Heading home after the pasta party (around 9:30pm), I SHOULD have gone straight to bed. Meaning, I SHOULD have had all my race gear packed in my transition bag, my water bottles ready, etc... But, I had been pretty busy for the past few days...and anyone who has ever vacationed with me knows that I don't pack ANYTHING until the last minute anyway! Besides, I didn't really think I'd be able to sleep the night before the race..
So, I printed off my checklist of gear needed, ran up and down the stairs getting my stuff together, and generally made noise all around the house until well past 11:30! I know, my spectators were probably trying to get some sleep ;-) Once I finally went to bed, I slept very restlessly, waking every 30-45 minutes or so until the alarm went off at 3:30am!
I donned my TNT tri outfit, ate a banana and some peanut butter, grabbed a protein bar and a Diet Coke (and my gargantuan gear bag) and headed out the door at 4:10am. Met my team in the Legacy Lodge hotel lobby at 4:45 for a team picture - then we all headed over to the transition area. We had a slight snag in our plan when we were forced to park in the lot that was at least a 15 minute walk away...but we just used this as our pre-race warmup!
As I was setting up my transition area, I was a little surprised to see how many women were so unprepared. Several asked to use my bike pump (which was fine), but I overheard several others say "no, my tires feel fine!". Another girl started freaking out and asked to use my cell phone because she had left her race bib number at home and was trying to get a hold of her boyfriend to bring it to her. He called back no less than 6 times while I was trying to set up my area and "get zen." Hello? Um, yeah, let me find her in the field of 1200 girls running around here! My point here is that I started feeling VERY confident in all of the training and advice that we have been given by our amazing coaches and mentors through TNT!!!
The family arrived outside transition right before 6:30am, just as we needed to head down to the beach to line up for the race start. My Mom totally surprised me by making t-shirts for the family (and my friends) to wear at the race!
And we're off...can you find me? ;-)
The swim was 1/3 mile, or approximately 536 meters. I finished the swim in 13:21. Here I am (2nd one in line) coming out of the lake and running up the first BIG hill of the race! It was a KILLER!
The run was where I really started to feel the heat of the day! It was warm, the run was hilly, and my legs just felt like they wouldn't move quite as fast as I wanted them to (this is typical of running after a long bike ride). But, I continued to push through. About 3/4 mile in, there was a guy dressed as the devil (pitchfork and all), chasing us up the first big hill screaming "get up MY hill!" I actually was laughing so hard that my right side started hurting! Shortly after the devil, there was an aid station, where I took a sip of water and dumped the rest of the cup over my head - OMG did that feel good! The next aid station had cold sponges that you could put on your neck, under your shirt, etc...that was another welcome relief! By the third aid station, I decided to take a sip of Gatorade, since my side was really starting to cramp up. Somewhere right around mile 3 (right before the hill to the finish line), I rounded a corner and saw this:
My Mom is just the BEST! Another surprise! And I was SO thankful for sunglasses (and the rapidly approaching finish line), because I just started crying when I saw this! I took a turn up the final hill to finish, and saw the official clock as I crossed. It said 2:05:xx - I just starting sobbing again! You see, my personal goal was to finish sub-2:15. Based on my wave start (when I actually crossed the start line), I knew I had done it in 2:03 or better! Despite a run time of 33:01 (11 minute mile average), I completely blew away my overall goal!
My official chip time was 2:01:20! I am an Iron Girl and a Triathlete!!!
Stay tuned...more about my tribute race belt and my "thank yous" to follow...