So, let me just get the big disclaimer out of the way: I didn’t, by most standards, do very well at this race. I came in almost last, I had to walk parts of the bike course, I had to walk a lot of the run course. I was last in my age group. I was last in the Athena division.
By most standards, I didn’t do very well.
By my standards- I kicked ass.
I really couldn’t be prouder or happier today. Do I have room for improvement? Sure, lots of room but that doesn’t take away from how excellent it feels to be able to cross this off my life’s to-do list.
So, let me tell you a little about my big day.
I woke up at about 5:30am after a night of interrupted sleep (FYI- the Super 8 in Cedar Rapids has no sound proofing at all. We could hear a mouse fart in the next room) and started puttering aimlessly around the hotel room, waking up the baby in the process (I am an awesome mom that way). I knew I needed to get up early but I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself. I finally got myself into the shower just to wake up a bit.
I showered, pooped, brushed my teeth, pooped, took an anti-poop pill*, and then tried to get some food down. I robotically ate some dry cereal and a croissant while watching “Sit and Be Fit” on TV.
I eventually got myself dressed and we headed to the race course. It was dark and cool and I was grateful that my husband had been smart enough to pack a light weight jacket that I could steal borrow from him, as my pre-race outfit was shorts and a tank top.
As we drove to the course, I found myself wondering if maybe I had been exaggerating the hills in my mind since the workshop. Maybe, I thought, maybe they aren’t really that bad.
We got to the lake and the damn first hill was just as bad as I remembered. I knew I was going to walk my bike up the first hill and I felt totally okay about that.
I got checked in and head to get my stuff set up at transition. The transition area was pretty well organized, with racks designated by race number (I was 173, my new favorite number). I was one of the first ones there, so I took the last possible spot, wanting to be out of the way. I racked my bike, laid out my towel and set up my area. I wasn’t feeling all that nervous at this point. It was kind of nice to have something to do, to mess with, to keep myself busy.
After I set up everything Michael and I wandered around for a little. I noticed that I finally felt hungry so I split a banana with the baby (mistake #1: I did not eat nearly enough before the race. My stomach was growling when I started the swim. That is officially Not Good). Michael kept suggesting I warm up. I kept trying to ignore him.
I tend to hate warming up and am historically very, very lazy about it. Yesterday was no exception. I put it off and put if off but finally took the bike out for about 5 minutes, just circling the parking lot to make sure everything felt right with the bike. I came back to transition and discovered that the person next to me had put her bike in my space, totally crowding me and making it impossible to rack my bike.
I was instantly annoyed, especially when I noticed her bike was so far over that her bike tire was on my towel. I wasn’t sure what the etiquette was about touching someone else’s bike but I finally just lifted hers up and pushed it over so it was over her towel area and not mine. I did try to be gracious and to think that maybe she was another first timer who didn’t know any better, but I’ve since decided that it is okay to be annoyed by it, especially as she did it again after the bike portion of the race. When I got back from the bike section, her bike was all the way in my spot and I had to spend valuable transition time moving it over again so I could rack my bike. Grr. I don’t know if I would normally be so irritated or if it was nervous energy going in that direction.
Anyways, back to the pre-race stuff. I racked the bike and then did a quick warm up swim. I was pleased to discover that the water was cool but not cold. It seems like the vast majority of the racers had on wetsuits but I was totally comfortable without one.
After I swam I spent a few minutes with Michael and Miles and then it was time to head to the beach to get ready for the swim.
Standing on the beach, waiting for the race to start, was perhaps the most nervous time. I was in the second wave (elites first) and in those last few minutes on the shore I just kept thinking “I’m doing this, I’m doing this”.
Finally, after a butchering of the national anthem, the elites started. I had two more minutes to wait. I double checked my cap, fidgeted with my goggles, stretched a little and tried not to throw up.
Then, in a flash, the horn sounded. And I was off.
*which worked so well. I took half a dose and didn’t poop again for the rest of the day, which is amazing for someone with my nervous stomach.