Ideally, you want to spend the day before your race resting up. But my options for Saturday were toobing the Guadalupe or shopping the outlet malls during tax free shopping weekend. Due to the sun exposure and the massive amounts of alcohol consumption on the river, I chose Team Shop. Looking back, I don't know that I took it any easier =) But it was fun!
Fortunately, Tommy, Steph & Mark were pretty laid back about me having to cut out by 5:30 to get home. We actually didn't make it back to the house until after 7:30. I was shooting to go to bed by 8PM and I still hadn't packed my gear. My bike still had a flat, but I was going to leave that for Tommy since I don't know a thing about my bike. After much hussle and bussle, I finally got to bed at 9. An hour later than I had planned, but the sleep Gods were with me and I quickly fell asleep.
I don't know how 4AM crept up so quickly, but it did. Time to get the gears in motion! Starting with a strong breakfast. Peanut butter toast with bananas and a small glass of milk is always my go-to. After breakfast, get dressed and take the bike that Tommy & Steph spent getting ready for me last night while I was asleep out for a spin. Things feel and sound good! Good to have you back my old friend (I hadn't been on my bike in over 2 weeks!)
I'm the first one loaded up in the car and probably the first one asleep as well. No worries. I know Mark has the driving totally under control. Maps, directions and parking passes printed. We get there. An hour later. And. It's still DARK out! Yowzers! I had to borrow Tommy's bike light to see my way through the jungle.
7AM and I am body marked with all my gear finally set up in transition. Let me tell you, the hardest part for me about transition was determining where I should set up! I had no strategy except to put my bike somewhere I could find it again easily. Maybe next time I'll take into account accessibility to bike out/in. haha
7:15, nerves are starting to set in so I decide to join some of the ladies in the lake ahead of time. Good thing I did. I found out the water was really shallow in most parts (waist deep for me!) and there was not a wave in sight. Thank goodness. Feeling much better about things now. But still looking and acting like an uber-goober.
7:40, off on my swim! OK, although the water was shallow, this didn't prove to be nearly as easy as I thought it would be. It was hard to manuever through all these women! Fortunately, I could stand and walk when it got too thick, but unfortunately, I never really got into a good rhythm with my swimming. At the end, I was just happy to be done.
7:55AM, I am out of transition and on my bike. Cruising. Seriously. But I'm not suppose to be cruising. I'm suppose to be racing! Fortunately, the bike course was a 2 lap course. The first lap, I did FAR too slow. But I picked up the speed on the second lap, once I figured out what was going on. The bike course was a gorgeous ride through Pace Bend Park with a few long steady acends and some short steep decends. At one point, I was coming downhill and noticed that the posted speed limit was 20mph. I was pretty sure that we would be exceeding that today on our bikes! I was right. When I hit the bottom and was confident enough to take my eyes off the road and look at my bike computer, it read 30mph!!! I was probably going 32mph at the fastest point. Whoa! Wicked fast for me!
8:45, I've dismounted and running back into transition. What am I thinking at this point? OH. MY. GOSH. I've finished 2 legs of this thing. Only the run left! What am I feeling at this point? HOT. Why is it so hot already?? But my body, it felt fine.
8:50-somthing, out on the run. About 20 yards into this, I finally knew what it meant to be a triathlete. The TRI part is the part that REALLY gets you! UGH. I knew where the 1 mile marker was and that there was water there. But could it really be that far away? I'm running, I'm jogging, I'm walking. AND I'M STILL NOT THERE. 1 mile. 10 minutes normally. 9 minutes recently. But not today. Today, we're talking over 12 minute miles. My sides are cramping. My legs are tired. Every time I hit the ground, I hear my stomach gurgle like the friggin water tower. How is this possible??? I could count the sips of water I've had throughout the race on one hand. Apparently my body is well hydrated. Too well?? I just want to get out of this heat. Please! Fortunately, the race planners knew how bad we'd be feeling by this point. At the 2 mile marker, there was water (which I just threw on my chest) and ICE COLD towels. You, Mr. Volunteer, are a God send. Thank you and bless all your children for all eternity.
9:25, I couldn't care less what time it was. Besides that it was finally mimosa and beer drinking time. And that I was DONE. Limping and panting through the finish line, but done. All I could remember thinking as I finished the last half mile was that this might be the next hardest thing to giving birth to Mia. Thinking back, maybe it was the third. Those first 3 months after her arrival with no sleep was right up there.
I finsished. I'm happy I finished. I couldn't swim 50 meters without stopping 4 weeks ago. Before getting this bike, I hadn't ridden a bike in almost 10 years (I bought a mt bike after college and sold it to my cousin's girlfriend after riding 5 miles and not being able to walk). But I'm not completely satisfied with my performance. I know I can do better. So I'm not driven solely by the event's euphoria, but also my own desire to REALLY meet my expectations.
Tri Harder. Onward!
********** Special thanks to RTN photography (Raines Tran Neubauer) for providing me with my personal race pictures and videos. You guys are truly awesome. **********