Team Film “It Girl” // Lori Hilden is a Half Crazy but 100% Awesome Iron Woman
I did it. Half-Iron Man, 70.3 miles. Finished. Woohoo!!! I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for the race. I’m 46, a mother of 3, work full-time and do not have the body of a competitive athlete. Maybe I was inspired by my husband’s full Ironman or maybe it was a full-on, mid-life crisis. Whatever it was-I had 6 months to train. My goal was to finish within the 8.5 hour time limit and have a good time.
Fortunately, as a Team Film member, there is a wealth of experience, friendship and support for all aspects of triathlon training! Swim training started with Big Dick’s Stroke Clinic. (Yes, that’s the real name). It is here that I learned the importance (and feel) of proper form, how to breathe on both sides and to stop dragging my arm. Thanks, Big Dick! I looked forward to cycling, especially Wednesday morning meet-ups with Lien and Austin at the 5:30 spinning class. Thanks for the motivation and camaraderie, ladies! The Team Film social ride to Whole Foods was also helpful. From the free samples, I learned that SuperBeets powder gives me colored pee but no extra energy. Team Film has runners. Awesome runners that do crazy long events, have coached Olympians and/or do gnarly trail runs dressed as Ghost Busters or Trolls or Beer girls – all while being awesome women with career’s, families and life challenges that are faced head-on and overcome, together.
Race Day arrived with feelings of terror, excitement, hunger and nausea, all at the same time! After getting marked and setting out gear, it was off to the beach for the start of the race! I chose to wear my wetsuit, start at the back and take it one buoy at a time. The strategy worked well and before I knew it, the swim was over. The volunteer wetsuit strippers had me on my way to the bike in quick time. The bike was enjoyable and uneventful until ~mile 40. Clickety-clack-clack! I ran over a discarded gel packet and it stuck to my tire. I tried to ignore it but after miles of clacking, my focus had gone from enjoying the ride to fear that my tire would soon blow and cause a horrific crash. Boo litterbugs! A kind volunteer helped to remove the rubbish once I pulled over. I finished the bike in peace, feeling confident.
Off on the run. THE run that I trained and strategized for: Run 2, walk 1. My sport-watch was set, checked and tested. I ran out of the gate, watch beeping, running, walking, running…I’m tired, shouldn’t I be walking? Then I heard it… the unfortunate sound of my watch dying as I approached the 1 mile pit area… beeerrrrppp. Feelings of despair, defeat and exhaustion set in as I found myself struggling to remove my sweat-soaked tri-suit while dancing around trying not to wet myself in a porta-potty that was baking in the hot sun. A few steps outside of the porta potty, a volunteer said “great job, you’ve got this, looking good” and handed me an ice-water soaked sponge and a class of cold, flat coke – a much needed distraction. With the encouragement of fellow athletes and spectators, I crossed the finish line as my husband cheered me on! Throughout this experience, fear, anxiety and self-doubt were conquered and I pushed myself like never before. Most importantly, I’ve experienced firsthand the impact that love, friendship and support can have in achieving what seemed like an impossible goal.