I Tri because crossing the finish line feels so good!

Happy Hump Day RYPEness!

Last night as I lay in bed, I was thinking about what to write today. And after going through some old emails to find a receipt, I came across this post of mine from May 7, 2008. It was my race report from my first Half Ironman…I did White Lake (also known as White Bake). I re-read it and felt that it was a perfect story to share again. All of the feelings that you go through…all to arrive at this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Its crazy good y’all. Hope you enjoy!

Oh yea-yah!!
Let me tell you… May 3, 2008 is a day that I will NEVER forget!!
I completed 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking and 13.1 miles of running in 8:02:57…
 
Can
U
believe IT???
 
Working up to the race, even in the midst of the “and why am I doing this?” questions, your mind is set on a goal that you have set out to do. Dag-gone it, I can do it!! Even when you question your readiness – after missing a few training rides…or not doing that Thursday run….or not attending a Tuesday night swim – you still come to the conclusion of “well, I’m ready as I’m gonna be….I can do it!…? “
 
So finally its race day. As a team we all rode from our old skool dormitory accommodations…all excited about the day ahead. We find our spot in the transition area…spread out our things….everyone starts to talk about their “game day jitters”…we get in line for the porta-potty.
 
As with most races, its a wave start. I happen to be in the 11th wave…SHEESH! All that time to stand…and wait…and have to pee…again. But then my gun goes off! AND I PANIC! I have never had that happen to me before, but for a good 700 or so meters, I could not seem to get it together! Finally I relaxed, and was able to enjoy the remainder of the swim. The water was beautiful.
 
I get back to the dock…wobbly water legs have to climb me out of the water and carry me to the transition area. I find my stuff, take off the wet suit, put on my helmet, and head off for the bike ride.
ITS FLAT YALL….FOR REAL!  
With a head wind that was FIERCE!
Gee…thanks!
 
So I am just riding along…passing people here and there.
 
“Go Team!”
“You’re doing great!”
“You rock!”
“Awesome job!”
 
That’s the gist of the numerous comments that were received or given at some point and time. It was the most encouraged I have ever felt. I am rolling along and a woman comes up next to me, “Great job!”…as she passes. I respond with “YOU TOO!” Then I notice the “70” on the back of her thigh. She was 70 years old… and blew by me like it was nothing. From then on out, ever time I would see her (and that wasnt until the run segment), she inspired me to do better.
 
It was a very pleasant day…so I was just a rollin…for what seemed to be a rather long time. And then I saw the mile markers start to show up on the ground. 20 MILES???
THATS ALL????????????? My gosh…my entire body hurts!!! So I keep riding…hydrating properly…eating when I could…adjusting on the seat whenever possible…entertaining thoughts of pulling off the road, getting off of the bike, and taking a seat in the shade in some unsuspecting person’s lawn. But I just keep riding. Then I see that the end is coming…I pass the 50 mile marker…only 6 more miles to go!
 
“GREAT JOB…LOOKING GOOD!!!”
“Thanks!”
 
So I see the transition area coming up. I see my parents and the overwhelming look of relief on my mother’s face! I could actually see “Thank God she’s back” written across her forehead!! Mommies…  I get back to my area, re-rack my bike…put on my Team In Training singlet…socks, shoes…throw some gu, Cliff bars and shot blocks in my pockets….off I go…
 
Dang…I have to go to the bathroom! So I go to the porto-gross me out-dont look down-potty! And then realize that I still had on my bike shorts! So I pull them off, run back to the transition area, grab my sun visor (what a mess that would have been had I forgotten that!) and off I went… just happy as heck to be off of that bike!
 
Until I realized about a block into the run that this was gonna be rather difficult…IT WAS HOT AS HADES!  
 
So I am running…running for what seemed to be FOR-E-VER! And I come up on this voice in the distance. Just loud! And encouraging EVERYONE!
 
“Number 567 you got it!”
“Looking beautiful 245!”
“You’re awesome!!!”
 
And when I rounded the corner it was my sister!!! Encourager Extraordinare!
 
I was so happy to see her! And it felt so awesome to have her as such a big part of my day! I run past her and hear:
“You Go Michelle Lynn Gra-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…!!!! LOUD!
As she points to the ground where people (including her) have taken chalk to write encouraging notes to the pack. It was awesome!
 
Then I cut the corner and I am feeling good…into my stride and then BAM! A mile marker: Two Miles.
 
WHAT? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? TWO MILES….THATS ALL??
 
And then I hear a male voice behind me say “damn…just two miles?”
Glad it wasnt just me thinking that!
The run was long. And it was hot.
 
I stopped to help another young lady who had over-heated. I stayed with her until assistance came. Then off I went…I really welcomed that break! And I was glad to see that she was going to be OK.
Walk. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk.
Then finally…two blocks to the finish line!!! You know the pace picked up…QUICK!!
I turn the corner…I see my mother and father, all of my TNT family…and I crossed the finish line.
 
What an accomplishment!! I find myself in a very small population of folk…I did a Half. 70.3 miles. Non-stop
 
I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!
 
oh
my
GOSH!!!!
 
8:02:57 after the 11th horn sounded, I CROSSED THE FINISH LINE!!!
PRAISE GOD! I finished_01
 
I just cant say thank you enough! To all of you who told me I could do it…all of the coaches that spent their time with me…my teammates who endured with me…the prayers prayed for me…the donations made. You mean the world to me cause you contributed to this awesomely RYPE experience!!!
 
So…THANK YOU!
 
Psalm 26:12:
“My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord”
 
Until the next race…. 

 

Have an awesome day….with yo’ RYPE self!

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2 responses to “I Tri because crossing the finish line feels so good!

  1. Speaking as her sister, it was AWESOME! There is nothing like seeing your big sister doing something like a Half Ironman or an Ironman. Such an incredible moment for our family. Plus, it was an HONOR to cheer on all the athletes. They were doing it! I was great to play a role, even from the sidelines. Love ya, Sis! You know you’re my Shero!

  2. I can’t get enough of this story. I love it each time I hear it. Go Shelley.

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