women. They all overcame so much to get where they were on Saturday. I'm actually kind of sad it's over, because this was such a bonding experience. All I can say is...it's only a beginning. I've started a journey that I don't see an end for. I've lost 15 pounds, gained lots of muscle and stamina, and gotten closer to some truly remarkable women. My next one? June 6. Wanna join me??
She swims. She bikes. She runs. SheROX!