Pre-race: The Road Trip

Thursday at work was busy, but I was slightly distracted by the series of events that layed ahead of me the next few days.  Fortunately things went smoothly and I was able to get home at a decent time and get all of my pre-race tasks completed by 6:30p (drop off the little guy, pick up wetsuit, drop of bike & gear at truck).  I was caught off guard having so much time, so I dropped by Whole Foods to pick up some snacks for the trip since JMR couldn’t make it over until around 7:30.  In the parking lot I ran into another girl in the club I met at the meeting on Wednesday that was  also riding in the club van and doing the sprint tri that weekend.  We chit chatted about the weekend events and our excitement, and also her excitement about running Chicago marathon in a couple of weeks.  Man was I impressed that she was able to do marathon training and still fit in training for a triathlon!  I headed home feeling even more excited to wake up early the next day to ride with the club to OKC.

Around 8p JMR and I grabbed some late dinner at Houlihan’s, and turned in early to be ready for a 4a wake up call.   For some strange reason I woke up around midnight, and then I looked at my phone and realized I had gotten a group text from one of the drivers of the truck with all of our gear and bikes.  They had arrived in Springfield and were stopping for the night… even though I was tired and needed to go back to bed, the group text made me even more excited about the weekend.  Peaches was on her way to OKC, and I would be there soon!

I woke up around 4a, finished packing my bag of regular clothes, and finally hopped in the shower, with not too much time to spare.  You’d think spending a weekend where you’ll be wearing really comfy casual clothes would be easy, but it almost was more difficult!  Does this look too sloppy?  Does this shirt look too fancy for these nike capris?  Perhaps because I’m not used to not being allowed to sporting workout gear in public places (well I do it anyways, but this time it was socially acceptable), it added a bit more pressure 🙂

Regardless, I did my best and soon JMR and I were in my car on our way to meet up with the vans.  We were making good time, so I decided to stop at a gas station right before where we were meeting to pick up some gatorade and water.  When I went to pay, as I rummaged through my clutch to find my debit card, I realized I couldn’t find my license… I finally found my debit, credit card and health insurance card, but no license!! Suddenly I started frantically pulling everything, receipts, gum wrappers…. out of my clutch in fear that when I switched to a smaller purse, I had forgotten the most important thing, as I NEEDED my license to get my race packet.  After pitting out my shirt and covering the entire gas station counter with everything under the sun that was in my clutch – I found it.  I looked up and the gas station attendant was looking at me like I was absolutely nuts.  I tried to explain to him that I was going out-of-town and was worried I forgot my license….and….he had a totally blank look in his face.  So I put all of my stuff back in my clutch and quietly headed back to the car.   Phew.  Then we were off to meet the vans.

We pulled up to a dim-lit parking lot (it was only 5a) to a group of people huddled around in comfy warm clothes, chatting about being tired, the need for coffee, and any other random tri-related jokes they could think of.  Poor JMR.  I was hoping he could brush up on tri terminology….because he was going to be in for a looong weekend.  Finally once the last person had arrived, we divided the group of twenty into two vans, and as it turned out, for the most part, the more experienced triatheletes ended up in (what we later dubbed as) Van #2 and the newer, less seasoned triathletes in Van #1.  And we were off!!   For the most part (other than taking random naps during the trip), we chatted about how we each got into the the sport, which race we were doing that weekend…. and then whatever else came up for discussion.  We had a great group of people in my van, including the super nice girl I ran into the Whole Foods parking lot the night before! Her husband was racing that weekend as well (and was also in the van), he was doing the Olympic on Sunday and, of course, was also doing the Chicago marathon.  Hardcore people, hardcore!  I really enjoyed spending most of the ride chatting with them as well as all of the other individuals in the van, everyone just had such a great attitude and had so many interesting things to add to the conversation during the ride.  We stopped several times for bathroom breaks, which was pretty much inevitable when you have 20 people riding 8+ hours to a race which requires you to be super hydrated.

We finally arrived a little before three and headed straight to the race site to pick up our packets and get our bikes/set up transition.  Man, in contrast to the temps in the early am, it was hot!!  JMR and I headed over to the van to check out my bike where I saw my training buddy, T, and her husband.  I was so happy to see her and gave her a big hug.  We’ve been training so hard together that it was crazy to be there this weekend, it was finally here!  Next JMR went to packet pickup with me where I got my packet, my pre-race t-shirt, and my race bag with fun free stuff in it.  I was good and didn’t buy anything from the expo, I figured if I finished, that the medal and finisher shirt would be enough of a reward as I’m running out of room for gear at my place!

Next we headed back to the bikes where I put my race stickers on my bike and walked it over to transition.  I didn’t set up my transition with the rest of my gear for race day because I didn’t want it to be damp from sitting out all night, but here’s a shot of Peaches all racked and ready for race day.

Peaches is to the right of the red bike

After leaving transition we headed over to the Athlete’s meeting to go over last minute race-day information.  Honestly, a lot of the information discussed was already covered in the athlete packet they emailed out, so it was kind of useless to attend, and even more annoying that it seemed many of the people there hadn’t read the darn packet and were asking questions that were answered directly from the packet!  Finally by the time the meeting was over, we had a half hour to check into the hotel and meet the club for dinner down the street (walking distance) from the hotel.  I took a quick shower since I felt gross after riding 9 hours in a van and sweating in the sun dealing with transition/bike stuff, and afterwards I felt so much better.

Dinner was a lot of fun, I got some last minute race day advice from several members with a lot of experience, which helped me feel a little more prepared.  We also took a group picture, as you can see, it was a big group!

I’m on left in the pink shirt, my training buddy is next to me in the grey shirt

After dinner, JMR and I headed back to the hotel where I got my race gear ready and took care of getting my bib ready, sticker for my helmet, arm/calf race number tattoos and filled up my water bottles.

Tattin’ it up. It was a tad crooked, but it looks worse in the picture. Looked better on race day in motion 😉

Around 8:45 I got another group text that volunteers who went to get supplies for the Saturday race day food were back, so I headed to the club member’s room to pick up some G2, a banana and a pb sandwich.  Now, I was really ready for race day.

And that was that.  All that was left was sleep.  To be honest, once Thursday evening arrived and work was over, my nerves seemed to calm down.  I was still really anxious about race day, but it didn’t feel like I was going to puke when I thought about it.  At that point I realized all I could really do was just be mentally prepared and physically there wasn’t much I could do.  Plus, I think I was really tired of having anxiety and being nervous about the race, I was ready to get the race in motion!

I still had a bit trouble sleeping, but much less than I’ve had in the past prior to races, especially the nights before my marathons.  It was strange.  I was worried that perhaps this was the calm before the storm?

Next up…..race day!

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