Westuit…check. Goggles…check. Pink swim cap…check. Okay, GO!
It was a crisp morning in Encinitas, CA as all women ages ages 29 and under patiently waited for the gun to blow at 6:52, signaling our start of our surge into the rushing waves, the beginning of our race. With butterflies in my stomach, I glanced around at the nervous faces around me, contemplating what we were all in for. If you’ve ever been to a racing event, you don’t have to look far past the chaotic lines at the port-o-potties or the light bounce of toes pulsing up and down as we clench our fists close to our chest to know we all get that small, or in some cases not so small case of the “butterflies.” *
With about a minute to go, the announcer says, “…just think, all your friends are still laying in bed right now.” What’s that supposed to mean? I mean, we already seem like a bunch of crazies for doing this in the first place. Looking at us doesn’t help either; black suits, pink skin-heads with a protruding lump at the back from stuffing our pony tails underneath the cap, and large googly eyes suctioned in by unattractive goggles, giving us a close resemblance to an alien from another planet. Surely a sight for sore eyes!
Seconds to go now…and then it starts…we run through the sand and into the water. Slowly the cold water starts to seep in, the waves start crashing over our heads, and the competition is on! While some are more competitive than others, you can be sure that you will get kicked or slapped in the face at some point. But when it’s all over, one thing is for sure, each of us is rewarded with a medal around our necks, but along with that comes satisfaction, and bragging rights. Rights I don’t like to exercise, but good to know they are there, just in case!
This is just one leg of the triathlon, next up is the bike, and then the run. I won’t go into too much detail this time round, i’ll save that for another post on my next event! So be sure to stay tuned!
I have to mention though, what a treat it was meeting Ironman World Champion, Michellie Jones. Spotting her after the race, my friend Toni and I walked up to her. Feeling a little star struck, I was too shy to ask her if I could get a picture with her. (I know…big shock, I thought I grew out of my shyness, that was 5-year old Cara coming out) So Toni looked at me and said, “I’ll ask her!” Michellie couldn’t have been more friendly and warm. She came right over and bent down to my level (she is way taller than me!) and smiled big for our photo! Visit her site to learn more about the Australian athlete.
*Read this fascinating article from Scientific American on the science behind why we get “butterflies” in our stomach, explaining the connection between our gut, also known as our “second brain,” the enteric nervous system, and our brains. Dr Mercola puts it simply:
“Interestingly, these two organs are actually created out of the same type of tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. This is what connects your two brains together, and explains such phenomena as getting butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, for example.”
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