We decided at the last minute to get a room down in Old Orchard Beach so we wouldn't have to drive back and forth so much and the kids would get to play while I was doing my tri stuff. So on Wed., I secured the last available hotel room in the OOB area, which was most certainly guaranteed to be a ghetto hotel. Oh well. It was a place to stay and I wouldn't have to get up at 3 a.m. on Sunday.
We left Friday night so we could get the dog down to my in-laws house because the kennel was full. What did I expect when I was calling 2 days ahead? Duh. Note to self: plan two months ahead rather than two days ahead for next year.
Anyway, dog arrived at in-laws safely and we headed up to OOB fairly early Sat am to avoid the god-awful traffic at the New Hampshire tolls. OOB was already full of traffic and people when we arrived at 10:30 a.m. It was crazy. Somehow, we managed to find the hotel and they let us check in early.
It was a step up from ghetto, perfectly adequate, but nothing special. It had beds and a shower, which was really all I was looking for.
I have to tell you, OOB is really not my kind of place. I think it was a great setting for the race because there are a lot of hotels and stuff for the kids to do while a parent(s) are racing, but it is nowhere I would choose to go for a week long vacation. Think fair or carnival all day long. Expensive terrible food (at least where we ate), money-sucking arcade where you 'win' those tickets and use them to buy junk, expensive parking and freakin' weird-ass people everywhere. The beach was nice and the water was great so I would go there again only for the beach. And this race next year...
Anyway, after checking in to the hotel, we headed over to pick up my race packet and check in my bike. For this race, you had to check in your bike the day before.
The organization of this race was superb! I was told right where to go when I arrived and I got my packet which had my number tattoos, swim cap, goggles, other information and a wrist band to wear for the weekend that identified me as an athlete. We then moved to the next station to get my chip anklet.
This was a little different than at other races because when they activated my chip, they also took a picture with my family (if you wanted to) that would show up on the jumbo tron when you finished! As you cross the finish, they announce your name and show the picture. How awesome is that? So of course, all the kids got in the photo with me.
Next stop was the Rev3 store to grab my goody bag. It had some gels and a powerbar and a few coupons. The shirts you get at the finish. Which means you need to finish to get the shirt..... After that we headed over to check in my bike. I got some help putting the stickers on because I wanted to make sure I did it correctly--not hard, but I didn't want to screw it up. I did know not to wrap the sticker around your brake cord, I learned that at my very first race. Good to know, so you don't mess up your brakes. Brakes are kinda important.
The lady helping me mentioned that some of the athletes were deflating their tires so they wouldn't pop in the heat and then were planning on filling them in the morning. Um... no tire pump so I guess I'll just take my chances. Second note to self: might need to invest in a tire pump.
Athletes meeting was the usual stuff about safety and what times things would start. It was good to hear all the information and hear other people's questions too--I was feeling a little less nervous about all of this. Check out this link HERE and you can see me in the middle, second row, second from the aisle. Blue tough chik shirt, big smile.
After the meeting I went down to the beach to find the family. It was packed and it took me forever to find them. Which meant I stood there looking at the buoys already set up for tomorrow and thinking, thinking, and more thinking about how far away they looked and holy shit, could I really swim that far out and across and back in?? Really?
The black dot is about where the red turn buoy was to come to the beach for the finish! It was 2/10 mile out into the ocean and 1/2 mile parallel to the beach then 2/10 mile in. Really freakin' scary looking.
Picture stolen from milesmusclesmommyhood--thank you.
After a bad dinner on the pier, too much money spent at the stupid arcade and a really yummy dessert crepe, we headed back to the hotel for pretend sleeping. Well, the kids slept great, but hubs and I didn't sleep at all. No surprise there.
I was making myself sick just thinking about the swim. I barely ate any dinner and could not stop thinking about not being able to do the swim. I kept trying to think of ways to keep my mind busy while I was swimming. I figured out that it was about 900 strokes to get through the 1500m so I planned on counting strokes to keep my mind off of the ocean. I also had two phrases I was going to repeat to myself if I got panicked or wanted to quit: If it were easy, everyone would do it. and stealing from the Saucony campaign: I really regret this workout. Said nobody. Ever.
4 a.m. seemed to come very quickly but also very slowly, if that is possible. My stuff was a ready from the night before, tattoos applied:
so much better than a sharpie marker! I feel like a pro!
and cab was waiting out front. I arrived at transition at 5 a.m., just as they were opening. It took me about 15 minutes to get everything ready and then I just spent the rest of the time making myself sick and talking with the nice women around me.
We had to be out of transition at 6:10 and then walk down to the beach to wait for the start. My wave didn't start until 7:14 so there was plenty of time to get your head in a bad place. I almost threw up when I went in the porta-potties. The smell was pretty bad and my gag reflex was pretty high due to my nervousness. Two of the nice women sharing my bike rack we with me at the start. They were so nice and awesome and really helped me get through it.
Last thing I thought about was this post on Facebook from Jenn from Running with the Girls:
posted toMichelle Bouchard
Thinking of you. You are going to kick ass tomorrow. #toughchik
Wow.. thanks Jenn. It really, really helped me out that morning. Seriously. Tears. Almost.
In no time at all it was our turn. We lined up at the start, the announcer began the countdown, and off we went. I entered the ocean at the back of the pack and began my stroke counting. It wasn't too long and I was at 200 and at the first red buoy! I couldn't believe it! I had even passed a person or two! After rounding the buoy it seemed like it was much more wavy there, maybe because they were hitting me on the side that I breathe rather than head on. I decided then to flip over on my back and backstroke for awhile. This was perfect. I didn't have to look at the water and the waves weren't smacking me in the mouth when I took a breath. I did this for quite awhile and then there was the first yellow buoy.
I knew then that I was going to finish this swim! I wish I were computer savvy so I could draw a picture of the route I think I took--I swear I swam 3/10 mile longer than I was supposed to. I passed that first yellow buoy and then I swam towards the beach (which was legal as long as when you reached the red buoy you swam to the right of it). I got far inside the "box" that we were swimming around and looked up and asked a kayaker where the red buoy was. He directed me back in the right direction and then I finally passed the second yellow buoy.
It was so hard to see where they were because the sun was in the same direction, but I flipped over and began doing the crawl and finally made it to the red buoy, got to the right of it, along with 15 other swimmers all crashing into me, and then was heading for the beach. Yay! I started counting strokes again because I knew 200 would get me almost to the beach and finally my feet hit sand! What an unbelievable feeling--the hard part was over. Swim time: 37:03! woot!!
We had a long run off the beach, down a block or two of the town and then a really long stretch past the transition area and enter it from the back. It was seriously, 3/10 mile! I ran with my wet suit on, but unzipped to my waist. I had really bad chaffing around my armpits that hurt like hell and my feet were covered with sand which I knew would really suck when we got to the run. There were not any suit strippers so I ripped that off myself and headed out on the bike. T1 time: 8:16 (don't forget the long ass run to transition...)
Bike was great! I loved every minute of the bike. The bike portion is easily becoming my favorite part of tri's--no question. My speedometer thing wasn't working for some reason so I had no idea how fast I was going, but I do know I was killing it for me. I don't have a tri bike, so really getting that aero position is not happening but I was feeling like superwoman anyway! I was passing people left and right. I can really make advances on hills, when people are slowing down, I was powering up them. I played cat and mouse on the bike with two women--we passed each other 3-4 times. I would pass on the hills, they would pass me on the flats. Sounds like I need to work on my maintaining my speed on the flats, right?
I almost cried twice on the bike because I was just so proud of myself and how I completed that swim. It was really the best feeling. I could not stop smiling and thinking about how I did it. I also saw an awesome sign one woman was holding on the bike. It said "I think you are winning!" I yelled to her that I felt like I was winning too! Bike time: 1:24:56 average speed 16.7 mph. woot!
me so happy I could burst! that woman in the background was one that I played cat and mouse with on the bike and run. she gets me in the end. bitch.
Nothing too exciting to speak of at T2--just a quick switch to sneakers, grab my hydration belt and visor and I'm off. T2 time: 1:50
You know that happy-I'm-so-awesome-I-feel-like-superwoman feeling I had on the bike? Yes, well, that went away about 2/10 mile down the road on the run. The run was so hard. I hadn't done any brick training and this is when I felt it. My legs were sluggish and the best I could do was a slog. I also drank a full water bottle on the bike and my stomach does not like running with anything in it. I got a horrible stomach cramp about 1 mile in and had to walk. This was one of 4 times that I walked during the run portion. I did the best I could with this run and I didn't want to let it ruin the great feeling I had from the swim and the bike. I got passed by 3 women in my age group here and that made me a bit sad, but really, just doing what I had done already was my goal.
The same two wom3n I played cat and mouse with on the bike joined me again on the run. They would walk, I would pass. I would walk, they would pass. I didn't end up getting either one of them in the end. My legs were so heavy and my stomach kept cramping. But I finished. Run time: 1:09:03
Rev3 is very family oriented and encourages the kids to run down the chute with their parent. This was the best ever! All three of my kids ran to the finish with me!
Best picture ever!
Total time: 3:21:08 which is pretty much where I thought I would be. I beat my predicted swim time for sure, my bike was right on and my run was where I thought I would be. I guess this group doing this kind of race is a little more hardcore, because I was 13/16 in my age group.... Those women ahead of me were fast! I can't even compare to them. The age group winner finished in 2:17:56!
The finish line was so, so spectacular! You got handed water, a cold water-soaked gatorade towel, and your medal within 30 seconds of finishing. Next they gave you your finishers shirt. Muscle milk and food were further along.
All in all this was an excellent race for me personally and an excellent race overall. The volunteers and support on the course was superb. Everything from start to finish was carefully thought out and easy for all involved. I will likely do this race again next year and hopefully, get a few more of my friends to do it with me.
Thank you Rev3 for the best first olympic tri ever!!