On Saturday morning, the 17th of September, my fiance and I decided to race the Lobsterman triathlon (after some gentle nudging from Lisa, the President of our triathlon team Zoom Multisport). On the morning of our wedding. With all of our closest friends, family, and teammates. This would be our last race together as individuals. At this point, with logistics for getting 90+ people to an out-of-state island wedding, why not throw in organizing everyone into teams for the relay division of the race which consisted of a .9 mile swim, a 24.8 mile bike ride, and a 6.2 mile run? I was definitely surprised that Woo seemed to want to do this more than I did! Here we got a nice little pre-race photo under the finish line.
By the time race day came around we had 15 teams organized for our "wedding relay" division. Let me tell you, if you ever plan to do a triathlon on the morning of your wedding, you better make sure that Michael O'Neil of Active-Ethos is running that race. Not only did he respond to our many (many) emails about logistics leading up to the race, he made sure that all of the teams racing in our division had VIP treatment all morning long. He even organized the race so that our group could START THE WHOLE RACE OFF in the first wave, by ourselves, so that we could get everyone back to Portland, ME to catch the ferry back to the wedding area on Peaks Island. Everything race morning went better than I think any of us could have ever imagined! With the small exception of me leaving my keys on the island and needing to get all of our race stuff out of my car on the mainland...but luckily Woo's mom came to the rescue and brought everything up to the race just in the nick of time to allow us to race! Not a great way to start off your wedding day, but hey it all worked out. After a minor breakdown from the bride...oops. Sorry babe!
Woo was going to do the swim and bike portions of the race, and I would do the run portion. Other teams were all divided as to which relay member would do which leg of the race. Some teams had 3 athletes, others divided the 2/1 split up in other ways. At the pre-race meeting Michael gave our group a huge shout out over the PA system and the crowd cheered for the start of our wedding day. It gave me chills. Then at exactly 8:45am the race began and our 15 swimmers started off the day. Rather 14 swimmers and one who just thought they could walk the whole swim course (Ahem CP2...)!
The rest of the day went as expected with swim, bike, runners kept coming in/out of the race and everyone excitedly cheered us on along the way. As Woo finished up her swim and came into transition I gave her a big kiss and off she went on her bike for the 25 mile ride. As soon as she came back I grabbed the timing chip and took off for the run. I had wanted to run with my good friend Billy, but we just weren't able to take off at the same time, so I was on my own.
I should note that Woo and I ordered special tri tops for the race. Hers looking like a wedding dress and mine like a tuxedo. We ironed on "Bride" and "Groom" to the back of them for the race. I also decided to wear the actual wooden Ella Bing bow tie I would wear for the wedding in the race.
As I was out running everyone was smiling, cheering, and high 5-ing as I ran past them. I ended up running about 6:25/mile splits but was not pushing myself very hard, just cheering, laughing, and soaking it all in. I ran most of the race with another guy from Boston and chatting with him and what we were doing that day definitely got me choked up. After a bit of running together he began announcing to runners and crowds as we approached "he is getting married today!" He pushed me a little harder than I wanted to run, but it was a blast the whole time seeing our other runners and teammates out all over the course!
In the end, the team from Above Threshold, Breno and Ali, ended up crushing us by about 20 minutes, but we still held on to keep 2nd place overall after a 32 minute 10k split by Olympic marathon trials runner and now brother-in-law Mike Popejoy for 3rd place PopeWooZych!
After the race we all hung out, took photos, and relaxed for a few minutes before having to get back to Portland for the hectic schedule of getting ready for the wedding. During this time the race director, Michael, made a special award/ceremony for our group before the overall race awards. They got some amazing group photos of all our team and presented us with some champagne and a Lobsterman buoy as congratulations.
After the photos we all began to disperse and get back to our cars so that we could get back to Portland for the water taxi over to the island for everyone in the wedding party. Well, most of the people in the wedding party made it...
Aside from the little (HUGE) gear/key snafu this morning was perfect and better than we could have hoped for. It was so much fun to have everyone from Zoom Multisport in addition to our families out there racing and cheering us on. Special thanks to the Soutiea family who got in a little late and had to walk about 3 miles each way to get to the race venue from the far parking lot.
This was truly a day that we will never forget and it wouldn't have been the same without everyone else there to help us race/celebrate!
Finally, to tie it all together, instead of a traditional 'first dance' as married couple, we started up the music then quickly changed over to the Rocky theme song and DJ Marty announced that a first dance was just no way for the two of us to start off married life. We then broke into our 'first run" together as a married couple after our wedding party helped us to get our sneakers on and we did a lap around the block and came back to everyone cheering us on with cowbells! Here are a few from the wedding itself as well! More to come.