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Our First Triathlon

May 15, 2011

…was a great success. James decided a few months ago somewhat on a whim that he wanted to do an ironman triathlon probably sometime in 2013. So he began searching for shorter triathlons that he could begin to train for. When he said he was going to do it, I thought “What the heck, I have always wanted to do one and I kind of miss the competitive environment so maybe I will train with him and do one myself.”

Having lived in Kona, Hawaii during the Ironman 2 years in a row are where some of my favorite memories come from. I was a competitive swimmer growing up and I remember being 18 and 19 working at aid stations each year hanging out water to what I think are some of the world’s top athletes. It is such a beautiful race and  I love seeing and thinking about all of these people, how they trained, what their motivation is, how they overcome challenges, etc. I even got to see Team Hoyt, both years. When you see a man getting ready for an over 2 mile swim by putting his grown son into a boat, putting on a harness, and then attaching his harness to the boat so he can carry his son the whole way…I mean wow. I cried both years as I watched this amazing Father.

Okay, so yeah I love the triathlon culture I just had never done one for myself. Through our training James decided he would actually go for the Olympic distance in his first one because his training was going so well. I decided to stick with the sprint because I am not so much interested in doing long distances. Just not my thing. While in high school I only swam the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly and 2 relays. So I have never really done distance.

Well, about a week and a half out from yesterdays tri we realized that our childcare plan of my parents coming down to watch the kids was not going to work out. We were not sure how to make it work since most of our go-to babysitters were going to be working an event for our chiropractor that day. Not having the energy to make it a big deal I just decided I would not compete and would stay home and watch the boys. So the last 9 or so days I was not really training. I did some of James’ training rides and runs with him, but not all and I was not eating as well as he was. Day before the race James says “lets try and figure out a way for you to do it too, it will be fun to do our first one together don’t worry about anything but having fun and finishing.” So after a day of searching we got babysitters lined up by 7:30 pm just 12 hours before the race started. Ha. I didn’t sleep a wink. I have never had a great stress response when it comes to athletic competition. My body does crazy things. James was cool as a cucumber, slept like a rock, fueled himself properly by eating the perfect breakfast at the appropriate time. My tummy would hardly let me get an ounce of my smoothie down.

We made it to the race and my body was shaking with nervousness. First of all it is a big event. There were about 1000 athletes competing between the two distances. I didn’t know really anything about the course, and had no clue how to do transitions. I had never timed myself in any of my training so had no clue what kind of times to expect, I also had no clue what a competitive time for my race would even be.

The transition area

James and I right before the swim

The distances for the super sprint were:

300 meter swim

8 mile bike

2 mile run

The International/Olympic distances were

.93 mile swim

24.8 mile bike

6 mile run

James killed it. Not only did he finish, which was the goal, but he beat his goal time by ten minutes. He enjoyed every minute and had a huge smile on his face when he was done. He crushed the time he thought he would get on the run and did fabulous on his first swim in a lake. I can not even begin to tell you how proud I am. I mean a few months ago James was not even exercising regularly. Now in just two months time not only has he lost weight, gained health, and challenged himself, but he has accomplished things he never would have imagined. You are my hero, Love. So proud of you and how hard you worked, it all paid off! Keep it up, you are doing so great.

The very beginning of his run

Finish line. Sweet success!

So I also felt good throughout my race. Many people there had crazy expensive gear. I have a kind of clunky bike that was a huge blessing because my dad bought it for me, otherwise I would not even own a bike. I wore a Nike bikini that I got at Goodwill in Denver for $4. It has one of those 80’s looking patterns on it. I was at the back of the pack because James entered the wrong swim time for me. When you are in the lake with hundreds of other people crazy things happen. I got kicked in the face, hit in the back, butt groped, and many other things. But I made it, and felt good about it. I transitioned quick and felt strong on the bike, despite one wrong turn where the course was not marked well, but I corrected it quickly. The run seemed longer than two miles but I kept a good pace for myself especially since I had some pain in both ankles. My run time could have been faster so that is something I will work on for sure. It felt so good when I crossed the finish line! I had no clue what my time was since there was not a screen at the finish and I had not been wearing a watch. I figured I would just get my time the next day on the website. I decided to just wait and watch for James. When I saw him start his run I knew I had about an hour til I would see him again so I walked around and stumbled upon the award ceremony for the sprinters. I thought “Oh cool, I can watch and cheer for them because they just accomplished a lot” When my age group was called the time the called out for the 3rd place person sounded so fast I thought “I bet I am about 5 minutes behind her”. Then, before I could finish thinking my thought I heard them say “and in 2nd place is Abby Beuerlein” I kid you not my first thought was ” what are the odds that there would be 2 Abby Beuerleins in  this race.” ha. Then I realized that they had called #917 which was what happened to be written on my leg, my arm, pinned to my shirt, taped on my bike and helmet. “wait, they mean me.” Yeah, I was definitely shocked. Right after I told James about getting 2nd. He kept laughing and going…”what??? on your 1st tri, on a clunky bike, and you didn’t know until last night that you were competing….what???”

Everyone gets a medal and we wore ours proudly!

Signs that I had the boys make with their teachers at school this week!

Number 917 and 468. Woot.

I got a really cool piece of local handmade pottery for getting 2nd in my age group. I love it.

Well, we had a freaking blast, and to top it off our babysitters would not even let us pay them. Thanks again, if you read this. Looks like more triathlons to come. I think I may have qualified for nationals, but we shall see. Not sure how I would get there.

Another post coming soon on some extra things I did in training that I think helped a TON!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca permalink
    May 15, 2011 1:44 pm

    Again, so prooud of you both. I think what makes me my spirit leap about you two is the amazinfg example you are creating for your boys- not only just with health, but goal setting, follow through, and breaking limitations! Congrats James and Abby!

  2. Nico Staples permalink
    May 15, 2011 4:00 pm

    This is so awesome, I am so freaking excited, proud, and just amazed with you two. Congrats again and now we are going to be sending Abby to Vermont for the nationals! This is so EXCITING!!!!!!!!!

  3. Audrey permalink
    May 15, 2011 4:23 pm

    Incredible! Y’all need to be Team Bad-A’s

  4. May 15, 2011 5:48 pm

    Speechless. You guys are amazing!

  5. Natalie permalink
    May 15, 2011 9:07 pm

    You guys are awesome! So proud of you, you inspire me!

  6. May 15, 2011 10:37 pm

    I love your first thought when they called your name for 2nd place! 😉
    You are both amazing!!!

  7. May 15, 2011 11:55 pm

    Oh my goodness. I am so inspired! Love that you did that together… awesome!

  8. May 16, 2011 12:09 am

    Wow, how cool! Congratulations on your success!

  9. May 16, 2011 12:29 am

    Thanks everybody! We both really appreciate the encouragement and support. We are still beaming from how much fun we had and still a bit shocked as well.

  10. May 19, 2011 4:28 am

    Good job! What a fantastic performance. You should be very proud of your selves. I will continue reading (maybe not as often as I can) to get inspired in my own exercise.

  11. May 26, 2011 3:21 am

    Fantastic post! I literally got butterflies in my stomach reading about how nervous you were the night before and when you got there. That would SO be me. Have never done a tri, but I plan on it one day. I also really like the triathalon culture. Congrats on the success… so glad you got to go and win! Very inspiring stuff. dara

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