There are times when you're an hour into a run...after a five hour bike ride....and it's only 2pm on blistering Saturday afternoon when you turn to your training partner and say "THIS is what makes us fucking rockstars".
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
And then it came up...
So, I came out of the water feeling ok. My feet were a little chilled and I was in a bit of shock. I checked my watch...about 55 mins. I made the 800m run to T1. Official time turned out to be 56:17 for the 3k swim. Good enough for 7th fastest swim in my AG, which isn't incredible, but definitely good for a non-swimmer!
I got my wetsuit off, put the helmet, sunglasses, shoes on and ran out of transition. This was the first time I recall hearing screams for me. By first name. It was the team manager, doc and travel agent. I realized a bit too late...but once I did, I was a tad overwhelmed with emotion. It finally sunk in that I was across the world competing!
I mounted after the line and set out for loop one of four...
The wind was still pretty strong and I had taken in some gulps of salt water. I tried to stay with my typical routine of just taking in water for the first half hour of the bike. I felt thirsty, and i kept drinking...but then I'd want to burp...and a burning, salty, acidic vomit would come up. I'd swallow it back down and hope it would go away.
I hit the first loop around 36 mins, just a little over 20 mph. ANd that was where things got interesting. Bottle exchange on the left! We obviously had to ride on the left, pass on the right...but attempting the bottle exchange scared me. But I did it! And quickly filled my aero bottle and crunched back down for lap two.
It was time to start taking in some calories. My gut was refusing. I had a package of Clif Shot Bloks and i took a couple of those in. Again, wanted to belch and release some the bloat in my gut, but all that would surface was some stomach acid. Swallow it back down. I looked at my fingers. They were swollen. I worried a little, sipped some more water. The sun was beating on my back. I started to feel like "oh crap, there are another two loops after this". And then, one of the Aussies I met and had coffee with the day before came up from behind and smacked me on the ass. I screeched in shock. This was followed by another Aussie passing me, who looked over and said "Don't think i'll try that". Miraculously, my spirits were lifted!
I came around for lap three where I saw dad and the Team Manager, who told me to just work on picking them off. I was more concerned about working on getting in some calories. I was afraid I was going to fade.
But somehow, I kept it up. I ate a few more Shot Bloks. I remember, from running the mile in high school, that the third lap tends to be the most difficult to keep up the pace, so I just focused on spinning my legs, going hard into the wind (thanks to Coach E, who gave me this advice at IMKY) and staying relaxed with the wind to not burn out my legs.
Before I knew it, I was headed back into town, off the expressway and into the crowd. The shouting and cheers were incredibly uplifting. Around the turn for the last time and onto lap four...
I was so excited at the prospect of being nearly through with the bike. My arms were getting burnt. And my fingers were staying swollen. And I hadn't yet peed. But, I knew it would be just a short 35 mins before I'd be on my feet again.
It was just when I was imagining this that a male teammate came by and turns his head and says "Come on, USA! Push it! Ok?!"...so I took off after him. We headed back into town and i took in a gel and more water. I was still feeling bloated, but no longer nauseas. I knew I'd be ok. As I headed into transition, I glanced at my watch. I was under 2:30, so I'd held a 20 mph average on a super windy course. Good enough for me.
Now, time to see if my legs (and stomach) would hold up...