Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Dramatic Conclusion--Just for Steve in a Speedo!

OMG!!! I am really taking off-season off, lol.

I have been bad about finishing this and instead I have been baking a lot of cookies. I have been good and not eating them...well, except the peanut butter choco-caramel ones, but I only have one per day. There are still plenty of them left. Steve in a Speedo is eagerly awaiting the stunning conclusion of the run at the 70.3 World Championships. Secretly, I have been waiting because I wanted to include a WAY COOL video near the end of this post. So read on and let's get this race finished!

As I ran out on the course, I noticed one of the Challenged Athletes changing the covering on his right limb and re-attaching his carbon fiber leg as he was sitting on the curb at the side of the course. I thought to myself that it has really got to hurt or just be a mega blister in the making having the end of a limb stuck down in that carbon fiber leg and running on it. I filed that thought away in the back of my head and did my best to look like I really belonged out on that race course with all the pro athletes that were probably running in to finish and the ripped age groupers who were passing me on the start of the second loop of the run. The breeze was nice now that I was off the bike, but things had warmed up and I was looking for the first aid station and the trash can full of cold SPONGES. Near the first aid station and my SPONGE hook-up, I heard a steady "TWACK" noise behind me. It got louder. What the heck was that??? I got my answer soon enough, it was the Challenged Athlete guy passing me up on his carbon fiber leg. How disheartening is that? I am able bodied and a Challenged Athlete passes me like I'm standing still.

And then, there it was...

The Bridge (cue dramatic music...). This was my first of four times to run over this sucker! I knew that there would probably be a photographer at the top so I went easy and walked up on the bottom for 2 minutes using my run for 8 walk for 2 plan. Everyone else was running and I felt like a dork walking but I also knew that I had made a promise to myself not to go out hard on the run and have nothing left at the end. About half way up I started running again. I saw David on the way up the bridge as he was coming back over to finish his first loop and I saw Geoff not too far behind complaining of cramps. That SUCKS!!!
I was doing well by the time I passed the photographer. I actually like running downhill and can go pretty fast after running the Hood to Coast Run in August and having to run over 12 miles total downhill I have figured out how to do it without ripping up the legs and being sore the next day. There was an aid station at the bottom of the bridge on the other side and to my surprise it was manned by TEAM IN TRAINING peeps!!! I got a lot of love from these guys and gals as I came running through in my TNT race gear and they made sure to make a lot of noise for me. That was a huge boost and I kept running to do them proud.

Guess what I saw a little past the aid station? I saw the Challenged Athlete guy sitting on the curb changing the covering on his limb. Here was my chance to get ahead of speedy carbon fiber leg guy! I had used my 2 minute walking break earlier so I was in that 8 minute run phase. How far down the road could I get before this guy would finally catch me and pass me??? I was prepared to find out. The route took us on to a hike and bike trail and it was not long before I heard the tell-tale "THWACK, THWACK, THWACK, THWACK" getting louder behind me. ARGHHH!!! NO!!! Passed again by the Challenged Athlete guy. I am starting to feel more challenged than he is at this point. I know I'm slow on the run, but this is ridiculous!

We started running into a residential area with some really nice homes and it gave me something to zone out on for a few minutes before I saw the next aid station. Again, the TEAM IN TRAINING super stars were taking care of the aid station. The other athletes felt a little left out, I'm sure, with all the love I was getting, HA! GO TEAM!!! I slathered some petroleum jelly on a nasty scrape on the inside of my right knee that I had gotten from that sharp plastic piece that keeps the Bento Box from collapsing. I stocked up on cold sponges and downed some Endurance Gatorade. I realized that I had not had to dip into any of my Power Gels and all I had been going on since getting off the bike were 2 orange slices, water, Endurance Gatorade, and my S-Caps. I felt good so I would play it by ear. The route turned left to go down a small hill and make a turn around down at the end of a cul-du-sac. That little hill was a kicker on the way back up and back through the million dollar mansions. Dang it was hot! The volunteers and even the guy reading scripture aloud from the Bible on the sidewalk were trying to stay in the shade. The sound of soggy shoes and wet tri shorts was common place now as athletes had been dumping cups of water over their heads to cool off. I hit the first TNT aid station again and took in as much of the love as I could because I knew what was in store for me...

The Bridge: Part 2

It was time for a 2 minute walk cycle on the way up and I was thankful for it. I got passed by a gal in pink that I had passed on the bike course and who was in my age group. That got me running again and soon it was down hill and on towards the Ford Motivational Mile. Geoff, David, Mitch, and I had all typed in motivational messages to each other at the race packet pick-up. WTF!! No motivational messages! What gives??? Oh, it was only mile 6 and I had to wait until mile 12 for my motivation, DANG IT! And then as if the Good Lord heard me cussin' and whinin', I saw Mitch on the road headed out for his second loop and he was yelling at me to get my attention. I needed that pick-me-up and to see that Mitch was only about a mile and a half ahead of me. He was on his was to crossing The Bridge for the 3rd time. I picked it up and went through another aid station where I gulped down some Gatorade and exchanged sponges to keep cool. I was headed in to the turn around back at the transition area and decided I had better keep an eye out for Johnny Tri and the camera.

Just before the turn around I saw JT and gave a wave and dashed off to get loop 2 started.
There were not as many people on the course on my second loop. All the fast athletes had finished or were on their way to finishing. I grabbed some orange slices at an aid station and noticed that there were not as many volunteers out at the first aid station. Dang, are they trying to close up shop already??? OK, it was now my time for The Bridge Part 3 and I had been running the entire way from the turn around. I took 2 minutes to walk up at the bottom and then hit that sucka running. I saw a motorcycle with an NBC Sports guy on the back zoom by with his camera towards the top of the bridge. I was passing a few people here and there but mainly it was now the older athletes who had started the race ahead of me.

At the bottom of the bridge on the other side I saw Mitch walking and I gave him a shout to get a move on and that he only had 2 miles left. Wow, I think I may have made up some time on him.
Come on Mitch, get that sponge off the ground! It's a lucky sponge!!! I got my third serving of love from the TNT crew at the aid station as they took care of me and saw to it that I had plenty of cups of fluids and cold sponges and pretzels to grab. I kept running an tossed the walk 2 minutes/run 8 minutes plan out the window. I was feeling stronger and the Kanye West song was running through my head now. "Dat dat dat dat dat don't kill me can only make me STRONGER...Work it harder, make it better, move it faster, makes us STRONGER...Longer, better, faster, STRONGER!!!" Yeah there were less people on the course now, but the people that were left were my speed and some of them were slowing down. I kept going. I ran through the second TNT run aid station and grabbed some Gatorade. It was on to the short down hill, the turn around and back up the hill in a quarter mile. It was the 10 mile mark!!! Only 3.1 miles to go. It would be one training loop around Memorial back in Houston. I COULD DO THIS!!! The spectators were more sparse but it did not matter now. Mile 11 got me through the last TNT run aid station and they let me know how proud they were of me. I thanked them for all their support and for volunteering to take care of us.

The Bridge: Part 4--The Final Chapter

I ran about half way up and walked a little bit so that I could walk with the oldest participant in the race. 82 year old Robert McKeague from Villa Park, Illinois was out there making it happen on the bridge. I asked him if I could walk with him for a bit and he said I was probably walking faster than he was. I said I was doing good and I had plenty of time because I was going to PR. He looked me in the eye and said,"you need to get moving and quit talking to me if you are going to PR. Get Going!" What an inspiration! I got going and at the top of the bridge I saw Sister Madona Buder going over on the other side. I cheered her on and she gave me a wave. I flew down the other side of the bridge and ran towards the Ford Motivational Mile Arch. YES! My motivational messages from Geoff, David, and Mitch flashed up on the jumbo message board. ONE MILE TO GO!!!

I had expected one of the ladies that I train for Pilates to be out there with her husband. They were visiting family and said they wanted to come out to see the race. They had been in contact with JT the day before but I had not seen them. Oh well, hopefully they got to see some of the action to know what the race was all about. I would be able to give Linda and Chuck the update of how the race went later.

I saw the gal in the pink tri gear again and she was walking. I ran right past her and then I heard her pick up the pace. I knew she was gonna do that because she was in my age group. As she ran past me I told her," yeah, you don't want me crossing the finish line before you. You need to pick it up this last mile here and beat me." She whined back, "But it hurts!" "NO SHIT it hurts, but this is your moment to shine. MOVE IT!" I told her. She took off and I stayed on my steady pace because I was set to reach my goal of finishing this race under 6 hours. I didn't care if she finished ahead of me, I had already won. I started to toss the sponges and make sure that I was ready for my photo finish at the end and that I looked good for the spectators, ha!

I passed up a guy in an Army tri top and zoomed around the round-a-bout in front of the transition area. I saw Johnny Tri in his spot that he had been in all morning and gave him some love for all the support he had given us that morning. I made my way for the FINISH LINE. I ran under an arch and then I heard Tom Reiley over the sound system."Wearing the colors of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program, here comes Elizabeth Garcia from Houston, TX! You did it Elizabeth! Look at that smile folks!" You bet I was smiling!!! I had raced with some of the greatest names in the sport of triathlon and I had an awesome race with a finish time of 5:52. I got my finisher's medal, and the volunteers got my timing chip and gave me a wet towel to put around my neck and showed me to the exit to go to the massage tent.

And then, I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It was Linda, my Pilates client. She came running up and threw her arms around me and gave me her Congratulations. She was so excited to have seen me cross the finish line. Her husband Chuck and his brother and sister-in-law came up not far behind and they were all smiles as well. Johnny Tri was next with a big hug and then Mitch walked up. It was time for more hugs and some pictures.

After Chuck and Linda headed out. I had to find something to eat and I wanted to sign up for my massage. My goal now was to see if I could get enough pizza for me and JT since he had not had any lunch and it was now past 1:30 pm. With that mission accomplished and signed up on the massage list I saw David and we all headed to go get our gear out of transition. Geoff was getting his massage and would be done soon. Johnny Tri was nice enough to take my bike and gear back to the pad and I got my massage. I had been thinking ahead that morning and I had put some money in my wind breaker pocket so as soon as I got my massage knocked out, I headed to the event store tent to see what kind of Finisher's Gear was available. I did not get a birthday present from my husband so I decided that this was the time to remedy that situation and by myself a belated birthday gift. And here it Finisher's jacket!

And of course it seems like at least one person in the group gets a new nick name at each race, there was no exception this time. At the Awards Banquet, Mitch said that he had been slurping some of the water out of the sponges that they were handing out on the run course. David and I looked at each other and made a face. Geoff chimed in,"Dude they take those sponges and they reuse them after people throw them on the ground." Mitch looks at us all and said,"Hey that Sponge Water got me through some tough spots!" And then David christened Mitch with his new name,"Sponge Water Square Pants over here is cracking me up!" ROTFLMAO!!!
Mitch has been know as "Sponge Water" ever since. We love you Mitch and congratulations on your PR of 5:45. David also had a rockin' day with a PR of 4:43. Geoff did great finishing in 5:03 with the cramps on the swim and the run. It was a great experience and one that I will never forget and I hope that I am fortunate to get to do this race again one day.

Sorry it took me forever to get this race report done, but I hope that you enjoyed it and that it made you feel like you were right there with me. Enjoy your off-season and keep your eye out for more posts about my Amazing Triathlon Adventure!



1 comment:

Steve Stenzel said...

I see why you waited!! And "Sponge Water Square Pants"?!?! THAT'S GREAT!!!! Nice time!!!