Wildflower Long Course 2011- Denise

Pre Race
I woke up in good spirits, excited to race.  I got ready and hopped on my bike, heading towards Lynch Hill.  It was just a year ago that I was so scared and nervous about my first race that I couldn’t even ride down the hill.  Now I was heading down with my friends, and yelling at the dumb people not paying attention to watch where they are going as we slowly passed by the first casualty of Lynch Hill.  Down in transition there was an OC tri club girl set up in my space and telling me to hang my bike the wrong way.  With a roll of her eyes, she moved her transition bag from under my number.  I started to doubt my knowledge and listened to some of what she said.  But when I found Alicia, she confirmed my original thoughts and I finished setting up.  After that, it was all smiles, until the bathroom called and I worried about missing my wave.  And now the nerves started; although they didn’t have long because I only saw like one or two waves go off before I noticed other white caps getting in to warm up.

Swim

This was my first time to swim with the current first.  It was nice, but I was careful not to put out so much effort that I would be exhausted on my way back (against the current).  The swim back was not very enjoyable.  Neil had told us to try and find someone to draft off of on the way back.  There wasn’t a good match near me.  Finally a girl comes by at a good pace.  I hopped on her feet and took off.  This made the swim soooooo much better.  However, she started to veer off course.  I wondered, was it better to battle it on my own, gulping air, popping up to breast stroke/sight, and occasionally doing back stroke or go off track a little bit but at a better clip – I determined to go it myself and ask Neil later.  The swim back was harder, but the time went by faster.

T – 1

I took a little time, making sure I was ready for what was ahead and gaining my composure; although I was surprised I was as with it as I felt.

Bike

Biking out, Ed passed by and we avoided the bike crash that had occurred ahead.  On beach hill, I felt good but again questioned what the hell I was doing.   Somewhere between seeing Alex at the top of Beach and seeing Santa a mile away, Alicia passed me.  I said “Good job.  Go Allison.” Allison?  That wasn’t right!  What was her name and why was I forgetting the name of someone I have seen regularly for a year now.  Was I this delirious already – crap it’s gonna be a long day.  It took a few minutes, but I finally got it.  People kept passing me on Interlake as I headed into the fierce wind.  Should I go harder?  No, it’s a long ride and I didn’t want those last 10 miles to hurt like they did my two training rides.  My ride was fairly uneventful.  There was a pink shirt girl that I played leap frog with and a blue shirt guy who would say “hi” to me every now and then.  I passed the spot that I fell and hexed it.  Shortly after, I hexed the spot of Chris’ second F-L-A-T.  For some reason the xfinity jingle kept running through my head – though I can’t think of what the words or tune are for the life of me, now that the race is over.  This was going to be my first time to ride 56 straight with no breaks.  I decided to pull over at an aid station and eat my peanut butter sandwich.  Nasty Grade was just ahead and I hadn’t eaten much – I wasn’t hungry.  But shortly after stopping (like maybe a minute tops) Shannon blew by me and yelled to get riding, this wasn’t a picnic.  So I shoved one last bite in and started riding.  I thought about catching her, but didn’t want to burn my legs out just before the climb.  On the climb I sang a few song – thank you Greatful Dead, we will survive… and Nemo, just keep spinning…  I couldn’t believe all of the relay men that were stopping on this hill.  Did they think this was a no joke bike ride?  My last 10 miles, I felt great.  I had held back for this and the run and I knew I had 13.1 in me.  I was excited to see Jeremy’s face.  I pedaled a little faster, but god were my feet aching they were definitely swollen.  Jeremy was down by transition.  I yelled for him to bring my flip flops down at the end of the race.

T2 was also uneventful.  I ate and drank and headed off (barely tightening my shoes as my feet were SWOLLEN).

Run

This is the part that demoralized me last year, and I set off with a good spring in my step.  I was picking people off and passing them by – it felt great.  However, in transition I hadn’t realized that my underarms were chaffing and I set off without putting on glide.  This made me run with my s held away from my body – they’re still chaffed two days later.  At mile 3 I heard a volunteer say “they’ve closed the bike course so we only have a few more miles of runners coming now” – my heart broke, what about Margot, Kathleen and Natalie?  Did they make it?  I kept going, passing more and more people.  I felt good; although it felt like it was getting hotter.  When I walked, I put my hands on my waist so that my chaffing wouldn’t hurt.  This wasn’t an effective way of walking, but it would have to do.  I kept up my spirits, knowing I would see Jeremy and GGTC at mile 8 and then it was an hour from there.  A snake slithered across the path, I kept running past more and more people and up the hill to GGTC.  I made it about 3/4 of the way before walking the last bit.  At the top, I started running again.  Around the bend, I saw Chris with a sign.  She told me there were so many people waiting to cheer for me at the GGTC section.  She ran with me as I started crying.  I thought I had been too slow and that everyone had gone in at this point.  I remembered last year and how I felt guilty leaving the cheer section to nap, but I had to think of my own race.  I assumed others had done the same, but they were there with cowbell and cameras, dancing and cheering.  I ran over to Jeremy and hugged and kissed him (he reminded me later that I’m never going to win these races if I do stuff like this – HA!).  5 more miles – one flat, two uphill and two downhill.  These were definitely the hardest.  So many people were walking and I just gave in with them as I ascended “the pit”.  At each aid station I poured a glass of water on each arm and my head and drank one or two.  At the last stop I asked the guy to spray my salt marks off so I could have a pretty finisher picture.  He laughed and obliged.  I had been playing leap frog for the last 3 miles with a PacWest girl who was in my age group.  I made sure to pass her on the way down Lynch and felt good running down the blue carpet.  I raised my arms in the air as I cross the line and began crying as they put a towel over my shoulders and my medal around my neck.  I saw my TMF crew and hugged them and began crying again.  Around the corner I found Jeremy and burst into a puddle of tears once more.  I did it and this time it felt good!

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