beep... beep... beep...
BEEP... BEEP... BEEP...
huh, what? oh, yeah, alright, I'm up.
I hurriedly grab my stuff and head to A's house, so we can leave for the race. down a protein shake and a banana on our way. we pull into the parking lot. check bike tires. grab our gear and start the long walk/ride into the race area.
I'm tired. this isn't good. I didn't sleep well last night. I got a call at 11:30 last night. it was BikeBoy*. he didn't leave a message, but the call woke me up, and I couldn't sleep well after that. and my hip and back were not comfortable.
I'm nervous. did I train enough to be doing this? what if I got a flat. what if my back really hurts in the middle of the race?
I'm excited. race day is finally here. I didn't get injured in the last 48 hours or days. I get to actually race today.
A, M and I hang out on the beach with their guys while the other waves start. I'm up in a few. I wish them luck, they wish me luck. we'll see each other at the finish.
as I'm standing in the water, looking out towards the bouys, a sense of calm and contentment comes over me. piece of cake the girl next to me says. this part will be.
then the countdown. the first stroke. it's cold, but it feels great. did I mention I love this part? well, except for maybe the other swimmers that hit me and my sighting.
I ended up about 50 m to the side of the farthest bouy. my goggles were hard to see out of and I accidently sighted on a boat instead of the bouy. there goes my swim time, but my mis-sight pushes me a little harded.
note to self: better goggles next season.
I'm coming out of the water and I hear my name being cheered. A & M's wave is about to start. they're cheering me on and I reciprocate.
up the hill to the transistion area. I know I should eat my gel, but I can't. I don't feel quite right. I throw on my helmet and shoes and grab my bike. this shouldn't be too bad, as long as the tear in my calf muscle doesn't act up.
it's very hilly. my thighs are burning on the first big hill. my hip is hurting a little. but I only briefly entertain the thought that I shouldn't be doing this. I've trained longer distances than this. but not these incredibly long hills. the wind working against us as we headed east makes the hills very difficult.
note to self: train more hills next season.
after the turn around I felt faster, less tired. the wind was at my back. the downhills were great, and the uphills less grueling. I see both A and M heading out as I'm heading back in, we cheer each other on from across the yellow line.
I see the finish at the top of the hill. I strain to finish strong. I get there, it's not the finish, it's another hill off. I start up it, the calf muscle is screaming. I ignore it.
there's a few girls crashed into each other at the dismount. I miraculously avoid the tangle and head back into the transition zone. rack my bike, lose the helmet and switch to running shoes. my number on the front, another sign on my back that reads: in honor of Gran.
I run for a little while, but the pain in my back and hip is excruciating. I guess the doc was right. there are hills and concrete, both terrible for my back.
I walk. quickly. it's hot now. I grab a glass at the water station and dump it on my head. as I pass other walkers, we encourage each other. this race is great in that way. everyone's very supportive of the other athletes.
I try running a few more times, particularly on the flats and the not-paved portion of the run course. it's not feeling right. I remember what I promised. not to push it too hard. walking ten years from now is much more important than running this race. I walk. I again see A and M going out as I'm coming in. cheers are exchanged.
the finish is in sight. I have to run. it doesn't feel right to walk across the finish. I'm all alone, they announce my name. and I think of Gran. I'm happy I could finish this not only for me, but for her.
I'm in a little pain, and so incredibly hot and tired. but I did it. I am hooked all over again. I'll definitely be doing more.
and we got M hooked. this was her first, but she said it won't be her last. I know exactly how she feels.
* A asked today if he called to wish me luck. I doubt it. even a clueless boy would know not to call someone late before a race.