The alarm clock went off at Stupid O'clock this morning (3:45am) and we were on the road to the race venue by 4:30am. We arrived at the finish/parking area around 4:50am, quickly unloaded my bike and all the necessary gear and walked the 1 1/2 miles to transition. I actually didn't mind the walk since it gave me something to do with all the nervous energy I had worked up!
It took a while to find my spot in transition, but I got everything set up pretty quickly (and discovered that my friend T's sister had the rack space next to me!) and spent a little time walking through the area, memorizing the path from the swim exit to my rack and from the bike-in back to my space. A lot of people mark their spots with balloons of some sort, so I was able to use a bumblebee balloon and an Elmo balloon as landmarks. That would definitely prove to be useful later on.
After going through body marking, I met up with the Iron Cheerleader and the rest of the Newbie Herd for a group picture and a pre-race huddle/pep-talk. I also bumped into Yada Yada and Texas. Yada Yada was racing this thing in honor of his 50th birthday and both he and Texas offered a little last minute advice and encouragement as well. Before I knew it, I was saying goodbye to Mr. R&R and walking toward the swim start with some of my fellow Newbies. It was really calming to be around the same people I'd trained with all along.
|L to R: T's sister, Me, A, D, and T|
I ran across the street to transition, finished stripping my wetsuit, rinsed my feet, threw on a bike jersey and shoes, and ran my bike to the mount line.
T1: 5:33 (Ouch! Must. Get. Faster.)
I settled onto my saddle and prepared to power through the 14 miles of hills. Last weekend's course recon ride definitely worked to my advantage. I knew where all the big hills were and where the (very few) flats were, so I knew when to switch gears and when to spin faster. I felt really good the whole time. I ate a GU around Mile 5 and again around Mile 12 and managed to polish off most of my water, so my fueling strategy was spot on. All that climbing was worth it for the downhills. I hit 32.8mph at one point!
I didn't even bother trying to run my bike back to the rack in T2 since my legs were already toast. I swapped my bike shoes for my running shoes, added another layer of sunscreen, clipped on my race belt and jogged toward the Run Out.
T2 Time: 2:54 (ugh)
I hit the run course with one goal in mind: Finish. I anticipated, from last weekend, that this run was going to be nothing but steep hills and pain - and it didn't let me down. After waving to Mr. R&R and my mom, I fell in next to a guy I'd been leap frogging with on the bike and we ended up covering the next 3 miles together.
Fireman Rob! I didn't even know he (and a giant M&M-looking thing apparently) was going to be racing here today.
Official Run Time: 31:49
Official Finishing Time: 1:44:02
I was greeted with hugs and congratulations from Mr. R&R, my mom, the Iron Cheerleader and Yada Yada. I collected my medal, scarfed down a banana and the best damned cookie I've ever eaten. I was also a pile of raw emotion - ready to cry at the drop of a hat. I haven't cried after a race since 2011!
The Newbie Herd met up for one final official activity: a champagne toast courtesy of the Iron Cheerleader!
|We Swam. We Biked. We Ran. We are TRIATHLETES!|