I started my weekend just an average runner, then emerged a tri-athlete.
Even though the weekend didn’t start off the way I planned. And even though my mother and I were very stressed out and doing everything at the last minute, which is very unlike us. We still managed to get to Montreal safe and alive.
Friday night was quiet. We played around in the Hotel room and marveled at the beauty and perfection of each room. A beautiful Jacuzzi bath in the bathroom, a king size bed in the bedroom, a very comfortable sofa-bed in the living room, and a phone in the bathroom. Once we were done taking pictures and wishing our Hotel was are new home, we all crawled into bed. As I closed my eyes, I got a shiver down my spine. It has finally settled in, I was going to do a triathlon.
The next morning we woke up nice and early to get a head start on the breakfast buffet. It was absolutely marvelous. I congratulate Embassy Suit Hotels for a job well done.
Off to the island we went. An island built in 1967 during the celebration of Canada’s centennial. A year commonly known as expo67. The Island and the facilities were beautiful. A huge canal of sorts sat in the middle, with a bike track to the right. I would get to know the island in great detail by the end of this race.
After browsing around the athlete’s village for some cool gear, picking up our race kits, getting our numbers written on our arms and legs, it was time. Time to prove to everyone that I could do this.
I put my swim cap on and gave a kiss to Alain. He has been supportive from the beginning. He has never missed a race. I hugged my mom and wished her luck, because she as well was doing the triathlon. This would be the first race my mom and I wouldn’t start together. As I let go of my mom’s hand my stomach jumped around. I was nervous, scared and excited.
I put my toes in the water to test it out. Sure enough, it was freezing. So I jumped in. I was going to be swimming 750 meters in this water; I figured I might as well get used to the water now. A few strokes out and a few back, just in time for the pre-race meeting. The organizers explained the route and the rules and then started their countdown. I was shaking, trying to breath, but I just couldn’t catch my breath. And then there it was the bell. I jumped in the water as fast as I could. Imagine swimming in a pool surrounded by 200 people trying to get by you. I got kicked at least three times. I still couldn’t catch my breath. I was so nervous. So I took a moment to relax and slowly stroke, feeling the water between my fingers. It was just what I needed, because I shot out of the pool like a bullet. I completed the 750 meter swim in 20 minutes.
The transitioning adds to the excitement of a triathlon. As I am running to the transition area I am pulling off my goggles and cap. I throw my stuff aside and put my helmet on. You cannot leave the transition area without a helmet. I threw my socks on my wet feet, which was incredibly difficult, and tied up my shoes. Everything was almost on, except the gloves. Just like socks on wet feet, gloves on a wet hand can be difficult too. Just as I was about to walk away, I noticed a girl on the ground. She was in pain. She was having a muscle spasm. If you have ever had one you could sympathize with this girl, they are not fun, and they hurt a lot. I sat with her for a few seconds gave her water and rubbed her back assuring her everything was going to be okay.
I ran to the biking track as fast as I could. There are red lines indicating the mounting zone. If you get on your bike before the line you are disqualified. The bike was nothing to brag about. I did the 20 km in 49 minutes. I am sure I could have gone faster, but I was always afraid of drafting.
As I entered the transition zone for the run portion, ushers called out “runner, clear the way”. I am not going to lie, but I may have let that get to my ego.
Once again, everything is thrown to the side. This transition was easier, just put on my hat and took of my gloves and started running. That is when the bricks arrived. Have you ever ran for the bus and could barely move your leg up to get on. That is bricks. I felt like I was carrying 0 pounds of bricks on either leg. Luckily, after about 1.5 km the bricks started to fade.
As I looped around, I could finally see the finish line. After the months of training, the tears, the sweat and the blood, it was finally here. I sprinted when I saw the finish line, pushed myself to the very limit. As I crossed the finish line I met eyes with the reason I was there… Alain. Filled with emotion, I ran into his arms. I had done it!
I came in at 1h:34m.
It just goes to show, that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. My advice, to all those contemplating running, biking, swimming, or doing all three, is this: I started running just over a year ago. When I started I ran for only 1 minute at a time. With practice and perseverance I now stand as a marathoner and tri-athlete.