Thursday, June 30, 2011

Part 2: Race Day! Finally!

Saturday started with an awesome breakfast at the Garnet Cafe. The stuffed French toast with a side of duck sausage was amazing. We got back to the hotel and I headed out on a short bike ride to shake out the legs and make sure that everything on my bike was in working order. I decided to ride part of the run course just to get a feel for what to expect. It was about a 10 mile ride and everything seemed to be in good working order.

We took my bike and bag over to transition and dropped it off and headed back downtown to explore a little more. The antique and art stores were unbelievable. We kept the walking to a minimum and headed out to a quick pasta dinner in Hayden. I kept it simple and went with cheese ravioli. We got back to the hotel and I double checked my run and bike special needs bags.

I had been debating what to eat for breakfast before the race. My traditional meal of Poptarts was not going to be sufficient. At the last minute, I decided to go ahead and order room service. The hotel was offering 24-hour room service to the athletes all weekend. I went with the Ironman Stack breakfast: 4-huckleberry pancakes, 2 scrambled eggs, and a bowl of oatmeal. I knew there was NO WAY I would come close to eating all that food but I had Jarrett to help. We had stopped by the grocery store on Thursday to buy supplies for my special needs bags so I had my mandatory Diet Coke already chilling in the fridge. I fell asleep almost immediately and slept until the alarm(s) went off at 4:15 am.

I took a quick shower and dug into my tasty breakfast. I ate a little of the eggs and about a quarter of the pancakes. If I had to estimate it was probably 600 calories of food. Ideally I would have gotten closer to 1000 but I also didn't want to feel bloated and sick going into the swim.

I left Jarrett to get dressed and headed over to drop off my special needs bags and put my bottles and nutrition on my bike. Bag drop was quick but when I got to transition, I could not find anyone to lend me a bike pump. At that point I didn't see the line of mechanics on the other side of transition. I rushed back to the hotel to get my wetsuit and claim Jarrett and ran back to transition to deal with the tire issue. I found a nice person to loan me a pump and of course managed to completely deflate my back tire. I could not get air in the darn tube and I was freaking out. One of the volunteers noticed me panicking and told me there were mechanics on the fence line that would be able to help. I rolled Lola over and they got me taken care of. I racked the bike and headed out to find Jarrett.

It was about 20 minutes until the pro start so we just hung out in the grass and waited. We watched the pros go and then started to get suited up. I made my way down to the beach and scouted for a position. I decided to go against the recommendation to line up far right of the buoys and go wide. There was hardly anyone lined up directly in front of the buoys so that's were I stood. I was back against the sea wall and had a nice chat with another first timer. Before I knew it, the cannon went off and we were off. I started my purple watch and waited about 10 seconds before running in and starting to swim. The course was a counter-clockwise rectangle and you swam it twice. The water was cold ~55 F but bearable. I just started swimming and didn't let the physical violence of the whole thing get to me. People were EVERYWHERE. Swimming on you, kicking you, pulling your feet. It was wild. I got to the first turn buoy and the real fun started. It was so congested that people were literally crammed against each other treading water. I was starting to get a little irritated at the lack of forward progress when finally the pack broke free and we were moving again. Swimming into the sun made it a bit difficult to sight but in reality you had 2000 friends to follow so sighting was not THAT critical. Before I knew it, I was back on shore. I looked at my watch and was happy to see 44 minutes for the first lap. That was exactly what I predicted. The big surprise was the run back into the water for the second lap. I did not realize how cold my feet were while I was swimming but once on land I could literally not feel them. It was like running on dead stumps. I managed to make it back into the water without falling on my face but it stuck in my mind that running to transition would prove to be interesting. The second lap of the swim proved to be more choppy then the first. I'm not sure if it was the boats or the wind but there were definitely some waves. The cool thing was that it gave you a great advantage on the way back to shore.

Total Swim Time: 1:25:16 - Rank 1359 - I was actually in the top half on the swim! I trained for the swim the least and it's not my strong point so I was very happy.

When I saw the my time when I got out of the water I couldn't believe it. I knew right then that I was destine to finish the race. The volunteers at the swim exit guided me to the wetsuit strippers and made sure that I had my feet under me. They were also evaluating everyone for signs of hypothermia. A lot of racers had to drop out because of hypothermia. Other then my feet being frozen, I was feeling fine. I vaguely remember hearing Jarrett shouting at me after the swim. I had a huge smile on my face running to transition.

I picked-up my bag and headed into the changing tents. There were plenty of chairs so I grabbed a spot and started getting ready. I talked myself through making sure I had everything on and a volunteer kindly double checked me before I left the tent. I was SO happy that at the last minute I decided to pack Smartwool socks in my bike bag. I never bike with socks but I had this nagging feeling that it might be too cold and threw them in. I knew it was going to be a long day on the bike so I did a full change of clothes. My favorite Twin 6 Masher bike jersey, DeSoto 400 mile shorts, arm warmers, socks, gloves, helmet, shoes - ready to ride! I let the volunteers give me some sunscreen and grabbed my bike.

Part 3: Time to Fly

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