I have to start off the report giving kudos to Pulaski. What a beautiful, sweet town. I raced there in 2006. Same swim, different bike and run. In 2006, I drove in on a Friday night, raced and drove back home. This time I was able to experience some of the small town hospitality. Friday night by the race director's rec, we went to a local place on the square. The food was good and the race people happen to be there so before we knew it, we were being introduced to the owner and the locals. How fun! We all know how much I love meeting and talking to people. Post race, we ate at another local diner and sat at the bar and talked to the owner for about an hour. She and her husband run the place. More race people were there and before you knew it we were talking to the postman, the locals, etc. We found out that one of the Mars brothers from Mars candy had a huge farm and mansion in Pulaski or he did at one time. We drove out and toured the grounds, the barns, and parts of the mansion. They now use it for weddings mostly and they were preparing for this quaint country chic wedding and I loved it!! We also spent some time driving through the historical part of the city and looking at the houses which were adorable. Pulaski gets a thumbs up! Not only for putting on a nice, organized race but for being a true southern charm small town.
As for the race! I have to say it was a good day and a pleasant surprise for me. The race is part of the southern championship series and as we entered the transition, you could see there were quite a few fast people there. Especially a lot of fast men. The famous Bruce Generai from Franklin was there and so fun to watch him kill the course. I was excited and ready to get the day started. I was very relaxed, so relaxed that I followed a whole group of men into their locker room instead of mine. OOPS! Stewart yells "Baby there are naked men in here!" Sorry, I guess it is time to wake up and focus. But that is the great thing about this season. I don't really have a focus, I am just there to enjoy the day. Prior seasons I went into every race, giving myself goals. " I want to be in the top 10, I want to win masters, etc" Now my only goal is to do my best and do what I can do. That may be a bad thing but after 8 years of the sport, I am happy that I can relax. It is not all about tri anymore. Yes, I still love it but it is not all consuming. Like years past, I still write my training schedule every Sunday night. In years past, if it was on paper, it was getting done or I was one huge stress ball. I can not tell you how many work outs I miss a week now. Quite a few. I guess I am just still caught up in my love struck phrase because I love spending time with Stewart, the kids, and friends and training just gets pushed to the back. To be honest, if I wasn't afraid of gaining 20 pounds, I would probably be doing even less than I am now.
I made it into the girls locker room and was happy to see that we had real working in door plumbing. I hate a port-a-potty. We had about 6 toilets but NO stalls. They were all just wide open. Well, I have this new obsession with Orange is the New Black and jail has become this cool thing to me. I always wonder, could I go the bathroom in front of all those people??? Well, today I found out why yes, I can go the bathroom in front of all those people. Twice in fact and carry on a conversation with Stacey while doing it. The race is a 200 yard pool swim, after the snorting of the water up the nose in Arkansas, I was concerned about my interest and decided I was going to jump in holding my nose. Who cares if I looked six. Lucky for me, we ran in down the stairs but I still managed to get some water up my nose. I think it is because I take one big deep breath before going under. Beside that the swim was very uneventful. I stood in line and talked to those around me, met a nice lady from Madison Wi. who was down here with her mom in the hospital. Despite changing my swim stroke, I am still slow and always will be. I do think I swam a little slower because I was caught behind a guy and just could not get around him. The joys of a pool swim. I felt good and despite the water being really warm I have nothing to complain about. When you only swim 2 times a week, you begin to let go of all swim expectations.
The bike was just beautiful. We drove the course the day before and it was extremely hilly but all in the countryside and just gorgeous houses, farm land, and scenery. We rode about 4 miles on the very hilly highway but were very lucky to get the rural back roads for most of the race. On the bike, I just worked hard!! At mile 6, I began to feel tired and had to give myself a pep talk. I could see Rob Hyde and a group of guys in front of me for a while and was happy to focus on them but after a huge downhill, I lost all sight of them. The downhills were great! I think I hit 39 as my max speed more than once!!! I passed 2 girls and about 8- 10 guys so I thought I may be doing ok but really had no idea. Stewart passed me at mile 10 and it was fun to get to talk to him briefly as he went by. It also gave me something to focus on in the distance for the next little bit until I lost sight of him as well. Even though the bike was hard, I enjoyed it. I am really loving my bike right now.
The run was an out and back. Through a cemetery, around a gravel track, and luckily a little shaded path for part with a bubbling creek next to you. It was hot, hot, hot and the creek was just a tease. I was dying to drink and dying to pour some water over my head and thoughts of jumping in the creek were in my head constantly. I felt awful on this run. The worse I have felt running in a while. It was not a hard course but I think I was just still fatigued from the bike and dehydrated. I also made a fatal mistake in taking of a gu. When it says, take with water, I know you really need to take with water. As I started the run, I could see the aid station ahead. I took the gu in anticipation of getting water. When I got to the stop, they gave me this water balloon. I squeezed it, shook it, could not get the water out of it. So then I thought, hmm... maybe this is like a sponge and I am not suppose to drink it and I stuck it down my top. It didn't really feel that cold so I thought this could not be right. I took it out and dropped it all the while just thinking I need water!!!
Sure enough as anticipated the cramp that comes with gu without water settled in by my right rib cage along with a cramp in that little teardrop muscle down by my knee. I felt like it was taking me forever to get to the turn around and as people were running back towards me, I wanted to ask them how far to the turn around but just had no energy. Stewart actually ran by me at this point and it took me a minute to realize that was him! I felt like I was moving through molasses and all these strong girls were running towards me. Finally made it to the turn around and was given another balloon and I asked the guy desperately what do I do with these???? He said use your teeth to bite it. I had to run forward to some cones and he was yelling go around them... I almost went in front and back tracked to go around because in a race I always want to feel like I am doing the course exactly as it is set up. As I ran by the man again, he says "U understand??" YES! YES! little streams of water were squeezing out and I could drink it and pour over my head. Not sure if it was because I knew I was on the way back., I finally got some water, the cramps were subsiding some but I felt like I picked it up. I actually passed one guy. Finally!! It was short lived but I did come to another table and actually stopped and they had old fashioned cups as well as balloons. I drank one, poured one over my head, grabbed a balloon and bit - drank and sprinkled more and just wanted to be done. As I ran up the final hill to the finish, I thought Thank God. Crossed the line, they immediately threw a wet cloth on me and gave me more water. You think I was really dehydrated??? After recovering, I go to see Stewart, his parents, and his family. Stewart killed me by about 4-5 minutes and then he says your results are up. You are third overall!! What??? All those girls looked so strong?? Surely it is a mistake and my run that I thought was a 9:00+ pace was actually a 7:20 pace.
Stewart did an awesome job. He had so many tough men in his age group. Guys that I knew from years In racing and he managed to finish 5th in his age group on his second race. I was so proud of him and what he has accomplished in such a short time.
So, the day is great. I do love tri but I also have found that I love so many things as well... I love doing short, quick work outs, I love just lifting weights with Noah, I love doing an exercise video with Riley, I love yoga, and tomorrow after doing hill repeats with the girls. (Mainly just doing them because I want to see the girls). I am starting a women's tennis clinic. Something I have wanted to do for a while. I am just sad that I don't have a tennis skirt yet. Last year, I really wanted and thought I was done with tri. I am so glad that I have found a way to keep it in my life with out it being all consuming.
Like I heard in a movie today, we are only here for a short time, you need to feel it with as much joy as you can.