Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Sunday, July 18, 2010

We survived!

I wasn't sure I had actually survived until today, so I waited to post that until I knew it to be fact. All the aches throughout my body remind me minute by minute that I did indeed survive the sprint triathalon yesterday! I even had my very own, personal cheering section! JoDee and the kids made me encouraging posters and ran all over the place to cheer Kristin and I on as we proved our insanity yesterday.  She reminded me multiple times that this was my idea and that she hated me.  The drama before the race was barely tolerable. It was dark when we arrived:

I can't even make this picture better so that anything could be recognized! We got up at 5 am on a Saturday and made our way to Englewood to get ready. It was WAAAY too much time to think about what was ahead and compare equipment (or the lack of it!) with everyone else, nevermind trying to calculate everyone elses' body fat compared to mine! It was making me so nervous! I just wanted to get to my workout and put it behind me!

This is Kristin and I getting everything prepared. Clearly my hair could have used some attention also...

Paul found a great place to park right next to my spot in the transition area. They hung out there until things got underway.

After the National Anthem and a prayer, we moved to the beach to get ready for the swim. We were ECSTATIC to see that we had been vastly overestimating how far 400 meters was for the swim when we trained in the Gulf. It was probably just over half of what we had been prepared to do! The swim ended up being my favorite part of the race! AND, I had the cutest swim suit there! Most people wore their spanex outfits then entire time, others had speedo type swimsuits (you know the very athletic type for racing) and I was the only one there with cute little bows on my suit. You can barely see it in this picture, I have my back to the camera and Kristin is facing the camera next to me. I have the black criss-cross straps and the pink/black suit. Yes, by far the cutest there! (Sorry, Kristin, you looked like a serious athlete too.)

There were so many people there!

We were in the third wave. We were separated by sex/age. The under 40 men went first, then the over 40 men, then the under 40 women (yeah, that is still me!), then over 40 women and relays (hey, why didn't we think of doing it as a relay???). I was so glad to get going!

Here is our wave coming around the first buoy. I am pretty sure I am somewhere near the end since I can't swim straight and I swung out sort of wide. I knew at this point that I needed to settle down and swim my race and not get caught up in the panic of racing. I learned a couple weeks ago how to swim and conserve oxygen and it had much to do with relaxing and not using my legs to flail/kick so much. I settled into my swim after I rounded the buoy and Kristin kept me motivated and on course the rest of the way. I lost my stroke a couple times when I got kicked or shoved, but for 99% of the time, I swam my stroke and was able to breathe comfortably. I considered it a HUGE success!

At this point, we are thrilled to be past the swim and had what seemed a very long jog to the transition area in the sand that was almost harder than the swim!
We washed our feet and threw on some clothes and got out the bikes. We changed our minds at the last minute and rented racing bikes. We were scared to death that we weren't going to finish under the 2 hour time limit and because the bike portion was taking us 55 minutes, we decided we would have more breathing room just from using lighter bikes with skinnier tires for the same amount of exertion. We decided it made sense. So, the night before, on the way to our packet pick ups and pasta dinner, we picked up our bikes and then went home to learn how to ride them. I had it a bit tougher because my bike had "rat traps", straps for the toes to keep them on the peddles. I had to learn how to change the gears and get into and out of the rat traps. It was not easy. Paul was trying to help me and made me wipe out within the first few feet. Luckily, I got one foot out to catch myself a bit and landed on my most padded part basically unharmed (until the pain set in today!) I wiped out again when a truck was blocking the street where I was practicing and I thought I only needed one foot out and could stand on it while leaving the other foot in the peddle. It worked until I lost my balance and fell over the other side of my bike onto my knee and elbow. Lost some skin on that one.

It was so hard to get dressed when you're dripping wet and everyone is watching!

Gabriel captured quite the sequence with the camera. I called him my photojournalist. He enjoyed taking pictures. Here I am apparently trying to get my helmet off the seat and get going.

Kristin getting ready to ride.

Heading out of the transition area.

And here we are at the end of the 14 mile ride. By this time, we are really hurting! Kristin's back was hurting from the new riding position on the racing bike. My legs were very rubbery and the bike seat nearly killed my backside! To make matters worse, I was so nervous about crashing that I was scared to take my water bottle out and drink along the way. You can see it was almost completely full of blue Powerade there at the end of the ride. I usually drink an entire 20 ounce container of water. I just couldn't do it that day and I suffered for it next. I also endured a wipe out at the turn around point when I was going too fast and hit the sand. I wasn't hurt, but it was my third bike crash in less than 20 hours. I was covered in sand for the last 7 miles and that bothered me too.  I almost crashed coming into the transition area again as I had a hard time braking hard and undoing my rat traps. UGH! I felt so uncoordinated!

I guzzled some before the run, but it was too little too late. I felt terrible and couldn't run for a bit because I was afraid I was going to toss my cookies. The run was BRUTAL. The first mile is always the hardest, but it didn't really get better like usual. We ended up walking more than usual. It helped that we knew we had almost an hour left before the time limit, so we just relaxed about it. Poor Kristin had to make all of the conversation! I just listened!

She was waiting for me to leave the transition area for the run. I don't know how she put up with me that day! She's a champ! She told me she loved me when I said I needed to walk so I wouldn't throw up! We ended up needing about 43 minutes for the 3.1 miles. We did pass an 18 year old near the end, so we didn't feel so bad! Everyone has their age written on their right calf, so when you pass someone (or are passed by someone) you know their age! As we rounded the last curve, Riley and Gabe joined us and we crossed the finish line together with our best time ever, with about 15 minutes to spare! We were very excited to be done!

We have been talking about doing the Venice Triathlon in September because the bike is much shorter, and after this race, I said I was OUT! I said there was no way that I would EVER do that again--I couldn't believe how many people asked me if I would do it again right after the race was over! BUT, after a couple hours and a nice shower, I was already thinking of entering. I was disappointed in my own lack of confidence and with how much I had to walk at the end after doing so well on the bike and swim.  So, stay tuned, I might do this again!

I will have to come back to this post and add our splits for my record keeping. The results aren't posted yet. I just remember Kristin informing me after the first mile of the bike that we were only 19 minutes into the race and we had expected to still be in the water at that point!


Rikki said...


Stephanie said...

Yay for you!! What an incredible feat, I'm proud of my 2 miles a day and I just walk it!! Keep up the good work!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Wow! That is incredible! You must be so happy to have accomplished something like that. I wish I had the motivation and willpower to stick with something and follow through for a race. I told myself I was going to run a half marathon before I turn 40 (which is now only a year and a half away) and I can't even jog around the block so far! hahaha. I'd better get going :)

Cindy and company said...

Yaaaaayyyyy Travis!!! I am so proud of you! Someone asked me yesterday if I have started training for my triathlon---NO. I guess I should get in the water. The race is in 3 weeks! sign up for the next one--I DARE you!

Lisa said...

So proud of you Travis...way to go!!!! I always thought that a tri sounded fun...with not knowing how to swim, caused a big issue! Great job girl!

Anonymous said...

Wow, we are so very proud of you Travis, and all of the hard work and determination you show. You are definitely running the race as did St. Paul. This was told to your Paul many times during his growing up years. Your perserverance is admirable. We do good to get some walking in. You have a wonderful support system who are very proud of you. Looking forward to seeing you all soon. Order some cooler temps please.
Love and hugs,
G. & P. P.

Football and Fried Rice said...

WOW - I am so impressed!! I have a hard time getting the ball rolling by 9:00 Am!!

cookiehawk77 said...

Realized when I read this post that we didn't take a single picture of our visit with you! But we thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks again!

Mary said...

HI Travis, First of all Congrats on completing the race! Its a great accomplishment and I hope to learn how to swim better so I could do something like that someday! Anyway, not sure if you will remember me but I am a nurse and used to work on 4RC at UIHC with Jennifer Long. My name is Mary Blessing and I am a really good friend of Molly Novotny. I was hoping I could contact you by email/phone to ask you a few things about your nursing education/career path. I am currently living down in Lima, Peru (that will be why you see the Peruvian Flag on your visitor list) and am looking at going back to get my Masters but I would really like to talk to someone, like you, who worked with cardiac patients. If you don't mind, could you please send me an email at and let me know if there is a good time to reach you. We are an hour behind you. I would appreciate it very much!! Keep up the training.. it will only get easier!! :) Mary

Mary said...

great job Travis! not sure if you remember me but I was a nurse on 4RC at UIHC. I was actually hoping I could write to you and ask you some questions about your nurse practitioner degree. if you get this and don't mind, please email me at
I am a good friend of MOlly Novotny as well.. thats how I found your blog!

Mary said...

congrats Travis!