I have done the Pac Grove Tri every year for the past three years. I wanted to write my history with this triathlon because it has been a life changing event for me. I hate swimming in the ocean but I will go back there every year because it changed who I am.
2005: This is the first year. I trained with Team in Training. (Here is the back story if you are interested) and did it in 4:19:42
I had a BLAST! I did all the training in the 4 months with TNT. Met one of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet, my LA Run buddy. Became best friends with Run Buddy nad LA Run buddy from our time together in TNT. I worked for it and I was THRILLED to finish. I ran with my run buddy and we finished together. Awesome, awesome, awesome experience!
Immediately after Pacific Grove, we ran in the Relay for Life from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, and then...
I. Did. Nothing.
2006: After a winter of doing nothing but eating like there was no tomorrow Run buddy, LA Run buddy (she wasn't in LA yet) decide we are going to go back to Pacific Grove, but this time as Team RBR (from a poster we saw in the crowd at Pac Grove that said "Run Bitch Run" which we thought was the funniest, fucking thing we had ever heard! So we stole it.)
We followed our TNT training plans somewhat diligently (I was inconsistent about the swimming and biking) for 3 months this time and added some extra running because I wanted to try my first 1/2 marathon at the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll. This time I didn't have the fear of God in me about not finishing and it showed in my lack luster biking and swimming during training. I finished in 4:10:32
Nine minute PR solely because of improved run time. My swim and bike were worse. I was dead last out of the water in my wave. BUT I had a BLAST again! We decorated RBR shirts, we cheered laughed and joked around on the course. We wore pink. I puffy painted "Thank God the Swim is Over" on my race jersey, and I had my best buddies racing with me. I was one of "those girls" (All you ladies know what I am talking about. If not, you are one of 'those girls' already. Congratulations!) I felt amazing! We decided this was going to be our annual thing!
Afterwards we did a relay at the Sentinel triathlon. Run Buddy swam (her favorite event), LA Run buddy cycled (her favorite event) and I ran (duh!). Again were the last relay out of transition (Sentinel is WAY hardcore) both times, but we had a BLAST! Then Run buddy and I did the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 marathon (Time 2:59:42) and then...
I. Did. Nothing.
All Winter. (hmmm, a pattern, no?)
2007: Another winter of inactivity and massive food consumption. Spring comes. Fat, unhappy and seriously depressed. I have to change something. I decide to go back to TNT and train for Nike Women's Full Marathon.
I trained hard for the marathon. I ran every mile and did every workout, but I rode a grand total of 12 miles on my bike, swam a whopping 1000 yards for the entire summer. I did not do a single open water swim and had not been in the ocean since the previous year's triathlon. I thought the marathon training would carry me through the tri.
I was wrong.
I finished in 4:16:32
Worst swim and bike ever. I was dead last in my wave of the swim again. I had my own canoe escort. I threw up in the swim. I almost bailed in T1 and sat down deciding whether to keep going.
This time I did NOT have a blast. I was miserable the whole day. My hubby spends the day at Pac Grove every year to take pictures. My dog Lucy comes to cheer me on and I wouldn't even stop and pet her or give him a hug because I just wanted to be done.
So not cool.
I get injured before Nike and can't run the whole thing (melt down report here). Friends at the weightloss blog that I started doing help me turn my attitude around and I walk/run Nike with Run Buddy (Nike race report) and decide to run the Napa Marathon (race report). The rest, as they say, is history.
Now as I am 19 days away from my fourth time at Pac Grove I have come to the realization that whether I have fun at a race isn't about the time it takes me to finish (sure, I would prefer to not finish with, or behind, the 80 year olds) but more about the satisfaction in knowing I have done the work to be there. really there are only a few minutes between all of my Pac Grove times, but there are very different feelings.
I want to feel like I did at the first two. I want to feel like I did at Barb's Race (well, most of Barb's anyway). I am not going to win, or medal, or even reach the top 50% my age group, but God dammit, I want to have a good time. For me that means I have to earn my finish whether it be slower or faster (Better be faster. If that old fucker beats me again my coach is fired.) This year at Pac Grove I will have earned my finish. And you know I am going to have a good time!
Time to bring out the puffy paint!