What a weird day. Here goes:
Alarm goes off at 5:45. 5 minutes later, I'm up and dressed.
The race started at 8 am, so I gobbled up a bagel with sunflower seed butter and downed a bottle of Propel. I poked around a little and headed out the door solo. The friends and fam followed shortly after. During the ride I listened to music and noticed how many cars were carrying a bike. I got to the park a little before 7, and the cars were a'lined up a'waitin. It was nearly 7:30 when I was parked and taking my bike down. The nerves kicked in.
At the transition area it was so hard to find an open spot to rack my bike. Some of the early folks were a little less than open to sharing "their" space. I swear it was like their transition areas were set up on beach blankets. A guy finally scootched his stuff over 1/4 of an inch and I jammed my bike in. How dumb did I feel when a 9 year old had to tell me to try putting the front of my bike seat up on the bar. Doh! There were so many beautiful racing bikes. The hybrid and mountain bikes really were few and far between. I'm not ashamed to admit I had bike envy. So, blah, blah, blah, I get my postage stamp sized area all set up and looking purty.
The fam arrived and I said hello and gave kisses all around. A few finishing touches and I headed down to the water... with my specs on. Goggles over specs? Uh, back to the bike and then with a little prayer that no one would crunch my glasses (I forgot my case), I headed back down to the beach.
The race dude gave a little (or incredibly LONG) confusing course overview. I managed to get my cap on and I was adjusting my brand spanking new goggles when... SnAp!! Yup, 2 minutes before the start. I curse and scramble to tie them securely. Phew, another little prayer that they hold.
And we're OFF! I stayed pretty far back at the start and let the mighty athletes find their place. I got into a rhythm and was sighting well when BAM! (are you enjoying my sound effects?) A swift kick in the head from a large male foot. Maybe not sighting perfectly. I was a bit rattled and gulped a couple-too-many mouthfuls. Yum. I switched to breaststroke and got back into a rhythm with great visibility... and I was passing people... swimming breaststroke! For the rest of the race I alternated between breast and free and felt pretty ok. Out of the water I got a few low-fives from the Punks and the hubby, ditched the cap and goggles with them and headed up to the bike. Rob said I looked really strong coming out of the swim. I was startled to see a 9:xx time when I crossed into T1. Considering things were cramped, T1 went well. Quick dunk of the feet to rinse the sand off, socks, sneaks, bike shorts, shirt and helmet and I was off, running the bike out of the transition area. Not super fast, but fine.
I felt a little nauseus pretty early on in the bike but was cranking along pretty quickly (for me- mind you the oh so beautiful bikes are whizzing by me at an alarming rate). Mile 4, here comes Killer. I did ok. I shifted down into granny gear and by chain kind of klunked out. I thought I lost it, but it re-engaged. I rode a little more and then pleupht! I was in good company, that mountain was a killer. I did see quite a few folks fight up it and it was great. Really inspiring. It took longer than I expected to recover my breathing, but there were some nice down hills and some managable up hills. I was still nauseus and not moving quite so quickly. I saw lots of dead frogs, a couple chipmunks and a freakin' porcupine along the side of the road. I figure I was about 10-15 minutes behind my goal on the bike. This surprised me. With the exception of Killer, I thought I was a bit more prepared. I came in and racked my bike, dumped my helmet, grabbed my do-rag, hugged the Punks, dumped a water bottle with them and shot down the trail into the run.
Very quickly some cramps started. I slowed to a walk and focused on my breathing. I damned the bagel I'd eaten and tried to maintain a fast pace. I walked a good bit and chatted up the folks that passed me as they were headed back in from their run. They all mumbled, "You, too" or something. One guy initiated a high five/good work thing as he passed me. Nice guy. The first mile was a trail run. The path was very well maintained but there were soft spots that I just don't feel on the road. My legs felt good but I couldn't shake the damn cramps. I only sipped the water and Hammer Heed drinks at the 1st and second mile aid stations. Oh, after the 1st mile mark we were on the road for a short bit. I was maybe 20 yards back on the trail when I heard some persistent horn beeping. I turned and saw a Jeep and assumed it was some folks offering encouragement. Nope. There was a woman leaning out the window trying to ask me for directions. I shit you not. I motioned toward my race number and turned to continue. They kept beeping. They kept BEEPING!
About a half mile out from the finish the guy right behind me started chatting with me. He even introduced himself and we shook hands. Anthony. Funny. This is the kind of thing I loved about the Danskin. The support. The girl power- although Anthony and a few others offered me some people power. In my mind that's what this shit should be about.
I was gearing up to "finish strong" as the end approached. I was running through the cramps and really pushing my pace. Then I missed the freakin' turn off for the finish line. I ran right past it and was so confused. I had to ask someone where the f'ing finish line was and run BACK to catch the turn. Shit. The good part? Rob saw me- so my cheering section started screaming like mad from somewhere behind the trees. It was so great to hear them. It's hard to finish strong when your eyes and throat are welling up.
The official times won't be posted until tomorrow, but I think it was about 2:14. Biggest thing I walked away from the day (performance wise only) having learned is not to be intimidated by the swim. I can hold my own for that distance.
It was amazing to have my family there cheering me on. I can't... yeah. And our friends and their fab kids. Chris got a lot of video, and maybe some snaps? Not sure. They all were so supportive and so very nice and loud. Not just for me, for everyone that passed them. That was a beautiful thing for my kids to learn.
I'm sure more thoughts will come, and possibly a picture, but for now... goodnight.
Typos/Grammatical errors? Too bad, too tired.