Thursday, July 23, 2009

Musselman Half Iron Tri: July 19, 2009

Race Site: Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York

My friend Kim and I are the two smiling faces on the left waving at the camera. Look at the serious faces of all the other women!! :)

Our wave start group heading out to the lake to begin the swim.

...and we are swimming, 1.2 miles to go!

Me running up to transition after the swim, hard to get a good shot of this, but there is my face, right shoulder, arm and hand. Whew! Made it through the swim in 37:57 and only got kicked in the head once which didn't hurt at all. I also grabbed somebody's foot for a second and swam slightly off course....All part of the triathlon swim! Lake was calm, warm and perfect! Had to swim a small portion in the canal to the boat ramp at the end which was stinky (literally!) and felt long mentally. :)

Colin drove out on the bike course and got a quick picture just after I made a right turn, about halfway through the 56.1 mile ride.

On the home stretch back to transition, an exhilerating and FUN ride on the bike course. Lots of rolling hills, very fast course overall. Had a section at the end in the last 5 miles where I passed a bunch of people without trying and was rolling steady between 20-24 mph. Overall pace for the entire ride was 17.7 in 3:12 and felt great.

...and one final bike shot, almost to Transition 2 to switch to "Running Mode!" I was so happy to get out of the bike saddle! :)

Mile Number one of the 13.1 mile run. My whole body felt like the end of a marathon at this point. Amazingly, everything warms up and feels normal in about 2 miles and the run is pretty decent. I never run as fast in triathlon as in just a running race but my goal is to get to the finish line.

The woman in purple was a great athlete! Just before this picture was taken a spectator yelled "Only 13 more miles to go!" which is the LAST thing we want to hear on the race course at the beginning of a painful run. I said, "Oh did you hear that??" and the woman in purple sarcastically said "Thank you very much," then added something else not too nice which made me laugh and she sped off for the rest of her faster than me 13.1 miles. :) If you look closely, I'm barely visible in turquoise in the back left of this picture.

This is the last mile of the run and it was a long one! The girl behind me had started the run at the same time as myself. I ended up running the first 6.5 miles with a friend from Rochester, Melissa, who was doing this race as her first triathlon. We trained some together. The girl in this picture behind me also ran with us. We just chatted it up and joked around helping each other through the miles. Then we spread out and separated and suddenly there was the girl again behind me. She was great! She said "Come on, we started this race together and let's finish it together!" And we both picked up the pace and ran to the finish line, it was a great moment! One of the things I love about triathlons is the camaraderie among the athletes even though we've never met each other before. Everyone is out there together pulling for all the people around them. Total run time was 2:05.

Here I am back at home with my bike gear medal.
Official Race Time 6:02:16

Final Thoughts...

This tri marked several things worth sharing. It fell on the anniversary of my first wedding 12 years ago and it was my second half-iron tri in 7 years. I completed the first one 7 years earlier just before losing my first husband who also completed the same race. It was the last thing God enabled him to accomplish in this life. And there is so much more than that in the person he was, committed to memory, including much happiness and many good times. I wore his helmut along the bike course, which just happens to be my helmut now due to convenience. :) Throughout the 6 hour race, I reflected some on my life, that first triathlon race, and enjoyed the fabulous day and moments of the race. Emotions tend to be close to the surface in an endurance activity for me when I'm pushing physical limits. So naturally, the weight of this race day was present for all of the above reasons. And ESPECIALLY when I thought of Colin taking pictures along the course, and waiting for me at the finish of the race. He is truly a gift and I have much to be thankful for in the gifts God has given me in this life. The best part of the race was the hug I got from Colin after crossing the finish line, despite being sweaty and covered with salt.


Janet said...

Wow amazing. I did not realize the date. That had to be emotional but rewarding. God has blessed you so much and its a pleasure to read and see how. BTW if you click the pictures it makes them larger, so I was able to see you, great sweat and all.

Jen said...

It is just amazing that God knows how it all ends. He is with us always and that is so comforting. Praise God for your life and your continued commitment to Him. It is awesome that you give Him all of the glory.

Anonymous said...

Finally read your recent blog. 6 hours is a lot of time to think and reflect and remember how much God has done in your life. He is so faithful even when we fall short. I thank God for your life and for your future.Pride and gratefulness fill my heart.

Raquel said...

Hey Kirsten,

I did not realize the date either until I read your blog. (It made my eyes tear up just reading!) You are such an amazing athlete and person! I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet you and get to train with you! I cannot wait to see you in November and watch you complete your first full IM!!! Miss you LOTS!!! Rock

Mike and Lisa said...

Congratulations on your tri! As I read the title and date, I remembered your old anniversary and wondered how you did through it all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. God is so good! I really hope to someday meet Colin- the wonderful man with whom God has blessed you. I miss you friend! You are never far from my thoughts or prayers! =) Lisa