Friday afternoon, I drove to D’s work, picked him up and we went to rack our bikes. I was a little frustrated that we weren’t getting to the registration at opening (12) but this was the earliest D could get off and he pointed out it would be dumb to go separately. So we got up there. There really way no point to get there early. I knew there were 7 bikes to a rack, so I thought that meant you had a 2/7 chance of getting an end (you were assigned a rack based on your race number). Technically, yes, you could get an end of a rack. But there were 7 racks on each side of an aisle. With the aisle on one side and a wall on the other. So my rack was at the end next to the wall. So with my rack, there was a 0/49 chance of getting the end, regardless of the time I showed up. Not a big deal. Only 2 other people had racked on my rack. I made a newbie error, although no one said anything at anytime. I racked my bike the same direction as the person next to me. D was across the aisle (men and women were separated). So with the bike racked we left (we had also checked in, gotten our numbers, T-shirts, freebies, etc.)
Friday night, V came into town from MD. She had to do the whole bike drop thing too, so around 6 we got a call. She was lost, but not terribly. She did exactly what I did the first time going up, so I knew where she was. She had been in the car about 10-12 hours, stuck in Greenville for 2 of them due to an accident (not her) where 85 had shut down. So she was about as testy as I was.
She found where she was to go. She actually got into a tiff with someone. She is so my friend!
Anyway at 730 she called to ask me what was up with traffic. She was sitting on 85 not moving. Another accident about 3 miles ahead of her (I looked it up). Finally at 8 she got here. She was clearly frazzled. She got a beer. And off we went to get dinner. D was the good one, and had diet coke. V and I each had beer. I had pizza, D had pizza. V had spaghetti.
We got home and started getting ready for the next morning. I pack and repacked my transition bag 3 times. Kept checking to make sure I had everything. Then because it had been raining forever and a day (I think 2 weeks straight), I decided to pack another bag dry clothes that I would keep in the car and flip flops.
So at about 10 I got into bed. WIDE AWAKE!!!! I watched Psych until 1030. D turned it off and the lights. I just laid there. I don’t know when I fell asleep. I woke up at 4 and watched the clock until 445. Got dressed and listened to the downpour falling against the bathroom windows. D walked the dogs. Said it stopped when he opened the doors. D and V finished getting ready while I walked around the downstairs getting some water and Quaker Chocolate Chip Cookies in .
Downstairs and threw all of our stuff into the car, grabbed some Gatorade, and off we went. I drank a bottle on the way up there. On our 60 mile trip it rained a little but not much. V slept or meditated, D and I sat in silence. We got up to the site and of course no one could park. Each person had to stop their car and talk to the volunteer. So it was rolling on 640, and I had to go to the bathroom. I started snapping again. D and V just ignored me. We got all our crap from the car and journeyed to the transition. On the way we stopped to use the rest room. We finished and back on our way. We got to transition and saw our friend J and his wife JJ. It was his first non-relay tri. JJ wasn’t doing the tri since she is doing the HIM-Augusta next weekend. Anyway we had nervous chatter, and all went to our racks. The girl next to me was setting up her transition. She was a newbie too, and so she said nothing about me racking in the same direction. I laid out my stuff. I put a towel on the bottom, my helmet and sunglasses together, stuck my socks way in my shoes, since it was misting, and put a towel on top. I pumped air in my tires, and took some pics with V, D and J. Then we went and got our arms and legs marked. And went down to the boat dock. Lots of people were swimming to warm up. I was nervous so I didn’t want to get in. But I also didn’t want to stand next to V and D because I would get more nervous. D said go to the water, because it wasn’t cold. I did. It wasn’t cold, but my feet slipped on the dock. I got back out because it made me nervous. I came back and D asked me about my goggles. I forgot to get them wet so back to the water. Then I noticed ridges on the dock and my feet could grip. So I relaxed and got a little more wet. I felt better and couldn’t believe I was going to be a triathlete. I got back out and it started downpouring. The person who started this Tri, Denise said some words, and they had a terrific-voiced person do the National Anthem. D was in the first wave with J so down to the front they went. V and I had 9 minutes to wait. We stood and watched. I started getting nervous again, as did V, I think. Although she is a very experienced bike rider she doesn’t ride in the rain. So she wasn’t excited about that. She is a very talkative person normally and she didn’t say a word. Our wave was up, so I told her I would see her in 2.5 hours and good luck.
Then the triathlon started.
I was in the back of the wave and ran in. When other people dove in, I did too. At first there were a lot of people around so I was doing a doggie paddle/free-style/head out of water thing. After about 10 of this stroke, I told myself this was too much, and to swim like a real person. I swam like I had practiced, and swam pretty straight. I got to 100m when I heard the next wave go. So I was doing well. I was doing fine until 300m. Yes I kicked some people, but it wasn’t bad. At 300m I felt like I wasn’t moving, and I was kicking more people (as they were coming up around me). Even still, I kept using my arms and going. Finally I hit the boat dock and ran up the dock to transition.
I got to the Transition and it was on a hill. My bottom towel was totally soaked from all the water running into the transition. So I didn’t even want to touch it. My hand towel was slightly better, and the other bikers on my rack had already left so I used the rack to help me get my socks on and put on my soaked shoes. Bike helmet and gloves (they went on fine) and then I didn’t know about my sunglasses. I put them on my face and said I would decide later. I decided in the aisle they weren’t going to work, so I put them on my shirt (trying something new…gah!) I ran out of transition to the mount line. Right as I hit the line, I watched this woman totally wipe out on her bike. 5 official came over to help her and move her. Now I was unnerved.
So I got on my bike and nearly fell off. I told myself to calm down and started. I was nervous about riding in the rain, but remembered what my friend B told my on Friday. She said that since it had been raining forever for 2 weeks, the road’s oil was already washed away, and there was nothing to worry about. I decided to take this as gospel. I was almost to Cleveland Highway, when I kept seeing this flash. Oh they are going to call this for lightning, I thought. No, it was the photographer. I’m smart like that. So up Cleveland and the long drawn out hill. There was a no pass somewhere here, but I don’t have to worry about that… As I was going up this hill, I saw people walking it. I have ridden this hill twice, so I was not walking it. I counted mail boxes, cracks in the road, street signs and was finally up. I passed someone on the downhill, but she passed me on the next incline. I guess she didn’t like being passed because she started going fast. We turned on Honeysuckle and she braked going down the hill. I remember D telling me to pedal here, so I did and passed her again (I always told her I was coming). I got up part of the huge hill, but didn’t have it. So off the bike. By now I was really thirsty, so I took some water off my bike. I looked infront of me and everyone was walking. I looked behind me and everyone was walking. I finally got to the almost top and got back on, and took off. I got to halfway of the last hill on this road and had to get off again. This woman passed me on her bike. I got to the top and back on. She was about 50 ft infront of me in my age group. I don’t know what was up, but I flew past her right after we turned on Clarks Bridge, and she never passed me again. Seemed weird to me that she could get up the hill but not ride on flats. She didn’t finish the Tri I found out later. And then I took off. No one was infront of me but no one was behind me. I just rode. I saw a turtle. I saw some cars. I saw a lot of puddles and rain. I got to the end of the road and the last hill. The police would stop traffic when they saw bikers, so I got to Limestone and turned. Another drawn out incline, but it seemed to go fast. I got to the top and turned back on Cleveland. Downhill, and some man passed me. I got to the GSP hill and it seemed really easy. Some car came passed me and flipped me off. Later V said it could be worse. On one of her JDRF century mile rides, someone threw piss at her. I finally got back to Old Cleveland. All the volunteers were there telling me to go slow. Here I got pissed off. I was about 50yds from the dismount line and this guy is waving his hands to stop(volunteer). I stopped and he says it is 50 yds ahead. Go slow. I’m thinking I stopped for that? I got to the dismount, and almost tumbled but did it.
I got back in Transition and there is trash and equipment everywhere. I ran over some of it. Sorry but if you leave your crap (shoes) in the middle of the lane, not my problem. I put on the race belt, took off my helmet and gloves and sunglasses. I racked the bike, and grabbed the Gatorade. Except it was so wet I couldn’t open it. So I tossed it in my helmet and left. But not before I saw a woman talking on her cell phone to someone, and she still had to run as well. It was nice that there was no one grabbing their bikes to leave.
The water was right at the beginning of the run, and because of the Gatorade issue, I grabbed some. I also was trying to pull up my shorts. The volunteers were directing me and cheering me. I got to the turn to the main part of the course, and the volunteer told everyone to get out of my way. At the top, the volunteer was on her phone. I said loudly, “Where the F am I supposed to go?” I was slightly irked. The run course was pretty bad, imo because everyone (people and cars) was on it, but it isn't like they can put it somewhere else...It was a 1.5 loop, so everyone thought I was on the last part, and kept telling me I was almost finished. I wanted to quit so they would stop telling me “almost there”. I got to another water table. Then down to the dog park. So many people were in my way. I kept yelling…”Runner coming through, get out of my way.” I finally got to the running trail and was by myself. I got to Mile 1 and there was Gatorade. My mile was 15:50. I started on mile 2. I really didn’t want to be here. Maybe I can just quit. Why am I talking like this? I got to this hill that although not long was steep. I walked up it. I just kept having all these negative thoughts. By now I was starting to panic, that these were going to sabotage me, and wanted to cry. I came out of the trail, and this woman who recognized me from the OWS clinic yelled, “GO ALLISON!” It totally picked me up. Down the hill I ran and up. I could see MM2 (15:30). J saw me, and started running with me. I was now less than pleasant to people in my way. J was talking about his swim and how he did. He said D beat him in the swim and had finished strong, as did V. He said JJ said I looked good in the water. We got to the front of the park and J told me I only had to run to a shrub, and not to the entrance (a hill). This pleased me . So around the shrub. J kept talking and running. He was infront of me. So I kept trying to keep up. Then we saw D and he started running with us. He was my blocker. He stood infront of cars preventing them from passing all the walkers into my path. My finger went up a lot. J was laughing. It was also now pouring. So most people were running away from my direction. However most of them still cheered me on which now the “almost there’s” were very appreciated. The one person I remember the most was the guy in the speedo. Why are you wearing a shirt with a speedo? D said, “Oh he put on a shirt.” This made me giggle because really, if you have the wherewithal to put on a shirt, why not pants? So by now, I was in a much better mood. We came up on Mile 3 and D and J said told me to give it everything I had. I heard someone screaming for me, and D goes “You know who that is!” V was now jumping up and down for me. They called out my name and I finished. I almost cried. Someone grabbed my leg and got my chip and someone handed me a cold water. D came and hugged me and J, JJ and V were all there. The last mile was 13:56. At the time, I didn’t know my times, but was convinced I was last. And I was convinced of this all day.
V and D got me some water and coke. My stomach really was a mess (wanted to puke more from emotion than anything else). We all stood in the rain for awhile. I didn’t trust my stomach so I wanted to walk. We all walked back to transition. We said good-bye to J and JJ. My towels were about 50 pounds, and I had those, and a cooler, and the bike and a bag and a helmet. D had as much as did V. D just went and got the car and brought it to transition (which was now very empty). We packed up the car, and I changed my shirt. D drove back to ATL in the pouring rain. We stopped at the beer store, and then came home. We drank some champagne to celebrate that we all rocked. And had some beer (Coal Porter). Then we got ready to go to M’s birthday lunch at Vortex. We got there. M had a date that night, so we all asked about the guy. After Vortex we went to Corner Tavern and had more beer. B and M left. So we did too. V, D and I went to see Clay. I nursed beers there, because I had pounded earlier. Anyway after dark we came home and watched TV and ordered dinner. That we didn’t eat.
Overall it was an awesome day.
J came in under 1:27
V came in under 1:40
D came in under 1:43
I came in at 2:17:46…which made me ecstatic because I had estimated 2:30.
And the last person wasn’t me.
And Grandmas…They were there. You can call me hokey, but my shirt is blue. Alzheimer’s color is purple. Look at my breast. I see the purple ribbon. (If you don’t see it, shake your head and say, I see it too!). Also D said at mile 3 there was a woman under a tree who cheered me on. He said it was the spitting image of my grandmother and he had to do a double take. So they were there cheering me on too.