Monday, June 16, 2008

What a time we had!

We were eager and all set to go. We had planned and made all the arrangements for our vacation/event and packed the truck (well, Chris did). So out we set on our great adventure to Kansas with hopes of putting our great 70.3 stickers on our trucks. Was it in the stars? Who can ever really tell? You train and train and train some more to prepare for the big event and sometimes it happens and sometimes it don't! Read further if you want to know, which most of Fast Girls Slow Guys (our cycling buddies) already have the scoop. They just may want to read about the journey, which is the important part, after all.

I sort of wrote about the drive here a couple of days ago, so I'll skip that part. It was pretty boring anyway. We like the hotel we are staying in, it's not like any place we've ever stayed. It's small and stinks with atmosphere. The walls are sort of stucco and they have those bronze looking statues everywhere. The staff is really relaxed and laid back, but extremely helpful. I recommend this place (Senate Luxury Suites) if you end up in Topeka, Kansas.

Anyway, Friday we get up late and take our time getting ready. I just thought, "I could get used to this!". I guess that's why they call it a vacation, right? We decide to go to the local spots for breakfast and coffee just to get the whole experience. The Pancake House, I have four words....70's truck stop diner. First of all, the sign on the door is pretty much an indication of how progressive Topeka is in their healthy lifestyle campagne. It read something like "Smoking permitted in designated area Mon. thru Fri. No smoking on Sat. and Sun." As a matter of fact, every other person on the street had a cigarette in their hands. Not the most health conscious town. Back to the restaurant. I don't even know what to say about the wall paper on this one wall, but I think my grandparents had some on their kitchen wall when I was a kid. The seats were, I believe covered in the original vinyl. I think the only thing that would have completed the ensemble would have been if the waitresses would have been dressed in the uniforms off of the series "Alice". I think the size of the breakfast could have fed about two truckers who hadn't eaten in a couple of days. When we were leaving we noticed a hall way with a newspaper article. come to find out, the place opened in 1969 and probably had all the original decor. You don't find this kind of place just anywhere and it was awesome. We left there and went down the street to a local espresso place for my fix. All ready to head down to the race site and check things out while we waited for Jo and Lisa to arrive.

The first turn off led us down a gravel road and we started to worry. However, we were relieved to find out this wasn't part of the course. We started to enter the race site and the official sign of the Kansas 70.3 Ironman was up. My heart had started racing way before I was supposed to. We got out and took a gander at the impressive transition area that would soon hold 1300 bikes. The spots were numbered so we had an assigned spot, which made me very happy. I am a Libra and one less decision I have to make is one less stress for me. I've never done anything like this before and I have no idea what the best position for me to be in is. We went down to the beach to take a gander at the water. The buoys didn't look so far out...yet. When we started driving the bike course we quickly realized that Kansas is anything but flat! Jo and Lisa said it reminded them of the M and M course that they train on with D'Wonn. I gotta start training on that loop! We headed down to the expo and got checked in. After check in we got some lunch at a pretty groovy little place called the Global Cafe.

Jo called after she'd found a parking space and we met up with her and Lisa and went back to the expo for them to register and look around. We decided to go to dinner at a place called Old Chicago. They offer about 3 billion different beers. They have pretty good pizza, too. I think Jo may quit her job and buy an Old Chicago franchise. Saturday was another slow to rise day. This time we opted for IHOP and Starbucks. By the time we made it to eat breakfast, it was lunch time. So Chris had his last pre-race cheeseburger. You will understand if you are following his blog. If you haven't read it, you really should check it out and give him your support! Go to the Luvbug link under my Other Blogheads. On with the story. I needed my daily dose, so down the street for some Starbucks! I should just hook up an IV. It would be cheaper! We headed down to the race site again to rack our bikes. We rode a little bit of the course with Jo, Lisa and Kevin. I quickly discovered that I need to ride my bike more. I will have to just quit my job and train 40 hours a week! Chris is working on winning the lottery. We got our chips and racked our bikes. There was no turning back now! We came back to the hotel and napped a bit. Then went to eat some dinner. The time was drawing nearer and I was officially starting to get nervous. We made it to bed at a little after 8 with our alarms set for 2:30 a.m.

After a night of relatively good sleep, the alarm tells us it's almost showtime! I roll over and tell Chris to have fun today, half kidding. We pull into the race site at about 4:30. It really started to hit me in the truck on the way over that I was going to be doing the most epic thing for me to date. My stomach was in knots and I was having trouble breathing. Not really a good sign when you're getting ready to jump in the water in a couple of hours because for me the feeling only intensifies. Just once I would like to experience something like this without the side effects! We set up our transition areas and check them about 3,000 times. We see Jo and it's a little before 6 and she seems rushed. As she's airing up her back tire, we hear that familiar sound of "POP! shphzzzzzz". Damn what a time to get a flat. At least it was before the race and not at the beginning of the ride. Chris came over and helped changed the flat. She only had one tube so I gave her one of mine. What are friends for? Chris and I decide to go for a 5 minute run then put our wetsuits on. Oh gawd! I don't know if I can do this!!!!! Well we start the swim and as usual it takes about 600 yards to get into a rhythm for me. Just enough time to get run over by the wave that started 3 minutes later. And the one after that and the one after that. I was swimming beside another woman and she was very angry that the men went off after we did. I had to agree with her. I got kicked in the ribs, elbowed in the side of the head, pulled under by the ankle and got my head pushed under water by a hand. All by men. After being almost drown twice I had to stop and collect myself while coughing up yummy lake water. Well, just suffice it to say that I didn't have to hydrate too much on the bike. I finally drug myself out of the water and when I got my my wetsuit off I noticed my timing chip was not on my ankle! AARRRRGH! You've got to be friggin' kiddin' me! I rushed to tell one of the volunteers that I had lost my chip and she told me to get ready for the bike and sent someone running. As I started to put my shoes on I saw my chip lying on the ground. Thank ya Jesus! Chris said he heard them call my name as I was leaving the transition on my bike. Away I went. It started out great! I felt good and I wasn't doing too badly. I just tried to remember that when I started to feel like I was putting out too much effort, I needed to back off. The last leg of the bike was brutal. The head wind had to be in between 20 to 25 mph with some viscious climbing. On the way back though, it was blazing saddles! Finally pulled into the transition area for the run! Home stretch baby! This was it! Just a mere half marathon. It was pretty difficult, but at least it was not hot. I noticed that dark clouds started to roll in and the wind kicked up. We knew there was a chance of rain later. I had run through a couple of water hose sprays and they were handing out ice cold sponges on the course which I needed at the time. Only now my shoes were squishy and I was starting to get cold. As I was thinking, "surely I'm not dehydrated" some guy announced that the temp had dipped into the 60's. Brrrrrrrr! Squishy shoes, wet and cold I was going to finish this race! I was so excited even though my run time was getting slower and slower with each painful step, I still had plenty of time to make it to the finish line. I no longer cared what my time was going to be. Then it happened...they called the race! I had come about 6 1/2 miles and they were shutting it down because a possibility of tornados. I almost made it! I was sooooo close and I would have finished, but alas it was not to be. There was one poor girl who was absolutely crushed. She was bawling and my heart went out to her. I, surprisingly, was not very upset.

It started raining about 20 minutes after I was pulled from the course. Oh well, I was already soaked and freezing my patootie off. What difference was a little rain going to make? I see Chris coming through the finish and we talked for a few minutes, got our bags and headed down to gather our stuff and get our bikes out of the transition area. By the time we got back to the truck it had all but stopped raining. Traffic was insane so we decided to go get some pizza that was meant for the athletes after the event. Needless to say there was a ton of it. They had turkey sandwiches that were pretty tasty. By the time we decided it was safe to go, the sun was shining and not a cloud in site. I called my dad to wish him a Happy Father's Day on the way back. We thought about stopping at the Fantasy Gentlemen's Club for a lap dance or two, but they don't open on Sundays. Dang! We got back to the hotel all soggy and tired. We took a shower and about a 2 hour nap. Got up and walked over to Walgreens and bought some not so good for you food. Let me tell you, I decided about 8 or 9 months ago to give up cola of any kind inspired by OD'Wonn. Chris said that I should reward myself with one after the 70.3. I did and it was good, but surprisingly it was not as good as I thought it would be. Which was good news; means I'm not missing anything! It was still a nice treat, though. I'm feeling pretty good considering what I just put my body through. Now it's time to hit it hard again! Yeah, baby!
I may not get to put that 70.3 sticker on my back windshield right now, but I hope to by the end of the year. I will however wear the finisher's shirt and my hat I bought.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!


Sarah said...

I bow to you!

Spinnin Jenny said...

Great write-up Ironmaiden. I'd put that sticker on my car anyway, just so you can tell the story. Wish I was in good enough shape to try one of these. And I meant to point out that you guys were at the really unique hotel on Friday 13th!

dewonn43 said...

Hey Girl ... great job ... with all those early clients you have ... you miss a lot the good group training time ... but you did well anyway ... get that 70.3 sticker ready ...

Mira Lelovic said...

Good job on holding your ground and hanging in there with the swim. It can be brutal, and it's scary enough without having to fight all those people. I don't know why they uphold the "ladies first" courtesy in triathlons.
Good job on the race you did finish. You would have finished no doubt had they not called it off.
HOpe to meet you sometime riding!

jo said...

Ok girlie- Degray it is. That means 7 weeks til you put that 70.3 sticker on your car (I think you should go ahead and do it now).

BTW- You looked great at the end of the race; I am surprised i didn't hear you say how 'delightful' it was!

Geo said...

Great write up! I agree with everyone else... put the sticker on your car... if nothing else, do it for a motivation thing.