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    MGJARVI   48,132
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DEAD LAST FINISH... and proud of it!! (with pictures)


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Monday, September 10, 2012

A couple months ago, a dear SparkFriend (love you Jeni!) says "why don't you sign up for a triathlon?" "just do it, pick it and do it!" Ok. Sure. Why not. I have PLENTY of time to do stuff like brush up on riding a bike, and oh yeah, trying to SWIM swim... PLENTY of time quickly turned into "IM NOT READY!!!" Procrastination at it's best... I couldn't swim the entire 400 meters without sucking air and water and backstroking to gag. I never did get around to trying out the full 13 miles by bike. And hills??? What hills??? Oh, but I have that RUN thing in the bag... Oh dear.

In the days leading up to the race, I'm freaking out. I reach out. "What did I do this for?" And a VERY wise spark friend Lynn says "Just relax, HAVE FUN, and count those lucky stars that you are able to run/walk, swim & bike!" She's RIGHT! Of course she's right! I kept that in mind a LOT during the event. I had wasted so much time agonizing over details such as "what if I'm the only one needing to backstroke" or "what if mine is the only mountain bike in a sea of sporty road bikes".

There is a quote that is pretty well known in the racing community. "Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start." I have always believed that. In fact, on my RoadID I had those initials engraved to remind me of that. (DLF~DNF~DNS) But it's kind of one of those things that you believe, but don't really think it will actually be YOU that needs that comfort. Sunday, September 9th, 2012, that saying really MEANT something to me.

I had a ton of nerves that morning. My dear friend Renee traveled to meet me to be my cheering squad. She did her job very well! She helped put me at ease. Even allowing me to rip loose a dance move or two for the camera on the pool deck before my pool entry! Having your own personal paparasi is cool, capturing moments like getting your first ever body markings! (yeah, that was pretty cool!)


I'm in the pool. I ease my way towards the back of the queue line because most of these people just LOOK like they know what they're doing. Turns out most of them DO and they easily pass and leave me in their wake. But I'm proud of my 400 meters, certainly not the best of the day (by a LONG shot) but I managed to keep moving, not needing the usual breathers that I would take during my training swims. Success. And, side benefit of exiting the pool near last... your bike is REALLY easy to spot on the rack:


All of that worry over transitioning... and I do it in 3 minutes and 39 seconds. Not too shabby for a newbie! I'm on the bike and the wind feels fabulous! There's hills. Oh my. There are a LOT of hills. There are a lot of LONG hills. I pedal so slow that I wobble, in danger of falling right over. It's an out and back course, so all of the cyclists are returning and most every one of them offers a quick bit of encouragement and I offer a smile and a thanks. They're the best!! The volunteers are cheering wildly while directing my turns. And then I get to the turnabout point and I see it.... The car that had been following me down this country road wasn't a car... it was the ambulance with it's lights on signaling that I am the last cyclist. In stead of freaking out or crying or feeling defeated or heaven help me, QUITTING, i smile even bigger! The next volunteer I see, I shout out "you can tell the ambulance that I don't need him, I'm going to make it!" LOL! The next volunteer I say "Shine up that last place medal, I'm earning it!". I hit a particularly tough hill and have to dismount and jog my bike up the rest of it. I remount, and on the downhill I let out a giant "WEEEEEEEEE" just like the little piggy on the commercials. All I needed was a pinwheel to be happier at that moment. I read my RoadID. I knew I was going to finish. I get back on the main road, I see racers with their bikes already mounted onto their vehicles, leaving to go home. Wow, good for you! You must have turned in a great time! I'm having a great time too! And I still get to run a 5k!


I'm off and running. Amazingly enough, I still have juice in my legs! HEY! I *do* have this run in the bag!! Feeling good!! Going to finish soon!! There is a water stop at the 1.5 mile mark, I know I'm half way there and I see a lady walking just ahead of me. I whisper like a conspiracy to a young volunteer as I pass that "i'm gunna take 'er!" and I just grin. I jog up to her, she says "that's great for you that you have gas left, I'm out". I slow to a walk and let her catch up to me. We walk the remaining 1.5 miles together. She's a first timer too. She had it on her bucket list to finish a tri before turning 50. She did! And I did it with her!! I could have jogged the remaining leg, somehow, I had it left in me. But I was accomplishing what I set out to, and I learned sooo much more.

So, yeah, today, I AM A TRIATHLETE!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SAMMIEJO920 7/15/2013 1:22PM

    I know you did this last year but thank you for sharing your story! My first tri is in one month and I'm nervous, but excited!

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LW8843 5/9/2013 2:19PM

    Ok you have me in tears!! Lol I hope I can have such a great attitude this weekend for my 5k which is know is small compared to this but its huge for me.

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JMHERRING78 4/3/2013 10:24AM

    Wow! What an awesome inspiration! I've just started out on my journey of training for my first 5k and had made it up in my mind not to sign up until I was sure that I could run the whole thing from start to finish for fear of being DLF, but you are such an inspiration! I will have to remember that - DLF~DNF~DNS! That's awesome! Thanks for sharing your story.
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LEVELPATHS 1/11/2013 2:53AM

    Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to share that amazing experience! :-)

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BDRFLI-TREKS 1/10/2013 10:09AM

    u... my dear... are an INSPIRATION! i absolutely loved the enthusiasm and your ability to see your glass as "half full, please fill it back up again"! i am inspired to do something great because of your blog...

and i am proud of you for finishing WITH that lady - it wasn't important for you to beat her so you wouldnt be last.... it was important to finish at ALL...

wooowwwww!

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SUPERSYLPH 12/31/2012 9:14AM

    Congratulations! I want to do that someday too!

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FRABBIT 12/13/2012 8:53PM

  Inspiring! Great finish to the race. You are an amazing person!

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LADYLIGHTS 11/26/2012 3:56PM

    You story is amazing and mirrors my own. This year I decided a sprint tri was in my future. I found the same DLF~DNF~DNS saying and loved it. It become my mantra. I like the idea of putting on my Road ID (my christmas present this year). Well I did finish and somehow I managed not to be dead last...but it would not have mattered, because I (HECK WE!!!) did it and there are plenty of people who DNS!! Rock on. Love the pictures (we have the same Tri Suit).

PS - I love how you finished the race. Brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing!!

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CHLOEAGH 11/17/2012 2:34PM

    I've never run a race before and bravo for you for doing it! It's great to see such a positive attitude!

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LHALL25 11/3/2012 1:11PM

    WAY TO GO!!! As I read your story I couldn't stop smiling...I could feel your excitement!! :-) Congrats!! I'm next!! lol

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PSCARPA16 10/25/2012 1:44PM

    You Rock!!! I am right there with you!!!! I did my first Tri on the same day and came in Next to last!!! I was never so prouder!!!

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IMELECTRIC 10/24/2012 11:46AM

    You are correct in saying, "Be glad you can..." We take that for granted. Just the ambition to try something like that is a great thing, and the fact that you finished it makes you a winner.

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SHARIRUN 10/23/2012 9:00AM

  congratulations! I can't seem to get myself to sign up, so great for you that you did it@!

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RUNNERMAMMA1 10/23/2012 4:27AM

    Good for you! I run half marathons and I remember one where they were literally packing up the course as I passed. Not the best feeling, but you are absolutely right about the DLF, etc. I just look at it as a 1st place win ahead of everybody who did not even get off the couch.

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MELROSE13 10/22/2012 5:32PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THEMRSH 10/21/2012 10:23PM

  Hey Mel! I am just coming across this blog in search of captain trivia! I knew that you had completed your Tri but I never got the full story. Reading your story just amazed me. You are awesome and what you did at the end brought tears to my eyes.

emoticon emoticon You earned these! emoticon


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LAURANCE 10/21/2012 9:00PM

  Me, too! I was the Grand Loser in a charity race, and I'm proud of it. This old Couch Potato is getting moving!

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PSIMSON 10/21/2012 8:55PM

    What a wonderful story! You are truly amazing and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

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BUGSMIMI 10/20/2012 6:57AM

  Such a nice blog! It brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations!! And that was very kind of you to walk that last leg. Well done...

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FLUTTER-BY)L( 10/19/2012 4:48PM

    What an awesome experience. You did it. I am trying to remember that with many things on this journey starting is more important than a "perfect" finish. Thanks for sharing the lessons learned. emoticon emoticon

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JESSI2783 10/18/2012 4:28AM

  This past weekend, my ekiden (relay marathon) team had a very similar story. With each passing handoff, there were fewer and fewer people in the relay zone. Then it way my turn. I was the final runner for our team and the last person in the entire event to take the handoff. Before I even got the baton, the DJ stopped playing and I started to worry that I wouldn't even get to run. Happily the race organiser came over to check who was left and assured the last 2 of us standing there that we had as much time as we needed. He also turned the music back on =p I got the hand off, ran through an empty stadium, passed the only other runner still out there, and enjoyed a course that she and I pretty much had to ourselves. We had a lovely police and EMT escort too. They encouraged us as we went. Race volunteers closed up the course as we passed. When I finally got back the stadium, my team was there to do the last lap with me. It felt great to finish. We got the last gatorade, the last medals. We were 1209th out of 1210 teams, but we finished. I'd read your post the day before the event and your story was going through my head as I ran. Thank you!!! It was super encouraging when I wanted to be down. Instead I enjoyed it, despite the rain, despite being at the end. Keep it up girl!

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 10/17/2012 11:01PM

    emoticon

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CINDYBEL 10/17/2012 9:44AM

    emoticon emoticon Great job.

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BELTANE12 10/16/2012 11:26AM

    Amazing and inspirational! Congrats on finishing!

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DIETER27 10/16/2012 11:11AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1SUNSHINEGIRL 10/16/2012 10:29AM

    Congrats on finishing your first (of many I'm sure!)! Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing! Proud of you! emoticon

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MOLLYBROWN55 10/15/2012 3:32PM

    Congratulations from a 7 time last place finisher of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!! You are AWESOME!!!

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Comment edited on: 10/15/2012 3:33:44 PM

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REVAMPINGMYLIFE 10/15/2012 11:54AM

    LOVE your ATTITUDE!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REGSHAR 10/15/2012 10:03AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAWNATHIN 10/15/2012 8:36AM

    emoticon

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RAGAMUFFINKEL 10/15/2012 8:16AM

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DOINITRIGHT2012 10/14/2012 7:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRISHMO1 10/14/2012 3:06PM

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ELAINEANNE1 10/14/2012 2:22PM

    Fantastic and congratulations.
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LOVEXAVIE 10/14/2012 12:36PM

  I am so happy for you! Thanks for sharing this awesome experience with us.
You ROCK!!!
Yes, they should give you a metal just for rockin' it so well!
GREAT JOB!
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MOLO14 10/14/2012 5:13AM

    What an inspiring blog post!! Well done :)

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WATCHINW8 10/13/2012 10:35PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBK0923 10/13/2012 7:10PM

    you are great, I'll bet your proud. Keep up the great job you're doing

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BABAJANE 10/13/2012 6:26PM

    You should be sssooo proud'! But you better watch out......That feeling can be addictive :-)). I was so nervous my first one. During the race swore it wouldn't happen again. At the end of the race I said "NEXT year I'm gonna do better!" Lol

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MIRFA71 10/13/2012 4:28PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THESHELBSTER 10/13/2012 2:58PM

    Fantastic! You are awesome!

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CMWARDRN 10/13/2012 2:44PM

  Wow. Way to go! Good for you for staying in the moment and enjoying the experience. I know that you learned a lot about yourself completing this goal. Thank you for sharing. I am disabled and I felt your joy in the words in your blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WOLFKITTY 10/13/2012 1:54PM

    Oh my gosh, this made me cry happy tears for you!!
Congrats!

Jocelyn

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FITANDFAITHFUL1 10/13/2012 8:47AM

    Wow! I'm 46 and I'd like to try a triathelon before I'm 50! My weakest link would be the run. I would have to walk briskly. Do other people do that too? I am not a jogger, but I love to walk. I LOVED this blog! And I'm going to post the DLF - DNF-DNS around my house and out on my bike and in our pool house! Thanks and blessings to you, friend! emoticon

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NETTY1 10/13/2012 12:15AM

    VERY MOTIVATING STORY. I loved that fact that you kept on going, and was not embrassed by the ambulance following you. Great story. Loved the ending tooo. emoticon emoticon

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WICCANWIDGET 10/12/2012 11:03PM

    emoticon I have never dreamed of a triathlon let alone a marathon! You are an inspiration to us all!!! Congrats on becoming a triathlete! Congrats on not giving up on yourself!!!

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KYLIESCHELLE 10/12/2012 11:01PM

    Woohoo! Congratulations on such a great accomplishment! emoticon

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HECKSYEAH 10/12/2012 10:15PM

    Way to go!

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LYNMEINDERS 10/12/2012 6:54PM

    Woohoo...go you...thats awesome...well done...
I did a half marathon on the same day...Walking...it is my 5th one...this will have you doing more and competing against your times....woohoo...go you

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BECCA315 10/12/2012 5:36PM

    I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!

Becca

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