Month: June 2013

Alice and the Cat

“Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where…” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

              From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carrol

 Cheshire Cat

This week, I’ve been feeling a bit like Alice. I feel like I’m trying very hard to get somewhere….but I’ve totally lost sight of where that somewhere is.

Does that make any sense at all?

Training wise, I’m having a really brutal week. I did a big 16km training run last Friday morning (which I was beyond proud of by the way) and then had a huge weekend where I did 4 classes in 2 days immediately after the run and haven’t had a day off since then. Suffice to say I’m paying the price for it big time. My knees are absolutely on fire, I’m getting sharp pains in both ankles, and even my upper body is absolutely aching (a product of ambitiously increasing my chest weight in Monday’s BodyPump class).

Training aside though, lately I’ve been struggling quite a bit with my overall career direction, and what it is that I really want to accomplish with my life.

(I know, I know, quarter life crisis right? So predictable…I can’t help myself :P)

I have always been a person that is happiest when I have a tangible project to tackle, something to roll up my sleeves and get to work on. I’m missing that right now.Between you, me and the wall, I think I know what it is that I want to do and what direction that I want to go. I think I’ve known for a while. I have lots of thinking to do over the coming months.

For now, it’s just about time for a brand new month and boy do I feel like I need a fresh start. There were lots of good things about June (like the Milton Triathlon, some track workouts, a long run, buying a wetsuit, getting to lots of spin classes), but lots of things need to happen in the month of July to put me in a good position for the Kingston Triathlon in August.

I’ve set out some specific training goals for this month, and also some “life” goals as well. Because you know, balance is good, or so they say 😉

Training Goals for July

  1. Get Organized (for crying out loud)

I’ve set up a calendar to keep me on track with training this month. My goal is to follow it like it’s the Bible. Check it out below. I know there isn’t a lot of rest scheduled on there, but I’ve done my best to avoid doubling up on “high impact” days. I’ve learned from this past week of total burnout that no real athletic gains are made when your body is totally exhausted. I promise I’ll at least try to respect that. But seriously, why didn’t I think of the calendar thing earlier…….????????

Untitled

2. Swim at least once a week, and increase my distance to 2km.

3. Complete the Toronto Olympic Distance Triathlon with a smile on my face.

4. Complete a 20km training run (no smile required, that one’s gonna suck)

Life Goals

  1. Put pen to paper and crunch some numbers on some career alternatives. Get really crunchy on what is and is not possible financially, and figure out what it would take to change the path that I’m currently on.

2. Do a coconut oil treatment on my hair twice a week.

(Don’t ask, my hair got in a terrible quarrel with my straightening iron. You don’t have to ask who the victor was).

3. Make the time to get up to Sault Ste. Marie for my Grandpa’s 85th birthday party

4. Read “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

I bought it at Costco 2 weeks ago and have been carrying it around with me everywhere, yearning for 10 minutes to sit uninterrupted and read the dang thing! I vow right now to make it happen this month. Maybe I shoudl schedule some time on my trusty calendar???

5. Do some (more) serious work on my blog appearance and layout! I’m starting to get the “blog improvement” fever….;)

Anyways. I think we all have a lot to learn from our friend the Cheshire Cat. If you don’t much care where you’re going, then it doesn’t much matter which way you go. So before you head off to enjoy your long weekend, tell me….

  1. Have you ever lost your direction like Alice? How did you get back on course? Which direction are you headed in right now, and what fabulous things are you working towards?
  2. What do you think of the new layout for Going the Distance?! I really value your feedback, please let me know what you think!

HAPPY CANADA DAY ALL!!!

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Tuesday Catch Up and 7 Habits Series Kick-Off!

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are having a great week. Although it was like squeezing blood out of a rock, I did drag myself out of bed this morning and got to spin class for 6am (my first one since the Milton Tri). I was telling Matt’s mom this weekend while she was here that I seem to have formed this really bad habit of taking two weeks to push off training after I do a race. I did it after Around the Bay (except for an entire month!) and now again after Milton. I really think it’s more mental than physical because my body felt terrific after Milton, it was more my brain that went into vacation mode.

PIña colada anyone?

 Pina Colada

There have been lots of little adventures over the past couple of weeks that I’ll bring you up to speed on quickly before I launch into the kick-off of a series that I am just so excited about.

#1 – I bought a wet suit. A “real deal”, professional wet suit. And it has sleeves.

I know right, are you wondering who am I and what I did with Sara? You may remember from my last experience wet suit shopping that I was totally freaked out by how tight the suits fit around the neck and the restrictive shoulders on the wet suits with sleeves. I left the store very frustrated and ended up swimming the Milton Tri in a water skiing wet suit from Costco that weighed about 1,000,000 pounds.

That Costco wet suit ended up totally saving the day though because it taught me that what everyone says IS true (sorry to everyone who I totally ignored), and wet suits DO feel 100% different when you are horizontal and in the water then they do when you are dry and vertical. I went back to the store much more confident, knew what size I needed to get, and just like that I walked out with a full sleeve wet suit that I love and can’t wait to swim in.

Can I just tell you how close I was to getting a black and pink wet suit? They didn’t have my size in the model that was in budget; they only had my size in the model that was $200 over budget. Oh and when I was trying on said expensive, black and pink wet suit, I accidentally put a small rip in the neoprene shell when I was trying to pull it up. Thank God the sales man understood, but I definitely had to walk out of there buying a wet suit that day!!

My suit is the one in the middle with the orange!
My suit is the one in the middle with the orange!

#2 – I’ve started running on the track.

I’ve been kind of curious about these “track workouts” that Matt talks about in his running, and fed up with feeling like a slow hippopotamus and getting passed by everyone and their grandmother on the bike and run, I thought that it would be a nice change to try out these track workouts.

I’ve only done two, but suffice to say that they are NOT for the faint of heart. You basically sprint “balls to the wall” for one lap of the track, then jog the next half lap easy (or in my case, double over, breathing like you’re in labour and then eventually carry on) before repeating again. And again. And again.

It sucks. But in a kind of awesome way.

Track

Okay, now that the chatter is out of the way, let’s get down to business! I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take three days away from work and attend a “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” classroom course, delivered by the Franklin Covey facilitators themselves.

To say the course was phenomenal wouldn’t do it justice. It was seriously three of the most amazing and revealing days I’ve ever spent. If you ever, EVER have the chance to attend the in-class training for 7 Habits, don’t hesitate, don’t ask questions, cancel whatever plans you have those days and DO IT. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

I’m not going to rush through any of this because it’s all so important, but over the next several months, my plan is to do a post for each of the habits (maybe piggy backing onto some training talk similar to the structure of today’s post). I hope that you enjoy the journey, and that I can do it some justice in my delivery.

Before I begin – a small disclaimer that the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is (obviously) a licensed trademark of the Franklin Covey Institute. Obviously I’m not the one that came up with all of this amazing work, Dr. Stephen Covey did, and he gets 150% of the credit. Cool? 🙂

On the first day of training, we spent about three quarters of the day talking about the “foundation” for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was so eager to launch right into Habit #1 that I didn’t really see the need for all this foundation talk at first, but without it, the rest of the work that we did wouldn’t have held near the same value.

Think for a moment about the Giant Redwood trees in California. Nearly 400 feet tall, it takes approximately 15 people holding hands to circle the base of the tree trunk. The redwoods have stood for hundreds of years. They have withstood fire, drought, storm and siege from their human counterparts, and still they stand while other trees around them crumble.

Giant Redwoods

Why? What is it about the giant redwoods that helps them stand so majestically?

What we don’t see when we look at the redwoods are the deep, penetrating, thick roots that lay under the ground. The redwoods roots run deep into the ground, strong and secure. They entwine with the roots of other redwoods in the forest so that not only do they stand tall and strong for hundreds of years, but they help their neighbours stand tall and strong for hundreds of years as well.

When we look at the redwood, we are awe struck by the absolute splendor of the tree itself. The incredible height and diameter, the colour of the bark, the leafy green tree tops way up in the sky. The foundation on which the entire tree stands is invisible to us from the outside, but without it, the tree would have crumbled long ago, and wouldn’t have reached the magnificent height and beauty that it stands at now.

Sorry – did I lose you??? 😉 I get pretty caught up in talking about the redwoods. After this course, I’ve added a “bucket list” item to go to California and walk through the redwood forest.

 Redwood Forest

The link back to the 7 Habits is simply that people, like trees; need to have strong roots in order to stand to their full potential and weather any storm that may come their way. Franklin Covey calls these “roots” a person’s character.

Although the roots are the foundation that everything is built off of, the observation is that so many people spend so much of their time doing work on the top of the tree (the green leafy part that everyone marvels at and takes pictures of), that we neglect our roots. Franklin Covey calls the “top of the tree” a person’s personality.

A person with a strong personality can stand tall and beautiful for a while. Maybe even a long, long while. But in times of real turmoil, confusion, upset and stress, the person that has only worked on their personality while neglecting their character falters.  

Can you think of anyone in your life, or maybe a celebrity figure, that has spent so much time working on the top of their tree, that their roots have rotted and decayed away to nothing? Anyone that was so focused on “looking good” on the outside, that they lost their character and morality?

How about Lance Armstrong? Tiger Woods?

(Someone in our course suggested “every politician that ever walked the earth”, but I won’t go there ;))

Anyways – I’ll leave you with this thought for today. The first three habits are meant to nurture and strengthen the roots of a person’s character. The idea is that before we can begin to work on our “effectiveness” and improving our personality and our actions, we need to turn the lens inside and make sure that we are building our tree top on a strong and sturdy set of roots.

For more information about any of the 7 Habits, please check out the Franklin Covey website here: https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php, and before you go I would love to hear your thoughts on any of this!

Who’s in for a trip to California to walk with the giants?!

Milton Triathlon Race Recap – Part 2

It’s FRIIIIDAYYYY!!! HURRAY!!!!

I won’t even get into what kind of a week it’s been (trust me – you don’t wanna know), but suffice to say that I wouldn’t have delayed the second part of this race recap if not absolutely necessary!! Let’s pick up right where we left off shall we – at the end of the swim course….

As irony would have it, pretty much as soon as we started our swim, the sun had come out and whenever I turned my head to breathe I could feel the sunshine on my face. It was really beautiful, and I breathed a sigh (bubbles???) of relief that we wouldn’t have to do the bike portion of the race in the rain.

Ha. Ha.

I came out of the water, heard my mom and Matt screaming like lunatics for me, and feeling a bit disoriented. I somehow made my way over to my bike and started peeling off the wet suit and drying off to get ready for the bike. My head was still really foggy and I could hardly focus on what I was doing at all. I think I may have been a bit dehydrated at that point, so taking a huge gulp of water from my water bottle helped a bit.

I had racked my bike right near the fence where the spectators were, and so Matt, Jess and my mom were all literally about an arms distance away from me in the transition. I took this as an excellent opportunity to turn and chat with them about how I got lost on the swim. Guess I missed the point about efficient transitions! I later learned that my mom was commenting to Matt under her breath that she thought I was too slow moving through the transition zones and that I had better pick up the pace. Thanks mom 😉

I was really relieved to finally get my shoes on and get the heck out of the transition zone. I felt like I was one of the last people out of the water, and I really wanted to get moving. Thankfully I didn’t break any rules on my way out of the transition (i.e. you have to have your helmet on and done up before you even unrack your bike?! Who knew!?) and I was thrilled to get on my bike and take off out of Kelso and onto the road. I remember those first couple of pedals as I got going felt fantastic, the air whipping by was glorious and it felt good to actually get moving at a decent clip! Swimming feels so slow!

 

Neil on the Bike!
Neil on the Bike!

Sara Bike 

I knew pretty much exactly what lay ahead because we had driven the bike course the day before, and I knew that the first 15km was much harder than the second 15km. I was really surprised early on in the bike how tired my legs felt, I had totally underestimated the work that swimming is for your legs.

We cruised through the first 3 or 4 kilometres, and in my head all I could think about was that big mother of a hill that was coming up. I think this hill borders on something between a hill and a mountain (a “hountain” perhaps??? Or maybe a “mill”?). Whatever you call it, it was freakin’ huge, and I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to totally destroy me.

We came up on the hill pretty quickly, it was before the 5km mark when we turned the corner and started our ascent. I noted before making the right turn to start up the hill that they had paramedics and an ambulance standing at the ready at the bottom of the hill just in case anyone a) died trying to go up the hill or more likely b) wiped out coming back DOWN the hill. I pushed off the thoughts of coming back down the hill for future Sara to worry about, and instead tackled the immediate issue of getting myself and Jilly up the “hountain”.

Not more than 100 metres into the climb, a very fit looking woman next to me started to swear at her bike. Her bike was making this awful grinding noise, and she was grunting at it “Shift, damn you, shift!!!” It seemed like maybe her gears were stuck, and she wasn’t able to down shift (a total death sentence for the hill we were about to climb up by the way – even with my striking resemblance to Jan Ullrich, I had to down shift all the way and I still got my ass handed to me). She confirmed what I suspected when she turned to me and said “My gears are stuck, it won’t down shift!!”

Not quite sure what to do (and starting to seriously suck wind myself by that point), I made a sympathetic face and said, “I’m so sorry!!” I left her behind me as I continued to chug up the hill, and I heard her yell out “THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING!!!!” behind me. It was then that I fully acknowledged that out on the bike, there are really and truly some factors that are out of your control as an athlete. Your success could very well be dictated not just by how hard you work, or how hard you’ve trained, but by something else like a simple chain link that won’t shift the way it’s supposed to.

I continued on up the hill, and started to seriously, seriously die. An older man came up behind me and seemed pretty pumped up; he started bellowing “HERE WE GO PEOPLE, HERE WE GO”. My breathing got totally ragged and pretty out of control, and my average speed was dropping like a stone. I got maybe ¾ of the way up the hill, before my speed dropped down to 3km/hour and Jilly came to a stop on me. Poor Jilly. I had to walk her the rest of the way up the hill and then took a deep breath and got back on. Relieved that the “hountain” was behind me, Jilly and I continued on.

About 10 minutes after the hill, I felt the splatter of a rain drop hit my helmet. I was so totally freaked out about the rain and my tires sliding out on me that right away I started totally (internally) freaking out. I didn’t have long to really worry about it “starting to rain”, because about 30 seconds later, the heavens absolutely opened up into the heaviest, thickest torrential downpour I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Did you know that when you’re biking 26km/hour, raindrops actually HURT when they hit you!?!? It felt like we were biking through a hail storm!! I remember turning to a woman beside me and just saying “OH MY GOD!”, but for some reason I seemed to be the only person that was totally freaking out about the situation, everyone else just kind of kept on trucking.

We biked in the torrential downpour for a while before it let up at all. I’ll admit that towards the end of the rain, I started to get totally fried out mentally. I was cold, the raindrops didn’t really hurt anymore but had become more of a nuisance, I was sluggish and pretty tired and I felt like I was getting passed by everybody including a woman who I noticed had the age “74” written on the back of her leg. A 74 freaking year old woman passed me. What the hell.

I must have heard the words “ON YOUR LEFT” (cycling etiquette when passing another rider) about 187,383 times, and every time I hear the words, they may as well have been someone shouting out “YOU’RE A FAT LOSER!” over and over and over again. My mind once again started to wander off to the place of, “What the hell are you thinking? You have no business being in this sport, and you’re delusional if you think you’re ever going to complete a Half Ironman in your entire life, let alone this September”. I also had in the back of my mind that I still had to get myself back DOWN that massive hill, and now the roads were slick with 2 inches of water. To say I was afraid just wouldn’t be enough. That hill hung over my head like a shadow of terror for the entire bike.

Somehow, someway, I got myself back to the hill, and as I rounded the corner and started the descent, I kind of chanted over and over to myself (inside my head – don’t worry) the word “fearless”. After all, that is what this whole year is about isn’t it? Being scared as hell but doing it anyways? Taking a risk? Going after what you want?

I was on both my front and my back brakes the entire way down the hill, and I still hit a top speed of 41km/hour if that gives you any indication of how steep the hill was. My stomach got that feeling that you get on a roller coaster on the way down, it was intense. As I made it to the bottom, I took a look at the paramedics and the ambulance, said a mental thank you to some higher power that I wouldn’t be needing their help today, and carried on to finish the bike strong.

I was kind of embarrassed to see Matt, my mom and Jess at the transition. Although I was happy that I had made it through, I still felt like a supreme loser, and was pretty sure that I was one of maybe 10 athletes that still had to finish the bike. As quickly as I could, I put Jilly back on the rack (and accidentally scratched her in my haste to get her back on the rack :’(), took a huge gulp of water and set off in my soaking wet running shoes to run the slowest 7.5km of my entire life.

Sara Transition 2

 Sara Run Start 2

Sara Run Start

My legs although not totally exhausted, felt strangely like they weren’t even connected to my body. I’ve heard triathletes talk a lot about the transition from the bike to the run, but didn’t really fully appreciate what they were talking about until I did it for myself. It took about 2.5km for my legs to relax a bit and for me to find my groove. Once I found it, I felt at home again, and it was just another race, just another run.

I knew I was at the back, but I got a bit of that “Sidders” determination in me on the run that I wasn’t going to get passed by any more people. No more “on your left”. I think I maybe got passed by one or two people (and one was a woman on a relay team that had just started her day with the run – I totally resented that lady) but I held my ground pretty solid. I saw Neil on his way back on the run, and he looked fantastic! I was happy with the second half of my run, not so much the first. I once again was reminded how much work I have to do before September. It’s kind of overwhelming actually.

I finished the Milton Triathlon in an all-out sprint and with a smile on my face, just as I had hoped to. I may have gotten lost on the swim and looked like a total idiot; maybe I wasn’t wearing the right cycling clothes or shoes and got passed by pretty much everyone on the bike, and maybe I ran the slowest 7.5km of my life, but I sure as hell didn’t give up.

Sara Run Finish 3

Sara Run Finish 2

Sara Finish

I was at first a bit disappointed that they didn’t give out any medals at the race, but disappointment quickly turned into sheer ecstasy when I realized what they WERE giving out at the finish of the race: cold cut subs donated by Subway.

My heart swells just thinking about that sub. I think it goes up on the list of the top 5 best things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Dang it was good.  

As I write this post, I am realizing that Neil and I never took ANY pictures together at the finish of the race?!? How could we have missed the pictures?!? Neil had a terrific race, a great day for him! We all got back in our cars (but not before my poor, poor mom sprained her ankle stepping in a pot hole on her way back to the car?! I still feel awful about that – she is still nursing that ankle 2 weeks later!! :(), headed back to our house and ordered pizza and chicken bites to celebrate.

 

Way to go Neil!!
Way to go Neil!!
He is totally going to catch that guy....
He is totally going to catch that guy….

 

One of the things that I LOVE about triathlons is that they don’t hurt your body as much as running does!! Usually after a half marathon, I’m sore for about 4 days. I wasn’t sore at all after the triathlon, taught my BodyPump class the next evening with my regular weights, no problem!

Matt may tell you that’s because I wasn’t working hard enough in the triathlon, but ignore him. 😉

Overall, the Milton Triathlon taught me a very important lesson in respect for triathletes and their sport. I’m a total moron if I ever thought for even a moment that I was going to “wing” a Half Ironman. A total moron. It’s going to take a lot of really hard work and focused, dedicated training to get me there. I have a decent start, but it’s got to really ramp up over the coming months if I want to even give myself a chance.

Triathlons are no joke; these people are tough as nails, multi-talented, dedicated and SMART athletes. I was so grateful to be a part of the sport for that day, and I hope that maybe one day I will feel like one of them!

Have a terrific weekend everyone – thanks for your patience on the race recap!! 🙂 🙂

Milton Triathlon Race Recap – Part 1

Holy Hannah!

*looks sheepish*

Sorry for the long delay in getting this triathlon race recap out!! I’ve had one of the most amazing weeks that I’ve had in a long, long time. Last year I was lucky enough to be approved for a 3 day off-site training program called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People™ based on the international best-selling book by Dr. Stephen Covey.

Even if you think you’ve never heard of it, I’m willing to bet that at some point in your life one of your parents, grandparents or some other wise adult in your life gave you a copy of it when you were somewhere between the ages of 15 and 21, and that it then proceeded to collect dust on a bookshelf in your parents library where it likely still resides.

Does this ring any bells?

7 Habits Book

Anyways, the training was this week from Tuesday – Thursday, so I’ve been off my routine a little bit. I am walking away from the course feeling like an entirely different person. I can’t remember ever feeling such a sense of clarity and peace in my entire life. This course was such a huge deal for me that I’m actually planning to launch a “not so mini” series going through each of the seven habits and what they are all about.

But for now – we’ve got a race to recap, and I won’t leave you in suspense for a moment longer 😉

So last Sunday was the first triathlon of the year for the 2013 Subaru Race Series out in Milton, and also my first crack at this thing they call a triathlon. The Sprint race was a 750 metre swim, a 30km bike and a 7.5km run. Neil decided that he was in to do the race as well, and so he and Jess came out Saturday morning to stay with us and spend the day scouting the course!

The first thing I’ll address is the whole wetsuit conundrum. I left you in my last post on a bit of a cliff hanger and wondering if I would survive my test swim or if I was doomed to a life cohabitating with Sponge Bob at the bottom of Lake Kelso. (Sorry about that by the way).

Matt and I went out to Kelso on Friday night to test my Costco wet suit in the water and see how I felt. Just to put things in perspective, on the drive up to Kelso, the wind was so strong and the weather so vile that we passed by an arm of a tree that had crashed down onto the electrical lines and was on fire as we drove past. And then came the rain. Oh the rain. By the time we got to Kelso, it was torrential downpour, thunder and lightning. We pulled up to the front gate of Kelso, rolled down our window and asked the attendant the only natural question:

“Can we still go for a swim in the lake?”

The “attendant” was really an 18 year old kid, who laughed, shrugged and said “Sure, why not?!” I could think of more than a couple good reasons why not at that point, but with the thunder and lightning calmed down quite a bit by that point, we decided to go for it.

I was freaked out a bit when I first got in the water by the strong current, and the frigid temperature that really seemed to take my breath away when I put my face under. A few minutes paddling around loosened me up and reassured me that although the Costco wet suit definitely wasn’t ideal, it would be fine for this triathlon and would see me through until I could work myself up to a “real” one.

We did a quick scout of the bike course on Saturday and got a look at the total @*|&%# of a hill that we had to climb. The course description told us that it was 1.4km of straight ascent, but I swear it was longer than that. Suffice to say that my car had a hard time getting up the hill; forget my poor, poor brutalized legs.

Deciding that the hill was future Sara and Neil’s problem, we had a yummy pasta dinner and hit the hay fairly early to get ready for race morning. I went to sleep feeling very similar to the way I did before my very first half marathon in September 2010 in Ottawa. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that nervous before any event, my stomach was a mess, and I couldn’t really sleep, was tossing and turning….I really, truly had no idea what was going to happen the next day.

We got to Kelso well before the 8:30am cut off for entrance to the park and right away I was totally overwhelmed and confused! There’s a lot of logistics when it comes to triathlons! First of all, nobody ever explained to me exactly how you “rack” a bike. I nonchalantly kind of looked around at what everyone else had done, and kind of slid Jilly up onto the rack somehow and by some grace of God she actually stayed put, but I counted myself lucky on that one! We got permanently tattooed – I mean , body marked with our numbers and our ages and by the time all of that stuff was taken care of, the Try a Tri race was beginning and we watched the swim set off.

Sara Pre Swim

Sara and Neil

Sara and Matt Wet Suit

Before long, it was our turn, and Neil and I said our (final) goodbyes to everyone and headed over to the water. We were wearing baby blue bathing caps to represent the first wave of swimmers because they had staggered the start by age. I’m not sure I agree with this approach, but we’ll get to that in just a second.

The horn went and we were off. I hung back quite a bit from the rest of the blue caps so that I wouldn’t get caught up in the fray (I know, I know, I said in my last post that I didn’t give a crap about all of the swimmers around me, but it turns out that I’m an idiot, and I actually do okay?!) and when I started swimming, I was back with the last 4 or 5 blue caps, and feeling quite comfortable. The sun had come out on previously pretty gray, dreary morning, and I was feeling really good. We passed the first buoy (or “Dorito” as Matt and Neil call them because they are big orange trapezoids that look just like Doritos chips floating in the water hehehe) and then rounded the first corner, and everything was feeling really good. I started to feel a bit more at ease. Maybe this wasn’t so bad after all.

And then, they caught me.

Like a pack of neoprene clad dolphins, the red caps descended on me like vultures, and I got totally beat up in this fray of splashing, kicking, arms and bug-eyed goggles that seriously nearly caused me to panic for about a half second before I pulled myself together and reminded myself that I was fine. I managed to pull myself together and keep swimming, but I no longer had the luxury of swimming on my own, now I was caught up in the pack of red caps (the 30-39 age category) and had to really keep my wits about me.

My head started to play tricks on me as we rounded the second corner at the top of the pentagon of Doritos. I pretty much had the reel “You’re a loser, you’re a loser, you’re a loser” playing on repeat in my head like a ticker tape parade. I was starting to see green caps (the 40-49 age category) and even one pink cap (the LAST age category!). I thought to myself how slow and out of place I must look, and kind of just kicked myself for not paying more attention to the swim. While all of this was going on and my mind was occupied with all of these wonderful thoughts, I forgot one very important thing.

To lift my head up and look where I was going.

Things got very quiet about 2 minutes after we rounded the second corner, and I figured that I must have been the last place swimmer. I focused all of my energy on staying positive. Big deal, you’re the last place swimmer. You can still finish strong, don’t give up, just keep on swimming…you know…like Nemo.

Nemo

As my head slowly started working again, I started to wonder about a couple of things. Like, where were the paddle boards that had been following the last place swimmer in the Try a Tri race? I did lift my head right out of the water, looked ahead and saw that I was still headed straight for the beach. No problem, head back in the water and keep on swimming. At that point, I realized that I was no longer alone, and a man in a green cap was beside me. I was pleased that I wasn’t alone at the back of the pack, but something was still sitting uneasy with me. Where were those paddle boards???

I lifted my head again and once again saw the beach straight ahead, but I wasn’t satisfied with it the second time. I stopped swimming altogether, and started to tread water to get a better picture of what in tarnation was going on. The beach was indeed straight ahead of me. But it was when I turned my head to the left that I got the shock of my life.

The swim course was a pentagon shape. I’ve outlined the swim we were SUPPOSED to do in green on the map below. The swim that I ACTUALLY did is in pink.

Swim Course

What a dummy. I swam RIGHT into the centre of the pentagon, and worst of all, I took poor Mr. Green Cap with me!!!! When I turned my head to the left, I was absolutely shocked to see that not only was I not the last place swimmer, but all of my blue capped friends were still there as well! I was right in the middle of the pack! I called out to Mr. Green Cap, but he didn’t hear me, and so I sheepishly started back off in the direction of the far corner Dorito to course correct.

Mr. Green Cap – if there’s any chance you’re reading this….I am truly sorry.

I finished the swim shaking my head at my obvious lack of direction, but came out of the water to Matt, my mom and Jess cheering me on. I later learned that they had watched the lone swimmer trail off into the middle of the pentagon, and said to each other “I hope that’s not Sara….” 🙂

I was pretty beat after the swim, but knew that there was a long way to go.

That's me in the Blue Cap!

Sara Out of Water 2

Sara Bike 1

I’ll pick up here with the bike and run legs of the race a little later this weekend!!

Good night all!