I ate perfectly the day before. I went to check in and drop off my bike and immediately felt anxious, knew I needed to be in and out. And sean was perfect and took care of my anxiety with finesse and kindness. Enjoyed a perfect evening with my tribe surrounding me.
I actually slept some the night before, had some weird dreams but slept. Woke up, had no issues anywhere. My stomach felt great and was able to eat well and hydrate before leaving the house and on the way there. Got to race and went to the bathroom again and then set up my transition area. The girls in my area were semi-catty, semi-nice. I tried not to get involved too much. I just tried to relax and do my thing. The girl next to me, was like “I’d be amazed if you put on those compression socks” as if I was silly for thinking I would put them on. Left that area quickly after that.
I found Heather and Jaye and we went to the beach. I knew I didn’t want to get in the water because there would be too much nervous energy in there. I just did some easy movements to get semi-warm. I knew I could have a fast swim. I was ready to swim. I found my wave and go in with the crowd. The girls were nervous and confident and happy and angry. There was such a range of emotions around me. I felt so calm and confident. Then some Spanish song came on that my students have played for me and I felt their presence. I knew I could do this. It was a great way to start my day.
Started swim in the crowd. Felt good. Water was cold. But good and clear. Swam through 4 buoys with crowd of pink, then it started to clear – either everyone left me or I pulled away. At red (7th buoy) I turned. Water was choppy. It was hard to get oriented. Tried to calm myself by thinking about Blanchard and the choppiness. Counted. Felt good again. Got to red buoy to turn and found a guy relaxing on back. Tried to siwm around to not startle him. Turned and was heading back. Water was really really choppy. I was hoping to ride the waves in, but that wasn’t happening. I was swallowing water and burping. Had difficulty sighting. But kept straight surprisingly. Made my way to end and kicked legs in. then I remembered I wasn’t really sure where I was going. Oops.
Followed the crowd. Saw the wetsuit strippers and thought why not. I sat down on a rock (hurt my butt) and the guy ripped my wetsuit off of me. That was intense. Then I went to find my bike. Thank goodness for the bright green tape. Found my stuff and ate.
Got everything on and was ready to head out on the bike. I had a good feeling about the bike.
And then I went out. I saw everyone along the shoot and it was great to hear their voices and feel their love. As I turned out to the main road, my left hip/thigh began to bug me. I said to myself, it’s the same thing that always happens, it’ll go away after you warm up and fuel more.
I heard “on your left” over and over and over. Many compliments on my socks. One guy remarked “ no meat athlete coming on your left” which was fun to see someone else in the same tri top. People asked about it. People loved the carrot on the back. And I rode. Getting passed over and over. Even going up the giant hill, I was getting passed. But as I climbed, I felt good. I felt strong. I was keeping my cadence where it was supposed to be. I was fueling properly and at the right time. I was actually ahead of the fueling time when I rode the course a few weeks earlier. But my hip/thigh was getting more annoying and painful. As I started the flat portion, I focused on keeping my cadence at 90 and while I did that, I couldn’t be anywhere near the same speed I was at the day I rode the course. My leg was just so painful. It was hard to focus on anything else. But I tried. I thought of walter, breathing into areas that needed it and letting go of everything else. I saw a woman ride by in the same bike top that Pam wore when we went to comet and thought of her riding soooo slowly with me in Cranberry when we rode that course. Her patience with me that day was so kind – and that pain was nowhere near this pain. I thought of Kate telling me to release other muscles. I thought of Kim reminding me to not hold my tension in my pelvis. And I ate and drank. I knew when I got to the turnaround I could get off my bike, refill bottles, go to the bathroom and hopefully feel better.
And then I got to the turnaround, and did all of those things. I even put some biofreeze onto my hip and thigh. But it hurt. Badly. I contemplated stopping. Was I doing irreversible damage? Or was my brain just messing with me? Was I this weak? Or was I going to be able to overcome this? Would I be able to run? I tried to just focus on getting to the next water stop. As I did in Patriot when I was running, going telephone pole to telephone pole, I focused on water stop to intersection. I figured it was the easiest way. Then, I saw what I thought were the “wagons” – the vehicles picking up the slow folks who were passed the time limit. And my heart fell. I figured I was at least 15 miles ahead of it so I could just keep pushing I’d be fine. I didn’t want to go back to camp in a van. Then I hit the hills back. My hips were screaming at me. The push the pull, every circle hurt. But somehow I knew once I got off my bike I’d be fine. Then…it happened! I was going up a steep hill, climbing, focusing on the circles and good form. And I passed TWO people!! Going up a hill!! And then didn’t pass me back!! Woohoo! It was a minor victory for me and I needed it. I wasn’t going very fast but I was keeping the cadence up. Then came the scary scary downhills. I heard Jas yelling at me not to hold the brakes and Cheryl was telling me she wasn’t pushing me. And I didn’t hold the brakes the entire time. I actually watched a video on the Friday before the race with Hilary Biscay (super crazy awesome professional Triathlete, who’s also plant strong) and she talked about going down large hills and “looking at where you’re going rather than the obstacles” and I did just that. And I rode those hills all the way down.
I was pretty sure that I had been on the bike course for 6 hours, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I certainly felt like maybe past 5 hours. My watch was being weird, the fueling timer was ok, but the overall time seemed strange. (this is what my brain was telling me at least)
Finally! I saw the signs for Ellacoya State Park and my legs felt better (what the heck?) and I could push myself into the transition area. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to unclip my feet due to my hip but they got right out and then I was walking my bike back to my spot. I sat down and changed shoes. Got all my running stuff and was off.
By “off” I mean, I was walking with a purpose out of transition. I saw Andy Potts as I came out and he reminded me to relax. I was walking with my feet out to open up my hips and I felt good. My hip was sore but I figured a good run would fix it. I got to the shoot and saw everyone, got hugs and kisses. Kate reminded me to relax my arms – although that was easier said than done, my left arm/hand was definitely having some nerve issue with numbness into my fingers. She said Jas was ahead. So I was looking for him. Then I saw him talking to Jaye! Jaye is out here too! Yay! Then he saw me and ran with me for a bit. He asked about the bike and I started to get emotional and then pushed it down, told him I didn’t want to talk about that right now, I wanted to be here, in the run. And I was. I was in it. I knew what I needed to do and I knew I was stronger than my brain. And I ran. And I smiled. Because I was having fun. And I felt so blessed to be there. Enjoying every step. Seeing everyone on the course. It was a great feeling. When the watch beeped, I walked and ate. The fuel plan was held to. When I saw an official fuel stop, I walked and got water to cool me off or grabbed sponges eventually that I kept and just kept using (why do I need to toss them? Reuse!) I even managed to get “freezer burnt” on my chest by a sponge because it was so cold. The out and back twice format was incredible. I met people and talked to them and then they would go finish. I still had to do another loop and I was still so happy. I thanked as many volunteers and police officers that I could. I thanked as many of the spectators as I could. There was this little girl holding an orange segment, she looked so proud to be doing it, how could I NOT take it? And it was DELICIOUS. It was perfect. And I kept running. I walked up the hills as to not waste energy – I knew I wasn’t running very fast so trying to push it up the hills was just going to fatigue me more. But I ran the downhills and the flats. And never, not once on that run, did I feel hazy or out of it or even like I wasn’t going to finish. I knew I would. I knew that I was going to make it back.
And as I came around the corner and went into the finishing shoot, I heard kate, and lauren. And I saw sean. And I heard the announcer say my name and I felt amazing. And I got my medal and was so happy. I had done it. I had completed it. I had completed another 70.3 while sticking to my plan and I felt stronger than I had at the end of patriot. It had been a success.