A few weeks back I did my last (only) race of this season; I competed it in the Suburu Sooke International Triathlon (Half-Ironman; www.triseries.ca).
First of all, I love Sooke. It’s got a special place in my heart. I was a camp counsellor there in 1994. Second, it was my first “real” long-distance Triathlon. Third, it’s always been AMAZING weather when I’ve raced there. Fourth, it’s always been the most humbling course.
…so this year, when they changed the bike course to basically be the same amount of climbing as on a full Ironman course, I was intrigued.
So let’s get this straight: this year I DID NOT TRAIN. …unless you call riding to work, a couple of swims, and a couple of runs as training. I was certainly relying on my base-fitness. So obviously I should try and do a Half-Ironman on the hardest course in BC against the best field (since it was the provincial championships).
Part of the reason I did this race is because my parents would be out for a visit and I wanted them to stay at my most favourite hotel, Sooke Harbour House. That place did not disappoint, let me tell you. As well, I LOVE having my family around when I’ve raced. They are my biggest fans, always amazed and proud of me being an actual athlete, and its such a self-indulgent way for me to connect with them. :-P
So I’m not going to over analyze the race (for a change). Suffice it to say, I was not at my best on the swim, nor on the bike, nor on the run. I’m used to being a competitor at these things. This year, I had to accept the fact that this would not be the case, and that I was out there for “the fun of it”. (mostly out there to prove to myself that I can still do this great sport at my favourite distance without having to sacrifice a bunch of time to do so). Moreover, I have this crazy idea that I want to do at least one race per year as long as I can do them, so that my children can see that I’m committed and having a ton of fun doing something that I’m passionate about. I think that there are so many important messages that something like this sends to your children. ….so basically I met that goal, plus I met the goal of finishing the race, without having walked or stopped at any point. I finished around 5:57:00 on the hardest course I’ve ever done, and in the top 50%. The leaders in the race obviously did far better.
I get a bit teary at this part, so bear with my emotional self… what I really wanted at this race, even more than any athletic goal or opportunity to make my family proud, was to find Jen and Eli at the finish chute, and take my little Ironbaby with me over the finish line. I’m going to be at this sport for a while. I’m going to have big personal achievements when doing it. …but I will never again have the chance to do it with my first son for the first time. It was an amazing experience. At the darkest points in the “pain cave” on the ride and run, I would think of what it would mean if I could take Eli, then (maybe) race with Eli over the finish line. I am proud of my Ironbaby and he would be proud of his Irondad.
Eli and I crossed the finish line together. It’s my favourite finishing photo ever.