I'm back from Augusta and I am a Half Ironman Finisher! Here is a picture my mom took as I approached the finish line!
|So excited to be achieving my goal!|
First of all, Taper Madness was horrific. The second week of taper was the worst mentally. I was a basket case and pretty much spent my time crying if I wasn't working out. The fog lifted in the days before the race, but my body was physically a mess. I had pain in my left knee on the inside of the knee that I had never felt before ever. Then I had pain in my right shoulder that, again, I had never felt before. On the way to Augusta, my right elbow was hurting! It was one thing after another.
I kept reminding myself that I needed to trust God - whether I completed this journey at the finish line or not. I kept praying for strength to accept with grace anything that might come my way.
I left for Augusta on Friday morning after I dropped off my daughter at her outside classes. My husband had arranged to take a half day off work so I could get to town a day early. My plan was to get to the expo and get my race number, do my shopping, and attend an athlete's meeting on Friday. Then I was meeting a group of folks to do a river swim/float in the afternoon, followed by dinner out. That would leave Saturday available for a short gear check/workout and bike check in the morning and then I could rest in the hotel the rest of the day until my parents arrived!
Surprisingly enough... it all worked out as planned! I was a little behind schedule getting to Augusta but the expo was practically empty when I arrived. I walked right up and got my bib and swag and then shopped. And shopped. And shopped. I now have Augusta 70.3 gear to wear in just about every season. I hope to be able to fit the few pieces I couldn't afford to purchase at the expo into the budget next month if they are available online in my size! ;)
I stood in line for about 5 minutes to purchase my stuff - big difference from a Disney race! LOL I was expecting that to take over an hour so I was pleased! Next I went to pick up a print I had pre-ordered. The artist is a local to Augusta and a triathlete and she does a painting each year. It is simply stunning! I took a picture of her with the print and I will post than when I do all of the pictures. I can't wait to get it framed and hung up on the wall near all of my other race mementos.
I saw Lisa and Felicia and went attended the athlete's meeting together with a few other friends. Most of the information I was aware of but I'm still glad that I went. After that, I hit up the TriAugusta booth for my TriTats and then headed back to the car. Since I had some time to spare, I made a last-minute decision to hit up Farmhaus Burgers for a bite to eat. The group was going to Nacho Mamas after the swim, but I didn't want to eat mexican so close to race day. I figured I would eat before the swim and then just have a margarita afterward. I'm so glad I ended up going there to eat because they were closed Sunday and Monday and I would have been sad to have missed out altogether.
Hit the hotel to change clothes and wait for Lisa and Felicia to pick me up and drive me to the Boathouse. Once we got to the start, we saw Sher and Sam! It was nice to see these friends again after camp and other training together! We hopped in Jeff's truck along with 10 or so of our closest friends (or soon to be friends) and caravanned up to the start. The floating dock was in place which was simply fantastic! I was eager to get into the water again for several reasons. The most important being that the water temperature was colder than it had been in July or August. And the air temperature was colder, too. I didn't want to experience that for the first time on race morning when nerves were already peaking. Another reason was that I wanted to get out on that floating dock. I have a fear of those things, so I wanted to walk on it ahead of time.
My plan was to swim for 10 minutes and then float the rest of the way. But the current was way down and the air/water combination made me shiver while I wasn't actively moving. So I just did a nice, easy stroke to get to the end. For the first time, I was able to walk up the boat ramp like I would be doing on race day. The ramp is very, very bumpy and I've been told that they would have a carpet in place. There was nothing in place on Friday evening, though, and as I stood up on the ramp, I stubbed my toe so bad that it started to bleed right next to where the nail is. UGH. Again, tried not to freak out. I knew I had neosporin and bandages with me in the hotel room and I would proactively take care of it as soon as I got back to the hotel.
Once everyone was out of the water, the 3 of us went back to my room to change clothes and then headed to Nacho Mamas. They were jam-packed and we waited quite awhile in line. I got to meet my friend Lester's wife and talk with her over dinner which was nice. And, of course, I had one of the best margaritas ever! And some cheese dip. I couldn't resist. :)
They drove me back to my hotel and I went up to my room to get ready for bed. I can't tell you the last time I was in a hotel room by myself. I'm not sure it's ever actually happened before! It was BLISS! I finally turned the TV on to watch the end of the Braves game, but after that was over, I turned it back off and went to sleep. I got a great night's sleep (as was the plan since I usually don't sleep well the night before a big race!).
I'm going to go ahead and post this one, and start working on the post for Saturday! Edited to add: Click Here to go directly to the post about Saturday!