It was the usual night before the race routine. Slept horrible. Super nervous. Kids woke me up a few different times. Probably on got a couple hours of sleep. Finally it’s 4:30 am. I had prepped and loaded everything the night before so once I woke up all I had to do was eat some toast and get my water bottles out of the freezer and head out. Took a couple of pepto bismol tablets to slow things down for the rest of the day. Headed out to Utah Lake State park. Found a place to park and got all my stuff out and headed over to the transition area to get set up. I wasn’t sure where to go but I’ve found whenever you arrive at a race, all you have to do is walk towards the bright light and that’s usually the right way to go. Found a good spot on the racks in the middle of the transition area. Got all my gear set up. This is triathlon #3 for me so I’m getting used to setting my stuff up. Took my time. Headed over and got my body markings and timing chip. Used the restroom. Listened to a little music and finally it was time. After a short pre race meeting we got our wetsuits on and headed towards the water. It was a super calm and peaceful morning. The water was smooth. ( a good thing for swimming in open water) as we are waiting to start we are all looking at the buoys making sure we know which way to go. The race director tells us it will be a deep water start.
The waves will start every 3 minutes. First the elites, then the 29 and under then it’s my turn. We swim over to the start area. Soon enough the horn sounds and we are off. It’s a little crowded at first but we thin out quickly. I’m so thankful that we got to use wetsuits. Last week they told us the water was 82 and not to plan on a wetsuit. Which freaked me out to say the least. Luckily the water temp cooled down so we could all wear wetsuits. About .2 miles into the swim just after we round the first buoy. I go to tread water to rest a bit and I feel the ground. Very good news. I look over and notice a few other people touching the ground to. So I continue to walk a bit and swim a bit. We round the second buoy. I’m still able to touch the ground. I try to swim as much as possible but it was very nice to know I could touch if I needed to. I still have a long ways to go with my swimming endurance. Around the next buoy and we have completed the first swim lap. The sun is peaking up now making it hard to see exactly where I’m going. The first lap took a while but I knew I could do it again. I successfully make the 2nd lap with intermittent breaks of walking and back stroke. Finally I head towards the water exit. Veered off the wrong direction a few times. The water was deep during this last stretch but I just kept moving. Took a second to go pee in the water before getting out. Made it to the boat ramp. It was super slippery and mossy so baby steps up the boat ramp and headed over to the transition area with a huge smile on my face, happy the swim is over. The swim took me 48 minutes which wasn’t too bad for me. T1 took less than 2 minutes. I took some time to put on some sunscreen. Brought a bucket this time to sit on while taking off my wetsuit and changing shoes. I thought that worked good. After a quick mount I was off on the 56 mile bike ride. There were lots of turns at the beginning. In the first 5 miles I saw like 6 people with flats. I kept praying I wouldn’t get one. I started off with a pretty good pace, keeping it to around a 3 minute mile. The entire bike course was real flat. So it was easy to keep a constant pace. Every once and a while I would hear what sounded like a car coming near me, and it turns out it is a real fast bike cruising by me with what seemed like very little effort. About 15 miles or so into the ride they had an aid station with drinks. I passed by it. I had enough on my bike to get me thru the entire ride. The ride took us way out south towards Spanish fork. Made it to mile 28 and we turned around and headed back. The out and back is nice cause you can see who is ahead of you and who is behind you. A few people in my age group passed me. Which surprised me cause I really thought I was the last person out on the swim in my age group. The 2nd half of the bike course was hard. Mostly because my rear end was getting real sore. Had to keep standing up and giving it a break. I tried munching on a clif bar. It was real hard to get it down. I took a caffeine gu when I had an hour left on the bike. The last 5 miles of the bike were kinda fun. There was one guy in my age group that we kept passing each other. He finally ended up beating me into the transition area But I knew I’d pass him on the run. I ate one more caffeine gu just before finishing. . I did see April and the kids at the end of the bike which was great to see a familiar face. The bike ended up taking me 2 hours and 55 minutes. Which I was pretty happy with.
Quickly transitioned into a runner. Applied some sunscreen. 1 minute 28 seconds later I was off on the run. Legs were pretty heavy to start out but had a pretty good pace. The first mile took so long to finish. Finally I completed the first mile in 6:35. The next mile was 6:45. I was flying by all the people that passed me on the bike. That’s always the funnest part of tri’s for me is passing people on the run.
I saw Jimmy Joe and he ran with me for a half a mile or so and gave some good motivation. Each mile seemed to get longer and longer and I started losing steam. I had my hand water bottle with me full of Gatorade. But water was the only thing that sounded good. A few more miles later I saw my brother and his wife again and they gave me some more motivation. After starting the second loop I was getting real tired. By mile 7 I had slowed to an 8 min mile pace. Around mile 9 my brother ran with me and stayed with me till the end. It helped so much having him there and keeping me moving. My body was shutting down. I know I needed another caffeine gu or I was going to bonk. I was on the verge of throwing up so all I could take in was water. All the aid stations were great. They had ice cold water, ice and Gatorade. I ended up emptying out my handheld and filling it with ice water. Which worked out great. I kept spraying my face and dumping it on me. The temperature the whole day had been great. But it was really starting to heat up on the run.
My stomach was getting worse and worse. Finally during mile 12 I had to stop and pause and throw up gatorage for a while. As people ran by me they’d shout out things like “you’ll feel better in a minute” which I did. We started moving again. I passed most of the people that passed my while throwing up. I was so tired though. All I wanted to do was fall over and cry. But I had to keep moving. The finish line was so close but felt so far away. Finally we round the bend, entering the park. As I head towards the finish line I can see my family. A sight for sore eyes. There really is nothing better than seeing loved ones and the end of a long exhausting race.
I called out for Zade to hold my hand and he runs me across the finish line.
What an amazing experience. I am so happy to have completed this race. Only last year completing a triathlon was only a dream. Now I’m living that dream. You really can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to get out there and do it. Even though at the end of the race I couldn’t have taken another step. I still have this desire to do a full Iron man. I know I’m not ready for it right now. But I will do it. Oh yes I will.