Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Bike Part 2

When I came out of the water, I was so exhilarated! I knew my swim went well, and I felt strong. The bike transition was further than I expected so it really took 2 mins to get to my position.
Once there, I saw that another triathlete, whose bike was next to mine, was trying to retrieve her bike. I started getting into my bike gear and wasn't paying much attention. By the time I was ready to mount my bike, I realized her bike was hooked up on MY BIKE. She was pulling and pulling to unhook her bike from mine.Her peddle was stuck in my spokes and near my gears, so I asked her to stop pulling and helped her to maneuver her bike from mine.
In doing this, I lost my sun glasses, and had to leave without them. I had already wasted several minutes in transition.
I should have known then, that I was off to a rocky start, but clueless as I was, I headed out into the blazing sun. I was no more than 2 miles when the problems started happening. I was peddling so hard and all of a sudden my pedals would not turn. I looked down, my chain had come off. I had to get off my bike and fix it. I have never in my life fixed a chain before, so I just wiggled it here and there, bikes whizzing past me, no one was going to stop,there was no station ahead, so I knew I had to fix it by myself. One lady did yell out " I'm praying for you!", that was awesome.
I finally got it fixed( I don't know what I did) and headed back on the road.I had no plan, except praying, please don't let that happen again! But, it did happen again, three more times! Two of the times I had to get off and fix the chain again. One time I got so angry I kicked it and it went back on!
I am riding this bike, on a isolated street, at times there would be many other bikers around me, at times I was left alone. I was frustrated and sometimes a little scared. I kept thinking to myself that I just wanted this long ride to be over. Every corner I just knew it had to be the turn around, and I wanted to just stop the bike and cry and pitch a big ,girly fit! I was deciding that I was never riding this bike again in another race.I was trying to decide if I should just get off and quit.I may have even said a few explicit words!I was that angry.
Well, I made it to the end, 12 miles and 57 minutes later. It was my worst bike ride ever, but I didn't care as long as it was over.
After the race Bob asked what happened out there, so I told him the whole story. I told him how I had no plan, I didn't know what I was going to do if I got stuck 7 miles out in the middle of nowhere. I had never even imagined that would happen.
He said,"well, what would you have done?",I said,"Get off my bike and start crying.", He laughed and said,"What good would that have done?" I shrugged, so I asked,"Well, what was I supposed to do?", He said,"Um,if you wanted to finish the race you would have had to push your bike and walk the rest of the way!"
I looked at him and thought not once while I was on that ride did I ever think of that. I had thought to quit, to cry, to fling the bike across the street, but never thought of walking to to the finish line!
Being on that bike, alone with no tool kit was not a good idea. Being in a race and not having a back up plan if something were to go wrong, was not smart.I trained so hard for the physical part of the race, but had done nothing to prepare myself for equipment failure.
Now I know that when you are in any race, you should always go through the what ifs, so that you are prepared,so that you do not panic, and do something completely insane or just give up all together.
I learned on this bike ride, that I must always have a plan in my life, God's tool kit, so that when things go astray(and they will), or I have to get off to fix something(and I will), that I don't just stop,and pitch a fit, and get out of my race. This is not what I was called to do. No, as a Christian I need to always be prepared for malfunctions and have a back up plan. I need to be equipped with the right tools so that I can fix the problem, God's equipment never fails.
Although at times I felt alone out there on that bike trail I really never was. and sometimes when I feel alone in my life, I know I never am. Its during those times I must rememeber his word. God will never leave me nor forsake me. He may not take me out of the situation, but just like that bike ride, he will get me through it!
I am finally convinced that if I want to continue competing in triathlons, I must invest in a better bike, a more expensive bike, something that I have been trying to avoid. But, as with life, some things will cost you way more if you don't invest from the start. And that is not a price I am willing to pay.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Swim Danskin Triathlon part 1

Getting ready for the swim at 6am in the morning was a little scary. I had been practicing my swim in the pool and at Lucky lakes,but when you are about to start a race with a few thousand other women, you feel anxiety, mixed with excitement.
The buoys were set, and although I had done a 1/2 mile swim on many occasions, the distance just seemed even further. I looked out onto the water, and once again thought, What am I doing? But, I knew I had come to far to back out. They had swim angels, canoes, boats and lifeguards out there,so I should have felt fairly safe.
Practicing the swim in a controlled environment has been good, but it does not prepare you for the variables that you will deal with in the water during a race.
These variables I knew, would decide my time, pace and where I placed in the swim. As I looked out over the water, I said a prayer. I knew God had not brought me here to the water's edge,to leave me stranded on the shore, but to take me the whole distance.
You went out in waves of about a 100 women, all wearing your color swim cap. I had to decide where I would position myself so that I could have the most advantage.
I decided I didn't want to go first, afraid I would hold any better swimmer up, but I knew I didn't want to go last,to be left behind. I decided to put myself somewhere in the middle. Luke warm, so to speak.Not really picking a "side" but comfortably safe.
As soon as I heard the blow horn and raced to secure my position, I knew I had made my first of many mistakes in this race.
Because, I chose to hold back, or go to the front, I got stuck between 100 women. I could not move straight ahead, because there were so many other swimmers. Their Legs and arms were all flailing in my face. The water was splashing so I couldn't see through my goggles.
Once I finally could get started, it was a slow pace.It was some stroke between the crawl and the paddle! I had to constantly sight my way through the other swimmers,I would have to pause and look around at where I could fit. I had to focus on what was in front of me, on the side of me, and a few times my legs were grabbed from behind me.I was kicked, scratched and pushed under. I had to stay calm and become completely aware of my surroundings, as to not veer off course, I had to push forward and try to go through the obstacles that lay before me.
I saw one woman, run right into the pontoon boat, other women going so far off course,that no one could even get there attention. Others were grabbing on to the buoys for dear life, trying to decide to let go. During my swim I learned so much about how to prepare for my next race, and what position to be in(going in the front)!
Learning is what racing is about. I completely believe that Christ called me to start triathlons. He knew this training would give me the discipline I need to follow His lead, His will for my life.
So this is also what I learned today swimming.I must take time to train, not only for triathlons, but for my walk with God. I must remember no matter how hard I train, there will always be variables in my faith that will cause me to waste time,or cause me to redirect my course, how I choose to handle these situations will determine my character. If I don't take the time to "sight" often, I will get off course in my faith. I may even hit something harder than a boat, or veer so off course, I can't find my way back.If I panic in the water, I can grab on to the swim angels or a noodle, if I panic in my faith I will grab on to the cross.
Fully committing to my faith means to place myself front and center, not somewhere in the safe middle,or the back. To be BOLD, and step out right in the front position. But the biggest thing I learned in this swim is this...
My starting position is not as important as my finishing position! I finished 459 overall in the swim,it sounds like alot but out of a few thousand women its not bad:) I pushed through the challenges, kept my eyes on the prize,remembered my training, and shaved 5 minutes off my swim time. I stayed the course, and I finished the swim strong!