Ok it took me while to write this. Because at first I was happy of what I had done, but then days later the dissapointment came that I did not finish this race. I wanted to set an example, that you can do a full distance race as a mom. and proove to myself I could do this as I was doing quite well and my body had recovered really good after the pregnancy and C-section. But for me it was maybe too soon. I don’t know the answer, but hopefully I will still inspire other women to go for there goals. A lot is possible if you really want it.
To start with I was very very nervous. As it was my first full distance as being a mom. And it was two years ago since my last one. Not only that, it was a tough year. Less time to train, more tired because of a lot of short nights or nights in interval sessions. And also after a long training session you don’t have the time to relax or take a shower. For me it was coming home after a training and directly had to switch to mommy mode. Taking care of Thijs and the dogs. Walking outside etc etc. I just had time to eat something. Some days I even forgot to shower and than a day later I finally found the time to relax and take that oh so needed shower!So getting ready for the race was a lot different than any other year. Getting tired and being exhausted got a whole new meaning.But still I got fit and managed to do some training. The last three weeks where the best weeks in training, actually a bit too late, but better late than never.My swim training session where the best sessions. So i made a goal within the goal. Trying to see if I could swim faster than 1h07. My personal record on the 3.8k swim in 2012 almere.
Ok race day. Happy that I got my head together and did not forget a thing. It felt like former years and I was feeling good. Nervous but calm in a way.
Then walking to the swimstart and standing there with everybody around me I thought about everything I had done and already had achieved. And also Thijs our little guy, proud of him on how he is doing. It made me cry and I got very emotional. Luckily it was raining so you could not see the tears. And yes it is truei f you’ve been pregnant etc than crying is an easy thing. You don’t need much to open up the tap.
Ok time to get in the water and get serious.Water was nice, not that cold, happy me. I swam to the front, I thought if I want to swim hard I need to be in front.Then the start, we are off. First 100m AAAAAHHHHHHH%$%&*(@&#^#@&(!!!!!!!! PFFFF I survived. Now breath out and in and out and in and get in to your rythm.First buoy AAAAAAAHHHHHHH again, damn those men are not really that kind. I realized I was getting into a negative mode, that does not help. So I started thinking positive thoughts. Every time somebody hit me on the head, I thought, ahhh he is giving me a pat on the head as encouragement. Oh and now somebody is giving me a little push. There so kind!After 500m a man was swimming next to me and looking really angry and frustated. At that point I just thought about Dora my teammate swimming next to me and smiling the whole time and making fun. As we do a lot when we swim together in a training.These thoughts made me get into a good rythm and making the swim a lot better. I was really going good at that point and kept on swimming. For me it did not feel as if I was swimming a fast time, but when I came on land I saw my time and got really really happy. I knew I was faster than 1h07. Later I discoverd I swam in 1h05.24 woehoe!!!! Best swim.
Now it’s time to promote the Total immersion technique. As I switched to this technique end of 2014. At first it made me slower, but that happens if you change something. You have to get it in your system first. But the good thing was, I was learning to swim more effective and with less energy. This year I was getting back in shape after the pregnancy and swimming was a good way to recover and to get my core stronger. Even in my 1h05 swim I was less tired than in 2012. And I don’t use my legs, they just daggle behind me. I swim from my hips to shoulders and my speed comes from there. It really works as I now can really prove it with a faster time!!!!!
Of to MR Cubie. My transition was slow, I just took the time to put on my long socks, arm pieces and a rain jacket. As it was typical dutch weather. I started pretty good on the bike and did not push myself. Just roll and keep the legs going. Eating and drinking as scheduled. My support was the best as the mother, aunt and brothers of Jet our youngest dog was out in Almere. They were alongside the bike course. Other athletes even got jealous when they saw my enthousiastic white furry crew.
After 60K we turned into the wind, at that moment the struggle began for me. I was not that strong in my legs to keep a good pace and rythm. Everthing started to hurt.
I looked on my watch and saw the time. Nearly lunchtime for Thijs. Oh did I mention that my watch and gps meter on my bike did not work at all. I had a stopwatch and the real time of the day. So I really did not have a clue on how fast I was going and with what heartrate. At first I had a hard time not knowing how and what, but the good thing is of getting older is you can let go better.
But by the time I nearly had done my first round I wanted to cycle back and stop. Have lunch with our little guy, play with the dogs and go home to sleep. But a little voice said to me not to give up that easily. So i went for a second round. I slowed down and made the best of it. Looking around, enjoying the views, the birds and everything around me. Even 1 of the supportcrew members showed up as a surprise J.
After 160K I had a flat tire, for everything is a first time. Lucky me, the sun was out and I just took my time. At that point I already decided to finish the cycling and then drop out. So I had all the time in the world.
Back on the bike, last 20K. And almere proved herself again with head wind, rain, a lot of rain and even thunder. Hahahaha Almere at his best.
Then back in transition. I saw my parents, Bob, Thijs our dogs and teammate Marijcke. At that point I broke. Mr cubie went on the rack and I walked up to them and just cried and cried of pain, exhaustion and lack of motivation.
10 minutes later we were chatting and laughing and I was feeling better. Someone from the jury walked up to me and asked. “Josta are you going on or are you out?” at that moment i decided to do 1 round of running. 7K, why not. I am here now. And my parents missed me at the swim and only saw me after the cycling, crying. Why not just show them 1 round of running and smiling. So I did! 1 round turnend out to be 4 rounds. 28K of running in total. 3 rounds of running I had a good time. 21K even in 2u11min. Something I did not expect after the 180k on the bike with pain and exhaustion in my entire body. I even thought that I might even finish the whole race. And the white furry supportcrew was also along the run course who kept me busy and laughing. But round 4 the pain came back. And I got nauseous and dizzy. At the end of the round I decided to stop. It was not worth it to dig deeper.
Bob brought me to the tent were all the athletes are and were you can eat and drink. He gave me some soup hoping that I would get less dizzy and my stomach would relax. But unfortunatly I got worse and ended up in the medical tent again. My bloodpressure was really low and needed to lie down. They gave me more soup to drink, but I did not recover. Then ended up with a needle in my hand and fluids coming directly in the blood system. Just 1 word “crap” This is what I wanted to prevent. Oh well, at least I will have less sore mucsles. And after throwing up all the soup I felt a lot better. Half hour later I was under the shower and getting ready to get back to Thijs and give him a big hug.
The question is was I dehydrated or not. I really drank enough during the race and had my own food and gels as High 5 does not do it for me. So I kept to my own program, just how I trained it. The day after I had pain in my stomach and just below my ribs. three days later it was still like that, so went to the doctor. My liver was irritated what caused the pain. I tested my blood and found out I had a virus in me. So maybe this was the reason of not finishing the race combined with not enough training hours and being tired of not sleeping enough for more than a year.
The recovery of this race is actually the biggest challenge. You need sleep and rest. Maybe a little bit of training to keep the blood flowing. But when you have a little one and two dogs, just forget it. Thijs got a really bad cold and is keeping us awake already for nights in a row. As I said before, exhaustion and being tired really got a different meaning. But now nearly two weeks later I am slowly feeling ok. Did some training here and there. And even some more sleep as Thijs is feeling a lot better. But this is really the biggest challenge for every parent who does Triathlon, I think. Getting enough time to recover. Doing trainingsessions is not the big issue, but getting enough sleep and rest. Also time to eat slowly instead of throwing your meal in.
So by saying this I decided to stop doing full/long distance triathlon for the next couple of years. I will be back and age group 45-49 watch out when I get back in the game! For now I am going to focus myself on the half distance and swimruns. For these type of races I have enough time and also enough time left over to recover in between trainingsessions. It will give the motivation and fun that I need. And I will also try to get my speed back in the cycling and running.
So next stop the Loch gu Loch swimrun race together with Bob. Laughing, playing, maybe some kissing and just playing outside together with Bob in the highlands of schotland. And finish season 2017!
Thanks to all my supporters, family, friends and sponsors (athlete sports world, swimfantastic, USC, Trispiration) for making me have so much fun in being back in the game!