Last week was a Blast for my family. As I mentioned in my last post, we moved into our camp (only our 2nd summer there as owners...but it's on an island that my husband grew up on with his family at their camp) and spent the week swimming, boating, waterskiing, tubing, toasting marshmallows over the campfire, visiting with family, building a rowboat with the kid's Grandfather, swimming, picking blueberries, swinging on a rope swing..... sounds great doens't it. It was perfect. The family settles into relaxed mode very quickly and when that happens, my 3 little muskateers seem to get along swimmingly (see a theme). We are very very lucky to have this little camp tucked away on secluded little island. Prescious memories are being made and our kids are experiencing something Mark and I were lucky to have as kids and that is very special to us.
Of course, I continued to train. This was easy because I had a race scheduled on the weekend so the load wasn't too heavy. I swam at a nearby pool on a few mornings, I had a Fun fun brick that was bike/run/bike/run (I LOVED that Jen!!!), and even a few days that were barely recognizeable as training. It was perfect for a relaxing week.
I thought I was on vacation. Why do I have a race?
Do I really?
Oh man.... I signed up for a race during our vacation. doh.....
I completely missed the little typed note on the monday of last week that said: "To island. Mark's vacation..."
When I registered for this race, I was in search of a beefier (is that a word?) race for the mid-summer. Maine only seems to have sprints these days and well, I like to go longer! Where are all the Olympic distance races these days?
I found one in Western Massachusettes. yup... hours and hours away from my perfect island getaway.
As the week wore on I grew less and less excited for this race. Originally, I thought a certain competitor was going to be there...and that was a huge draw for me. (she didn't go...)
When it came time for me to leave.. I was a mess. I walked in and out of my room, sat on the bed, got up, walked around--should I go? how could I leave??? It was a PERFECT Summer day on the lake. The boys had Just launched the rowboat they build over the winter with their Grandfather. A friend was having a party that night at a camp nearby. the kids were Not really into Mommy taking off...
I left. I had trained for it. I don't quit things. I signed up. I was racing. I drove away. Alone. And I cried. For a while.
If the traffic heading north (I was going south) hadn't been a virtual parking lot on the highway, I just may have turned around. Blek. No way to start a race weekend huh. Hardly HARDLY my typical pre-race energy and excitement.
My body drove down route 95 but my heart and soul were still back on Lindsay Island.
It was an unsettling feeling. So I decided to Buck up and make the trip Worth it!!
I got my race packet at the site. Often, that is a bit of a social event! But not this time. I barely even spoke. I just got my stuff and hopped back in the car and off to find the hotel. It was so strange....the whole day was just odd. I never travel alone like that...I didn't like it.
The hotel was nice and I just settled in and got ready. I had a HOT shower which I admit, was nice after living without power and well, a shower all week. (don't worry..we had the lake and I went to the pool to swim so I did shower there..but still..)
next thing I knew, the alarm was buzzing and I was off. I clicked into pre-race auto pilat and headed to the car. I had a job to do. The faster I did it, the sooner I could get back to my little piece of heaven with my family.
There was one little ray of sunshine that morning I must say! And it didnt' last nearly long enough. My friend from blogging and facebook, Michelle Sewell Spina was there! She and her friend recognized me and next thing I knew I heard, "Ange!" How cool is that?? It made my day. Later, on the run, she even recognized me despite the hat, sweat, suffering look on my face and yelled Hi again! Thanks Michelle!!! You made my day! (we didn't get to chat nearly long enough...we'll do better next time!)
Finally..it was time to swim. I was in the elite group (there were only Two of us!) and our wave also had the 20 and under kids, the 30-34 and..not sure who else.
We lined up in the water between two buoys. I was highly irritated because a group of 4-5 women kept going further and further Past the line of the buoys. come on! Just start where we're supposed to start... play fair people.
Off we went. Three or four of us swam in a clump for most of the swim. It was a no-wetsuit swim again so that was a treat. The water was shallow and very warm..I even grabbed lake slime with my hand at one point... ick. We passed through the wave ahead and moved around the course. I even had fun practicing drafting. The swim was decent. I could tell one girl had pulled away and then there were 3 of us that climbed out together.
When I headed out on the bike I knew swimmer #1 was in front, then the next girl (she was 20... I saw her leg) got out of T1 just ahead of me... and then me.
Off I went.
That was the Last I saw of any women on that course. Actually, I saw women but the sprint distance had started in front of us so they were from that race.
The course was a Lot hillier than I had been told. The first few miles were a long gradual climb. The middle miles were a steep climb. And then, a decent with some flat for a little bit. Unfortunately, the road was very chopped up on that part so achieving good speed was very difficult. It was a two loop course...
I found myself quite bored on the bike. I must say that I have NEVER seen so so many people WAlKING their bikes!??? That was strange... I tried to encourage people who were still pedaling and moving, "Good job! go for it!" I would say. And I think maybe 1 person responded to me.. I didn't like that.
I was off the bike and out on the run. It was Hot!!!
But I felt pretty good. I loved that the course went through a nicely wooded road. It was an out and back... I just pushed and pushed. I found my zone and held on.
At mile 2+ I caught a guy and we latched on to each other. our pace was identical. He told a guy coming in the other direction, "don't let me catch you!" He then told me it was his big brother... ha! I can see that scenerio happening later on in My house! (for the record, we Did catch him. poor big bro...oops..)
As I closed in on the turn around (mile 2.7) I saw the #1 girl heading back. Ok..she's got .4 on me. I saw the #2 girl just ahead. I could tell I was running faster. But now that she saw me, would she find another gear? I saw #4 girl behind me.. not too far.
The guy with me kept tabs on them for me. I NEVER turn around.. I just go for the gold. I passed #2 girl at mile 4. I cruised right by her and I knew I was safe.
My pace seemed decent but I knew it was slow b/c of the heat.
Despite the fact that nobody was there screaming my name or ready to hug me at the finish, I found my racing zone. I can find it on the run no matter what. In my head, I had the little high 5s from my boys and friends all around me. I just imagined their support. It worked. all my best buddies had sent me voicemails, texts, and emails the night before and the morning of and that was so wonderful. They were ther with me in spirit.
I crossed the line and knew I had secured 2nd. I felt great about this. I chatted with a few guys that I had been running with and that was fun. I love the post-race chatter. I watched the 3rd and 4th place women battle HARD for their spots. It was a great finish. I congratulated them. The winner was no where to be seen. After a few more minutes of catching my breath and small talk..I headed to Transition, collected my stuff, changed clothes behind the car door, and headed to Maine.
24 hrs later, almost to the minute, I was back on the boat with my family.
The boys were proud of their Mom but happier that I was home. And that felt good.
I know one thing for sure. I LOVE to race and compete.. but what makes it special at this age and point of my life is that I can share it with the friends and family I love. Next time..I'll bring a friend! :)