Results and Reflections-Buckhead Border Part 3

This is a three part series about my first triathlon relay adventure.  You can find my first and second installments here:  Pre Race Drama: Tattoos, E Coli and Missing Bike Racks, Oh My!and  The Race.

THE RESULTS

Family

After I watched my friend, Laurel, sprint off to run her first 10K race I was left with a wave of fatigue and relief.  I was happy that I had completed the race without dying (always the primary goal in these types of things), but I was also so tired.  I felt like at any second my legs would fall out underneath me.  Balancing both my bike, helmet and transition bag, I wheeled through the crowd looking for my husband (John Mark), daughter and parents.  I was surprised and relieved to run across a friend from church who's dad and brother were competing that day.  It was so nice to see a familiar face.  She congratulated me on my finish (Later texting me that she was "so, so, so proud of me", which almost made me cry) and told me she would keep a look out for John Mark.  My husband is 6'5", so it didn't take that much longer for me to find him in the crowd.  I gave him a hug and he handed me my sweet girl.  I know she had no idea what her mama had accomplished, but she kept on saying "bike ride, bike ride", so I think she knew it was something pretty important.  My mom and dad showed up and both congratulated me.  There were several points throughout the morning when my dad looked like he was on the verge of tears, this was one of those moments.  Every kid wants their parent to be proud of them, but as far as I was concerned that my dad was there to see me finish the race was the icing on the cake.

Alexandria is not sure what to make of mama's hat (dad in the background)
Family photo.
Alexandria loves the tat.
After I peeled my nasty socks and shoes off Alexandria thought that she should take hers off too and line them up.
The Laurel Factor

After I chugged some water, scarfed down some food, drank more water and ate more food, I went closer to the finish line to watch Laurel cross it.  I had a lot of time on my hands to think while I was waiting there and I couldn't help but think how thankful I was for her.  Laurel and I met the summer after Alexandria was born (she was 2 or 3 months old) at a barbeque that a woman at our church had so that people could get to know other people (our church wasn't even a year old at that time).  Laurel and I sat down at the same table and instantly hit it off.  She was an art therapist and I too loved art.  She was extremely fashionable and wore wild and crazy color combos as did I.  And I didn't have to explain my jokes or references to her because it seems we watched all of the same shows.  From that day on, she became a huge part of my life and one of my biggest cheerleaders.  She is the kind of girl that would ask me how I was feeling and really mean it.  And the kind of girl I could cry in front of and not worry that she would judge me.  She even surprised me on my birthday this year and told me I could do whatever I wanted for a few hours while she watched Alexandria for me.  (We ended up going to the mall together.  How could I not spend my birthday hanging out with them?)  So naturally, when I asked her to be "my legs" in the race for me, she said yes.  She knew what a big deal it was for me to do this race because of my medical condition and she celebrated each milestone in my training with me.  And she trained to run a 10 K for me...now that's a true friend.

I had been so caught up in how tired and sore I was that I forgot to make a mental note of what she was wearing when I gave her the timing chip.  So, every time I saw a stylishly dressed runner I thought it was her.  Eventually I saw an ant sized Laurel coming closer to the finish and said, "There she is!!".  

Laurel finishing her first 10 k!!

It was funny because the entire time I was a little bummed that I couldn't go through the finish line with her.  They had been announcing everyone's names as they crossed and I wanted to be a part of it too.  Much to my surprise when she crossed we heard, "Laurel Stewart and Dorothy Inman" come over the intercom.  I wish I could have taken that moment and put it in a bottle to relive over and over again.

Race Results

We made our way over to the results table and printed it out.  "Oh my gosh!" I said.  I'm pretty sure I got bugged eyed for a second.  No, we weren't in first place or anything like that, but I was amazed at what I saw.  I was pretty sure my swim had taken at least an hour and that my biking was two hours, however the numbers didn't lie.

Our race stats.
According to the printout I did a heck of a lot better than I thought I would.  Before the race I estimated that it would take me somewhere between 33-37 minutes to complete the swim and I  swam .93 miles in 27 minutes and 46 seconds.  I was ecstatic.  I had been a swimmer in high school, so this was my sport and I had apparently stepped up to the challenge.  Comparing my stats to the individual times on the results website I didn't do so bad.  Out of 44 women my swim time was the 5th best.  Out of 174 men only 26 of them were faster than I was.  It wasn't the best score, but I had definitely surprised myself.

My biking only took an hour and 32 minutes, which was a lot faster than I thought I would do, so I patted myself on the back for a personal best. 

Laurel was AWESOME as well.  I couldn't even begin to imagine running 1 mile, much less a 10K.  My whole body hurt just watching her cross the finish line!

After the race.  (Photobombed by the monkey)

Grrrrr!!
Laurel and I with Alexandria as our mascot. 
We clean up pretty well (a picture from the night before)
REFLECTIONS

A week and a half has passed since I did my first triathlon relay.  The day after I relived the event over and over and over again, but as the week passed it became more distant.  I almost felt like I hadn't competed at all, however my body was telling me the opposite.  It had definitely swam in the Ohio and biked up the Indiana countryside.  There are a few things that I learned about myself as a result. 

1.  There are highs and then there are lows.  In training and during the race I experienced a high.  I had worked so hard to compete and I was actually accomplishing a huge goal.  As I was flying down the hills on my bike I felt like I was soaring.  I cried tears of joy.  After the race, I donned my Buckhead Border Challenge shirt proudly, along with my tattoos and wrist band.  I felt so good.  However in the days after the event I began to feel a low.  I wasn't training like I had been and I felt like I should be doing more.  I felt despondent and empty.  I had a few other things going on at the time, but I scolded myself thinking that I shouldn't feel this way.  It wasn't until I googled "Post Triathlon blues" that I realized that I was not alone.  Reading this article really helped me process what I was feeling.  I had competed in a major event and my body was just recovering from the stress of it and yes that recovery included my mind.  I wasn't really active that week because I felt like I deserved some time off (which I probably did), but as soon as I started exercising again I found myself in better spirits.  Only this time I was just doing it for fun, so it was much more fulfilling.

2.  You did the best you could and that was pretty awesome.  Prior to my race I had hoped that perhaps I might place and win a medal or something like that.  Post race I wished that I would have trained in open water (which I will definitely do next time) or practiced sprinting on my bike more.  I felt like maybe I didn't spend enough time prepping.  That somehow I had been lazy in not reading all of the training materials I could get my hands on.  It was at that moment I had to stop myself.  I am a stay at home mom with a chronic medical condition and a 2 year old energetic little girl.  I did the best I could.  I took 14 mile bike rides with a toddler riding behind me.  I squeezed in 40 minute swimming sessions between when my husband got home from work and when I had to get dinner on the table.  I took advantage of the weekends to train when my husband was home, but I had to spend time with my family as well.  I also had to take it easy on the days when I was having flare ups and make sure I got enough sleep to prevent them from coming.  When I put everything into perspective I realized that I hadn't just done a good job, I had done an awesome job.  And I wouldn't let anyone else (or myself) tell me anything less.

3.  Inspiration.   There isn't anything in life this big that I would take on without thinking how it will benefit or encourage other people.  It's not because I'm a great Mother Theresa or anything like that, it is because I have been encouraged so much by other people who have shared their stories with me and helped me during my struggles (so many of you).  So, when I signed up for this event I was determined to do just that by telling my tale on this blog.  And I am of the philosophy of if I have encouraged just one person, I will have reached my goal.  As a result, I have had people tell me how inspired they were that I did this race that they are going to sign up for a triathlon in the future.  I've had friends tell me they want to get into biking and even a friend that suffers from IC tell me that she bought a bike because of me.  Probably the most precious thing that I received as a result of my race is a card from a dear friend who told me how much my doing the race meant to her.  She even baked me cookies and left them on my doorstep the day of the race.  Had I never told my story, people wouldn't have known what a sacrifice prepping for the race had been.  I never imagined I would inspire so many people.  I wouldn't have taken the plunge had I not been inspired by Dick and Rick Hoyt and their story to compete when the odds were against them.  I'm pretty sure that those of you who are reading my blog have a story to tell.  Some of you are already telling it through your own blogs and I would tell you to keep it up.  I am amazed by what you have already accomplished.  Some of you have not found a platform to tell you story, but I would encourage you to find a way to tell it.  You never know who you might encourage by sharing it.  Who knows, you might change someone's life as a result.
___________________________________________________________________________________

THANK YOU to my amazing husband, John Mark, who allowed me by watching our baby girl so I could spend countless hours training.  When I felt like I couldn't do it, you encouraged me that I could and held my hand every step of the way.  You even got me that spiffy bike (and you were so right, I definitely needed a road bike).  Thank you to my sweet girl, Alexandria, for letting Mama drag you around over the river and through the woods to train for this event.  Your squeals of delight as we went down the big hills and singing in your bike trailer kept me entertained and smiling despite the burning in my legs.  Thank you to my dad, who was my informal coach, who convinced me I needed to buy triathlon clothes so that I didn't have to change after the swim (Dad, you were totally right about that one).  You also took my weekly calls of me babbling about my training and always knew the right words to say to encourage me that I was taking the right track.  Thanks to my mom who listened to me when I was so tired and worn out and dealing with a 2 year old amidst my training.  And who came along and helped watch Alexandria for us so that John Mark and Dad could be there for the entirety of my race.  Thanks to Laurel for being my legs.  You are a rock star.  And thank you to my friend, Laura, who inspired me to sign up for this crazy thing.  I don't think I would have ever thought to do something like this if it weren't for your encouragement.  And thanks to everyone who read my blogs during the past two months.  You don't know it, but each "like" on Facebook or comment encouraged me to "just keep swimming" (to quote a favorite children's movie) even when it seemed impossible. 

Comments

  1. You should be very proud of yourself! You did something I really wouldn't want to do! That's so awesome! Congratulations on finishing!

    Erica

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Erica for your encouragement. Never in 100 years would I have thought I would have wanted to do something like this. You just never know what will happen in a few years!

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    2. SO so proud of you for finding the time and energy and initiative to inspire yourself and others- I hope we can compete, train, and team up for many races to come! Way to go Dorothy!!!

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    3. Thanks Laura. I hope so too! Who knows we may have a whole fleet of women joining us next time!

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