The night before...
Saturday afternoon we drove down to pick up my race packet and set up T2 (This race has two transition areas; one near the water-T1 and the other is 15 miles away in Windsor-T2). My number was 644. A good number. If you don't know me very well...I must tell you I have this thing with my race number. I am a bit superstitious I suppose, but not really. I just have to have a 'good' number. If it is not an obviously good number I find a way to make it so. I could go on for pages about what makes the number worthy, but for now we will just say 644 is a good number.
I found the rack for 30-34 year old women and placed my shoes, water bottle, visor, chap stick, and a couple of power gels in a plastic bag under the rack. Notice I did not mention socks-this will be important later.
After my chicken fajitas at Chevy's we scouted out 'camp' site. The only rooms that were available the week before were smoking rooms in a motel 6. We decided to save the money and sleep in the car. We put the back seats down and laid out some camping pads and a comforter. It was actually quite comfortable. And... other than the midnight awakening to some questionable activity by two men who thought that our car would create a nice romantic barricade from the rest of the world (That's a whole other story!)... I slept well and awoke rested just a few hundred feet from transition.
The Russian River...
The water was 75 degrees. Perfect for my sleeveless wetsuit. There was so much commotion at the start, I barely heard the horn. Suddenly we were swimming-upstream. The river is quite narrow compared to the vastness of the lakes and oceans I am used to swimming in so it was near impossible not to draft. Still, I did my best to stay on someone’s toes all the way upstream. By the turn-around, the crowd had thinned a bit and there were not near as many options to draft. I noticed 4 or 5 yellow caps that I swam along with pretty much the entire race. We took turns in front, but we all seemed about the same ability. Only once did I experience volatility. As one of the 5 began to cut in front of my, she must have thought I was running into her... she pushed me. She actually put her arm into my side and pushed me. Bitch. I held my ground and left her behind me. Hah!
The transition area is in a dirt (and rock) parking lot. The carpets laid out for us were nice on the feet except for the random rocks strewn across from the waves ahead of us. I found my bike and peeled off my wetsuit. Within 2 minutes I was running my bike out of transition, without socks. (I never wear socks on the bike, so I didn't even think to put them on.)
The bike was beautiful. Fields of grapevines. Trees everywhere. Rolling hills. One tougher climb, but not enough to bring me out of my saddle. I did stand a few times just to stretch out my legs a bit. A highlight was the two women who flew by my in the first 5 miles.... about 30 minutes later I passed them... and never saw them again (until half-way through the run at least). A friend was even able to snap a few pictures of me from his car. The bike course was so enjoyable I couldn't believe when I looked at my watch ad saw that it had already been 2 hours! Soon it was over though and I was off to the run.
The run was constant up and down. One hill after another. Without socks my feet were soon covered in blisters. By the turn around I was in pain. By mile 7 I think I was walking more than I was running. I thought for sure my shoes would be filled with blood at the finish line. I was actually a bit disappointed when I took off my shoes and only one blister was even open. All that pain and not even a little blood!
It made me doubt my pain tolerance. I should have just kept running. I felt weak. I wanted to see some blood.
But in the end it was a good race. I will always be sure to have socks with running shoes from now on. Live and learn. OR... race and learn as the case may be. :)
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