Couldn't be happier with this weekend! What a great ride -- perfect weather, rolling hills, gorgeous scenery, great race organization, and in a quaint little getaway town.
Let's back up to Wednesday evening, though. Susie came down with a 102.5 fever and I started to worry that our little getaway weekend wasn't going to happen. I almost kissed the doctor when she said it was strep throat. Strep - it goes away in 24 hours! If she's gonna be sick (and then consequently get me sick), strep I will take. With both of us on antibiotics by Friday we were good to go.
Since Susie and Jack's babysitter had a daughter graduating from college on Friday I was home with the kids anyway. I scheduled Jack's one year appointment (healthy! Still 13% for weight, but doing great!) in the morning and spent the afternoon packing the car. Quite a feat to get a suit case, bike trailer, two bikes packed with a preschooler and a toddler screaming for attention, but we got it done and almost on time. I picked up Jamie and 3:30 and we were on our way! Unfortunately I chose the wrong route to get there -- rather than interstate (Beltway to 270) I attempted the backgrounds. Bad idea. It took us 3 hours whereas it should have taken maybe 2 in the traffic (granted that included a McD stop for Susie and later a Jack snack attack.) At any rate by the time we checked in the hotel it was close to 7. Jamie wanted to get a run in (sidenote: I forgot to pack his clothes so he wore mine. There is nothing like seeing your husband in size XS women's Addidas shorts.) so we skipped dinner out. I headed to packet pickup after he returned and then found an amazing Italian place that did takeout. Carbo loading is such a prereward. I wanted to get to bed early but Susie was way too excited and didn't fall asleep til 11. Poor Jamie, who was not only doing the quarter century with both kids in the bike trailer but also in charge of checking out of the hotel, would have to deal with a little girl with too little sleep.
5:30am came all to soon. I had told the ladies I was riding with that I'd get there between 6 and 6:15. Of course as soon as I got out of the hotel, my chain dropped. Luckily I do know how to fix this now :) I biked the mile to the start and Karen had been waiting awhile. I felt bad because she came all the way from Falls Church and I think left her house at 3:30am, and I'm the one who wanted to leave so early. At any rate, Katie wasn't there yet. She stayed overnight at a friend's and I guess the drive was longer than anticipated. Karen and I did get to enjoy the awesome spread -- Panera coffee and bagels, muffins, bananas -- and once Katie arrived we took off.
Somewhere before the first rest stop we missed a turn and added over a mile to the bike computer. Of course. A century is never a century. I wasn't sure if Karen had missed the turn or not so I waited for her and Katie went on. Apparently she did NOT miss the turn because I was the last one to turn up to the rest stop. I ate cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. I was not paying any attention to my nutrition. I guess eventually I should fuel my rides with whatever I will be riding with on race day. For now though - I'll stick with Chips Ahoy.
Somewhere between the first and second rest stop Karen had some mishap with her back and said she wasn't sure she'd finish the second loop. Now I felt terrible - not that I can control her back - but she got up at 2:30am, waited for me, and now was injured. :(
I chose this event because the terrain is very similar to the Louisville course and I'm happy to say I did okay with the climbing. In fact, the three of us kept chicking guys on the climbs. Guys do not like to be chicked. Every time Karen and I passed them (Katie had gone ahead) , they had a comment for us. Whatever. I'm stealing this from someone else's blog, but we are FEMALE! Fe= Iron and MALE= Man. We are Ironmans. Er something.
We made it through the first loop (and my bike computer said 52 miles.. Grr.....) and Karen decided not to risk her back getting worse since she had a race coming up in two weeks so she took off. Bummer. :(
About ten minutes into the lower loop we passed Jamie. Susie and Jack were fast asleep in the bike trailer. But... wait a second. I was not supposed to pass Jamie. There were two quarter century routes -- one that was part of our route and therefore extremely hilly, and one that was along the C&O towpath and therefore free of motor vehicles, generally flat, and advertised as "great for rides with children." That was the one I had signed Jamie up for. Leave it to him to grab the wrong cue sheet. I have NO idea how he was doing those hills with a mountain bike and 55 pounds of kid in a trailer. I also don't even want to know how dangerous the downhills were. I was flying down them at 30 miles an hour without pedaling. Susie and Jack must have been getting quite the roller coaster ride. At any rate... Kudos to him. His new name is Superdad.
I spent the next 30 miles trying to keep up with Katie. I hadn't gone over 56 miles since.... the last century I did with Katie, which was about 21 months ago. I believe she told me she hated me somewhere along the 60ish mark and the umpteenth hill. So we were both definitely doing much better and I was killing myself to keep up -- I wasn't ever able to get close enough to get any draft but that's fine since you can't draft in triathlons anyhow. Some guy kept drafting off me and thanking me for breaking his wind. My pleasure.
Around 80 miles it got really ridiculous. Crazy hills. I had to walk my bike off one of them for fear I was going to fall off if I kept on pedaling. At this point I completely lost Katie and everyone else. Then a few miles later I realized I hadn't seen any arrows for a quite some time and I was convinced I'd gone the wrong way and instead of a century it was going to end up being a Total 200. I pulled over and looked at my cue sheet but I still seemed to be going the right direction. I started pedaling much more slowly and wondering what happened to Mr. Draftman and praying he would show up again. He did. He was also concerned that we were lost but we both looked at the cue sheet and decided to keep on going. And eventually we saw another arrow. Woot woot! Katie was waiting for me. We had 8 more miles. I think I lost her again after the first two back to the finish.
Why do the last 8 miles of a century feel like 50? I wasn't too tired, it was no longer all that hilly, but every mile felt like eternity.Ugh, an Ironman has 112 miles. Does this mean the last 20 are going to be torturous?
Finally I made it to the finish. And what a great finish it was. Susie, Jamie and Jack had been there a couple of hours. It was ultra impressive. They had all these tents set up with different activities including a coloring book station and a hackey sack station. And the food was amazing -- brats, pie, pasta, cookies.
Could I have run after this? Yes. Could I have run a marathon? Maybe. Probably not run the whole thing. Oh and today my Ironman countdown hit two rather than three digits. We're getting close to 3 month away.
In summary: What. A. Great. Day. That is all.