This was my first HIM and as most people say I wasn't sure what to expect out of myself. I trained as often as I could, and probably even more if you listen to my friends and family. The OWS with the club were extremely helpful in getting me to relax. As we all know by now being able to swim all day in a pool is not the same as swimming in open water. So, I had 3 levels of goals entering EM:
1: To finish!!
2: 6:15 or so
3: under 6:00 was a stretch goal.
Last year I volunteered at the EM to get a lay of land. And despite all the warnings and messages that the swim start was different I still didn't get it. I wish someone had simply said it was backwards start to finish from last year. Although who knows that probably wouldn't have saved me. It also didn't help that my start wave was the third to go at around 7am or that I got to setup in the morning a little late and was rushing all morning. My stomach was in knots and then when I realized it was 6:50+ and I didn't even have my wetsuit on. I was in full blown panic mode. Well, maybe half blown. A little bit of exaggeration makes for a better story. :-) Thankfully, someone in the wave to come after mine saw I was struggling with the wet suit and she got me zipped up. And she must have saw the deer in the headlight look in my eyes because she gave me a few words of encouragement that helped, at least temporarily. I made it in the water with 200+ of closet frieds and wondered what in the world am I doing here. This event is completely over my head and if there was a way to magically vanish I'm sure I would have. Just click my heels 3 times. "There's no place like, there's no place like home." The horn sounded and I didn't/couldn't move. Thankfully, I was in the back and didn't get swam over. Well that was a short race. At least I picked up my tshirt and hat last night. Has anyone been picked up before even crossing the swim start bouys?!? Tried to picture the OWS and though that at least I could I made it out of the starting gate. I looked up and saw the first boat out there and figured I can at least swim to that point before I get picked up. So I reluctantly started swimming to the boat. I looked up to find the boat and didn't see it anywhere. What the heck, did it move!?! Finally, I looked behind me and there it was. Wow, I made it that far. 50 yards!! I realized I wasn't that far from the first orange bouy and decided to go for that. Once I made that bouy I then started to relax somewhat. And before I knew it, I managed to make it to the final 500 yards before I got steamrolled by some lovely ladies in the wave behind me. Thanks ladies!! :-) At that point I could see the ramp, or was it a mirage?!? It was real and I made it out of the water in about 37 minutes. I can definitely live with that. If I never see the Choptank River again, I'll be ok with that, or so I thought.
On to the bike with my relatively new P2. Still not completely comfortable in the aero position but I'm getting there. My stomach is still in knots although I'm not really nervous anymore. Off I go! The first 20 miles of the bike were just a blur, in a good way. I've never gone so fast so easily and with my heart rate where I wanted it to be. I was averaging 18.5 then 19.8, then 20.3 then 20.9. Wow, this is certainly not Columbia. Around mile 30 I started to hit a wall or was it the wind. Only 26 miles to go. Ugh!! Stomach is still in knots and feels like I've been punched in the stomach for the last hour. But then I thought I only have to do CT bike course. I've done that enough times. I just started to picture all the landmarks along the way that I would pass. Development after development, mailbox after mailbox, traffic circle after traffic circle, and hill after hill. Before I knew it I was back in Cambridge. Transistion area is in site. The Choptank River is in sight, right over the horizon! What a sight for sore eyes!! How I missed you!! haha Just over 2:55+ on the bike.
Now on to the run, with what I thought was my relative strength. I saw Miranda Carafre coming in to finish as I was on mile 1. I cheered for her, I think I scared her. :-) I did my first mile split in just over 8:00. That would be the only mile under 9:00. I did a lot of running and walking from that point. For some reason I got in my head that 6.1 was the half way point and when people weren't turning around at that point I was confused and upset. Yeah, I wasn't a math major!! I thought I might still come in under 2 hours and I realized that I wasn't halfway yet. What a major disappoint in my mind. At that point I started more walking and less running. The coolest part of the run is to see such a straight line of people running out and back over so many miles. Like a bunch of ants. It will be a sight I will always remember. As I got to mile 8 my calves started to cramp despite stopping to drink water and gatorade at each water stop. I saw I still had an outside chance of under 6 hours overall so I started to "run" again. I didn't make it too far before the calves started acting up. Run, walk, walk, run. March on little ant, march on! With 1 mile to go I needed to come in under 12 minutes to finish under 6 hours. It was a struggle but somehow I managed. 2:15+ for the run. I felt like I got run over by a truck and then backed up over and run over again when it was all over. I knew this race would be hard and challenging. But I guess you really don't know the extremity until you go out and do it.
Thanks to all the MMTC volunteers at the tent who made recovery a little bit easier. And especially to Jill who made sure I had some food in me before she let me out of her sight.
PS All that for 7 points for the trinationoline competition. Ugh!