I'm ready. I am nervous, but I am trying to trust my training. Team arrived. Van was packed. He grabbed my bike and attached it. I relaxed in the back. I closed my eyes... it was early. Too early. As we drive, I think about the race. I think about my training. I'm ready. I spent the last 5 months training. I see cars passing us with TRI stickers on it. Probably heading to the same place... united at the start line... last man for himself.
We arrive. I check in. Got my bib... major mojo in the numbers. Team takes care of my stuff. I manage to snag a interview with local television station... about my journey and my goals... I got weepy. Crazy stupid. Just nerves.
I take a minute to myself before my wave is called. I start praying. Not out loud, but God hears. I pray for all of the volunteers.. oh boy, what would we do without those volunteers? I pray for the spectators... even if they aren't cheering me on, their enthusiasm and encouragement helps more than they ever know. For my team, their support from which I would have never made it to the start line. I pray for the ones who said I couldn't make it. The ones that tried to side track me, many of whom are here today... racing along side of me. I thank God for granting me the start line... and humbly ask for the finish line.
My wave is called. I hop into the water. Not as cold as I expected. I chat nervously with some of the chicks around me. I'm starting to get nervous. Don't PANIC! Stop, you will panic... recover. We wish each other luck and then the HORN. And I'm off. Stroke, breathe, stroke breathe... ouch... foot in the chest... its okay... treading water.. GET BACK IN THE GAME. Stroke, breathe, stroke, breathe, stroke, breathe, sight. YOU CAN DO THIS! Stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe. SIGHT! Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe... ah the rhythm. I reached the turn around before the wave behind caught me. YES! Keep going... stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe.... feels good. I see the exit. Yes, I am almost done. I hear the crowds. I can walk... I try to run like an idiot in waist high water... hey... I'm ready. I exit, I unzip, I strip down.
My team tied a pink balloon on the rack near my bike. AWESOME! Goggles off, cap off, helmet on, sun glasses on, bib belt on, bike shoes... yes... drink a little. Take fuel! Take bike off rack... run with it... up the hill. Why would they put a hill out of transition. Mounting area... I mount on the first try. YES!
I take off, slowly at first... It is a little chilly... I know it will pass. Can't get left foot clipped... yes there! I get passed by a lot of other cyclists. Its cool. My race not theirs. Watching my cadence. Watching my speed. Enjoying the view. Wow... sharp turns, but not much hills. I cheer for riders as they pass me, "Good job # 1476." "You got this #6547". First lap down, second lap down... third lap... CRAP I forgot to fuel. FUEL. Haven't been drinking either. fourth and final lap. I can do this. Each lap I hear my team. I feel good. Not fast, but good. I see the dismount area ahead... congested. I'm excited. The run, my run!
I run my bike to the rack... silly me... my legs are wasted. No fun. I feel like I'm running crazily. Spot the pink balloon. Rack bike. Take off my helmet, grab visor. Sit, put shoes on. Drink. Fuel. Okay... I can do this. Grab Garmin... running out of transition (no hill this time) I am strapping it to my wrist... fumbling really with nerves. There it is on.
Okay, nice and easy, not to fast. I am passing way to many people... what is going on: 7:45 pace... SLOW the FREAK down... too fast. Spot the first water stop, walk through it. Start running again, 8:05, SLOOOOOOW Down! legs feel great, but my back hurts. 8:45 - much better. Back still hurts. I hear Bob in my ear... "Imagine a string at the top of your head, pulling you upright, shoulders back, chest out, back straight, look at your hips, is the water running out...." Much better. Miles are taking forever. I see someone pass me and stare at their calf... Crap, my AG... hang with her... 8:16, you cannot maintain this. Slow down. Your race. YOUR race. 9:15, feels good. Legs heavy... calfs burning. Another water stop... walked through again. Fueling every 3 miles. I am going to make this. Find my stride... focusing on form. Passing more people. Enjoying the views. Taking it all in. Only have your first once. 3 miles left. A 5k - no more than 30 minutes left. I cannot believe it... I got this. I start running faster. Passing people... "Come with me... you aren't going to let a chick beat you are you?" Passing a chick walking... "Let's go... its almost over... see the finish, come with me." Wow... I feel good. I cannot believe it. I am going to finish. 9:30. Not bad... got anything left? Come on 2 miles... we got this... no more than 20 minutes. Another water stop... I skip it, and then regret it. Come on, you got this, longer strides... ouch... this hurts, quads screaming. I see the finish line. Tears well.... I am going to finish... I am.... I see it, I pick up my stride. I hear my team.... screaming for me. I am crying... no bawling. I am going to finish... I got this. Cross finish line, hands in the air. Fall into my team's arms. Yes...
Medal is heavy. I earned it. Thank you God. Thank you team.
I wake up. Peaceful... wow, what a dream. Do I have it in me? Do I?
We can't just follow our dreams, we have to CHASE them, right?