My sister KICKS ASS!
Words cannot express how proud I am of my sister Jessica! She did her fist triathlon yesterday in New Jersey! For everyone not familiar with a full, Olympic triathlon, it is 1 mile of swimming (yes, SWIMMING FOR AN ENTIRE MILE!!), followed by 25 miles of road biking and a 10K (6.2 mile) run to finish up.
I’ve done my fair share of running since my last blog post, however, nothing I’ve done quite compares to this. And for that reason, I’ll take this post to tell you all about Jessica’s tri 🙂
First off, she’s part of the DC Tri Club, which is a sizable club in the Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic regions; they had about 200 members travel up to New Jersey to compete in the state triathlon.
Instead of opting for the Sprint Triathlon, which is much faster and much shorter than the other, Jess jumped headlong into the Olympic triathlon for her very first one! The event opens with the mile-long swim, which was in a lake. The water (I can only imagine) was a nice temp at 80+ degrees but it was still a lake – meaning no pool walls to hang on to, only other frantic swimmers kicking and pushing themselves to their physical limits and NOT caring about what happens to the others. There were 2,000 participants in total, but they were broken up into different waves starting with the sprint men, sprint women, then the Elite Olympic men and women (who were absolutely amazing to watch) and then the first time Olympic tri athletes.
It is important for me to say that not everyone even made it out of the water. There were quite a few swimmers who had to be towed in by the safety kayaks (and quite a few more who dropped out at various stages of the race). But Jess swam the entire mile in the lake. As I was watching the waves before her (including the Elite men and women) emerge from the water to sprint to the transition area and jump on their bikes, it looked to me that a number of people were about to keel over from the crazy long swim, and die. Jess, however, smiled at the camera and later told me that the swim was “quite enjoyable” (Yea Jess!)
Next up, the 25 mile bike ride. As the spectator and supporter, my only jobs were to cheer and take pictures. I almost f-ed up getting pictures at this stage because I forgot that they (the athletes) put on bike shirts after swimming and I didn’t recognize her until she yelled “Amber!” whilst riding past me on her bike! I got a nice one of her back 😦 I’m such an idiot! Anyway, after jogging her bike to the “mount” area, she was off like lightning. Now, my sister is a very strong person (not just emotionally, but physically she is very strong) and we’re from Colorado, meaning to say that the bike is her strongest event. I almost cried as she pedaled off around the corner because I knew this leg of the race was her time to shine.
Since I missed her mounting her bike, I was determined to capture her race (literally) to the finish of the bike portion and dismount. I watched the waves before her come in and I have to say that triathlon athletes are some of the all around toughest athletes there are. I, for example, cannot bike or swim. I mean, I know how to do both, but definitely not at a competitive level; triathletes have to be able to “master” not just one, but three events. It’s great to be able to witness.
So anyway, Jess came in on her bike hard and fast (she didn’t even look tired). So fast, in fact, that I nearly missed her once again. Just so I wouldn’t miss her again, I had been trying to memorize the faces of the competitors near her, but she managed to move up several places on the bike ride, so that didn’t help me much. She did almost eat it on her dismount because her legs were, presumably, exhausted by that point. And then she was off and running…
I managed to sprint over to the mouth of the 10K trail just in time to snap Jess as she ran past. On the loop back through the spectators, I could see she was looking worn (as she should have after swimming a mile, biking 25 and running 3 miles, with 3+ still to come). As I was yelling my head off while trying to take pictures, she looked at me and said, “I. Am. So. Tired.” and ran past and disappeared into the woods.
The next time she appeared was on the last 500 meters into the finishing line. She had all the spectators up, yelling and cheering her on as she sprinted down the chute to the finish line! She did it all in about 3H 30M 🙂
My new hero!
True to form, one of the first things she said after I bombarded her at the finish line was, “Now that I finished that I need to concentrate on getting better.” I would guess that only about 0.5 percent of the world’s entire population have ever attempted a triathlon, and the first thing Jess says after finishing her first is that she needs to get better. That’s Jessie!
It was a glorious day yesterday. I am so proud of my little sister; she is admirable. She makes my want to try a triathlon (maybe a sprint tri, hehee).
Here are some pictures of Jess at various stages of her race: