Here’s the story of my 2012 Griskus experience!
A years worth of training physically and mentally brought me to this date of July 11, 2012. I wasn’t able to train as much as I had hoped because 3 months before the 2011 Griskus my Dad became ill, so I gladlly spent the majority of my time caring for my Dad and helping my Mom. My Dad wanted so badly to attend last years “Griskus” but was to ill to do so. He left us this past March 13. 2012, only two days before his 82nd Birthday. I think of him always especially wken I am training and participating in events. I always take a memento of him with me on the day of the event as well.
Okay, my event bags are packed and ready to go! Bag #1 has Swim goggles, swim shoes, hand towel, socks, sneakers, small stool and sunblock. Bag #2 contains my wetsuit, running pants and top, my special running shoes and socks, a light jacket and my memento of my Dad. I also have a small thermal bag with our sports drinks and a turkey, swiis and mustard sandwich on rye bread for Rick and I to split before the race begins! My swimsuit is on as well as a pair of shorts and a tank top! We are ready to go! It is shortly before 3:00 when we head out the door!
We arrive at Quassy Amusement park shortly after three, park the car and head towards the transition area to grab the spot we want, then we head over to the park entrance to wait for my teamrte Ryan (aged 14) to arrive with his mom (my cousin Andra) and his younger brother Brett, who is quite a good swimmer himself! but not participting yet! Ryan will be doing thr 10.5 mile bike ride portion of the triathlon and I am doing the 1/2 mile lake swim and 3.1 milw run! They pull in around 3:30 and we head out to meet them and take Ryans bike to the transition area to rack it.. From here we walk across the park to the check-in area under the pavillion. As we approach, I see my good friend (and PR agent, just kidding, LOL) Mark Jaffee! We chat a bit and he offers Ryan some good first-timer tips for thje bike ride, then Mark is off his way and we go to check-in. Our team number is “556” which I love because the numbers total to 16 which is a multiple of 8, my favorite number due to it’s infinite possibilities! We receive our goodie bag which contains our awesome 2012 Triathlon Tee-shirts, our race numbers, Ryans bike numbers and other goodies!! Next stop is getting the ankle strap timing chip, then on to the body marking station! This is my favorite because it males me feel like a real athlete! Lol! They just take a thick permanent marker and write your number and group info. on your arm and leg, but I just love it ! Now we head back to transition and take a walk down to the lake to check out the swim route! We reach the beach and I look through our binoculars and count 2 large orange bouys and one yellow bouy at the end, which is the turnaround point! A quarter mile out to the yellow bouy, swim around it and then a quarter mile back to shore! Last year I went off course and I am hoping not to repeat that again this year!! I talk with the volunteer about the course to make sure I see it correctly and we head towards the picnic tables on the grass to sit and wait…! We split our sandwich and some friends and family arrive and Mark is by for another quick chat then he is off and running again! I start to squeeze into my wetsuit and Rick and I pop down to the lake so I can take a dunk and get a feel for the water. Then it’s back to the picnic table to wait agaain! The butterflies are starting to swarm in my stomach! It;s a mixture of pure excitement, nerves, and just a smidge of panic!! These emotions are expected so I just giggle at the thoughts whirring in my brain!! It’s finally time to head down to the lake!!! My mom finds us and they play the national anthem, before we know it the Horn Blasts and the first wave of elite men and women swimmers are in the water in acrazed fury of splashing waves!! Three minutes later the second wave is in and then my wave is last!! We enter the beach area, thejHorn Blasts again and I step into the water, Rick quickly removes my swim shoes for me and I am off and swimming!! I swim 5 or 6 strokes then pop up a bit to look ahead to try to find the first orange bouy – nothing – head back down 5 more strokes pop up, I can see it in the distance! I regulate my stroke and bretahing and aim for the bouy! I feel great! My stride is good and I feel fast! I finally reach the first bouy and pass it! I am stoked! Then all of a sudden someone swims past me on my right towards the beach, Then someone swims in the same direction on my left! I pop up for a look and see a few hundrd swimmers headed directly towards me – I am off course and in the oncoming traffic lane!! OH SHIT!! Okay- Okay I make a quick assessment of what direction I need to go in to get back on track and not get pummeled by 400 swimmers!!! I make a break for it to the left! Stroke – breathe, Stroke – breathe, Stroke – breathe… I just get across and I can feel the wake from the mass of swimmers that just missed me on my narrow escape! I made it across! Now adjust slightly left to straighten out! I now have a kayaker escort by me and i confirm that I am heading in tjhe right direction! I swim several strokes and I can spot the second bouy!! I lock on to it and keep it in my line of sight as I keep swimming! I reach it and pass it closely and immediately begin looking for the third bouy, stroke, stroke, stroke, look, then stroke again! I finally get it in sight and just aim and stroke, aim and stroke! It looks orange to me so when I reach it I check with my kayaker – Yup this is the turn bouy!! I crank hard to the left and am practically touching it when I turn! Okay Swim! Swim! Swim! This is the home stretch!!! Stroke-breathe- look, stroke-breathe -look!! Okay I have bouy number two in sight an am aiming for it! I have to be careful not to cross too much to the left or I’ll be off course again!! It seems like I am never going to reach it and then I am there!!! OKAY NOW PULL – KICK – BREATHE, PULL -KICK – BREATHE, PULL- KICK – BREATHE!!!!! I can see the beach ahead in tjhe distance, as well as the last bouy!! I am POURING IT ON!!! Stroke – Stroke I can see Rick! Stroke – Stroke I can hear cheering! Stroke – Stroke I can see the sand below me, it’s coming closer and closer to my face!! Stroke – stroke I see Ricks outstretched hand and my hands finally hit the sand beneath my face!!! I grab Ricks hand and am trying to right myself on the shifting sand beneath my feet! I’m up and heading for the beach!! I sit on my bench, grab my towel and try to get the sand off my feet so I can put on my socks and shoes (okay One sock! To hell with the other one! Ryan’s waiting!!) I put on my *L300 cuff and we are headed towards the hill that leads to the transition area!! Friends, family and total Sstrangers are CHEERING us on all the way up the hill!!! It’s friggin’ Awesome!!! We reach transition, I remove the timing chip from my ankle and place it on Ryans and he is off towards the bike exit, then on his bike and gone in a flash!!! GO RYAN GO!!!!!!
Now comes the awful task of removing a rubbery wetsuit and swimsuit and putting on dry spandex running clothes! Andra is helping me but it’s still a nightmare!! I am coming up with a new plan for next year!! We finally finish and I put my L300 stim cuff back on and the battery is dead!!! Great – just when I really need it, it dies on me! I am a little nervous about doing the run without it but I have no choice. We head back to the transition area to wait for Ryan. We talk with famliy and friends who are just utside the ropes and my friend Yxonne comes up with an order of heavenly smelling french fries! I gobble down 4 or 5 and they are so salty warm and yummy!!! Ryan is back in 43:45!!! We swap off rhe chjip again and I ask him “How was it??” he says “I’m really tired!” I say “Do you want to do it next year?” He grins from ear to ear and says “Yeah!” and then Rick and I are on our way!
As we are heding towards the main road Rick spots his cousins Tammy & Ron and Terri and Joe Cheering us on!!! WooHoo!! We’re now on the main road, this is one of my favorite parts! The runners are on their way back to the finish line as we are on our way out on the route so we pass within inches of each other and they cheer us on with “Good Job!!” and we “Good Job” them back and add “You’re almost There!! Keep Going!! You’re so close!!” and we can hear the cheers behind us as they cross the finish line!! Once we take our right turn off the main road we break into a jog, which I did for the fiesr time at last years “Griskus” to the suprise of everyone, including myself!! We slow to a fast walk when the hill gets a little steep so I don’t propel myself to the ground! We hit the flat straight away and jog a bit more. We reach the one mile mark and Woohoo a bit and continue on to the Gatorade / water pit-stop and each suck down two cups of water and continue on to the halfway point! We walk and jog on and off until the turnaround point where I make sure to officially circle around the orange cone! We walk quickly until we make the left turn to go back up the hill and we see three more runners heading towards the halfway point several minutes apart! We are hopeful that we can kep up our pace and not come in last this year! Now, the hill that we just came down is waiting fior us on our return!! We reach the watering station sgain and slug some down and continue up the hill! Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth! In through the nose – out through the mouth! I keep my eyes set only a few feet in frony of my and take it one step at a time! My lungs are on fire, my head is hot, sweat is streaming down us and my legs are practically numb by now! Breathe – step, Breathe – step!! We reach the steep right turn at the top of the hill and we can hear the cheers and loudspeaker in the distance, we push through until we are on flat ground again! Now we cut the pace way down to a slow walk to regulate breathing and heartrate, so that when we reach the main road we can finish with a jog! Okay I am back to normal and here comes the main road! Let’s jog! We can hear the loudspeaker more clearly now as my body is screaming for the finish line! I can see the emtrance up ahead! YAY!!! We finally reach the turn into the finsh line and people ar cheering like crazy!!!!! I am screaming too!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!! WoooHooo!!!! We cross the finih line and I am given a big hug from Robin Griskus (Pats widow) I totally feel his presence at this moment and I am so very thankful to be alive and here competeing at this evet for the second time!
We receive many hugs & kisses & congratulations from everyonr including a nice guy Robby that I met at one of the practice swims with his Newfoundland dog “Ludo” who also gives me a big sloppy wet congratulations lick!!! We hand out and chat for a while and ride the high!! Later on our way out of the park I look back to see my “Brigadoon” fading into the lake for another year!
2011 race results were: 44:39 – Run: 1:04:24
2012 RACE RESULTS : Swim 36:15 Run 1:04:27!!!!!
Again, Huge thanks to Tom Wilkas, Robin Griskus and all of theAWESOME volunteers who make this event so magical year after year!!!! xoxoxo!!!
* “Btigadoon” is a 1954 film about two guys on a hunting trip in Scotland who come across a magical & mysterious village not located on any maps. They learn about the reasons for it’s mysterious and magical existence…
* Biomess L300 – is a stimulation cuff that I wear below my left knee (when I amoutside of m,y home.) It stimulates the muscles and nerves to help kick my foot out so that I don’t snap or twist my ankle!