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How I drove 2 hours to sweat like a pig, drink salt water and meet a Spark Sister

Monday, September 09, 2013

Last year, my and Doglady's first year of Triathloning - I did West Point and she did Sandy Hook. We both had an amazing time at our respective events. This year we were going to attend each other's. She was laid low by foot problems for West Point, but I still made it to Sandy Hook.

I stopped to pick up my race packet on Saturday and was also able to drop off the bike. My first opportunity every and a nice little detail. Then I continued onto my aunt's house, a shorter 1 hour away, and we had a lovely visit.

There is something stupendously ODD about driving to the race WHILE ITS STILL DARK OUT. The things we do for our sports. Holy cow, the beach was amazingly beautiful. However parking was at least a mile away from the start and I really had to hurry.

DogLady and I managed to find each other. She had parked her phone in her car and I wasnt wearing my glasses. It was a miracle! We chatted for a bit and then she had to go to her purple cap wave and I had to wait for my blue cap wave. It was really cold waiting on the beach. The shore was all little pebbles too - not the nicest thing to stand on in bare feet. When our wave finally goes in, the chop is pretty serious and the worst part was it was irregular. I was *never* able to settle into a pattern. While my "staring into the dark" anxiety never surfaced, it was because I was too busy wrestling with the waves. I had a slightly better time backstroking because I was able to time my breathing so that I was breathing OUT as the wave broke OVER my head and there was water in my face. I heard a few people calling for help from the kayakers, but I concentrated on just keeping going. Preferable without being kicked in the face (triathletes, you know what I'm talking about.)

I finally found a rhythm about 100 yards from shore - although what bloody good does it do you then? Then onto the rocky shore and up into transition. On my way thru, Doglady sticks a hand over the barrier and we slap five. I'm up and onto my bike before I start processing "Hey, she should be out on her bike. Maybe she's just really fast. Or I'm really slow." At that point, its too late to ask questions, you just have to shelve them and keep going.

Bike is only 8 miles and flat as a pancake. It reaffirms to me how much I like hills. Yeah, going up sucks. But that also means you get to go down. This is just relentless pedaling. And on the ride back, we are going straight into a headwind. Back into transition and off to the run.

A girl in a neon yellow jersey and I spend some time leapfrogging her until I pass and maintain a lead for the last 1/2 mile. Just when I think I cant keep running, and start to slow, she passes me again "How can you do this? We've been pacing each other the whole way!" And I ran with her all the way to the finish. And truly, I would not have run as well without the support of that anonymous stranger.

DogLady found me at the finish line and explained her DNF. I got to meet her delightful sister and brother in law. We are not allowed to go back into transition to collect our things until after everyone is out on the run course, so we hung around and made small talk. Afterwards, we went to another one of the beaches and hung out some more drinking water (I had to drive) eating sandwiches and generally bitching about the suckiness of the swim.

Yes, Doglady is an awesome person to do a triathlon with, but she's even more fun on a beach with a sandwich.

In short, if you have the opportunity to drive 2 hours and meet a SparkFriend in person, I recommend you do it. Best way to end the summer. I only wish Child and DH had been there to play on the beach with us.

Last details:
Swim, 0.3 mi - 21 min
Bike 8 mi - 35
Run 3.0 mi - 31
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Congrats on a great tri finish. Boy those waves sounded tough. I did about a half mile in heavy chop and that was enough for me...started feeling seasick and like you, had to really focus on timing my breathing. Lucky for me it was only a training swim.

    I have had some wonderful experiences meeting Spark friends.
    1738 days ago
  • RAINA413
    I really loved this blog!! I have met a couple of my Spark Friends and it is the best! I love that photo of the two of you and love even more that this site has brought together new friends!!
    1740 days ago
    Great blog!! Meeting SparkFriends is the best! ONEKIDSMOM came and ran my first half marathon with me and it was one of the super experiences of my life. Great Tri accomplishment, too. Thanks for sharing.
    1742 days ago
    I have two Spark Friends who live within walking distance of my house - BOGUS ANNIE and IRONMOM39. It is great!
    1743 days ago
    I have met 2 Spark Friends.

    I enjoyed your blog. Wow swimming in the dark - you are brave!
    1743 days ago
    What a fantastic day. I've only met a Spark friend once for walk and I'd love to do more things like this!!!!

    I'm doing my very first 5K on October 27th at SUNY Purchase. It's the Lindsey Bonitall race, very popular here in Westchester County.
    1743 days ago
  • BUTTERFLY-1976
    That's awesome!! Congrats on both meeting a spark friend & finishing your race emoticon
    1743 days ago
    Very cool! Glad you enjoyed it!!
    1744 days ago
    Awesome to have made the swim. It was a really breezy day.
    Good work!
    1744 days ago
    Yikes! I would have bailed out on the swim! Glad you got a chance to meet Doglady. She is pretty awesome. I was doing the math and your time was great. Way to go!
    1744 days ago
    terrific! I met an sp friend this summer! Greatest! you look great! success! emoticon
    1744 days ago
    Absolutely awesome. That swim sounds terrifying!!! I'm so proud of you.
    1744 days ago
    How awesome for both of you!!! And nice job on your tri! I've never done a tri swim in the ocean before...you are BRAVE!!!!
    1744 days ago
    Reading your blog brings back some amazing Spark memories of taking trips and meeting Spark Friends in person. It is SOOO worth it, and I second your recommendation. I was trying to count up all the Spark friends I've met in person now, and it's quite a list now. I think I'm up to a dozen, now, with the addition of having KPETSCH join me for the first half of this past weekend's DHM.

    So glad the two of you (a couple of my favorite Sparklers) got to meet and have an event together. If I ever do a nostalgia trip with a destination event to NY, PA or NJ... look out, I might just hunt you two down (if it works out, of course).

    BTW, Rev3 is adding a Poconos event next year... check it out!

    P.S. I forgot to say CONGRATS on a great finish! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1744 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/9/2013 9:41:11 PM
    Your run time is FANTABULOUS! And how you made it through the swim in 21 minutes is completely IMPRESSIVE!

    I am so happy to finally meet you. We got each other into this crazy triathlon mess and we'll see each other through it. I am proud to be your Spark Sister.

    I think I'm done crying about the DNF. See my blog later tonight for an update. The DAWG has a good mad on.

    So happy you are home safe to your family. Thank you for coming down.
    1744 days ago
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