I had an awesome time! I actually used the word "stoked" in describing my feelings about the race to a friend. Race morning I woke up at 4:15 a.m., afraid I would miss my alarm, scheduled to go off an hour and 15 minutes later. Try as I might, I could not go back to sleep. I was wide awake. This has never happened to me in my life. It was kind of cool. I decided to get up and get ready early, giving me extra time to have breakfast, watch the news, play with the bunnies, do Yoga, and relax.
I got to Area 43 right on time--7:00 a.m. The race started at 8:30. As expected, there was a delay getting to the transition area since it was on the base, and the marine people had to check our license and registration before we could get in. Very high security. I felt very privleged to be let in "behind the scenes." Sort of like a V.I.P. guest.
I loved looking around. There were these corny billboards, reading: "Marine! Don't do drugs. Drugs are unmarine." Or, "Marine! Slow down. Speeding is unmarine." I love it. Unmarine. Jason and I used it the rest of the weekend. "Jason! Clean up the kitchen. A dirty kitchen is unmarine." It was hilarious.
The weather was perfect. Some clouds, low 60s with a light breeze. It is San Diego afterall. We all lined up in the starting chute. They had a really animated D.J. who got us all pumped up. I was racing next to all these big, tough military guys. When the gun went off, they just took off. I let them go, even though I was psyched as well. I kept reminding myself to take it slow. Afterall, I still had another bike and run after this first run.
The first run went really well. Most of it was on packed dirt/gravel paths, which was heaven for my knees. It was mostly flat, and we ran through some fields that smelled like fresh mint and licorice. I refused both water aid stations since my stomach and running often don't get along. I finished feeling fresh and ready to bike in under 9 min/miles. An improvement for me! I had a great first run.
I swigged some Gatorade and got ready to ride. I know I could cut a few minutes off my time by working on speedier transitions but I like being calm and deliberate instead of rushed and hurried. Besides, it gives me time to hydrate and allow my pulse to slow down. I hit the road, and Bluebell and I took off. I felt fast. I've been feeling pretty strong on the bike, and the roads were smooth and flat. I went all out. I didn't hold anything back. I passed a lot of people. (A lot of people passed me too.) I loved riding so strong on my simple entry-level road bike, sans aero-bars. I felt totally in my zone. Some people I passed had an attitude and weren't very friendly (like not moving over when I called out nicely, "On your left." What's up with that?), but I was totally unaffected. I didn't care about anyone else. It was great. I felt very positive. Like no one or nothing could ruin my mood.
I finished the bike in record time--55 minutes for 18.6 miles. This is a PR for me. Somehow, even though I feel out of shape compared to 2 years ago, I have improved on the bike. Go figure. Maybe it's the trainer. Or more mileage. Or the fact, that I slow down and smell the roses more when I bike. I don't know, and I don't care. It feels great.
I started the second run very sluggishly. But it was okay. I knew I wasn't supposed to feel great. Those bike-run bricks always suck. I just took it slowly and kept willing my legs to trudge forward. I went off of rote muscle memory. I know those legs can move. My knee started stiffening up some. I got a little worried. I remember thinking, "Well, I 've already done this run today. I could just go home now. Or I could walk." Then I looked at my watch and realized I could finish in under 2 hours. I decided to set a new goal (I originally thought it might take me 2.5 hrs) and see if I could finish in less than 2.
Then, I hit the dirt path, about 3/4 of a mile in, and I started to loosen up. My stride became less labored and more regularly, and I found my pace. Everything began to get a little easier, and I knew I would be able to finish. I saw a girl with a TCSD jersey on, and I introduced myself and we chatted a bit on the run. I'm actually hoping to bump into her again as she is looking for a swim buddy to practice open water with in my area! I hit the turn around point and felt jubilant. I started chatting to everyone. "Yes! Turn-around!" or "Ah. Love this downhill." I like breaking the ice with those around me. It makes it more fun and you get to meet really cool people. I cheered on a guy in his 50s who zoomed past me, breathing like his lungs were going to burst. Then, I saw the finish line, and my legs picked up. I actually managed a little, feeble sprint the last 100 meters. I felt so good.
I finished in 1:55 and felt great afterwards. I took the rest of the weekend off except for a fun swim on Sunday. Incredibly, I didn't feel too sore or stiff. Plus, no injuries! My ribs and knee feel great! I can hardly believe it. I can't wait for the next race. Or my next workout. I'm totally pumped.