Saturday, September 14, 2019

Brittany Runs a Marathon

I had heard about the movie "Brittany Runs a Marathon" for a while now. A few running buddies have seen it and said that it was good. My favorite theater, Alamo Drafthouse starting showing it this week so I went to go see it. Shout out to Alamo Season Pass! It's Alamo's version of the MoviePass. I LOVE it!!

This movie spoke to me. The main character decides to take up running as a way to get her life together. The first day she decides to go for a run she looks through her closet to find clothes to put in. I swear fore God this was me when I showed up in 2008 at the 1st group with NCRC Women's beginner running program. I had on cotton shorts and a cotton shirt. I was so unaware of what the proper running attire consisted of. As my former Galloway mentor and fellow HBCU lover Dr. Christy Walker told me "cotton is rotten." If you don't know then you don't know. Brittany puts on cotton sweatpants a sports bra on top of a regular bra and a pair of Converse sneakers. I kept thinking while watching I know what that's like trying to get into some form of physical activity and not even having anything to wear. She decides to start off by running for 1 NEW YORK block, let just call that about 1/4 of a mile. She makes it. Her neighbor invites her to join a local running group. When she shows up to the group I had a flashback of the information session for the NCRC WBRG. I remember being in that room at Glen Eden community center and looking around and wondering what had I gotten myself into. When she arrives at the group run the leader announces they are going to go for a 2-mile run. OMG!!! My 1st group run was about 1.25 mile around Shelley Lake. I thought I was going to go home to glory. I was the turtle of the group as I have never run in my life. One of the volunteers Jean Hagen-Johnson was with me. We started off with 1:1 interval. Then we slowed down to 2:1 interval. As we came around the lake and there was a slight incline which I thought was going to take me home to glory we just started walking. I remember that run like it was yesterday and it really was 11 years ago. I made it through it and my entire body hurt for a week. Brittany makes it through the 2 miles. She meets a fellow runner and they decide to keep up with the running and do a 5K. She gets serious with her running and nutrition. She starts to lose weight and as anyone who has ever been on a weight loss journey knows this is a BIG win. Her roommate is her best friend and she shares her news with her and she really just shrugs it off. She even tells her that she is training for a race. Her friend jokes if she's doing a marathon and she tells her a 5K, the friend's boyfriend is even a bigger ASS and says "it's just 3.1 miles" OH MY GEE I do believe I might have hollered at the movie screen. That is the worst thing someone can say to you. It's just 3.1 miles. Yes, it is. You are moving your body to complete it. His snarky comment is how some folks really are. Trust me I have met them at races. I shall say a little prayer for them later. In my southern petty mode "Bless their heart"

Brittany and her new running buddy whose name I have completely forgotten and I could totally look up on IMDB but I don't feel like it decides to do the 5K together. There is a scene where a group of kids passes them and they think they are going backward instead of forwards. This movie is funny.
They both finish the 5K. Her running buddy family is there to see him cross the finish line. She looks around and there is no one there for here. Oh, how I could relate to that. It was YEARS before any family member saw me at a race. It was 2016 when my mom and I traveled to VA Beach for Shamrock that she saw me finish a race. The best part was she did the race with me. If you want more about that fun-filled adventure head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of my 1st book, Power of the Turtle: Tales of Being Dead Last. I'm told it's a pretty good book.

After doing the 5K she continues to keep running with her neighbor and old boy, that's what we shall call her male running partner. After seeing a commercial for the NYC Marathon she mentions to them that they should do it the following year. They all decide to train for a year to do the marathon.
Due to an injury, she gets sidelined from doing the race the next year. After her recovery from her injury, she decides to get back on the horse and train for it the following year. I watched an interview the actress did about the movie, she actually ran parts of the NYC marathon for the movie. There is real footage of the race in the movie. This is the first time this has happened. The thing that stood out most to me during the marathon race scenes was her running buddy was there with his family to cheer her on, her neighbor was there cheering her on and her "bae" was there near the finish line cheering her on. I don't think people realize what a difference it makes to have folks cheering you on when you are there literally fighting for your life trying to finish a race.

The movie is based on a true story. In the end, they showed photos of the real Brittany. I called the tall dude after the movie and told him it has motivated me to do a marathon. Of course, this rascal is all excited like it's about to happen tomorrow. I told him to let's pencil it in for 2020.

Thank you Material Pictures and the real Brittany because this turtle is going to throw her hat in the ring at a full marathon in 2020. OH snap, did I just commit to a marathon in 2020. I need to lose about 500 lbs first :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Let's get it started 2019!!

New Year's Day for the past few years has always found me doing the Commitment Day Run 5K either at the Lifetime Cary or Raleigh location.
The red Commitment Day logo and a graphic depiction of “2019,” in which each number contains the image of a person exercising

 I personally prefer the Raleigh location because it's about 10 minutes from the crib. This year the race was only being held at the Cary location. The website mentioned an outdoor and an indoor option. My concern was if you signed up for the indoor option would you still get a shirt and a medal. Why do I race if there is no medal?? I race for the bling. I put my junior detective skills to work and called the Raleigh location. They were clueless. They told me to call the Cary location. The Cary location had no idea. Seriously how did these people get hired? The Cary location advised me to reach out to their run coordinator, Linda Hatfield. Being an active user of social media, I reached out to her on Facebook messenger. This woman should get a raise because she told me exactly what I needed to know. You will get a medal for either the indoor or the outdoor option. She didn't have enough volunteers to monitor the indoor. I opted for the outdoor option. For the 2018 race, the tall dude told me in no certain terms that he was not racing outside so we opted for the indoor option because it was a balmy 20ish degree at the start. I told him we are doing the race outside this year cold, rain or shine.

Packet pickup was held the day of the race from 8am-9:45am. I felt I needed to be there at 8am. Don't ask me why I was at the race an entire 2 hours early but I was. The temperature was about 67 at the start with about 2000% humidity. Ok so maybe I exaggerate but anywho it was unusually warm for January. In the words of my parents, this is foolish weather. I dressed in long-running leggings tank top and a jacket. As I walk into the gymnasium to pick up my packet I am already coming out of my jacket and wrapping it around my waist. This was clue #1 that the weather was going to kick my arse today. As I head to the pickup table I spy with my little eye Janet and Shelley, 2 of my TIFL sisters who pretty much live at the Lifetime Cary run club.

If you see me at a race, you are guaranteed to see the tall dude at the same race. Just in case you are unfamiliar with who I speak of, his government name is Gregory but I call him Tall Drink. My mom likes to call him Small Sip which cracks us both up. He meets me there to pick up his packet as well. He's never been to the Cary country club, that's the nickname for the Lifetime gym. If you have ever been inside you will understand why it's called that.

We hang out in the Lifetime Cafe waiting for the race start. that's the bonus of the race being there you have plenty of places to hang out while waiting. You even have a real bathroom to use. This is a bonus. I run into a lot of peeps who are doing the race. Katie who works at the Raleigh gym is there with her daughter who is doing her 5th 5K. Katie is still trying to recruit me for the Lifetime TRI training group. They want real $$. I have my 1st open water TRI on the 2019 goal list. I just need to make a plan to make it happen.

I see one of my TIFL sister Cynthia Gary walking in. She recently performed in the Black Nativity play. She's awesome. I highly recommend it when it returns in December.

I've been feeling kinda out of sorts because the wristband on my Garmin broke the other week. I ordered replacement bands. I have been having issues replacing the band. As I am waiting in my car for the tall dude to arrive I take a look at the package the bands came in and check my Garmin. The Garmin is 920XT, the bands are for 910XT. I google if they can be used and they can not. That explains why the screws wouldn't come out. I thought it was operator error. I find the 920 bands on Amazon, order them and process the return on the 910. Where in the world would be without Amazon :-)

I also see of my BGDG cycling sisters Yevette Yarborough-Trotman. She tells me she's riding the struggle bus and will be walking with me. I tell her to feel free because you know I will be bringing in the rear like always.

We head towards the gym to get ready to line up for the race. I make a pit stop at the restrooms. It's the worst feeling in the world to have to go pee while doing a race. Take my word for it. I have had that experience in Myrtle Beach for like 2 miles during a half marathon.

After the pit stop, I head through the gym and walk outside to where the race will begin. I see Carolyn and Jack, fellow NCRC run peeps. The rest of the crew find me outside. We can tell they must have made the race announcement because everyone is filing out of the gym and heading to the race start.

The kid's race is first. The kids have so much energy. I wish I had some of their energy. You can tell some of them have a running career ahead of them by their pace. I have no idea if races like this existed when I was their age. it's always amazing to see entire families participate in races.

After the kids' race, we all line up for the 5K. I always line up in the back because if you start near the front and you not ready you will get caught up in the fast pace and will be done before you even hit a 1/4 mile of the race. that happened to myself and Sevanne at St. Timothy's Spring Sprint years ago. Heart was beating way too fast way too soon.

The buzzer goes off and of we go. Since the Garmin is not on my arm, I start the run function and tuck it in my bra, there's no way its moving with the girls keeping it company. Off we go. The start has a slight incline and then we make a left out the parking lot and head down regency parkway. You can see the back of Koka Booth. I can see some Chinese decorations and I remembered the Chinese light show is still going on. folks have already made the turn onto the Swift Creek greenway. I make the turn and head onto the greenway. I pass 1 mile marker and keep it moving. The tall dude calls and checks on me. He warns me about how hilly the course is once you get out the trail. I tell him oh yeah I know this course. As I am in the greenway I run into Brad and Kathy Broyles and the kids and the entire family. They are all out for a New Year's walk through the greenway. Super cool. I make my way out of the greenway and I pass a couple who has been in front of me the whole time. I am so glad to be out the greenway. Woo hoo!! I know the course goes through a neighborhood and then back onto to Tryon. The course is on Kildaire and I hear these ladies tell the couple "the lady in front is the one setting the pace that you need to keep up with" I was half listening and then realized she was talking about me. As we come to a street I recognize the course monitor John Tate, fellow NCRC fun peep and Boston marathon finisher, AMAZING!!. I pass John and then make a left at the next street. The course monitor there tells me you are almost at mile 2 and there is a water stop. I pass the water stop. The volunteers tell us "we are down to out last 5 cups of water". I'm looking a full gallons of water sitting on the ground and laugh to myself. You gotta love the humor of folks who are NOT doing the race. I take the water and guzzle it down like it is the best thing on this earth. The course is winding through the neighborhood and it's getting hillier. Then we head into a business area. I walk on the bike path. The 2 ladies who were behind me pass me. The one lady tell me "You are awesome I want to shake your hand. Your pace is great." I'm like I'm shocked at my own pace because my entire body is still sore from yesterdays' workout. The lady tells me "well this work that out plus you will feel another kind of soreness from today" She ain't never lied. I'm down to less than a mile to go. I know I got this. Tall calls to see where I am as I was headed to the water stop and he's coming to meet me to walk me in. I don't know where I would be without that dude. He's truly the BIG brother I never had.

As I'm walking through the business park, I see him walking towards me. He walks with me to the finish. We come up to Tryon and make that left. We pass right by Lucky 32 which is having a New Year's Day lunch buffet and the smells coming from this restaurant are just straight delectable. It's so disrespectufl to smell those good smells as you are trying to finish a race. I just want to go on in there and get a plate. We head down Tryon and I know I got this because there are only 2 turns left. The bike sweeper past us. He tells me you're almost there. I tell him thanks because he has been riding the course keeping it same for us. I tell him I would rather be on my bike. He just cracks up. We make the left onto regency and I can see the country club. We head to the last turn and a volunteer says "you're almost there don't you see the finish line" I'm like oh yeah I see the finish line but I also know my car is around the corner. She's like that's most important. Oh yeah, you got to know where you car is so you can get home. As I making the home stretch to the finish line, I see some of the peeps at the finish line waiting for me. Do you know how happy that made me? Typically when I am finishing there is no one there. Cynthia, Shelley, Janet and Glennette are there cheering me on. I told tall that's what I'm talking about. Those ladies are the best!!

As I cross the finish line, John tells me "jo you can add this as an epilogue to your book" I tell him this will go into the next book. My first race of 2019 is in the books. In the words of Mr. Chow "but did you die" No I did not. I lived to tell the story of the race. I finished upright and I got the medal. That's all that matters.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I found you Miss new BOOTY

24 Hours of Booty
July 29-30, 2016
Charlotte, NC

24 hours of booty is a 24 hour cycling event that benefits cancer organizations. I was a booty virgin, I borrowed that phrase from one of my TIFL Charlotte sisters Julie Hecht Hackman Tettmar, last year. I really enjoyed it and decided to come back for round 2. When you sign up for 24HOB you commit to raise $400 in order to ride. Back when I was employed, fundraising I thought was pretty easy. I would strategically solicit my fellow co-workers on payday Fridays. The company has a matching gift program as well so that would double the donation. As most folks know I became unemployed October 2015. Now fundraising is like pulling teeth. I started off with an email chain to a few people. I also used social media. With a lot more soliciting friends and family I finally met my goal 2 days before the deadline. It was down to the wire.

                I left Raleigh Friday around lunchtime and headed southbound on 85. After running into standstill traffic a couple of times and finally stopping for lunch, I made it to Bootyville around 4. Bootyville is where riders camp out over the course of the next 24 hours. They may have had this last year and I just wasn’t aware of it, they have a gear drop area. I pull into the drop off area. There are volunteers to help you unload. I tell them I need to give them a tip. The 2 teenagers laugh at me and tell me I’m doing the real work I’m riding. The TIFL tent is easy to spot, it’s bright pink. I set my chair up and take a break and drink some ice cold water. A sister came ready this year. Packed the big cooler with all kinds of hydrating beverages. I started off with 2 bags of ice when I left Raleigh. By the time I get to Charlotte I’m down to ¼ of a bag of ice still intact. The heat is on!! I see my buddy Kristina Blake. She drove down from Pennsylvania with her cousin. Her husband Todd is also riding this year as well. That is true commitment right there. Right after I pull in, our booty coordinator Laurie Certo pulls in right in front making another drop off of stuff. After I cool off, I go park my car. Then head back over to my home for the next day.
                The ride officially starts at 7pm. I opt to go shower before heading out. Did I mention there is a full shower facility in the Levine center that is at our disposal. SWEET!! Guess who headed to the locker room without her towel, this chick. I improvised. I have learned from last year to not go out at the beginning because it is a mosh pit of riders. Angela Stevenson and I decide to go out about 7:20pm. Angela and I head out. My personal goal is 25 miles. My plan of attack was to do 3 loops at a time. That would be 9 miles. I’m on the booty loop. I remember that it starts off downhill. I’m like this is how I like to ride. Downhill is my sweet spot of cycling. Then there is the sharp right turn. There is a party tent to my left with a DJ. The crowd support is awesome. The neighbors are so encouraging. I start to notice a slight incline. Then I remember there is a hill coming up. Last year I wasn’t ready for this hill and was having technical difficulties with my gears. I was ready this time. I was already in my lowest gear ready to take on THE HILL. I pedal and pedal through this hill. I don’t stop. I am sweating from the humidity like a sinner in church. I made it to the top. HALLEJUAH!! I can feel how dry my throat is, not good. I am on flat surface, I attempt the unimaginable. I reach for my water bottle and lo and behold I reach it, drink some water and by a straight miracle from God I was able to put the bottle back in its holder. This is a huge feat. Go me Go me!!! I make the last right turn onto the loop and head to the end. I’m thinking I can do another loop. I keep going and make my 2nd loop. I’m thinking to myself I didn’t even do this last year. I make it up THE HILL again. I reach for water again. I’m checking out the neighborhood. These folks are partying it up. I’m slightly hating because I wish I was out there chilling with a food truck or margaritas. There is a car that passes me and i hear my name. It's a boatload of my Charlotte sisters, Donna Rubin, Wendy Reid, Lora Leach Braun and her daughter and 1 other lady who's name escapes me. That encouragement was just what i needed. After I make the right turn and head back to the finish, my lower back tells me that I should go ahead and make my exit. I head to the exit. I check RunKeeper and see I am short of 6 miles. I ride around the parking lot to make it an even 6 miles. I head back to our spot. 2 loops done. Now it’s time to eat. Did I mention Angela and I smelled the grill as we headed out and it was hard to dismiss the smell and go for a ride. I’m back in the tent drinking water. Hydration is so necessary. I head over to dinner with some of my Charlotte sisters. Dinner is delicious. Hamburger, pasta salad and ice cold coca-cola and cookies. After dinner, I head back over to the tent. I rest up for a bit. Then I head back out for my 2nd round. I have come to the conclusion that 2 loops really work for me. I get 2 more loops in. I am currently at 4 loops which puts me at 12 miles. I’m really close to being at the halfway point of my goal. I have doubled last year total mileage. Lazy Johanna was at booty last year. I just enjoyed the event and wasn’t really interested in any goal. I do know I was hydrating properly because I was peeing like a person with a weak bladder. Kristina told me that is a good sign. That means that I am drinking enough fluids. If you are not peeing then you should be worried. Good to know. I think I knew that because I pretty much live in my bathroom at home.
                There is a midnight pizza party. We all head over to the pizza party. As I have burned some calories I devour the 2 slices of pizza that we are told to is the initial serving. Then you can come back for me. After eating the 2 slices I didn’t even think about coming back for more. I head back to the tent to let my food settle. I decide to go back out for another round. Can you believe it’s still hot as Hades at 1am? Mother nature must be fighting with Bae again. At this point it is pitch black on the loop, I have my lights on full blast. There are some serious dark pockets out there. As I am riding there are still some spectators on the course. I’m like do these folks don’t go to bed around here. As I pedal up the hill, there are some dark spots and my paranoid self thinks what if someone jumps out at me. I’ve seen way too many horror movies. I finish my 3rd round.  I am now at 18 miles. I’ve done 3 times the distance I did last year. I come back to the tent. I hydrate a little. It’s about 2:30am. I'm so excited that I have biked 18 miles that i decided to call my #1 fan tall drink. He has told me that he will give up his sleep if needed to help me through the loops. Shockingly he is awake when i call him, i tell him I'm at 18 miles. Then i can hear the sleep in his voice. He tells me when i talk to him later in the morning he wants to hear really good news. I tell him you will.  I go lay down on my air mattress. I forgot the blanket in my trunk. I am so not going to get it at this hour. I improvise and use my towel. I’m tossing and turning on my air mattress. My roommate in the Taj Mahal tent (Thanks Sandra Asher) is the lovely Dawn Davis Calhoun. She’s already out like a fat kid in dodge ball. I finally pass out. I wake up in what seems like 5 minutes later. I hear Kristina say she’s going to get 1 more loop in before the sun comes up. I attempt to lift up off the air mattress. If you could have seen me get off that thing you would have died laughing it was so funny. I finally get to my feet feeling like I just drank all night. I get my socks and clips on. I load up my bottles. I have 7 miles left to goal. Its nice out. Temperature has finally cooled off some. I knock these 2 loops out. There are a lot of runners out on the loop on the sidewalk. I see a few BGR ladies I’m assuming. They yell you “go get it sister girl” I smile back. I finish round 4. I’m under 25 miles. I roll past the ladies and tell them I have 1 mile to go and it’s way too much to go get another loop in, I’m just going to ride around the area. I ride up and down the street and through the expo area and back in the parking lot. RunKeeper and my CatEye are not seeing eye to eye. CatEye is off my .22 miles. I keep riding until the CatEye hits 25 miles. When it does I start to swell up a little because I have met my goal. I can go buy the mileage sticker and add it to the collection. I head back to the tent. I can now go eat breakfast. My work here is done. Later booty, Jo is done!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's getting hot out here so go and do a TRI

Smile Train Triathlon
June 26, 2016
Wake Forest, NC

                I have to start this race report off with a disclaimer. This race seriously had me contemplating giving up on doing triathlons. I was at that place in my head for a good portion on the bike course. I will get into that during bike course recap. Before I get started I want to recognize folks who without their help and support today, I would probably still be out there riding aimlessly on the back roads on Wake Forest. Wake county sheriffs who were my personal escorts from about mile 7 up until I cross over heritage lake road back to the bike dismount line. FS series SAG wagon who was behind me probably 3 quarters of the bike course and I didn’t even realize until about the turnaround at mile 6. My TIFL tribe who is always there for love, support and motivation. I especially want to thank Heather Leigh who walked with me on the run course. She probably saved my life and didn’t even know it. Alexis who rode her bike on the run course to bring me some water and to see where we were. Even though she talked junk to me because I declined the water because I always have my camelback on me with water. Chris McDougal who took my bike and TIFL bag and walked them to the car for me. Post race I was pretty much dead inside.
                Transition opened at 6:30am. I woke up 2 times before my 5:15am alarm. That’s how it goes on race day, your body is paranoid that you are going to oversleep so you keep popping up checking the time. When the alarm went off I was ready to get up. I’m up getting ready and after eating my bowl of cereal I’m like well I guess I will get on out here and it’s about 5:55am. I’m about 15 minutes from Heritage where the race is being held. I get there in no time. Waze takes me the back way on Louisburg to Forestville road. As I get closer to the swim club, I notice folks are parked on the sides of the road. I’m thinking this is interesting race parking. I barely remember something about parking in a lot about ½ mile from the race site and ride your bike. That got me messed up thinking I’m riding my bike before the race start. No thanks. I pull into a spot on the side of the road. Benefit #1 of showing up early you get a close parking spot. I unload all my stuff. This is my first tri without using a bucket. Look who has grown up. I got my bike, tri bag and camel back. I cross the street and walk up to the race site. I find my row in transition. I’m 302 and the row starts with 301. Guess who mounted her bike on the beginning of the rack. Benefit #2 of being early, get the good spot on the bike rack. I spotted Karen and Ron Young when I parked. They are setting up their transition area. I find my towel and start pulling my gear out. I grab my race belt and head over to registration to get marked. It’s about 2 blocks around the corner. I sure am lazy for a triathlete. What can I say I am probably the laziest triathlete you will ever meet. I get body marked. Volunteer asks me my age and I had to think about that because in triathlons your age is what you will be in the year. My age is 41, holy smokes batman when did I leave 40. Thank goodness I still have less than 2 months to enjoy 40 lol. I head back to transition and I see a few more of the tribe show up. Cynthia rolls in after picking up her race packet. Alexis rolls in like a boss with her fly shades on. I see Teresa coming in. Claudia comes in. Kathy/Patty relay team comes in. Mary and John come in. I spy with my little eye Sharon Johnson from afar talking to a volunteer. We get together for a pre-race photo. Karen tried to NOT be in the photo. That’s so not happening. I tell her when a person doesn’t want to be in the photo, they have to be dragged into the photo and that’s exactly what happened.
                I’m wondering about the restroom situation. Another racer tells me the bathrooms are locked at the pool. I was really hoping to use a real restroom. Like the Geico commercial, “not in my house”. Heritage ain’t playing it. You scrubs go use the porti potty. They probably didn’t say that but I bet it was something real close to it. ROFLMAO. I make the pre-race potty run. I start to re-think my race attire. I don’t own a real TRI suit. It’s hard out here for a fluffy triathlete. I opt to wear my swimsuit that I train in for the swim portion. I brought my cycling shorts to put over the swimsuit for the bike portion. I brought my run shorts for the run or as I like to call it recovery let’s just put 1 foot in front of the other and move portion. It’s a bit of a process when you have to use the bathroom with a 1 piece swimsuit on. I head back to transition. I’m thinking whoever set this up wanted us to really get some walking in if you had to go because you have to go back up a hill to get back to transition. I told you I was lazy right. Yeah you are starting to believe me aren’t you.
                Pre-race meeting starts at 7:45am. We head over to the pool. The microphone system they have is apparently owned by Chick-Fil-A because it is not open on Sunday. Race director is attempting to talk to us. I can barely make out what she is saying. I realize the swim is starting because the first group is lining up in the pool. The pool looks so good. I just want to stay in it all day. Since my race number is 302 I have some time before I start. We hang around and watch the first swimmers. They move so gracefully and fast in the water. Before you know the 1st swimmer is out, some teeny bopper. No I am not hating. It was a teenager who came out first. I see the first female come out. I see the first chip come out. Chip = a person of color. This comes from my fellow TIFL & BTA sister Dawn Davis-Calhoun. I’m always on the lookout for the chips at the race. Sharon finds some seats in the shade. Yes I will come take a seat in the shade. Sharon knows me and heat do not get along well. More on that combination later. This waiting process helps my pre-race jitters to calm down. We see Alexis in the pool and Kathy. I walk over to see her swim. I’m noticed the 200’s are in the pool. I head on over and get in the waiting area. I was expecting the water to be cold. It felt so good. I told Cynthia why can’t we just stay in the pool the entire race. Unfortunately, this is not a pool only event L We line up. She’s 300 and I’m 302. 301 must have gotten smart and stayed in the bed, smart person. As we are in the water, a couple behind me ask me if this is my first race. I’m like no this is my 5th TRI but first time doing this one. They are amazed but they don’t give me the LOOK. You know the one I’m talking about. Then they tell me they are runners and they just decided to sign up. They were not prepared as they don’t even goggles. Did I mention they weren’t wearing swim caps. Bless their little hearts.
                The swim portion is beginning. Cynthia goes first. Then I line up and the timer tells me go. I push off and enjoy floating and then move into freestyle. I remember what my swim coach told me long and smooth strokes. That’s what I do. I was having breathing issues. It’s one of my weak areas in swimming. I didn’t have any form of a panic attack like I did back in April at the indoor tri. I didn’t even count how many lanes I had left. Just like Dory said “just keep swimming just keep swimming.” On a SN: if you have not seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go see Finding Dory. I will go with you because I enjoyed it just that much. Baby Dory is just 2 cute for words. Back to the race. I’m about 25 meters from being done, I hear Candace tell me “Jo you only have 25 meters left to the finish now show me some form you’re on video”. I’m almost done, woo hoo!! Sweet baby jesus let’s knock this thing out. I swim to the end and I spot the ladder and head to. Why am I having issues with using my legs to lift myself out the water. Minor technical issue. I get out the pool. The tribe spectators are there “jo you’re done next up is the bike” I head to transition and find my spot. I attempt to put on dry cycling shorts over wet swimsuit. It was pretty comical if I do say so myself. Bike helmet on. Socks and shoes on. I have clips but opted to not try clipping in today as I am still learning that process. Camelback on, nutrition in camelback. This is the one time I opted to NOT bring my phone with me. That was a rookie move which I contemplated on later. I head out with my bike. Volunteer tells me to watch out for the curb. I head to the mount line. I am having some serious technical issues I have one bike glove, for the life of me I cannot get the 2nd one on. I drop it not once but twice and the very kind volunteer gets it for me. He asks if I have ridden this course before. I tell him I tried to drive it yesterday but got turned around. He tells me there are some hills and speed bumps in the neighborhood so be aware. I get on my bike cross the street and can you believe I cannot pedal. My bike is in torture gear. As I think back on this now, I should have taken my bike for a spin around the neighborhood after I picked it up Friday from Performance. Another rookie move. I am full of them today. You would have thought this was my first tri and not my fifth one. The beginning of the course goes up a slight hill and I am in the wrong gear and for the life of me I can’t get out of it. I am working up this hill and it’s a struggle. There’s a picture of me on facebook at this exact moment and my fascial expression tells it all. I make it up the hill, I get my gears straight and I’m off. Why are my legs already tired. Jesus take the wheel because this is going to be a struggle for real. I’m rolling through Heritage. There are hills in this neighborhood and I am reminded of preston with Le tour de Femme bike ride in October. I struggle up the hills, if you know me this is serious progress. I would normally hop off the bike and walk up. Not today I am trying to put the spin classes to use. I make it through the neighborhood. Turn right onto Chalks. Here comes another hill. I see Alexis heading back telling me to take that hill down. I don’t know about you but I don’t get real encouraged when I’m on the bike course and other folks are yelling stuff at me even if it is encouraging. It good be that my PMA(positive mental attitude) was at -5000. What can I say I was not a happy person on the bike course? Everyone who saw me felt it. I’m making my way on Chalks and I’m thinking to myself isn’t this the road my ex-fiance’s mom lives on. I pass a turn for a radio station and the next turn is for her house. I see a sign that reads organic eggs, cage free. I’m like I don’t think she was into farming but who knows. I’m like I know exactly where I am and this is about to get real hilly because I can recall riding on this road. It does and I push on through the hills. Whoever told me the bike course was flat was a LIAR and I’m giving you serious side eye right now. I get to the intersection and turn left. I pass Jones Dairy road the street I was on yesterday after I got turned around trying to find the bike course. You really get to see a lot of Wake County when you are out here on these lonely roads. I kept singing in my head “All by myself, don’t wanna by all by myself”. I come to the next turn and make a right. I’m getting real close to the turnaround. Thanks goodness. The hoo ha is not happy with me. Neither am I. It’s hot out here. I’m ready to be done. I really want to just go home and lay on my recliner. I start to accept the fact that I will take a DNF on this race because I am just not feeling this race today. In my head I had accepted the fact that this triathlon was going to become a duathlon if I can just survive the rest of this bike course. When I feel a need for a break from the saddle, I hop off the bike and walk. I hear a car approaching. It’s the SAG wagon, they ask me if I’m ok. I’m like just took a break off the bike. I get back on and I head towards the next intersection. I turn left. Volunteer tells me it’s not that much farther to the turnaround. I pass mile 6. This is a setup. The turnaround is past mile 6. I see the lonely course monitor directing me to turnaround. I hop off the bike and get some nutrition out my camelback and then get back on. 6 miles done and 6 miles to go. I think I can I think I can. I head back and I turn right at the intersection. Thank the volunteer and wake county sheriff. I keep on pushing. I pass mile 7. I get off and walk some. SAG wagon pulls up and ask if I’m ok. i tell them I am and they tell me they are back here if I need anything. When you are the end of the bike course, you get your own personal escort the SAG wagon. I turn left at the next turn. I notice the cops that were at the Chalks intersection are headed towards me. I’m thinking is there no one at the turn. White dodge charger pulls up in front of me with his blinkers. It’s a Raleigh PD. He leads me and SAG wagon follows. Oh yeah I have my own entourage on the bike course. How I wish someone could have taken a picture. We all turn right onto Chalks. There is some downhill. The charger sees me lower my head because I am embracing the downhill and rolling about 19 MPH. I struggle uphill but downhill in the words of Ludacris “move get out the way” The charger picks up speed so I don’t run into the back of him. I head to the very last turn, hallejuah. Make the left and I’m back in the lovely heritage neighborhood with their wonderful hills and speed bumps. A complete random stranger rides up to me and starts talking to me. Tells me he lives in the neighborhood but he’s not doing the race. We come to a hill, he gives me a push and tells me he and his wife bike all the time. He does the same thing for her to help her up the hill. Thank you random stranger because you my brother our my HERO today. There is another hill and speed bump. I make it up it. We pass the golf club. We head back to the race site. I have never been so happy in my life. When I passed mile 11 I got real emotional because very honestly I didn’t think I was going to make it. I cross over heritage lake and dismount. Barbara stone-newton is there rooting me on. 1 of the FS series guys comes over to me congratulating me on finishing the bike course. Then he tells me has some bad news, they are opening the roads on the run course and unfortunately I’m going to be able to do the run. I tell him you say that like it’s a bad thing. In my head I was already out after the bike course. I head to transition, drop my bike. I see a few of the tribe and tell me that what they said. Then I go ask another FS official if I go do the run course on my own will I still get the medal. 1 more FS official and race director later I am given the green light. I go put on my visor and race belt, grab my powerade, suck it up buttercup because you are about to do this. I head out on the run course. I pass the tribe who is chilling in the shade. Yes that is hate you have detected. I wanted to be chilling in the shade as well. Oh well that’s the life of a turtle. I’m walking on the course. I hear some shoes flopping behind me. You know what it is. It’s the sound of an angel named Heather Leigh who is coming to walk with me. I’m so glad to have the company. We walk the course together. We admire the gorgeous homes in the neighborhood. The SAG wagon passes us to check on us a few times and to make sure we’re still on the course. Heather tells me she came with me because she heard someone was giving out beer and doughnuts on the course. We found doughnut pieces on the ground but we never found the house. The mile markers have been removed so I have no idea how far we’ve gone. I see another hill and I’m ready to turn back. We head back. I am so over these HILLS. I thought the bike course was disrespectful. I knew the run course was hilly with no shade. The run course was what I had been worried about for weeks. I kept drinking from camelback and alternating with the powerade. We turn back onto heritage lake. We see Alexis riding towards us on her bike. She tells us she brought me some water but I have my camelback. She tells us she will ride back to tell the rest of the tribe I’m almost done. We pass by the parking lot that was reserved for race parking. I tell heather ain’t no way I was parking there and then climbing the hill to the race site. We climb the hill and we make it to the 2nd to last turn. Volunteer tells us we have 1 more turn and we’re done. The last turn has a slight incline to it. We push on up this hill. Angela is still on the corner. I tell Heather I guess the rest of the tribe rolled out. As we get closer, the course monitor yells out “jo you go this, you’re almost done” I tell her I am done. She replies back no once you make it across the finish line then you will be well done. I laugh. I make that left and the McDougal family is there waiting. Kimberly is at the finish line with her phone. The timing mat is still up. The clock is still up. They haven’t shut down yet. I cross the finish line.  I am officially DONE DONE.