That's me waving to my husband before my first olympic triathlon sprint at Pacific Crest. Photo credit: Mark Little
I hate the smell of sunscreen. I really do, yet it is one of the most important elements to my gear bag for a triathlon, especially one in Sunriver, Oregon.
If you've never been to central Oregon you are missing out on sunshine and blue skies as far as the eye can see. This weekend during the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival was no exception.
Months back when I knew I would be competing in the Olympic Triathlon event, one of many options throughout the weekend including long course triathlon and duathlon, half marathon, full marathon, kids splash pedal and dash, Tour de Crest bike rides, and 5K and 10K runs, I decided to make this a family getaway and rented a cabin for the weekend.
We arrived late Friday evening, too late for the kids events but in plenty of time to pick up my packet, attend a Q & A with two pros, get interviewed by a local TV news station and start my general freak out session starting with my usual “Am I really prepared for this endeavor?”
This entire weekend sports festival is organized by AA Sports, so of course that meant that everything was pretty much perfection. The event expo was full of great vendors and the athlete’s post race spread was well protected under the pavilion and chock full of excellent post race goodies, but I will get to that later.
Saturday morning my daughter, husband and I went to the village to wait for a couple of people we knew to finish the half marathon. My little lady made a sign for both friends and we barely got there in time, but I was so glad I got to see both of them finish along with several people who were running the full marathon. It was a great dose of motivation and inspiration for me as I started my typical mental unravelling process.
Later in the afternoon we were able to, in fact we were encouraged, to drop our bikes off at T1 at Wickiup Reservoir, which was a good thing because it gave me a chance to drive the bike course and see what it was like.
After I spent a good hour sorting and packing, checking and rechecking, stressing and fretting and going over and over again what I would need at both transitions, we loaded up and headed out.
Taking the time to do this was a really great thing to do. Not only did I not have the early morning stress of worrying about forgetting something, but I was able to put my feet in the lake, see the bike course and get an idea of how long of a drive it would be in the morning. If you choose to do this event, I highly recommend this, and they have security all night long so I knew I didn’t need to worry about my bike.
Here I am, still smiling, coming into T2 after the gnarly 28 mile bike ride. Photo credit: Sue Fillman.
The family and I headed back to the Village, checked out the expo and ate dinner at one of the many restaurants to choose from. We went to the Deschutes beer garden and danced to Hit Machine (my favorite band ever, just ask them I am a total groupie).
Eventually we made our way back to our cabins and after another freak out session on my part and several texts with my coach it was time for bed and I hoped that sleep would not elude me.
Our weather forecast could not have been more perfect, 55 degrees outside when we went into the 64 degree water, 60 degrees when I hopped on my bike and 67 by the time I hit the path on the run.
Again, AA Sports puts on high quality events, everything runs like clockwork, and they do such an incredible job of making you sure you know where to go at every opportunity.
The swim portion of the event was two laps around a set of red buoys, skipping the fourth buoy to head to the boat ramp towards the transition zone. I felt very safe and supported the whole time I was in the water. I wore a wetsuit and I was so glad that I did, as the water temperature was cooler than I am used to. The temperature caused severe cramping in my calf muscles but the wetsuit kept me afloat and I was never worried about my safety.
Once I got on the bike, I really couldn’t stop smiling as the bike course is incredibly beautiful. Taking in the scenery on the road eased the sting of the relentless slow climbs, but I will say that time flew by on the bike and before I knew it I saw my family waiting at T2 with signs and smiles.
The transition zone at Three Rivers Elementary school was very smooth and easy to follow once again. I was able to leave all my running gear at T2 before going to the reservoir and everything was right where I left it.
I took off on the well-marked run course through Sunriver and realized that I had just 6.2 miles of my 35 mile adventure to go. When you have worked for months to accomplish a goal and you realize you are almost done it can be overwhelming. As I took in the beauty surrounding me I had to fight back my emotions so I could finish my run and celebrate with my family, waiting in the village.
As we rounded the corner toward the finish line my two kids were able to jump in and run through the finish arch with me and one of the volunteers allowed my daughter to place the finisher medal over my head. What a special moment for me.
I was then handed a bottle of water and ushered into the finishers area where there was a lot of great fuel to choose from, including Jamba Juice! I quickly grabbed a plate of whatever sounded good to me and met my family by the Franz bread booth, our previously agreed upon meet up location.
My favorite moment from the race: my two children running me in. Photo credit: Sue Fillman
After a quick check of the immediate results conveniently spread out along a long set of tables in the village we were all ready to head back to our rented home, and all I wanted was a shower, and possibly a nap!
But first I had to return to T2, an easy walk from the Village to pick up my bike stuff AND my wetsuit and swim gear that was conveniently delivered to T2 in the plastic bag they provided for us at packet pick up. They think of EVERYTHING!
I want to give a quick shout out to my family for putting up with my four months of training and also to my coach, Dana Andress, who had faith in my that I could complete this event and provided a lot of emotional support to me as well. Seriously, if you need a coach, she’s the one.
Finally, thank you to Run Oregon and AA Sports for the opportunity to not only cross another item off my bucket list but to prove to myself that I can achieve any goal I set for myself.