So when I got the call saying “Let’s do Havasu,” my first thought was "Yeah that sounds fun." Then I asked the question of when and what was the distance? This is when I was a bit more hesitant to do it -- olympic distance in a month in a half.
Having done a handful of sprints I didn’t know if I could be ready in time. I had been doing the beginning stages of olympic training for a race I was planning on doing in May. I knew I could handle the swim ok and the bike would be no problem, but the run concerned me. The longest I had ever run on purpose was five miles, but at this point what is one more mile, right? Training went well and I was right on schedule and feeling strong, still a little worried about running. Race day came and I was not as nervous as I had been for previous races. This had to be a good sign. Don’t get me wrong, I was still nervous, but I do this for fun and that is the important thing.
The swim started a little rougher then I would have liked. I was cold and had a hard time getting a good breathing rhythm which was really frustrating, but I kept plugging along. After finally finding my groove, the rest went pretty smooth.
First transition was a little annoying, coming up to your spot and not being able to find your helmet or glasses thanks to someone else tossing your stuff around, but got it together and rolled on.
We had been told that the bike course was hilly and challenging -- I think that might have been understated a tad. I have never ridden anything like it! The only thought that kept running through my mind was “dig deep” and that is what I did.
Second transition went much smoother and I was off and running, six more miles, should be a great run on the fast, flat course. To my great surprise the run started on a sandy beach which for me, on tired legs coming straight off the bike, was not what I wanted to see. Luckily it wasn’t for very long, however I’m sure it seemed much longer then it was. So far so good. Follow the spray painted arrows and take them right up the flight of steps. Wait! Hold the phone! Flight of steps! I think I must have missed that somewhere in the course description of the fast, flat run course. None the less up, I went and had the great experience of running over London Bridge. I guess it was worth going up the stairs.
Running was going steadily and I kept thinking how nice it would be to have my iPod to pass the time, however, my time was going to be longer than originally planned. I was about to the turnaround of the course when I started having trouble breathing -- just all of a sudden. Never having this before I wasn’t sure what brought it on or what to do so I just started walking to get my heart rate down. This seemed to help. Thinking I was fine, I started to run again and again couldn’t breathe. I’m this close to the finish and quitting is not an option so that just left walking with short runs in between.
As I reached the last mile my good friend Amy was waiting to run with me, what a great surprise, it gave me just enough to push a little harder to try and finish strong. Once again down the stairs and along the sandy beach, I was greeted by the great support group of friends and there was the finish line. Yes I had made it! Coming across is one of the best feelings of accomplishment you can have. I was so thankful to be done, and glad that once again I had been pushed out of my comfort zone to do something I never thought I would have.
And was really looking forward to an In & Out Burger.
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