Tarpon 2011, New bike and more

Life has changed over the past year.
Some for the good. Some for the bad.

Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2011, and it’s been quite the adventure to say the least. She’s been a trooper enduring chemo, a double mastectomy and a bout of radiation. She’s on the home stretch and kicking cancer’s ass all along the way.

I trained off and on throughout the summer. I probably should have been on my bike more than I’m willing to admit, but I hit the pool almost everyday, working on my stroke, my breathing and my speed. It was a good summer for swim training!

Unfortunately, I was still stuck with “the lead sled”, as my boyfriend endearingly referred to it as (my Wal-mart special Schwinn). Hey, I mean it DID take me through my first triathlon season without fail (or a flat), and has been, all in all, a “good” bike. I knew I needed something lighter, faster and more reliable, but I just wasn’t in the right financial state to pick up something worthwhile. I figured I would ride it one more time for Tarpon 2011, then officially retire it as I scrimp and save for something new (used). Unfortunately, Tarpon was canceled, and I wasn’t able to compete. Fortunately, the next event happened to change that Tarpon cloud.

I was more than surprised, floored, ecstatic, elated, on the verge of fainting when my awesome boy(man)friend (boyfriend is SO 7th grade) surprised me with a bike. He told me we had to pick something “up”. Little did I know he had a surprise in store- a Trek!

Faster. Lighter. Smoother. I just cannot dig up enough adjectives to describe the difference I feel after just one ride on this baby. With 24 speeds, I’m going to fly.

The good news? Tarpon was rescheduled for October 8th, and I shaved off 8 minutes from last year’s time and I attribute it completely to my new wheels!

Here’s the race recap:
I was partially ready for the race, but excited to have my first double digit race number (#48), ever.

How was the swim? Although the air was chilly, the water wasn’t too bad. It was early October, so it was comfortable. I had a great start (the water was DEEP!). I knew it was going to be a hard race because although I was doing it with the Tri Monsters, I had no one at my level racing by my side like last year. I was all on my own, and I had to overcome that mental barrier pretty quickly. I as rounded the first buoy, I realized how deep the water was when I felt my timing chip come off of my leg. When I reached down to grab it, I couldn’t reach the bottom and didn’t want to waste any more time or effort on an impossible search, so off I went. Although I wasn’t the last out of the water, I was definitely towards the bottom, but I had completed one of the most horrifying tasks: I finished the swim all alone.

I climbed onto the shore and jogged to T1, feeling better than I thought. I got my breathing under control, threw on my helmet, shoes, took a swig of water and jumped on my awesome new Trek. The ride out onto the causeway was NUTS! The wind was blowing and it was quite the task just to get the first 2 miles out of the way. Once I was able to turn a corner and get away from the headwinds, I was rolling. The 10 miles were effortless. Brian was waiting for me as I passed the truck, rooting me on like the amazing boyfriend he is. I felt SO good turning the corner and coming back into T2- again, not the last bike back!

I mounted my bike, removed my helmet, threw on some shorts and off I went for the last leg of the race- the 5k. I felt amazing. My pace was great, the wind was cool and the cheers from the sidelines were there- just like last year. I wasn’t the last one off the course, and I’ll never forget the feeling when I crossed the finish line and met my team and my guy right there waiting to give me the much appreciated support I need to keep going with this endeavour.

Once I did the math (clock time-wave start time) I was able to calculate an 8 minute reduction from last year’s time. I couldn’t feel more proud of myself, and more motivated to kick it up another notch next season.

Deb’s husband Gene took a video of the whole experience. Check it out and join us for the 2012 season! (that’s me in the black and purple!) 🙂

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