Blah, BLah, BLOG
We did it! It was only just last month that I decided I wanted to do the Qualicum Beach Triathlon. I don't know why but I did. So I emailed the race director of the event, explaining that I have done a triathlon once before and interested in doing the QB triathlon. I wanted to inform them that I was sight/hearing impaired. Almost instantly I got a very welcoming response from them and asked if there is anything they could do to make this an accessible event for me. Wow, how could I not do this triathlon? So next challenge, find a guide. I was so fortunate to know a few people and within days I got a response from a guide Kerry Hale (he is an ironman, coach and had guiding experience with me at previous running events) and I knew we would be a great team for this event. As it turns out, Kerry's wife Lynda was signed up for her very first triathlon, so it makes the event even more special.
TRAINING: hahahahaha, training? hardly, I am notorious for not doing proper training, but my wonderful supportive partner Chris helps me along. We went on the beastly tandem, for 12 K ride, thinking there is NO way that we could do any long distance on this heavy old clunker. But it will have to do for the triathlon as that is the only thing I got. Chris and I went out to the pool a few times to practice our front crawl, and a few runs, even a brick session. (its a ride and run session when training for triathlons)
PRE RACE PKG PICKUP: Excited! Chris, Kerry and I met with the race director, going over some last minute details and what to do with the tandem. Kerry has never been on a tandem before and we needed to get out there and practice before we race in the morning. Chris quickly gave some advice and away we went. Circled the parking lot a couple of times and headed out into the streets. I felt totally at ease during our practice ride. After our ride the race director was kind enough to allow us to store the bike in the pool office. The bike is big and cumbersome and not the easiest thing to transport. So we were happy to leave it at the pool overnight.
RACE DAY: up at 6:00am feeling rather cool, calm and collect. I had all my race stuff packed the night before so there is no rushing or obsessively checking the list of stuff I needed. Chris and I drove to Qualicum and met Kerry and Lynda, chatting excitingly about how our race will go. We racked our bike, prepared our transition site and I still felt very calm about the race. Knowing that Chris and my dad was out there supporting me and having a great guide, I knew I was going to have a good race.
We wished each other good luck and walked off to our Heat section. Before I knew it, it was my turn to go in the pool. Kerry was to tap my shoulder for me to start (can't hear him so we use tactile cues). GO! and off I went, by my second lap, I knew my goggle wasn't properly put on and water was filling up my goggles. I decided not to panic and continue to swim to the end of the pool and quickly fix the goggles, I had to do this twice and after the second attempt, I carried on with leaking goggles. I thought to myself 'I have no time for this' . Before I knew it, my swim was over, I completely lost count of how many laps I was doing. Luckily they had lap counters for the swim. Kerry and I went off to our transition area, and within minutes, dry off, put on shirt, sunglasses, water bottle, gloves and helmet. We were off. We had to do four laps and we were responsible for our own counting. Lap one was a little rough as we almost missed our turn on the route I said to Kerry,"we turn here", the flagger was talking to someone in a car and Kerry was trying to get the flaggers attention for reassurance that we were going the right way...so, we made a very very wide turn, hit the gravel and powered up so we didn't lose control. After that, I was very confident that the rest of the ride will be smooth and fast. By the time we finished our bike, my clothes were dry! Back at the transition area, we racked our bike and I only had to take off the helmet and gloves and it was a super quick transition. Rubber legs as soon as we got off the bike but quickly adjusted. The run however, was hard! Kerry and I had never done a trail race before. Trails are much more technical and slower to run on. I was disoriented throughout the trail because it was so winding and I had to hang on close to Kerry so I don't trip over roots or hit trees and we had to do this loop twice! All the shady and lighted areas in the trail makes it very difficult for me to adapt, so I relied on Kerry completely throughout the trails. For me the trees and dirt was just a green and brown blur. I could hear the crowds cheering and we are close to the finish. I heard my name announced in the crowds and my legs sped up and I said to Kerry "I can run faster now" and he asked if I wanted to finish on my own, and I said, "no, lets finish this together, as a team!" We had such a strong finish! We gave each other a congratulatory hug and I was elated as soon as I saw Chris. I love seeing his face when I finish the races. I see pride in his smile and I saw it on my dad's face too. It was such a good day! We did it in 1hour20min41sec YAY!!!!!
GOAL: maybe fundraise for a bike of my own and try another tri!
We all need challenge in life, even if it takes some adapting. I believe YOU can do this too! Be happy and keep TRI ing!
FACT: I was the first ever person with disabilies to do this triathlon in their 18 year history of the event. Hopefully I won't be the last.