Oh man… how has it been almost TWO months since IMLOU? I promised myself I’d write the race report right after the race…and then I got lazy…and then things got very very busy with wedding planning, buying a house and selling my condo, and before I knew it, it was 10/20/14…almost November?!?!
So, without any more delay, on to my IMLOU race report!
Pre-Race (this is ridiculously long….possibly longer than the actual race report. Also, I apologize for lack of photos, I was so darn nervous the days leading up to the race that taking pictures was the last thing on my mind…now I wish I had taken more!)
JMR and I left that Thursday afternoon and arrived without much time to spare to check into our hotel, the Galt House, and then head to dinner to meet some friends I met while riding the course in July. Dinner was fairly relaxed and as it always is a small world, one of the couples we sat with was also from Saint Louis! After watching five people partake in ridiculously large ice cream dessert, we headed back to the hotel and I was asleep by 10p.
Friday we slept in a little and left the hotel around 9a so I could do my quick 30 min ride/15 min run to shake out my legs and make sure that my bike was ready to go. Once we got to the same parking lot that we rode from when I rode the course in July, I started to get very nervous riding around the streets solo with traffic…I wasn’t worried when I did it in July, but now being so close to the race, I was worried about the random chance of something happening…so…I rode the sidewalk for 30 minutes. I felt silly as the other cyclists zoomed by me on the road while I was slowly riding along on the sidewalk, but oh well, better safe than sorry…regardless, I got it done, and Lola seemed ready to race. I hopped off my bike, and finished the run with JMR who was doing a run while I was riding. Legs felt good too, hooray!
After the brick, we quickly headed back to the room so I could change and get to the athlete’s meeting at 11a, fortunately the expo was in our hotel, so it was very easy to get there quickly! I got to the meeting just as it was starting and sat out in the hallway since the room it was in was already full. I got a text from another person I met on FB that was also going to ride the course with me in July, but due to logistic and family issues he was unable to ride the day that I did. We met up as the meeting ended – it was nice to put a face to a name!
Next up I headed over to athlete check-in where I got my athlete wrist band (only people wearing it can enter certain areas – transition, finish area) and then off to pick up my bibs and packet. Whoo! This was getting real!! Next I picked up my chip and then browsed the merchandise area. I was good and only bought two things, a souvenir mug and a shirt with all of the athlete’s names on it. I had one from KS 70.3 and really liked it, so it was a must purchase!
Finally I headed back to the room to shower (yes, I felt icky not having showered after my brick, but there wasn’t enough time), and then JMR and I walked around and grabbed lunch. We ended up eating at a place right where the finish line will be….I couldn’t believe that in two days I would (hopefully) be crossing that finish line!!
Next we hung out at the hotel pool for a little bit (it was pretty disappointing) and then I headed over to the athlete dinner. I was debating going, but figured since this was my first IM that I should at least go check it out. They have a motivational video, several guest speakers and complimentary dinner for all athletes. Since my diet the week during races is limited grains (if any), starches (except sweet potatoes) and light on dairy, I just stuck to salad and avoided the various pasta dishes they had, they did look good though! The video and speakers were very motivational, and I’m glad that I went, but if I do another IM, I probably wouldn’t go again.
After the athlete dinner, since I hadn’t really eaten, I met up with JMR to grab dinner at another restaurant located on the Fourth street live. Dinner (turkey club minus the bread) was accompanied with a few beers (gotta carb load, right? For some reason certain beers don’t bother my stomach like pasta and bread do) and probably a later than planned bedtime, but I didn’t have to be up super duper early on Saturday.
Saturday I woke up around 7:30, ate my breakfast of two harboiled eggs and a banana, and then headed down to the lobby to meet another friend I rode the course with to walk to the practice swim. Once we got our gear checked in and headed down to the water, I could not believe how strong the current was! The practice swim is just a short out and back from where you finish on race day, so the conditions would be a bit different on the actual swim course, but people were hardly moving forward! Oh boy. I hopped in the water and after what felt like forever, I looked at my watch and saw 20 minutes had passed and I had only made it half way to the turn around. My coach had me doing a 20-25 minute swim, so I figured I should turn around and once I hit the exit I saw 23 minutes on my watch. Oh good grief. That current was super fast. After drying off and talking to a few other people about how ‘crazy’ the current was, I headed back to the room to shower, get lunch and then pack my bags.
Once again, we headed to fourth street and ate lunch at the same place we did on Friday, to order the same lunch, grilled chicken breast and sweet potato fries. Hey, the food was good and my stomach agreed, so why not stick with what works 🙂 After lunch we headed to CVS to pick up trash bags so I could put my gear in an extra bag. The weather forecast for that night was lots and lots of rain, and I wanted to make sure my gear in my bags stayed extra dry for race day (we drop off our bike and run gear bags the day before and they sit outside overnight).
Once we were back at the hotel I started to re-lay my gear out again and double…triple check that everything that was supposed to be in the gear bags, were in fact in the bags. Even though I had pre-packed before heading to Louisville, I was still nervous I would forget something! It was so much to get together since we had four bags to pack: 1. Bike gear bag, which contains everything you need for the bike: I packed bike shoes, socks, helmet, nutrition, Desoto cool wings, sunglasses, emergency zip lock baggie: (tums, immodium, extra salt tabs, and a small tube of aquaphor) 2. Bike special needs bag which you have the option of getting around mile 70 if you need it: I packed an extra bike tube, CO2, an extra water bottle with 3 servings of infinite in case I lost my bottle on the course and peanut butter crackers (hoping I wouldn’t need any of them) 3. Run gear bag which contains everything you need for the run: I packed running shoes, new socks, hat, handheld water bottle, arm coolers, four gu’s) 4. Run special needs bag, which you have the option of getting at mile 13.1 if you need it: I packed gummy bears and extra salt tabs.
Finally we grabbed Lola and my Run and Bike my gear bags and headed down to transition to check in my bike and drop off my gear bags (you can check in bike and run special needs the morning of the race, which I opted to do). This was really getting real…oh gosh…I was getting really nervous! Also it was getting REALLY hot out. I was worried how I would survive during the race. Once I entered check-in, I had my own personal volunteer who walked me to my rack, gave me race day tips (ex, walk through transition today so you remember where your bike is racked, because race day will be crazy), and then walked me to gear check in. I had bought yellow and pink ribbons to tie on both my bike and run bags so they would be easier to spot, hopefully that will help on race day to locate them quickly! I was also glad that I double bagged my gear because the weather forecast looked pretty darn awful that night.
After check-in, we met up with my tri buddy R and his wife who had just arrived in town from Saint Louis to come support me. R, who has done two IM’s, has been like a mentor to me this season-dealing with my crazy (and millions of them) questions, emotional melt downs and everything else that goes along with training for an IM. Now, don’t get me wrong, poor JMR and my family also had to put up with my craziness, but R probably got the most pestered with questions and rants. I’m glad he’s still my friend after all of that!
While R, his wife and JMR hung out in our hotel room until it was time to meet up with my family for dinner, I was driving across town (ok, only a ten minute drive, but with everything going on, it stressed me out) to the house my friend who was also racing rented to use their microwave (our hotel didn’t have a microwave) so that I could have my beloved baked sweet potato with dinner. I had called the restaurant ahead of time to request just a baked potato and they said that they did not have that type of potato, only the type that they use for their frites. Seriously? Ugh. My pre-race meal ALWAYS includes steak, broccoli and a sweet potato, so I didn’t want to jinx myself and try anything new.
After the sweet potato task was completed and I got back to the hotel, it was time to walk to the restaurant for dinner. Of course, as soon as we left the hotel it started pouring! We finally made it to the restaurant but we were pretty darn soaked! It was great to see my parents and aunts, everyone was so excited!! Except me! I wanted to puke! My dad even asked if I was ok, because I looked like I was going to throw up. My pre-race nerves were pretty darn bad. After ordering a beer (which I drank slow and with LOTS of water) my nerves calmed down a bit and I was able to relax. Once they brought out the dinner menus I about died. BAKED SWEET POTATO WAS ON THEIR DINNER SPECIAL MENU!! After all of that! Good grief. Everyone at the table found it pretty funny because they knew how much I had talked about the sweet potato and the time/energy I spent on bringing one, but at that point all I could do was laugh about it too.
Dinner was great, and after JMR handed out the t-shirts he had designed for everyone to wear the next day so I could spot them more easily, everyone loved them! They looked pretty darn professional if you ask me! After dinner it was time to head back to the hotel and try to get some sleep.
But…it was pouring! Lightning, thunder…rain rain rain. Oh man. All I could think about was all of the debris going into the water making it a pretty nasty swim (sewage run-off), rain degreasing my chain, my seat tube filling up with water…I was kind of an anxious mess.
I talked to my coach before trying to fall asleep and she gave me a few last-minute tips and just said…’remember to have fun and enjoy the day!’, which were words I constantly reminded myself the next day. I tossed and turned and managed to sleep for a few hours but I never fell into a deep sleep. Before I knew it, it was 4:15 am and it was time to get ready…….