I have officially challenged my heart, lungs, body, and mind more than ever before. Once upon a time I thought a marathon was hard, but now I have a different belief. Period.
The Pacific Crest endurance duathlon was one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences of my life, albeit one of the most physically challenging moments as well.
After a night dreaming endlessly of biking and running in various conditions and passing through diverse obstacles, I awoke with butterflies and energy. Yes, lets do this! My husband greeted me downstairs with a card, twinkle lights, and “trophy.” He sure knows how to fire up my spirits.
We drove to Sunriver and dropped off my running gear at the second transition. With every mile closer to the start, the adrenaline became more intense flowing through me.
Standing at the starting line, just me and the bike, uncertainty both excited and scared me to death. Two by two we lined up and approached the starting line. Clipped in and GO!
I love being on the bike. The speed. The air. The scenery. The pavement below. I absorb all of it. Although several of the TT bikes were zooming past me (a bit frustrating at times) I felt at home with my Trek Madone.
I even was welcomed on a number of occasions with my mom and step-dad, who rode along, cheered, and took pictures. They were an awesome support team.
It took me roughly 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the 58.5 mile ride. I was in good spirits as I dismounted at the transition – notice that smile? I will never get over that funny feeling of immediately running, and in bike shoes at that, after being on a bike that long.
My first thought when I saw my running shoes awaiting me at my 3×5 foot space was, “what? I am going to now run 13 miles. Really?” It got to me mentally, and as I started to run away on my 13-mile journey, panic set in.
After only a few steps onto the course, I suddenly found the nearest sage brush and threw up. The heat and intensity was hurting. I ran a few steps more and started to feel pressure deep in my lungs. What is this? I have never felt this way during a run before in my life!
Suddenly an angel appeared → my husband. He was in his car, but pulled over and ran toward me. Mentally, I was done. He made me walk, got my breathing back in line, and encouraged me to finish what I started. Wow! I married well. 🙂 I got my pace and air back and kept going. There was an aid station every mile. It was in the mid 90s and noon – very defeating to a body.
Mile after mile passed. It is amazing what went through my head during that hour and fifty minutes. At one point I was even talking out loud to my dad, asking him to help get me through it. Very emotional.
But, I did not quit. Seeing Justin’s face along the way, as he met me at various aid stations, kept me going.
I crossed the finishing line at 5 hours 11 minutes, clocked at my time chip. When I saw the cheering crowd and blue flags that flaunted “FINISH” everything became OK.
When I crossed the timing mat and heard my name called out followed by “the first female duathlete to finish” I got teary eyed. The last five hours were a blur, but that moment was flawless and unforgettable.
Justin and I hung out for a few hours and enjoyed the atmosphere. I was on the ultimate high.
The awards ceremony was entertaining and I sat back, enjoyed my Deschutes Brewery Chainbreaker, and engaged in conversation with the people lounging around me. I was called up to the stage area where I received a glass plaque, medal, bag of goodies, and loaf of bread. Yes, the first bread I have ever “won”. The excitement on my face says it all.
A final goodbye to Sunriver and Pacific Crest, I walked away feeling accomplished and happy. What a remarkable day and celebrated learning experience. A special thanks to Justin Yax, Sandy Sherritt, and Billy Sherritt, for helping me make it through.