About a month before the race I seriously contemplated not doing it. I admittedly had not put in the training that I felt I should have up to that point. Work and life craziness had gotten in the way, and those were things I just had to deal with...so training took a back seat. I went to my circle of tri friends seeking advice and of course they all encouraged me to keep at it and see how I felt closer to race day. I followed that advice and kept plugging away. I found time to get out and ride some of the course, especially the hills around Taylors Falls. I told myself if I could manage that training session without feeling like I was going to die, then I was in. It was a great ride and really renewed my confidence. I also got an 11 mile run in, the longest since my last half marathon in May. It wasn't my most successful long run, but it felt good enough to keep me on my positive upswing. So there I was, race morning, knowing I could have trained better, but feeling surprisingly calm considering what I was about to embark on!
|The obligatory "Flat Linda" picture to make sure I had everything I needed to wear!|
I found my spot in transition and dropped my bike and bag, I wanted to get to body marking before it got busy and I was in luck, I walked right up to the girl with the marker, and then promptly forgot my bib number. Thankfully she had a sheet and found it. "631" now adorned my left arm and calf. I should also mention she had very nice penmanship...it really irks me when I get a sloppy body marker ;) I went back to transition and got to work setting out my gear...that's when I heard the first announcement of the day..."Water Temp is 80-degrees, wet suits are not legal. You may wear one if you want, but you will not be eligible for awards, and you will start after all other racers have entered the water". Bugger! I really wanted to wear my new wet suit. I wanted the feel light and buoyant and not have to work as hard on the swim. Immediately all my rack mates started discussing the pros and cons of wearing vs. not wearing. Most everyone had the same thought..."I'm not going to make the podium, so I'm wearing it". Of course, the competitor in me starting thinking "Hmmm, if everyone else in your wave is going to wear a wet suit, you might have a chance at making the podium if you don't". This is ridiculous...I could have a motor on my bike and jet packs on my running shoes and the likelihood of my making a podium would still be laughable, but the thought always crosses my mine. No, I had to make my decision based on heat and convenience. I didn't want to get out of the water being hot, and it was already wicked humid out. I also hate getting into and out of my wet suit, so the idea of not having to hassle with it was very appealing. I decided to put it back in my bag. I'm a strong swimmer, I was going to have to deal with enough heat and inconvenience today, and I honestly was already sweating so much I likely wouldn't have had time to wriggle myself into the thing before the swim started anyway. Decision made, I was ready for one last visit to the biff, then off to the beach!
|Perfectly prepared transition station...until my neighbor showed up and squished me in...but it's all good!|
|Yes, that is "excitement" on my face...I mean, who isn't excited about being in a bike for 3 hours straight?|
As I turned into transition I saw my friend Sara and her kids. Sara has been an amazing inspiration to me and I was so excited that she offered to come out and cheer me on. I was also pretty excited to finally be off my bike, but mostly excited to see her. I asked her to text my husband to tell him I was starting the run...he was hopeful that he and the kids might be able to make it back from the swim meet in time to see me finish. I navigated the narrow passageway from the Bike In spot to my rack and squeezed my bike into position...it would seem that the majority of my rack-mates had beat me in. No worries though, I was just thrilled to be getting ready to run. I got my helmet off and slipped my visor on. My feet were still wet, so I tried drying them on my towel as best I could and got my socks and shoes on. I stuffed the two gels I had laying out in my side pockets, and clipped on my hydration belt. I started left to get to the Run Out and noticed the porta-potty to my right. I decided it was a good time to visit. The volunteer in transition said "run out to the left" I looked at her and smiled "I gotta pee!" There is never too much TMI at a triathlon. I had to wait a minute for the racers before me to finish their business, as I was standing there I started to worry if my legs were going to allow me to stand back up after I sat down...but then the door opened and I hurried in, did what I needed to do and hurried back out before my mind could decide that I was going to sit there for the rest of the day. I passed by the Run Out banner and the volunteers holding water cups and started down the winding grass path to the park trail. It was there I finally saw my friend Carla and her family. Carla had come out to cheer on her husband as he did the sprint course today, his first triathlon, and they had decided to stay to cheer on me and the other Half Ironman racers. Her son Kieran was standing next to the trail with a big smile and his hand outstretched....a high five was just what I needed right now!
|High Fives from five year olds are the BEST!|
|Finished...in every which way!!!|
While there are a few things I may have done differently (hello...sunscreen reapplication), all in all I was really happy with my race. While my run may have been a bit slower than I was hoping, I had crushed the swim and felt strong on the bike. I did what I had to do on the run to make sure I crossed the finish line. I accomplished something I really never would have imagined I had in me and that's the true victory of the day!