**UPDATE** I started this blog post last week. Didn't finish before going out of town, and so here I am making myself late for work trying to get it finished. Blogspot is on the fritz and it won't autosave or regular save, so I'm trying to finish and publish wo I don't have to start over.... or you guys will NEVER get this race report, LOL!!!
So anyway, race day came on August 15th, and it was just BEAUTIFUL!!! We did not go up the night before to spend the night, since Fall Creek Falls is on central time, which means I got an extra hour of sleep anyway, lol... so it was just like going to a local race for my biological clock. Gotta love that! Of course, when we got up there and got stuff in trasition, Andria did my body marking and Kurt was the perfect spectator-slash-photographer.
Normally Kurt's not the greatest photographer, but he actually did a fantastic job this time! I mean, he was able to spot me in the sea of swimmers and get some pretty good action shots! Thanks Kurty Wurty!
I felt super strong in the swim. the .9 mile seemed to pass fairly quickly, as I just kept reaching and passing buouy after buouy - and a couple of other blue caps too,, LOL. When I reached the exit, I really felt like I could have swam alot more.
Instead I did my best to walk that terrible rocky bottom and get to the shoe staging area. Yep they had a shoe staging area with numbered spots and everything because there was about a 300 yard run back UPHILL to transition. But I was still pretty pumped from the swim that I jogged the whole thing! WOOT WOOT!
However, it seemed that the residual fire quickly faded as I mounted my trusty red steed to pedal off into the sunshine.
The course was really nice, not too many little rolling hills, but I must have used way more energy on that swim than I thought. I just couldn't seem to get my legs working - they felt like I had been dipped in cement! And to top it off, about a mile or so into the bike course, I freakign DROPPED my Powerade bottle, and I couldn't stop for it, since there was a car and another cyclist on my heels. So I had to ride the entire course without any calories.... BIG BUMMER! The course was well marked with lots of marshalls along the way, and I promise you I propositioned every single one with the distinct priveledge of giving me a piggy back ride through the course. The closest I got to acceptance was a little old man who said he would if he could LOL! I was so stinking tired, and due to the mental frustration, I did get off and walk for about 20 feet. But I quickly put my big girl panties back on and got back in the saddle. I truly am so grateful for some of my Tri Club pals (like Ed Rusk, although he doesn't read my blog and won't know I mentioned him, lol) who saw me along the course and gave me just the right words that got me through. Thanks Ed... you're really the best!
Anyway, I was never so glad to get off a bike as I was that day. 25 miles really took it out of me, and at that moment, I really didn't care to sit on it.... ever.... again. LOL!
I limped and whimpered all the way through to my spot in transition, racked my bike, and was so thankful to reach in my little insulated lunch bag to find another bottle of powerade. Normally I make it a point to jog out of transition and not walk until I'm out of sight of the spectators... I mean it's not like anyone can see my fluid graceful gazelle-ish gait turn into that of a wounded water buffalo that's just had a leg gnawed off by an alligator... right?? LOL Anyway, that's not the way it worked this time.... I was SO exhausted and SOOOOO miserable, that I made no bones about it and just blantantly walked right out of transition and right through all the spectators... that's right, the wounded water buffalo is on the move! I walked past this guy, who was clearly one of the early finishers, sitting under the shade tree, saying, hey go for it girl! Walk if you have to! It was somewhat uplifting, but a split second later, when that guy was out of sight and I was headed down the hill on the main part of the run course, I really started getting depressed. I saw all of those people already heading back in to the finish line - I mean dozens and dozens of them, some sprinting up the hill and some walking up, and I had some tearful moments of "what the heck am I doing here?" and started to cry a little. I think it was mostly just the exhaustion talking but, it was a really hard few minutes. Once I got some electrolytes and calories in, I started to feel a little better, and decided that there is no room for crying out on the race course. I mean after all, I worked really hard to get out there, and no matter what, come hell or high water, I was going to finish that dang race! So I wiped my face, took another swig of Powerade, and just kept walking.
I decided to try to find the humor in it all - I mean it's the small things that crack me up and keep me going :) Again I propositioned everyone at every water stop and tried to solicit a piggy back ride, but again no takers. The closest I came was a lady who offered to pimp out her husband for the job, lol, and some little kids who offered to run the rest of the distance to keep me company. Really sweet, but I couldn't bear to look at those little pip-squeaks, even as sweet and thoguhtful as they were, running effortlessly beside me not even breaking a sweat. Would have hated to have "accidentally" hip-checked them into the lake, LOL!
Even though I was passed at mile 5 on the run by a 69 year old lady, I still felt a great sense of resolve that I was going to finish. I did jog a few times for a few minutes, but decided that I was going to save whatever tiny little ounce of gusto I had left in me for the finish chute. So I just kept saying "only 4 more miles between me and a chair, only 3 more miles between me and the chair" and so on. My legs were kind of numb, and I was pretty much on auto pilot throughout the remainder of the course, but slowly and surely, I kept rounding curves and passing landmarks until that last turn was in sight. As I walked up that final incline and rounded the corner to head into the chute, it was like someone flipped the NOS switch! I'm telling you I took off like my butt was on FIRE, and I ran down the chute and through the arch faster than I have ever ran before in my life!!! I have no clue where it came from, but as soon as I crossed the threshhold of the big blue arch, Kurt was there with an ice cold water bottle and towels soaked in ice water, and Andria was there snapping pictures.
My official finish time was 4:35:29. My swim time was 32:26, T1 7:51 (including the 300m jog), bike was 1:59:01, T2 - 3:35, and I finished the run in 1:52:18. I finished 302/310, and all in all surpassed my overall goal of finishing in under 5 hours. It was a fantastic race course, lots of volunteer support and soothing shade, and I'm really glad I made Fall Creek Falls my first Olympic experience!
I'll be finishing out the race season this coming weekend with a Sprint, which will bring me to a grand total of 5 triathlons in my first year! I'm really excited, and really proud of myself... I mean who the heck would have thought that I, me of ALL FREAKING PEOPLE, could ever be able to do anythign like that??? I'm telling you - I'm living proof that ANYONE can do ANYTHING they set their minds to!