I got my bike in order, transition spot set up, took pictures with Carolina John. I get totally zen on race mornings. I find that I'll make conversation with people if they initiate, otherwise, I'm just going through the paces and staying calm. I was so glad to meet John and that he spotted me. He's been such a fun, nice and supportive blogger peep. THEN I meet Caylx Meredith and we get on the bus together to go to the swim start. At some point, she told me that I was nice and calm which is my goal and just reaffirmed what I was trying to do and maintain. It is actually part of my race strategy, the calm. I don't hang in the expo, I didn't go to an athlete meeting, all that junk just gets me anxious. I got my packet and got the hell out of there. Got to see Ryan Ironman Barnett pre-swim, he was ready to rock it, you could see it. ANYWAY...
Swim - 27:35 - No, I'm not a superstar. Everyone had fast swim times. HellO swimming with the tide. It rocked out. There was nothing eventful about the swim other than the markings kind of sucked - needed more definitive buoys or swim lines. There were people everywhere. As I exited the swim I saw a 26 something on my watch and thought - this IS going to be MY day.
T1 - LONG run to the bikes, a quarter of a mile or so. Thankfully, I had on those neoprene swim booties. I left that and my wetsuit on so I wouldn't get chilled running to my bike. It worked like a charm. I tried to make quick business of T1 and get the hell out of there. I went with a skull cap hat, gloves and just my uniTARD.
Bike - 2:54 - not pleased BUT this ride is NOT pancake flat as the race directors like to promote on their website. There were bridge crossings and false flats that took a lot of people by surprise. It was fine but pancake is not what I would use as my descriptor. I knew the winds would hit us at some point so when I saw 22-24mph on my computer, I knew that tailwinds were in my favor and to MILK IT. I did and it was great until, you turn, of course. Riding on the interstate rocked out. It was very cool and I felt like I was flying. I did lots of passing and only got passed by about three or four women so I was still very encouraged about this being MY day. At one point on the bike, I stood up to pedal and stretch out and I got the 'feeling.' YES people, my period had started - SONOFABITCH! I sat back down real fast just wondering how long this little, thin, tri pad on my uniTARD would hold up. There was no alternative, I wasn't going to stop. The only other 'event' on the bike was at an aid station. The poor volunteer that handed me water, bless her heart, she didn't take the cap off the water bottle. Besides the fact that I yelled at her, I bit it off and spit it at someone. My apologies to whoever I hit and for yelling at that girl. My period had just started and my cooter was sore from riding. I was getting my bitch on.
T2 - 2:30 - The volunteer took my bike and racked it. That was so nice. I took off my shoes so I could run around T2 in socks. Think, think, think, what to do about shark week starting. I ask the first female volunteer inside T2 - do you have tampons in the changing tent? She said she didn't know but handed me one out of her pocket. I could have kissed her, seriously, kissed her, elated. Get my running gear on, tampoooon in hand looking for a can. I also have a small tube of aquaphor be cause my 'ginny is getting extra lube for this run. I had a serious case of chafing last year that caused me to walk because of the pain - NOT going to happen again. Apparently, I didn't lock the portocan door, dude flies the door open, I'm half necked (uniTARD) and am wrist deep in lube application. NICE! An image burned into his mind for all of eternity.
Run - 2:02 - OK, not the sub 2 hour I planned but it was truly all I had. As I started the run, I see hubs, I kind of feel like crap and I yell at him, my period just started and forged on. I think that's what I'm saying in this picture. I trot around and am really feeling the affects of the day. I'm sore already, my gut is not pleased. Chug, chug, chug. The run course was OK but the brick road and cobblestone portions can suck it, along with the grate on the draw bridge. It was an ankle twister for sure. I see Ryan Ironman Barnett as he is finishing the run with his bike escort - 1st male finisher, it says. What a little bitch! He yells at me - something encouraging to get my ass in gear like - don't be a pussy and get to running bitch. Something like that. At about mile 6ish, my gut turns in that - I can't eat anymore - kind of way. From this point on, it's me and water, nothing else. My water baby is growing by the minute and I've stopped processing. Mile 8, OK, getting closer. This is probably the point that I yelled at a girl for having someone pace her on their bike. Yep, I was that bitch. Why did I care, she was part of a relay team? No outside assistance, no pacing, it's just part of the deal. I think I yelled - must be NICE to have a pacer. Hell, she probably didn't even know what I was talking about, just like the dumb bitch with the iPOD on jamming tunes. People, read the daYum rules. ANYWAY, I'm looking at my watch and I realize that my STRETCH goal is out of reach but I can still bust 5:30. My hands are tingling, my feet are cramping and I have to run over the bridge to get the finish line. Shit, I can feel myself dehydrating but I can't take anything in, my gut is huge at this point. Mind over matter and tunnel vision is the ONLY thing that got me through the last mile. Finish line, I can see it. Please let hubs be there because I'm going to need someone to catch me and I'm not kidding. He was there taking pics and I accosted some poor old volunteer. 5:27 my watch said, SWEET...now I need to puke.
Ryan B, his lovely wife and daughter find us and we're hanging out for awards. Melissa gets us all beers, she totally rocks, Teegan gives me some of her Halloween candy, also rocks. Ryan looks freshly showered and is ready to collect his award - 3rd overall male in 4:20 (HOLY SHIT). He is very fast but he is also very fun. The three of them are one helluva team, I gotta tell ya. OK, age group awards, they come to female 35-39, first place and I hear my hometown and state announced before my name...what??? Yes, the other women in my age group were so stinking fast that they took two of the overall awards (4:30 and 4:43, respectively) opening up the age group division.
In the end, it was MY day. I may never win another prize again but on this day I did. I worked for it, I gave it all I had on race day and it paid off for me. And here's to the off season...I think I'm going to have a bloody mary with my breakfast just because I can.
There's so much more to tell like, having dinner with the Barnett's. I love to have dinner with people who don't think that talking about fecal matter and periods at the dinner table is weird. What a treat! I have found 'my people.' Story to be continued...