lets begin as we always do - with a long, drawn out lead-up to the actual race with very little detail paid attention to the actual race in itself. however, this time - the lead up is just awesome. And involved toilets. I hope you're ready for this because I just can't type this fast enough.
so, I get to Maine after 9ish hours in the car. songs were sung, podcasts were listened to, i talked to myself for about an hour - the standard solo road trip. i put the borrowed wheels on my bike and rode it up and down the street with great success. i did notice the valve was a bit finicky when i filled the tire, but it seemed fine and holding air so i though nothing of it. holli, thomas, and i headed to the beach for a quick 25 minute swim. first time ever actually doing quality swimming in the ocean - it was chilly, but after 10 minutes, i felt awesome and the swim on the way back in felt all downhill. we even rode a few waves - SO MUCH FUN IN A WETSUIT. i lost holli and thomas on the way back and momentarily thought they'd been eaten by sharks.
as holli would say, "YOU'RE GOING TO WANT TO WATCH THIS" as she described the optimal way she'd want her friends to watch her die in the ocean - which involved actually having us watch a shark consume her alive.
i can't even. moving on.
the next morning, i did an easy 45 minute ride and 10 minute run to wake up the legs. i felt great. i was getting excited to have a hell of a race and get out there and see what i could do. ive been training well the last couple weeeks and i was ready to put placid behind me and have a really fun day racing with friends. we dropped off bikes and went out for lunch. i had my first lobster meal, a lobster roll - my favorite - and i was in heaven. i spent the afternoon watching movies, napping, and relaxing - a really lovely way to spend the day.
race day! 3:45 am wake-up call since the race started at 6:20 am. i had no issues with my blueberry and peanut butter bagel, unlike the horrors of placid morning. drank some coffee and downed a banana as well. we put on our race tats and, as usual, i put my age upside down and backwards. we then started the walk to transition, only about 15 minutes from our house. i was getting nervous and i had to tell myself multiple times to chill the eff out and not become an epic head case.
this, my dear friends, is where life got a little bit better.
we cut through the expo and found a line of porta-potties - we will now refer to these as PPs, as i will go on to mention these multiple times. we stood there for a couple minutes and realized there was no movement to the first half of the PPs, but they all appeared locked. holli knocked multiple times on one door and no one answered, so she yanked open the door and it was empty. both her and thomas did the same thing to the PP next to it and again, it was empty.
do you see where this is going?
i took it upon myself to try the same thing on another apparently empty PP. i knocked. i knocked again. no signs of life presented itself so i yanked it open, as my friends before me had successfully done. i was greeted by a large man with his pants down and i slammed the door shut and ran back to where pete was waiting, as he just shook his head at me.
the man came out of the PP and held the door open for me. "after you miss."
i died right there, laughing.
when i came to, i replayed the event to holli and thomas and continued to giggle as i replayed the scene in my head. we continued to transition uneventfully and set up our respective areas. i topped off the tires with air, and laid all my stuff on my red nats rally towel. bottles on bike, bento box strapped back on - i was ready. i stared for three minutes as i played out T1 and T2 in my head and i was feeling pretty good about my set-up. holli and i decided to hit up the PPs one more time before walking to swim start. we chose the slowest line, as is murphy's law, and waited for 10-15 minutes before we took our respective PP turns. i get in, do my thing, and put my hand down to the left of the toilet seat to get up. in that same movement, i looked down and saw that my hand was millimeters away from a HUGE PILE OF HUMAN FECES.
what in the actual fuck.
triathletes are disgusting creatures.
i immediately felt my breakfast jump into my throat but i kept it down as i busted out of the PP like it was on fire. the nauseous drool had begun and i didn't even think to warn the person about to face my feces-filled-hell-hole. im a horrible human.
im not entirely sure why i felt so seriously ill, but then the dry heaving started and i just couldn't stop. we walked over to pete and every 15-30 seconds i had to lean over and spit up saliva, praying that my breakfast would stay in my stomach. we walked over to swim start as i continued the annoying dry heaving. i attempted to drink water and i spit that up immediately and that was the trick. i was instantly healed as soon as i had something to throw up. i laughed. what is with my stupid sensitive stomach? its just poop. i touch poop everyday. animal poop, but still. this is the most amount of times i've seen poop in a paragraph in awhile. you're welcome.
we stopped to put on wetsuits just before reaching the sand. quick pic and it was time to jump in and attempt some quick cool water acclimation. it didn't feel that bad. truthfully, our swim two days prior felt colder. i was pumped.
"hey pete - YOU'RE GOING TO WANT TO WATCH THIS!" i yelled at him and i laughed, grateful to feel relaxed headed into the swim.
holli and i started side-by-side as thomas and carolyn were seconds behind us. holli sprinted into the water like she was in baywatch, saving a small human's life. holy hell. clearly, i need to step up my beach start. i started swimming and i had an immediate placid freak-out flashback.
oh crap. or rather, poop.
i then thought of the shit-filled PP and i laughed and just told myself to relax and do what you know how to do. just freaking swim, girl. i was still pretty wound up going into the first turn buoy - i still hadn't relaxed, but id survived the first third of the swim. freak out time had passed and i was ready to swim. the gently rolling waves and cool temperatures to the water were blissful. i was actually enjoying the swim for the first time in awhile. it seemed to be taking longer than usual so i wasn't surprised with swim time out of the water but dang, i didn't expect that.
swim: 33:53 (poop).
T1: it was a bit of a jog to transition and i overshot my bike by a rack or two (amateur) but i quickly put on helmet and sunglasses, made the snap decision to not wear socks, and away i went.
or so i thought.
i rolled out, feeling that familiar cool breeze on my wet skin/kit and before i could even think about biking, i heard a rhythmic and unfamiliar thump, thump, thump. i thought the breaks were rubbing so i got off and checked it out, no issues that i could see. started to go again - thump, thump, thump. again, i got off and looked at the bike, as if that would fix whatever new issues had cropped up between leaving transition and now. i crossed my fingers and got back on the bike. no dice. a thought struck me and i gingerly touched the front tire. 100% flat.
i was more than 1/4 mile away from transition so i turned around and jogged back with the bike. all the funny comedians came out of the woodwork with hilarious comments like, "the race is the other direction!" and "done already?!" and "it works better when you ride the bike!" "hahaha" i responded as i internally flashed them all my middle finger. i saw pete and he had a pump, but i was reluctant to take it - does
once back in transition, i sprinted straight back to the mechanic (at the very back of transition) and lo and behold - they were gone. you'd think at least one would stick around until the swim was over? i was in the first group out of the water so its not like many people had already taken their bikes and left. i panicked and sprinted back to pete. f*ck it, i thought, i'm going to use his pump and if i get DQd for outside assistance, then so be it. i pumped up the tire, all seemed right in the world, and away i went, losing just about 10 minutes in the process.
i was annoyed to say the least. slow swim, tire struggles. i was about 13 minutes back from where i wanted to be and i'd only just started the bike. but - it was what it was and i was going to have a hell of the rest of the race to make up some time. the weather was gorgeous and the roads were nice. i was enjoying myself, eating my uncrustables with delight and keeping hydrated. just before mile 20, i got an odd sense that something was wrong with the bike. it just didn't feel totally smooth anymore, but i couldn't pinpoint why. maybe its just the road, i thought to myself. i was holding about 22 mph at this point, lovely tailwind and heartrate was right where it needed to be. over the next 1-2 miles, i couldn't shake the bad feeling in my gut that the bike was having an issue. i wasn't losing speed and i wasn't working any harder so i pressed on. sure enough, minutes later, that front tire started thumping again.
i had the fix-flat-stuff taped to the back of the seat but to my surprise, the nozzle had fallen off and it was just a canister with no top. i was done.
at that point, i wanted to kick daisy to the curb... but given that she was already laying on the curb, i gently kicked the front wheel. damn you tubular tire. damn you to hell.
for the next 40 minutes, i watched bikes whizz past me. a lot of them called out to see if i was okay, i waved them all on. after awhile, i got bored so i started walking daisy on the other side of the road in the same direction the other athletes were headed. i figured i'd eventually run into someone and get a ride into town. a man called out from his driveway - "do you need a phone?" "yes, thank you!" i frantically tried to look up the Ironman website on his Iphone3 but it wasn't working great. what are you left with when you feel hopeless? i called my mom. i had her try to get ahold of pete via facebook but at that minute a bicycle truck pulled up - and i was saved.
he drove me to the previous aid station and i was handed off to a nice gentleman who took me the rest of the way to town. i walked up to transition at the exact moment that holli and tom came in off the bike. i stashed daisy next to a tree and ran up to them non-chalantly barefoot holding my bike shoes.
me: "oh hey guys!"
holli: "hey girl, you are having the race of your l---. wait, what are you doing?!"
me: "oh, my bike broke. okayyy have fun!"
i ran back to my bike, walked her home and jumped in the shower with my first of many ciders. via my broken ipad, i contacted pete and attempted to meet up with him on a beach cruiser i borrowed from the shed. i packed up the bike with multiple ciders and set off to the run course.
eventually, i met up with carolyn and we walked to the finish. we met up with pete, watched the gang finish, and cashed in the tickets for the lobster bake. i was not about to miss my lobsters and they did not disappoint. by 1 pm, i was a little drunk and happy.
during my 40+ minute stint on the side of the road, i made peace with the DNF. i conquered an ocean swim, overcame that strange swimming anxiety, and had a great weekend with friends. i tested my faith in the humanity that is triathletes via a few choice PP encounters as well. i really can't complain.
on to Maryland!