Okay, rewind back to Saturday... I got to the check in a little later hoping the crowds would have died down. But no such luck - the line was going down the block. I had just gotten in line when the volunteer came by to tell us we could bypass this line if we knew our race number. Wait, was it 2568 or 2658? I looked it up on my phone - 2658! Whew! Bypass this line and on to the next line, and another line, and another and finally I was checked in and numbered.
On to the bike racking. I parked, grabbed my bike & helmet and headed to transition. Once I got to transition I made the discovery that somewhere between the parking lot and transition I lost my bike helmet number. Boo! I retraced my steps but no sticker. The volunteer I asked said to stop by tomorrow and pick up a blank name tag as a substitute bike helmet number. Well, okay then. Nothing left to do now but go home and get a good night's sleep.
Thanks to my fan I did get a decent night's sleep, even with it being super hot. And while 90+ might not be that hot elsewhere, this is Seattle and we melt, or at least I melt. I was up bright & early, ate my banana and half a bagel and was ready to go.
I got my name tag / bike helmet number and set up my transition area before making my way down to the water. The good thing about the soaring temperatures - the water wasn't quite as chilly! In fact, as I was waiting with my green caps to enter the water, one person remarked that it was much hotter than last year to which I responded that it only helps in the swim!
We entered the water and the cheers began. Our word was "sensational" and then it was time to count down. And we were off!! The sun was almost directly in my eyes and it was hard to see the first buoy. I tried to follow the feet in front of me but they were not going as fast as I would like so I passed them and tried to find a new set of feet. The wind had picked and the waves were coming in strong. Keep going. Each stroke was a fight until I finally rounded the first buoy. Past the first buoy it was a whole new swim! The waves weren't nearly as strong and the sun wasn't in my eyes. I kept going and was about to get out of the water when the girl in front of me kicked me in the chest and then the nose. Ouch! Oh well.
I made it back to my transition area, threw on my clothes and shoes, grabbed my bike and was off. There is one hill that I normally get off and walk up - it is short, steep and quite narrow and I'm not confident in my bike skills in such a narrow place so it is easier to get off and walk it up. There wasn't a lot of people near me when I started up so I shifted down and started climbing. I made it about halfway up before jumping off my bike and walking the rest of the way up.
I love the energy of this race, especially in the tunnel where the yells and cheers echo off the walls. I surprised myself with how many people I was passing on the bike. I reached the turn around and started back. The views from the bridge deck were amazing - Mt. Rainier and the very blue water. It was beautiful! I made it back and jumped off my bike and somehow got it back on the rack.
I was feeling quite spent at this point. The heat was starting to get to me. But I was still determined to run as much as possible, and only walking through the water stops. Thank the Lord there were 4 water stops! I stopped at all of them but on the second and fourth I just dumped the water on my head. The hill rose up in front of me and I hung on until I was half way up before stopping for what I hoped was my last walk break. At the top of the hill was one spectator who I swear I'd seen several times before. He was ringing a cowbell and yelling for us. "Go get your downhill - you earned it!" That's right, I did earn a downhill and I'm taking it! Down, down, down to the finish line. More and more spectators lined the streets and the cheers were getting louder. Come on! My feet seemed to have a mind of their own and carried me across the finish line!! Yay!!
Between the waves and heat I wasn't expecting to beat my time so imagine my surprise when I saw my time! Where did I make up time? A little here and a little there - I shaved time off the swim, bike & run.
Two down, two more to go!!
Post race (with my newest medal)