I’m Loren Bazualdo, and I raced in the Rev3 Half Full 70.0 triathlon benefiting the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults the weekend of, October 7th2012. It was an incredible journey leading up to, during, and especially after the race. And this is my story, about my Half Full experience!
About 6 months ago I began my journey towards my first Half Ironman distance race, and I decided to race the Half Full 70.0. I wanted to race Half Full in memory of my dear brother, Jimmy A. Camacho. He passed away 15 years ago in a tragic car accident. The day was March 14, 1997. He was 21 years old. It was the saddest moment for my family, friends and me.
I have many stories about him that have inspired me but there is one in particular that is special.
Ever since I was a little girl I would always tag along his side. We would do many things together but we enjoyed playing sports the most. He was an athletic person and loved soccer. I preferred to play soccer than to run but he would always challenge me. On this one day we went running and he of course took me on hillier roads. I recall it was the hardest run for me and I really wanted to quit! But he didn’t let me and he would say, “Come on Loren, it’s only a few more feet!”, “You can do it!”, and “We’re almost there!” I tear to this day when I remember him say that. A tough workout turned out to be the best memories with my brother. He left me knowing he would be by my side no matter what. And throughout my training, especially on those hard days, I do feel like he was there with me, pushing me to continue.
Fast forward 6 months, my training was finished, and it was time to race. It was a cold, soggy morning, but that was not going to dampen my spirits. I kept reminding myself that this was my race and most important it was in memory of my dear brother Jimmy! Looking around, I could see the weather was not dampening the spirits of the many cancer survivors or people racing in memory or honor of people battling cancer! It was truly an inspiration to see them all out there.
As the swim start neared, I was actually very calm and relaxed. My parents, my cousin Veronica and most importantly Dan Hallenbeck (my boyfriend) came to watch me and their presence meant a lot! When my wave was called, I began walking down towards the water, ready to start the swim. I quickly said a little prayer, and before I was out of sight, I heard Dan say “Kick Butt!!” It was all I needed to hear to have a good start. He was with me all the way!
We entered the water in a time trial start, which was a first for me. The great thing about the time trial start was not having a clustered group of swimmers, and I avoided having a panic attack because of it. The swim, my strongest leg of the race, was fairly uneventful. The only hiccup was towards the end when I experienced a little current trying to pull me out more. I finished the swim strong, and now my time of 29:31 is the time to beat next year!
Coming out of the water I began to realize how cold it was. I jogged the small path up to transition, and as I approached I could see Dan cheering me on. I realized because of the weather conditions I needed to dry up as much as possible. It was cold and the bike was going to be colder, so I took my time to ensure I was as dry as warm as possible.
By the time I started my bike ride it was raining. This is my concern because it is my weakest leg of the race. Complicating the ride was the rainy weather, and I had to worry about staying safe in slick conditions. Additionally, there was the mental challenge of having to do two loops. However, all I remembered was to Kick butt just as all the cancer survivors were doing!! The best part of the bike ride was the chance to talk to Lance Armstrong as I began my second loop and he finished his. He was very nice and took a couple seconds to slow down and say “Good Morning!” After this I really wanted to finish! I went out and began my second loop, and shortly after the rain had stopped. I finished my second loop, and rode back in to transition, ready to run!
Starting the run, the hills were tough but the constant support of the awesome volunteers gave me strength to continue throughout the rest of the race. As I ended my first loop, I saw the finish; this was the hardest of all because the finish line was so close yet far away. It was here that I saw my family and Dan cheer me on and they gave me energy to keep going! I dug in deep and kept running.
As I finished the second loop and approached the finish line, I was excited and emotional.
The thought of my brother came to mind and I was thrilled to complete my first half ironman. My eyes were starting to water. Suddenly I recognized Dan at the finish line with my finisher’s medal! I was thrilled to see him!! He placed the medal over my head and I began to tear even more. As I started to turn slightly to find my parents, Dan turned me back towards him. I was confused at first, but FINALLY I REALIZED what he was doing. He got on his knees and showed me the ring!!! I COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS WAS HAPPENING!!! By now tears were rolling down and I was speechless. He proposed at my race! I was so shocked I realized I had not responded yet. I finally nodded yes as I still had not caught my breath.
I will never forget this race! It is in the books!! My story of how Dan Hallenbeck proposed
at the finish line of my first Half Ironman, Rev3 Half Triathlon (Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults).