Monday, March 21, 2011

Believing in me

at the finish!!
I just wanted to update you all on my awesome accomplishment on Saturday!  Am I boasting?  Sorry, I think the endorphins might still be running amok which, ironically, is in direct contrast to the blood flow through my calves - seems they have locked up a bit.  Allow me to share some highlights of my experience with you. 

The ride down to Bellayre took a bit under 2 hours and it was a beautiful drive.  Despite the panoramic view, the last 30 miles or so I began to get a bit nervous about what I had gotten myself into.  Perhaps it was driving behind an Audi wagon with vanity plates that said "Tri-Girl?" 

This was the 20th anniversary of the Pine Hill Arms Triathlon and you'd think they'd have things pretty well organized by now, but that really wasn't the case.  There was definitely some confusion about where to set up our stuff, what the course conditions were going to be like and they definitely put us on top of the mountain way too early, but maybe this was just my own lack of experience.  Whatever - I just kept reminding myself that I was in it as a personal challenge and to have some fun. 
at the top of the mountain

Fortunately, I had some friends on hand participating and offering their support, advice and picture taking talents. I was most concerned about the skiing segment since I've only skied once before - and it was before Quinn was born. He's 6. Luckily, my friend, Jim, rode the chairlift with me and once I mastered dismounting without falling, I felt some confidence building. I positioned myself in the back of the pack of racers and when it was time to start, I committed to doing things at my own pace. I have to say, the ski was an absolute joy. The clouds broke up and the sun was shining and there was a view that was inspiring. I had no problems navigating my way down with caution and was really happy with my ability to negotiate my way successfully to the bottom of the 2+ miles.  
finishing the grueling biking segment
I got my skis off and put my cycling shoes on and headed out for the 10 mile bike ride. Honestly, this was the leg I most discounted - even with the description of the ride as "grueling." I figured, 10 miles, pssshaw - I can do that, no problem. Of course, I haven't even sat on my bike since prior to my shoulder reconstruction in September, but if I've got anything, it's self confidence. The first couple of miles were insane - according to my friend's fancy watch thingamijig, we gained about 1,000 feet in 2 miles.  I don't know if that sounds like a lot to you, but, believe me, as I was climbing that hill (or as I was calling it "mo-fo hill"), it felt off the chart challenging.  I completely thought I was going to have to get off of my bike, but sheer determination (did I mention I can do anything?) and gritting my teeth got me through it.  Seriously, if you've birthed babies without pain medication - there's nothing you can't do!  James grabbed this picture of me as I was finishing the biking piece - note there is no one around me.  That's because I was in absolute last place.  The mere fact that he was just leaving for the run, though, urged me on and I kept going, getting off my bike, stripping down a layer and lacing up my sneakers.

gearing up for a ridiculous hill
The run was really the only part of the event for which I actively trained.  Of course, my training was indoors on a treadmill, but I've played around a bit with distance, incline and speed, and felt pretty good about this piece.  I knew I was going to make it when my iPod started throwing me Led Zeppelin, Madonna and Tom Petty, and I felt my body go into a zone which was really empowering.  In spite of my preparation, there was one hill that I succumbed to and I needed to walk for maybe 90 seconds.  I was able to get my feet going again and ultimately finished in about 1 3/4 hours, I think.  Or, as my friend Lisa described it, DFL (dead f'n last).  The truth is, I couldn't have cared less how long it took, I just wanted the sense of accomplishment and I got that in spades.  It was an incredible feat for my 44 y/o body and I'll be parlaying this into future physical challenges, carrying with me the belief that I can in fact do anything.  As a matter of fact, there's an event in September in my hometown and I've got my eyes on that one already... 


  1. Silvia,

    I have to say I think your amazing and you are an inspiration to my 55 yr. old body!! I have been away from the gym for quite sometime - just got back into at the first of the year and know that if I don't move it - i will lose it!!! Jack LaLanne's passing also got me off my arse!!! I want my 60's to be better than my 50's and you my girl are way ahead of the game!!! Way to go girl!!!!

  2. Thanks for that excellent description of the race. I only did the running and a little of the bike stage, so I enjoyed reading about the parts I didn't experience. That part of the mountain you walked up was insanely steep and long - you would not have reached the top any faster if you continued running. You will love doing the GWL Triathlon. I wish I could do it but it is always the same day as the Survival Of the Shawangunks Triathlon. If I don't get into SOS one year, I will do GWL. Congratulations on your accomplishment - I know you are proud, and you should be. Also think about the Tupper Lake Tinman (1/2 Ironman Triathlon) - if not for this year then for 2012. Tony and I are doing that one at the end of June.

  3. If it makes you feel any better, my 23 y/o body would have dropped dead after a minute of running, and probably the biking, too. Never tried skiing downhill but I'm pretty sure that would be a disaster. Go you!! I knew you'd make it. :)

  4. I love you, Silvia! So proud of this and it's so inspiring!

  5. Between the endorphins and your compliments, I've been riding a high all week. Thanks, all!!