The night before
It was a dark and stormy night... Really, it was! Brianna and I met up with Tony and Nicole for our pre race dinner at Fresh Market. Just a nice relaxing evening with a lot of funny stories. Brianna and I got back to the hotel, I finalized plans with Karen, and we started listening to the thunder. Poor Blain! All those bikes - just getting poured on...
The alarm went off at 5, not that early, and Karen and I were off to transition. Now it was really wet, and dark, so parking in a large field with no one telling you where to go seemed a bit problematic for some. There was a white jeep/outback/bronco vehicle stuck in a large hole. NOT a good sign for things to come for that guy! But Marcus was great, we found a spot without a massive hole or mud and after I splashed some coffee in my eye, we were off to transition.
Still super crowded, not enough room, but made it work. We only had enough time to take 1 pic with our banner - and couldn't find anyone else. Oh well, it was the thought that counts, right? After a long port-o-pottie line, we were off to the swim start. It was still cloudy, but warm. The pros went off at 7:30, I started wetsuit shuffle, and Karen and I were off to wait with the other pink caps. I kept looking for Nicole (the wave after ours), Christina (in the very last wave) or Brianna (3??? waves behind us) but no luck. Before I knew it, we were heading down the ramp to jump into the Savanna river. I was really happy to be in the same wave with Karen - it definitely helped the nerves.
8:14 and we were off. E, a guy from the club we saw on Saturday, told us to go right to the middle of the river and ride the current down. So, I cut the angle towards the middle and rode the current down. I kept telling my self to relax, long and powerful strokes, and breath. There was so much gunk in that river! Yes, it was plant life, but still! Eww! At one point, I was convinced a baby alligator nipped my big toe and was taking a free ride! But realistically, I am sure it was just someone hitting my foot. Oh mind games!
I finished the swim looked at my watch, smiled (contrary to this picture), laughed, and walked the ramp up to T1.
28:50 (1:31/100M). Never will I ever go that fast again! Unless it's another point to point down river swim.
I'm slow. I like to take my time. I decided to change tops and go for the bike jersey, as I was cold and it was still cloudy.
Ha! Within 5 minutes, Karen caught me, I shared our estimated swim time and she was on her way. About 10 minutes later, Brianna F.L.Y.S by me. I couldn't even get an "Woo-Hoo, go girl" before she was out of ear shot!
The first 17 miles were flatie flat flat flat. I kept telling my self to slow down, it's a long day, hills are coming, it's only the fisrt hour. I was planning on a full 4 hours so even though I was at mile 17, I told my self I was 1/4th of the way done. A good mental game for me. The hills came and went. There were a few downhills to right hand turns to uphills. A few twisty downhills I couldn't take full advantage of. And one never ending slow, long small percentage uphill. Those stink! But, there were my favorite downhills right into uphills where I can use all my speed to pass people going up and staying in my big ring. Love those!
The sun came out about 75 minutes into the ride and I started getting hot, but was manageable. The stinky part about the ride was the last 6 miles was supposed to be a downhill, and it was, except right into a head wind
Overall, I was really REALLY happy with my bike. I held back just enough to not bonk but don't think I would have done much different to go faster. I like that feeling. And 15.88 mph. Woo-Hoo to me!
Stupid 1255! 1255, if you some how come across this blog, I would like an apology please for putting your stupid bike where Blain was supposed to go. That caused me AT LEAST a minute trying to figure out what to do and where Blain could fit. You're dumb!
Otherwise, it was fine. I changed (I really don't like running in biking shorts and I don't like biking in tri shorts - it's an issue I am okay with), grabbed some electrolyte tablets and luna moons, and I was off.
The Run - or shall I say walk.
The first half mile I was just trying to adjust to the heat and being off the bike. I set my watch for a 1:1 run/walk to start. By mile 2, I knew that wasn't going to happen. I wanted to cut off my right foot because I thought I would have less pain with a bloody stump. I immediately altered my plan to cover 3 things -
1. Keep moving forward
2. Walk with a purpose
3. Run for the photographers
This helped a ton. Around mile 3 I started to run a block, walk a block. I was getting really hot and doing everything I could to keep the body temperature. Mile 5 I saw Karen's mom and sister napping on some chairs so instantly started to yell at them for not cheering for me. HA!
Around mile 7 I was trotting along when Brianna biked by (vs. me seeing her and start to run). She doubled backed and told me she went under 4:50 (ridiculously fast) and was waiting to hear about Clearwater (a sad no. I still don't know how you can be that fast and not get a spot...). She was so supportive, told me to keep going, and the end was near.
Mile 8 I stared to cool down - the sponges (I gave my first one away at mile 2 to a guy "littering" - he needed it way more than me) and ice in the bra (whoever gave me that tip years ago, THANK YOU!) helped a ton. I started to fade quickly. Mile 9, there was no more running. Mile 10, only a 5K left and I realized that I could finish under 8 hours. Mile 11 I saw Nicole across the street (about 7 blocks behind me) and she looked great!
I just kept moving forward, turned the corner, and crossed the finish line.
My name wasn't announced as the guy had to start giving out awards, but I received my finishers medal and was ecstatic. I saw Tony (who PR'ed) and Karen (also a PR) and was just happy. Sore and tired, but really happy. Until I learned they ran out of pizza. So, I settled for the next best thing, a beer. We relaxed, did get some pizza, and I FINALLY go to take off my shoes.
All things considered, I am really happy with the day.
Thanks to everyone who helped me decide to do the race (or not) - hearing all the options helped me determine what I really wanted to do. This race helped turn around my 2009 season, and year.