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Team Twinkie Triumphs!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The love, support, motivation, encouragement and inspiration of other team members can be just the right thing at just the right time to add jet fuel and momentum to your journey. I love members of Team FabFit. . . they are an amazing group of 130 women and two men I am blessed to have as team mates and friends. They each inspire me and touch me in a different way.

This weekend, my teammate and friend Angie and I did our first duathlon (bike/run). We were nervous last week, questioning our training, unsure of the details, etc. As the event got closer we were in a team chat and the energy just got us pumped up like a group pep rally! It was amazing and the momentum of that pep rally sustained us through the weekend. We felt the spirit of the team with us. During the pep rally, Janell referred to us as the Twinkies, because we had matching riding jerseys. Well, the name stuck and we ran with it!!! We laughed, hooted and hollered over the idea of being Team Twinkie! It was a great 'girlfriendy' kind of weekend, with lots of feel good moments.

We were tickled as all get out that we were referred to as 'athletes'!!!!! And that we would have our numbers marked on our body!!! We felt official . . . well, as serious as one can take themselves when they are called Twinkie! LOL!!! But, we were serious Twinkies!

After we were marked and got our time chips clipped on, we were off to the transition area . . . Angie was a time chip virgin and this tickled her more than anything to have an official time!!! It's the little things, right?

There were officials at both ends of the transition area to assure that only 'athletes' entered!!! I'm a athlete!!!! It was fun setting up our transition area and go through our mental prep. Gloves, helmet, stingers, water, check tire pressure, etc. We knew just enough to keep from looking totally stupid, but confused enough that everyone around us knew we were the newbies to the sport! Well, that and Angie kept chirping like a bird that the Twinkie Twins used to be the marshmallow girls a year or two ago! Love that girl! I'd leave her for a minute to use the bathroom or to get some gear and I'd see her just chatting away . . . I'm pretty sure everyone in the race new everything about us by the time it ended! If not, they missed out on getting some sweet praise and love from Miss Angie. People around us were smiling at us and patting us on the back afterward to see how we did. It was a fun day!

This is us before the BIG event!!! When we signed up it was slated to be .6 run, 15 mile ride, 3.1 run. We had both been struggling with the training bricks and were most apprehensive about the after run. When we got to packet pick up, they had changed the distance of the first run to be 1.5 mile and the course was in southern Indiana which is MUCH hillier than Angie had trained on. Luckily I had spent a lot of time on my bike in Virginia where it is very hilly and on the back roads around my house where it is also hilly. I had not been running hills in a while though.

I was nervous about my bike, and I got a little more nervous when I picked up Angie and she had a super duper road racing bike!!!!! Then in the pre-race meeting they are giving information about the course and the rules of bike racing (I think I have not educated or prepared myself for this) . . . it's a good thing I have a girlfriend here and we had decided that no matter what, we are winner and we will have fun! Speaking of fun . . . when we got to the parking area that morning, we were both grinning ear to ear, wearing our matching jerseys . . . the parking attendant said "Stop that grinning, this is a serious sport, you girls are having too much fun" which of course just made us giggle more.

At the start line we hugged each other a couple times and wished each other well. A year ago, Ang could barely walk. She has a serious lower back issue and has worked hard to overcome that and improved her quality of life and health along the way. I am so proud of her, I just want to burst when I see her running and smiling at the same time!!! She's amazing! It's an out and back run, so I see her on my way back down the hill and say something nice like "You can do it sweety" or "You got this girl". I'm not going to lie, the hills were steep, I knew she had not ran on hills and I knew her back issues . . . I was concerned for her.

I approached the transition area and it went very smoothly. I felt strong and confident in my run out of the corral with my bike, mounted smoothly, slid my feet into the clips easily and took off on my Raleigh Hybrid bike (not made for racing, heavy). But, this is what I trained on and I'm giving it all I got. I actually pass other riders who are on hybrids, but am passed by countless riders who are more experienced and have amazing bikes!!! I want that bike!!!! As I am heading up one of the numerous hills, I had to come up out of the saddle and pump with my whole body. I head a rider coming up on my left . . . In my mind I hear the announcer giving the 'rules of riding' saying that if you are within three bike lengths you MUST pass the rider and when the passing rider is past you, it is your responsibility to drop back . . . no drafting. So, I hear the rider coming up on my left and I think "It is YOUR job to pass me, it is not MY job to let you". Well, tough talk for a girl on a hybrid being passed by a triathlete who just finished the swim portion and is now passing her like she is standing still . . . ON THE UP HILL!!! Geeez!

In mile 7 I hit a really hard hill and my legs feel like lead. I imagine my friend, Janell, standing at the top of the hill in her military fatigues and combat boots, barking out 'Let's go, let's go . . . what do I look like, your momma?' It is just what I need to power through. Ang and I were distressed that we couldn't have our iPods with us in this race. We were so glad that we had on our FabFit bracelets with the words Brave. Bold. Fierce. Fabulous. and we knew we had a whole team cheering us on. On one hill, the only way I made it up was to keep saying out loud "Fierce, fierce, fierce, fierce" Man, I need a lighter bike!!!

Back at the transition area, re-rack the bike, take off helmet and gloves and take off running. Surprisingly, I am still feeling strong in my running! Adrenaline is a fabulous thing! I am an athlete! My garmin is dead and has been dead since the start line (must have left it on in my gym bag) . . . I have no idea my run pace or overall time at this point.

As I approach mile two there is a gal about 10 years younger then me and she is struggling. I can tell she is in pain. I slow to a jog beside her and put my hand on her back to encourage her. I tell her "come on girl, we got this, you can do it". She tries to jog with me, but has a side stitch. I walk with her for a few moments and coach her through the breathing to get rid of the side stitch. We then start jogging a little and she is able to talk a little. She needs to walk again. Again I coach her through breathing properly. Again we start jogging. Then she says if I will just walk with her for a minute more she will then run the last mile without walking. We see women coming up the hill that we are now going down. I call out to them "looking good girl" "you got this" , etc. I then told her that my girlfriend would be coming by soon and that I would need to bark out some commands to her. I wanted to prepare her so she would not be alarmed. When I saw Ang coming I yelled out at her "This is not a cake walk or a beauty contest!!! Strong is the new beautiful!!! Take that hill soldier!" Angie smile real big and picked up her pace! She looked so good! I was so proud of her I wanted to cry!

The gal I was jogging with wanted to walk again, and I could not walk any more. I wanted to run this in. I picked up the pace and she fell behind. I kept thinking she would catch up to me, but she continued to walk. I ran in the last mile and felt so strong as I approached the finish and saw the time clock. I wanted to cry!!!! I was so excited! I was a good 20 minutes ahead of my projected time . . . even with the increased running distance! I sprinted and pushed as hard as I could trying sooooo hard to bring it in under 2 hrs. . . . 2:00:47.

Post Race . . . still smiling!!!

They gave us cowbells at the finish! I changed into my flip flops, toweled off, grabbed some refreshment and headed back to the finish to 'ring in' Miss Angie!!!!! She was a few minutes faster than I thought she would be. I heard her name being announced and went running towards her . . . she was beaming so big!!!!! I was jumping up and down crying and screaming for her . . . ringing that cowbell for all it was worth!!! Winner!!! Winner!!!

We were hugging and jumping and sweating all over each other!!! We are athletes! The duathlon was new to this multi sport event this year and they only gave out trophies to the top 5 females and the top 5 males . . .no ribbons, no age divisions. Angie pointed out to me that I would have brought it in well under 2 hrs. if I hadn't stopped to help that gal. . . but what fun would that be. A solo triumph without helping those in need is not a win. I win every time I use my strengths to help others feel strong.

We had our reward! Angie finished her first timed event and proved to herself that she can do anything she sets her mind to! PRIZE WINNER! I had the immense joy of doing my first multi sport event with a dear friend. Celebration is so much more fun when it is shared!!! And it's not a party to the music starts and we had the 'music' of the other FabFit team members in our heads and our hearts all day!!! They cheered for us online and sent us messages throughout the day!!!

We made out own trophies out of the cowbells they gave us! The other side has the name of the event and our times written on them.

After some time at the pool (napping), we got all fluffed up and went out to dinner to celebrate our win and plan the next Team Twinkie event!!!! Looks like 30 mile bike ride in two weeks!!!! And we are looking forward to running some 5ks with other FabFit members!!! Go team! Love you all!!! Thank you for celebrating with us and giving us fuel to stay fired up!!!!
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