From Coffee County - Me, Mike, Tom and Chris C. and Chris P. were all doing the triathlon individually, and there were two relay teams: Tim, Kevin, and Lee were competing as a male relay team, and Holly and Heather were originally competing as a mixed team with Joe as their swimmer, but Joe had to back out because of a work assignment, so they had recruited a swimmer from Panama City(Pam).
Pam, Holly, Heather "Here For The Party"
Kevin, Lee, Tim
From the blogosphere, there was Patrick, Missy, and Ryan…and I found out after-the-fact – Kathleen.
We also saw Abby, Dee, Ryan(Gran Fondo), Lynn(also Gran Fondo), Jerry P., Ashley (swim coach) and many others that I kinda/sorta know. And…I met many more. This thing was one big party with a half-iron triathlon thrown in for good measure, I tell ya.
Let’s just cut to the chase – the waves were big, and I was terrified. I took a practice swim out into them Friday evening after Holly and I checked in at the expo, and I couldn’t get passed the second breakers without being completely out of breath and almost in a panic. I went out twice to get the feel of it, and then I went back up to my condo. Nervous. I had visions of seeing the lady pulled out of the water and rushed off as she passed away at IMFL ’07 - I was a volunteer. I thought about my kids, and I second guessed my ability. I worried as I got dressed for the “mandatory athlete meeting.” I met Tim, Lee, Mike, Holly and Heather for the pre-race dinner and athlete meeting, and I hashed it out with them…and I worried. I wasn’t worried that I couldn’t swim the 1.2 miles – I’ve done twice that tons of times lately. I wasn’t even really worried about the sharks any more, being as though there were going to be many others swimming around me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle being hit in the face with a wave as I turned to breathe, either. It was the unknown. It was the unknown of what was swimming with me, who might or might not kick me, and how I would feel or react as I made my way to each buoy. Would there be an undercurrent pulling me back out as I tried to swim in like Friday? Would the water be clear or murky? I haven’t been in the open water since last November, and then it was crystal clear and calm as could be. So I let the worries run their course, and then in perfect Lana-fashion, I threw my hands up in the air just before I went to bed, and said “Just go out and do the freaking swim, you pansy. You signed up for it, you paid for it, you trained for it - now shut up, get some sleep, and go do it.” And that is what I did…
Connie, Tom, Me, Holly at the pre-race pasta dinner
Connie, Holly, Me, Mike
Mary Beth and I just before I started
Support Crew minus Holly (Holly was snapping the pic) Left to right:Kyle,Craig,Nicholas,Matt,Bo, Mary Beth, Briar, Me, J.T.
The next morning, I found my family and friends on the beach and Holly snapped pics of us. I put my little blue swim cap on, and I told Abby and
I was pretty much on top of the world in T-1…just happy to be alive and donning the bike gear and setting out for my favorite leg of the race. I saw Gina (Kevin’s wife) cheering for me as I left T-1. T-1 Time: . The bike course was flat and fast, and other than the fact that I felt great the whole time and was very pleased with how great the volunteers were at the Gatorade/water handoffs, I don’t know what else to say about it. Yeah, there was a little drafting here and there, but there always is. I leave that stuff to the officials and just keep cranking. I followed my plan of drinking mostly Gatorade Endurance and a little water, and I ate a fig
T-2 was quick because I had been practicing getting out of my shoes at the end of the ride and dismounting like Bigun…so I rode in with my feet on top of my shoes, swung my leg over the seat, and just kept going as I pushed the bike back to the rack. T-2 Time: .
I had no idea what to expect on this run, so I started out conservatively…I thought. My splits were all less than 9 minutes, though, and I felt great. Just like swimming from buoy to buoy, I only thought about running from one mile marker to another. My #1 goal was no walking, and my #2 goal was to run the 13.1 miles in around 2 hrs.
Me and Holly celebrating
We celebrated the good times afterwards, and found out that Tim, Kevin, and Lee’s team got 6th place and Pam, Holly, and Heather’s team got 4th place. Actually, the preliminary results showed that they were 5th and 3rd, but somehow they changed between the time we looked and when they gave the awards at the ceremony that night.
Congrats to all my friends – you all did great!! And I can’t wait to see you again at more races this summer!!!
Lee finishing the run
Heather finishing the run
Tim, Me, Kevin, Holly
Me and Patrick
Me, Heather, Holly
Lee, Tim and Kevin checking their results
Mike, Al, Me...deep in discussion
My dad keeps asking me why I do this stuff...why I risk swimming out into the ocean...why I put my body through miles and miles of riding and running. My only answer lies in the infamous quote:
The aim of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting WOW! WHAT A RIDE!