I did it! Working in all of the training (and probably not enough) between work, family and my son's activities actually got me to my goal. I couldn't be happier today! I'm so thankful for everyone who supported me - family, friends, WW Tri-ers, the MMTC folks who never hesitated to answer my many questions, and the countless participants and volunteers along the course who helped keep me going with shouts of encouragement.
I woke up at 4:30, ate my cocoa coconut oatmeal, got dressed and ready and headed to the park. I got there around 5:30 and it was still dark. Tramping through the dewey grass through parking and transition, I stopped to get body marked and the man asked me if I'd done this before. I had tears in my eyes (from fear and excitement I presume) and asked him 'what do you think' in a very sqeaky voice - omg the nerves! He was sooooo nice and assured me I could do this and I'm so thankful for his support, whoever he was. Feeling a little calmer, I found my bike, pumped my tires, set up my space and walked the ins/outs before heading to the MMTC tent to park my bag and down a banana and more water. A trip to the portopots later and my family arrived - they're not early risers, so I was glad they made it to see me off.
Got teary eyed again heading down the ramp into the water - another lovely volunteer told me "No tears!" and some other kind words of support - again sending out thanks! Just then I realized I still had my flip flops on so I quickly stashed them aside. I continued into the warm water and did some bobs to help get me more calm. Water has a calming effect on me so I quickly felt strong and ready. Soon we were off. I started on the outside and had a solid swim. I had a few more moments of breast stroking to get out of a crowd than when I did the Celebrating Heroes swim relay and I think that's why my time is about 48 seconds slower this time around. Most of the swim was calm and strong...just a tad slow.
It was a hefty jog up to transition and I loved the yellow and blue guys high fiving everyone - fun! I hadn't eaten much breakfast so I downed part of a Hammer gel, got my gear on and headed out. I'm sure I can work on this time - I wasn't hustling too much, trying to keep my breathing calm. I was still feeling SO excited to finally be doing my first Iron Girl.
WOW! This is fast for me! I'm middle aged and a risk/safety pro leery of speeding down hills and tend to be very conservative on the bike. On top of that, I'm still getting used to hills after living in the pancakeian Midwest for so long. I think the minimal traffic and all of the other bikes gave me more confidence to not ride the brakes so much down hill. I also noticed my speed on the up hills was a little faster than normal. I stopped briefly 2 or 3 times on the bike for some water - not yet confident enough to risk drinking and riding in a crowd. I didn't make it up Mt Albert, as I have in past training rides, but I didn't walk up it either. I refused to let that little hill get me. I stopped, sipped and proceeded to pedal the rest of the way up. At the turn-around I was beyond happy to see the portopots - obviously I was doing a great job staying hydrated because I had to pee again. After a quick pit stop it was back on and when I got close to the park there was my family!
Gingerly walked down the slope in transition, racked my bike, switched shoes, threw on my hat, grabbed my race belt and jogged out of transition munching a stinger honey waffle - again out of fear my breakfast hadn't been enough. Looks like lots of room for time improvement with this transition, too.
I walked most of the run - but walked very fast. Mostly. I ran down the hills, but when I tried going up I got the crazy soleus cramps that have been plaguing me. By the time I got to the bottom of gatorade hill, several of my left toes were numb, too. The cramp on that side was worse, so I'm wondering if there's a connection. Regardless, I just kept moving forward. The cramps mostly subsided after the return trip over gatorade hill and I was in the home stretch. As I made the last turn around the lake, there was my husband with a smile and a camera. He jogged with me a bit then ran ahead to get some good photos. Just before the chute I saw my sister and my son - it was so wonderful to see him stretch out his hand for a high five as I passed! I ran through the chute with a huge smile on my face and it was all I could do not to hyperventilate and cry (yup, I'm a crier)...I did it!!! I didn't even hear them call my name, but my husband did.
My goal based on training time estimates and my Celebrating Heroes relay swim was 3:30 and I finished in 2:58:46! This past year prepping for this event as an not-so-natural athlete had paid off. I went from almost-couch to tri in a little less than a year. I'm much stronger now and see myself getting stronger and more fit every month. I can't wait to see how much fitter and faster I am next year!