There’s not a whole lot more motivating in life than being surrounded by people who love and care for you from the bottom of their hearts. I am fortunate to have my inner circle of family and friends who make it their daily mission to have me know they’ve got my back in this crazy thing called “life.” I didn’t know, however, that a little over a year ago, my world was going to be turned upside down by a friendship so strong, it still blows my mind that someone would continue to put up with me the way my friend, Lindsey aka “L-Jo” does. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, her name is thrown about here quite frequently. Don’t believe me? Go to the search bar on the right and type in L-Jo.
Some would say we’re kinda attached at the hip, errr I mean cell phone. We spend most of our day intermittently communicating via text, we see each other at work all the time, and we most def have some crazy outings/adventures lined up. I truly believe that without L-Jo I am not sure I ever would have made it to the finish line at Fargo. She has had the unfortunate experience of running beside me multiple times in races where I turn into a freak of nature. This girl does NOT let me act like a fool for very long, though, and she’s probably the only person on planet earth I will never get mad at for telling me off. I “heard” her in my head multiple times out there during those 13.1 miles and indirectly she was with me every single step of the way.
This time I got the opportunity to be there for her.
This crazy girl stops at nothing to push her own boundaries to be a better person. She’s in grad school full-time to become a licensed social worker, she works a full-time job dealing with unruly patients and crazy situations in security at the hospital we both work at (and until recently was working a second job as well), she’s heavily involved with her friends and her family, and she’d give you the shirt off her back in a heartbeat. So when she told me she’d signed up for her first triathlon this summer, I wasn’t surprised. Of course every single triathlon she was looking at doing fell on my weekend to work. I was tormented over the idea that I was going to have to miss her first tri considering I am also going to miss her first duathlon in August and another half marathon for her in October. I started working my angles at my job and was able to finagle my way into getting Saturday off so we could be in attendance!
This whole journey started a couple of months ago, though, as she made sure to get my sorry butt out of the house the week of my first half to take my mind off of things. We headed over to our favorite local pro shop, Gear West, in Long Lake and she dropped some serious cash on her very first tri bike! Wow. Triathlons are no joke, people. So expensive, so technical, even the shoes are insane. Drew, a fabulous and very knowledgeable employee at Gear West, spent 3.5 hours with the two of us outfitting her for her new ride, pedals, and shoes that clip her into the bike. He also put up with our crazy shenanigans, which is sayin something. High-tech, my friends. High-tech.
After some time spent trying out different bikes, learning about all of her options, L-Jo walked out of Gear West with her new friend, “Nigel” the tri bike and all the gear that came with him.
Two weeks ago, we headed out to a few different stores to get some more gear, some tri shorts, and her wet suit. I still knew nothing about triathlons, and my good friends on twitter helped us out with many questions while we were in and out of dressing rooms getting an idea of what look she should go for. L-Jo really wanted this floral one-piece number, but I didn’t think it quite gave her the touch edge she was aiming for in gear.
I wasn’t much help in the gear department other than to tell her a million times “no, those shorts don’t make you look fat.” I mean that’s what besties do, right?
I am so mad I didn’t take any pics at this tri training center where we rented her wet suit (that she didn’t end up using bytheway due to heat). Those suits are CRAAAAAZY. I wouldn’t be caught dead in one, but then again, there won’t be a triathlon in my future. Swimming and I aren’t friends and never will be.
But seriously, though…wetsuits are nutso. It’s like a giant tube that seems like someone would never be able to get out of one.
So Saturday was the big day! Hubby and I rolled out of bed around 5:45 and headed downtown Minneapolis to catch up with L-Jo prior to the start of the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon. We had some time to kill down by the lake watching the staggered age groups start the open-water swim. There were two different distances to participate in that morning; International (1.5 K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run) and Sprint (.25 mile swim, 15 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run). As this was her first tri, she did the Sprint distance; her brother did the International that morning as well.
Did I happen to mention it was 90 degrees at race time as well?? Cuz it was.
Crazy L-Jo was on the swim team in HS so she was good there, but this girl never once practiced an open-water swim prior to race day. WHAT?!?!? Of course I’ve seen her take crazy people down with her bare hands in mortal-hospital combat, so if there’s anyone tough enough to take on the lake and survive, it was her.
I had never seen anything like this. Triathlons are crazy intense. I am not sure how many people participated in all the events, but I know they allow up to 3000 people before they cut it off. There had to be at least that many people there. The amount of people lining up seemed endless. We stood there at the lake’s edge for 2 hours and every 3 seconds someone was being let off into the lake before and after that time.
At promptly 9:05ish, L-Jo shot off the lake shore and started her swim portion!
I was screaming like a maniac! I was bummed that I didn’t get a chance to see her at transitions, it was too hard to get there in a short time, but from that point on, I had a good idea of a time frame in which she should finish both the bike and run portions.
My husband and I made our way over to the finish line to watch the runners come in. It was there that it finally hit me, after several weeks, that my leg is a giant poophead. Thousands of runners did their finishing kicks right next to my face and I had a hard time not tearing up. Holy wah I miss running. Being there also made me more determined to resolve this issue so I CAN get back out there and run just like them.
I’m forcing a smile here.
I underestimated the time it was going to take L-Jo to get there and I totally missed getting a pic of her flying past me. Her finishing kick was like nothing I have ever seen that girl put out before. INSANE! I was screaming so loud that I started choking and then I started bawling! My bestie was officially a triathlete! So inspiring!
Not only that, she totally whomped her projected 2 hour mark with 1:42 something. Nice work. Nice work.
How cool is this finisher’s medal?? It doubles as a bottle opener!
We got to head into the transition area to pick up Nigel, the tri bike beast, and made sure L-Jo got all her gear back to her car.
I’m so proud of her. SO inspiring!
I hope to participate in a tri relay sometime next year and will make it a goal. Even my hubby said he’d be willing to give a shot at being on a relay team if he got to swim! We’ll just let him be the swimmer in our little world. Don’t think this didn’t just ignite a little fire in my brain to maybe try my hand at a duathlon next year. Yes, I’m serious. With my new-found revelation that I miss biking, I have a feeling this sport could be making its way into my life soon; as long as I can figure out how to handle bricks workouts. I’ve done a few in the past and they wipe me out like nothing. Perhaps there’s another trip to Gear West in my future for a new bike…
All this to say I’m so proud of my friend and so very thankful I have been blessed in life with someone who keeps me grounded and pushes me further to be a better person each and every day. I look forward to many more shenanigans with her in life!