Wow. Where do I start telling this story? My head is still spinning from this weekend, and I've been really anxious to start getting all of it down. Please bear with me. I think it's going to take several days. Today, I think I'll just talk about the moments leading up to Sunday.
Steve and I finished packing late Thursday evening. I still had to work Thurs, but my brain seemed to be focused on much different things than dialysis patients. It was probably one of the most nonproductive days I have ever put in as a pharmacist. We woke up early Friday morning. Steve packed up the car, and I made sure that everything was ready for us to leave (our usual responsibilities). We were out the door by about 8:15 and four hours later, we were there. I got to sleep for a couple of hours on the way out, and then I repaid the favor by taking the wheel for the rest of the way. We headed straight for the Terrace. I had read Xt4's blog the night before, and as usual, it was very helpful. We found a parking meter that was close and headed in the general direction of Ironman Central. An hour and a half later, I had my numbers, my instructions, and excitement brewing in my stomach. I hadn't really thought much about Ironman earlier that week. I think it's a coping mechanism I've developed. I just push it out of my mind and choose to ignore it. Sometimes I ignore it until the morning before the race. Friday, I let myself believe that it was getting close. Steve made the mistake of telling me early while we were standing in line that he had been thinking for the last month or so that he might like to sign up for this next year. Well, anyone who knows me knows that it takes very little to get me excited about others doing triathlons or any race or athletic event for that matter. I instantly started planning how we could do it together next year and encouraged him that he could do it. As crazy as it sounds, the last couple of weeks during taper, the thoughts of doing IM again soon had started to creep into my mind. There were so many things that I would do differently "next time." More on this later.
The only downside of the exhibit: I had my body fat tested at a free stand. The last time I had it tested, it was 16.1%. That was 4 years ago. Let's just say that it isn't that anymore. I was a little disheartened for a couple of seconds knowing this is the most I've ever worked out in my life, and somehow, I've actually put on a little chub. Wait. Step back. Reassess. It is normal for you body to change composition at this time in your life. You have not lifted weights in months. Last time was underwater weighing, and that is the most exact method. You are ready to do this race. I pushed all negative thoughts out of my head. There is no need for them now. There was never a need for them.
We checked into our hotel and headed out to Stu's. He had made a feast for us perfect for embarking on the journey that we were about to undertake. He has a beautiful house and an even more beautiful family. It was great to see some of the WIBA bloggers again and meet some new ones too. Thomps, Stu, Wil, Siren, TriSara Tops, Xt4, Robby B, Chris from Chivalry, and a few others were there. We laughed, talked, ate, and watched last year's IM Moo on TV. We stopped to take a photo before xt4 and I headed to the athlete's meeting.
On our way into town, x and I had a great talk. It's funny how we had just met face to face for the first time, but I feel like I've known him for years. We talked about life and about Ironman. I told him that I was a little concerned, that I didn't feel like IM training had changed me that much. He and Wil seem to have experienced life-changing transformations through their training. I told him that I didn't know if it was good because I had found myself beforehand or if it was bad because I was somehow missing something from this whole experience. I think now, though, that it did change me. I'll explain later.
Saturday, Steve and I checked into our "close" hotel room. It was a little more expensive per night, but it was walking distance to the course, and on race morning, I hate dealing with traffic. It's the number one stressor for me. I don't like trying to find parking. I don't like worrying about time. I don't like dealing with stop lights. You get the picture. Well, as it turned out, the Hotel Ruby Marie was perfect. It had a glorious king-sized bed with amazing blankets. It didn't take me long to fall in love with it.
Soon the rest of the gang arrived. My AWESOME friends Jess and Maddy brought my sister Steph along. We went to church and then headed out for supper. Now I normally drink a lot of water when I'm out to eat, but the night before IM, I was on a mission. The waiter quickly realized that I'd be a "chronic refiller" and adapted to the situation.
The food was amazing, and once we were stuffed, we headed our separate ways for the night. Steve and I walked down to shore and looked at the swim course one more time. We strolled beside the water hand in hand for a while thinking and talking about the next day's race. It was a moment forever etched into my memory. Back at the hotel, Steph crashed on our floor, and an hour or so later, my brother Matt rolled into town.
I slept like a rock that night, and when the alarm went off the next morning, I was ready.