If You’re Not First

… you’re last. Dead last. 

Wow. Yesterday was a major learning experience. Here are just a few tidbits:
  1. Not all bikes are created equal
  2. Cycling on the shoulder of the highway is bumpy–share the road! 
  3. Duathletes (most of whom are actually triathletes) are super fit
  4. Biking 15 miles through your neighborhood in no way prepares you for a 14 mile scenic route
  5.  Knowing how to work your bike is key
For some reason, I thought running a 5K, biking 14 miles, and then finishing up with another 5K would be easier than running a half marathon. At the worst, I thought it would be comparable. Ha! Think again. 

Mr. Gray stayed home to let Baby Gray sleep since the event was in town. He helped me load the bike and took a photo or two before I headed out.

Bike

Immediately upon arrival, I knew I was way out of my league. The bikes and equipment these folks had was very intimidating. Everyone was helpful and answered my questions, though–I had no idea what I was doing! 

Bike

I ran a great 5K the first go ’round. I beat my best time by several minutes. I even broke a 10 minute mile–FINALLY! Despite my personal success, people were leaving me in the dust. I got to my bike and headed out; I was honestly feeling like I could pretty much stop then. I quickly realized I didn’t have a good working knowledge of how to optimally work my bike and its gears. I had biked 15 miles earlier in the week, but it was not THAT KIND of 15 miles. Not to mention the fact that less than a mile into the bike portion, I passed the lead guy headed back toward the finish.

The most disheartening moment of the race was when I realized the “last car” was right behind me. Yep, I was dead last. The other downfall to not knowing how much about the bike is that I had no idea how to go faster. I couldn’t actually “race” at all. So many times I was right behind people, but I couldn’t speed up. I cruised into the transition area with another lady, but I knew she was part of a relay. The runner after her would be fresh (his wife ran the first leg and he was running the last). There was nothing fresh about me at that point!

Mr. Gray and Baby Gray were at the dismount line, so I hopped off my bike and left it for Mr. Gray to take care of. In all my haste, I forgot to take my helmet off! AHH! Thankfully a guy in the transition area stopped me and grabbed it. Oops!

Bike

Bike

Luckily, I’m good at pushing myself. I was able to convince myself it was only three more miles and I should keep going. I felt like I was at a total standstill. The run was set up in two loops, so as I came up to the end of the first loop, I seriously contemplated stopping. I kept my internal yelling up long enough to make the turn and go on. 

Bike

Bike

At that point, I knew I could do it, but my pride was trying to get the best of me. I didn’t want to be last. I didn’t want to be struggling to finish. 

Bike

I crossed the finish line at 2:30:41, according to my timer. Notice the chip timer is off as I cross. 

Bike

People were cheering me on as I crossed, which I appreciated. Most of the people who were at the end were also people I had talked to prior to the race; they knew this was my first time trying it. While I absolutely hated to be last, I was pretty proud that I finished. It’s definitely the toughest thing I’ve ever done. 

Bike

Will I ever compete in another one? Yesterday, my answer was never (actually, according to my Twitter feed immediately after, it was NEVER NEVER NEVER). Last night, I looked back at my times per mile over the whole race. Even after a bike ride I thought would kill me on a bike that was not at all designed for what I was doing, my second 5K time was good (for me, anyway). I’m tougher than I think I am. With better biking equipment and knowledge, I would consider doing it again. For now, though, I’ll just stick Baby Gray’s seat back on my mama bike, and we’ll cruise around the neighborhood. 

BIke

In related news, I ordered lunch in the Schlotzsky’s drive thru with a donut in my hand yesterday. A new low? Maybe.

4 Comments

  1. Just to reiterate, finishing last is finishing!!! A victory! Hip Hip hoorah for your "internal yelling!" As I have told you before, the only 10K I ever ran, I finished last. But I held my hands up way over my head as I crossed the finish line, as if I had finished first. It was a victory for me! To Victories!!!

  2. With that sweet angel awaiting you at the finish line, how could you have possible come in last?? You won the lottery. And your new low? I call it carb loading for the next race. It's all about perspectives.

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