7 Dimensions of Wellness

7 Dimensions of Wellness
7 Dimensions of Wellness

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Big "A" Race-IM 70.3 Augusta

September 27, 2015

Last year, Center of Wellness for Urban Women's (CWUW) founder, Rhonda Bayless tagged me in a post of one of her friends finishing the IM 70.3 Muncie triathlon. I cannot remember what she said exactly, but it was something like "LaWanda you should do this."

On September 27, 2015 I did just that, I completed a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run...ALL IN THE SAME DAY. Here is the story of my race day. 

I actually did not sleep well, mostly because I was concerned that I would oversleep. My alarm
sounds at 4 am, but I was already awake. Brandi and I chat for a bit and finally get up to start collecting our things. I realize that I had not applied my “tri tats” so I grab wet paper towels and apply the “44” and the M-dot (the Ironman brand) to each calf. As I check my handy work, I realize that I applied the “44” vertically and not horizontally…don’t judge, it was 4 am…lol I begin to laugh at myself and shared my blunder with Brandi, she offers to apply my arm tats and I agree to apply hers.

Tat blunder #2, I forgot to remove the backing from one of Brandi’s sets and it stuck to the paper. I actually cried about that one, I felt so bad. I apologized profusely and her reply “we’re TriTwins, so since your shoulder is taped and you have to write your bib number on the KT tape, just write on my arm.” Reason number 1, 345, 298 why I have the best TriTwin ever.
We head down to meet Richard and Carlos to head over to transition; I could not shake the feeling that I was forgetting something.  As we got closer to transition I see a lady take a drink from her water bottle and boom… ALL OF OUR BOTTLES were in the refrigerator at the hotel. I immediately share my revelation with Brandi and Richard and he reassures us that he will get our hydration…no worries. He returned with bottles before I was satisfied with my transition set up.

 The Start

The Best. Husband. Ever!
I was very emotional as we headed down to the swim start and very happy that my family was there. I hug and kiss my husband, hug my father and stepmother who flew in from Indiana to watch me race, and hug my daughter, Tiara. They were all wearing the shirts I designed with my bib on the front. We snapped a few pictures and continued our way to the start. Dorian took so many pictures and captured some candid moments, many of them caught Brandi and me crying.

The Swim:
I line up with my wave and see Veronica Wright; she has such a sweet spirit. She shares that “everyone” is there and she will point them in our direction so we can see them before we start. Before I know it here comes a portion of the Black Triathletes Association Support Crew-Valerie, Tasha Mack, and Tony. We hug, take pictures, and I line up with my swim wave. Janelle, my soror is volunteering! Dee, is racing and is in my wave. I was really happy to see them too. BTA was rolling deep in Augusta!
As we walk to the dock, I am really having a good time, just being silly. We make it down to the dock and I get into the water to fill my wetsuit and wait for the gun. Some chick says to me “move over.” I reply “no, I was here first, you walk down and find a spot.” She scoffs and stands there. I shrug and I inform her “you better not jump on me.” She walks away. The gun goes off.
I hang back as my wave starts and allow others to go, I still am not comfortable swimming with the pack. Once things clear a bit I start my stroke; after about 8 strokes I suck in water, panic, and flip on my back. “Okay, get your shit together, Elle.” I flip back over after a couple of minutes and hear Carlos say “buoy to buoy!” I nod and begin to swim…buoy to buoy. I finally settle in and all of a sudden something I feel something touching my foot. Shit, it was the wave behind me…the men! I was so afraid of them swimming over me that I kicked a little harder when someone touched me and my stroke was a little wider. I did that for a while and the rest of my swim was uneventful. I exit the swim. Yes!!!

Goal: 41:00 Actual: 44:25
I'm Out!!

T1: Swim to bike-8:49
OMG, the run from the swim exit to transition was so long. My legs felt heavy but I felt good. I spotted the wetsuit strippers and they had my suit off in seconds…that was fun. I run to my bike and change into my gear. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. My helmet felt weird, it was on backwards. My hands were shaking. I begin sipping on Infinit and head towards the bike exit. Oh shoot, my Garmin was still on my wrist. I take it off, put it on the bike and off I go.

The Bike:

I LOVE THE BIKE. LOVE THE BIKE. I felt so good. I had a strategy for my nutrition and how I would tackle this 56 miles. I set my Garmin to alert me when it was time to drink and I would take it easy on the hills. I had an idea of the course, I rode it during the summer. I had reviewed the YouTube video of the course, and I reviewed the course sheet Brandi made for us.  I slowed down my pace; I knew what was waiting for me…DISRESPECTFUL HILLS!
Mentally, I clustered the 56 miles into 5 sets of 10…plus 6. After every 10 I would say out loud “Elle, you have 4 more sets…3 more sets…etc.”  I was passed… a lot. I passed… a lot. I got tickled when I called out “Elle on your left.” I cursed the hills, I remember crying around mile marker 44 as I rode through the Wounded Warriors memorial, and I remember smiling as I saw Janita around mile marker 50. I had a good time.

Goal time: 4:15:00. Actual: 4:07:22

T2: 4:41
I was still feeling so good; I was diligent with my nutrition and finished my bottles (Infinit Custom Blend). My legs felt heavy, but I wasn’t concerned, the feeling was familiar. I changed my shoes, grabbed my hand held water bottle, and visor.

The Run: 3:22:20

I am not a fan of running, but I am happy because this is the last leg. I see Richard and Carlos; Richard shouts out words of encouragement and shares where my family and BTA are located on the course. Richard also shares my time and that Brandi is about 15 minutes ahead of me. I ask Richard and Carlos to get away from me because I don’t want a penalty, they drop back.
The run course feels flat and it is lined with spectators, everyone is cheering. It was amazing. I start my 3:1 intervals and they lasted all of 4 miles, after that, the fun was gone and the misery began shortly thereafter.

Mile 7sh, I check my time and I am on pace to finish in about 8:20:00ish, but then it happens, “The Gush” happens. The freakin’ Gush of urine. I pee on myself. I am mortified because I did not feel the urge to go. I run to a port o potty, struggle with clothes, the flood gates open, I struggle with clothes again. I feel so relieved. I can’t believe I didn’t know I had to pee. I continue on my run and grab water at the aid station and douse my girl bits. Shoot, now my shoes are wet. I am worried about the time I lost.

I see my husband and he calmly says, “baby, you need to pick up the pace” (or something like that). I reply, “okay, it’s time to finish this shit.” I remember Melana, Diana, and several other BTA folks began to chant, “finish this shit! Finish this shit. I smiled. I love my BTA Family.
I change my watch to the time of day vs. elapsed time; this gave me a better understanding how much time I had. I remember thinking “Elle, you have to keep a 15 min/mile.” I pray. I actually beg for strength to push.  I remind myself “you need to finish by 4:36pm. You can do this. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Don’t DNF.” I see my dad and Jessie; they are ringing the cowbells and cheering. I see Carlos and I ask him how much longer until the finish. He explains the last bit of the course and I yell for him to get away, I cannot afford a penalty. He moves…I think.
I finally pass the finish line…again heading into the final loop. I pass the Marriott…the aid station, turn the corner, and another, then I see the finish chute. I look at my watch. I run a little faster. I give high 5s. I begin to cry. I cross the finish. I see Brandi and she puts my medal on. I am done. I am done. I see my baby girl, T’Lai, my son, Christopher, and Lai’s friends. I cry more. I am so excited. So tired. I am finished. This is how my story ends.

Goal finish time 8:29:59  Actual: 8:27:37 (I actually had to finish the entire course 8:30:00 or I would have been received a Did not Finish...DNF)

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that my Infinit custom blend is the best. Other than sucking on an orange slice to taste something different and a couple cups of water, Infinit was my only source of nutrition once I got on the bike. Prior to my swim, I used 3 scoops of UCAN. The only issue I had was a side stitch heading into the final couple of miles on the run.

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