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2012 "Date Event" - Xterra Lory

This year I realized that Ross and I have picked one event to do together per year since we started in triathlon. It is kind of hard to do that for a couple with kids (and no family close), as it is much easier to have one parent take care of the kids while the other parent races. Much, MUCH harder to convince a babysitter to come over to your house at 4:30 a.m. so that you can go off with a your loved one to do something they don't even find intriguing (thank you, Abby).

While normal couples have date night(s) - and we do, too - but every year we have tried to have a... date event?

Anyways, so far they have been:
2009 -- Boulder 70.3
2010 -- Ironman Wisconsin
2011 -- The Triple Bypass
While we don't end up doing the actual event together, I realized that it is something that brings us closer because we have one event where we have the same goals and we can train for together. I think I realized this mostly last year in training for the Triple. I really cherished those days we set aside for our long rides and having them with my husband.

So this year it was Xterra Lory. AND since I had never even been on a mountain bike until about a month ago (and have only "trained" 3 times since on one)... advantage Ross. BUT, pretty much all you have to say to me (ever) is (a) that it is a beautiful course and (b) that it is challenging, and I am game. In this case it was both!

For us, it was a totally fun event. And by fun, I mean non-competitive (for us) and awesome. It was set right up our alley in that it was in a beautiful state park and you can never beat that. The bike was supposed to be a beginner course and it very well may have been a beginner course... but I would hate to see an intermediate course if that is the case. (Again, not saying it's not a beginner course, just saying I am not good at mountain biking.)

We got there are settled in. Soon enough, some of the usual suspects started showing up.... Ken and Lori, Tyler and then there was Beth. I didn't see Keith until he pummeled me right before the swim. Nothing better than having familiar faces at races. (Double points if they are friends that also just raced IMCDA with you. )

 Anyways, after a quick warm-up swim, Ross and I were waiting for the start. It seemed like FOREVER, since there was 5-10 minute lag between waves.(Later, I would appreciate this on the bike course.)

Soon, it was time for my wave. I haven't swam a 800 meter swim in a race since my very first (ever) triathlon. Here is the awesome part about that - I COULD SEE THE BUOYS! Normally, there is like 4-5 buoys for a distance twice as far, so when the buoys were sooo close together, I was in heaven. Swimming straight was just not as hard. Awesome. No kayakers chasing me down telling me how far off course I am. Double awesome.

What was not so awesome was the swim exit. The reservoir was super low, and by super low, I mean at 40%. We were in one of the areas that was hit the hardest by the Colorado wildfires earlier this summer, so the reservoir waters had been used to fight the fires -- like 60% of them. So, we exited in muck, pure and total muck, and had to make our way up far, far, far to hit the transition. Not a huge deal, just not optimal.
The race directors told us that last year, we would have been 10 feet under water right now.
That is how much the res is drained -- see it way off in the distance?

Shortest bike breakdown ever. The bike was fun, but emotionally exhausting for me. I had the cardio skills to keep up with the others, but not the technical downhilling skills. So, I would slow up on the downhills and lose people on the uphills. In addition, it was nerve-racking for me because there were plenty of people who would come up behind me and I would be more worried about finding an adequate place for them to pass (not wanting to slow them down), not even caring about my "race". Overall, people were way cool on the course. I would say something like, "You can pass right up here" and they'd be like "No worries! It's not like my sponsors will care" (jokingly). It was nice.

So my thoughts went like this (there were  2- 6 mile laps):
Halfway through lap 1: This course is way too technical for me, I think I will bow out at the end of this lap.
End of Lap 1: OK, maybe that wasn't SO bad, I will go for lap 2. But my back really hurts.
Shortly into Lap 2: My back hurts soooo much. There is no way I am going out on the run. It would be painful the WHOLE time and I was only in this for fun.
End of Lap 2: Hmmmm, my back pain has subsided, I will just try to run.
Check out my stud of a husband on the bike!
Off and onto the run: 
Just happy to be running. Seriously, I didn't think I would make it even onto the run, so running for me was just fun. I think it is the first race where I didn't even look at my pace. Part of me didn't want to know and part of me just didn't care. When you think you won't even get onto the run (had never happened before), your perspective changes to just be glad you are running when you get on the run....

So off I went, running up a mountain. {I love living in Colorado.} And the best thing about running up is (a) the views! and (b) running down! So happy, little camper for me.

Somewhere around mile 4, I rounded a corner, thought I saw the end, rounded another corner and realized that even though the end was close, they were having us circle around.  I walked to catch my breath. Sure enough, in that moment, I hear shouts from the finish area telling me to RUN! (Beth, Tyler and Nancy -- although I really don't think it was Nancy cuz she is too nice for that.) There were spectators on the path that laughed and said, "You've got some supporters!".  Yea... if that's what you call them. :)

Circled around and (another half mile later) I saw the finish line. And what could possibly make me sprint to the finish line??? Can you say slip'n slide!!!

No camera shots, but fun times. I finished and went back up to wait for Ross. Ross came strolling in a bit later (he started later than I did). I waited and we did the slip'n slide together. (For those of you who have a hard time imagining a slip'n slide at the end, picture this...)
(Taken from another race run by Without Limits - ie, same slip'n slide)
 We had a great time at the end, catching up with people, eating our fish tacos and recouping after the fun.

I love my husband so much and find it a treasure that we can partake in the same event. Not just for the sake of the day, but for everything that goes into it - setting the goal, training for the goal and then completing the goal. It is fun to be able to have at least one of those shared experiences each year. I hope it is something we continue for a long, long time.
2012 -- Xterra Lory in the books!