At the sound of the gun, I walked into the water, mapped out my route and took inventory of my fellow athletes. Everyone looked more confident than I was feeling inside. In what very few seconds I had to gain a real sense of what I was just about to do, I realized this was the biggest challenge I have ever set out to accomplish.
The gun sounded and away we went. In waves of fifty, we entered the water. I hung back and waited until the others had submerged themselves into the lake. Once I lost contact with the ground I began. One… two… breathe and repeat. I felt great about my breathing and my movements. My arms, my legs and my lungs felt strong. I heard someone choking on water and lost my train of thought. I began looking around for the choking swimmer. Once I saw that she was regaining control, I was able to focus on myself again. We rounded the first corner, then the second. I began to see the lake floor appearing under me, and I continued to kick small, quick kicks and long, strong arm strokes.
Once I was out of the water, I began running to our transition station. It was located rather far away which wasn’t easy on my bare feet. It took me just about 2.5 minutes to make the transition. I got to my bike quickly, put on my sock, and wrangled my wet legs into my shorts. I clipped on my helmet and away I went!
The bike ride was a five-mile trail ride – I love to ride the trails! This felt great, my spin was strong and effortless until the pop came, and my chain came off. I jumped off the bike, quickly reloaded the chain and ran my bike to a strong start again. The woods smelt of a hot summers night, I could see the birds take flight in the distance. I had many thoughts as the ground passed rapidly under my bike. I saw the first down hill appear. I knew I could push some speed, and the rush was amazing as I flew downhill towards the trees. “Steady Meggie,” I said to myself as I gunned it to the next straightaway. It was then that I saw something moving under me – I looked and saw my back brake cable flapping at my thighs. I felt a rush of concern, but told myself to just ride strong and steady and use very little front brake. I could hear the commotion at the transition station, and I could see the racers running up over the hill.
Off with my bike helmet, a quick drink off something sweet that danced in my very dry mouth, and away I went out the timing gate looking for my color arrow to follow. I felt wobbly on my legs when I first started, but soon found my rhythm and pace. I found my breath and pushed forward. I thought about the end and when it would come. I thought about my friend and where she was in the woods. I thought about cold beer and how badly I could use one! Mile one wasn’t so bad, I ran along side a few other race goers. We coached each other on and encouraged one another. ( To the girl I ran the last mile and a half with, I hope you killed it in this week’s beach tri). Those 3 miles felt like 6, but when I rounded the home stretch I could hear the people cheering my name. They supported me as if they knew me like friends!
That night I felt something I never felt before – complete elation and fervor like I have never felt before in my life! I did it. I didn’t die. I did vomit. I didn’t cry. I swam, biked and ran my heart out! And I wasn’t even the last one out of the woods! Not bad for my first time!
I had finished a sprint tri, and I’ll do it again at the end of this month! However it will be a half mile swim, a twelve-mile ride, and a three-mile run. I can’t wait to share my gun time with you this September!