The run-up to the race was great. I had a bike workout scheduled for July 7, which would have been the last team workout after work. However, we had a thunderstorm, with lightning and everything. So, I skipped the final bike and had delicious sweet potato frites at one of our sponsors. Not exactly brilliant training, but the frites were delicious!
On Thursday, I was entered into the annual Storm the Bastille 5k run, which started at 9 p.m. this year. I had never done the run before, and I was really surprised by how crowded it was. It was pretty impractical to run for the first 5 minutes or so, and after that I could either run with the folks doing 10 minute miles, or I could do broken-field maneuvers around the folks doing the fun walk. I tried walking briskly, after I noticed my heart rate was way too high when I was running. Ultimately, I took the course turn for the walkers, which meant I did a mile and a half in about 25 minutes. It was crazy hot and humid, even at that hour, so I was happy to call it a night when I did.
The next day my friend wore her team jersey when she biked to the office, and I became fixated on getting my jersey so I could wear it around and try getting it wet, etc. I stopped by my teammate's house around 7 p.m. and picked up my jersey and proceeded to wear it until I went to bed.
Packet pick-up day started bright and early at 6:30 a.m. I packed up all the gear and my bike and toddled off to the survivors' breakfast. This year, in contrast to the one I wandered into late in 2008, did not have its program start until 8:30 or so. Then Cathy Daldin, Maggie Sullivan and Sally Edwards all talked to us about the triathlon experience and team survivor. I sat with the wonderfully welcoming team from Madison. I did not cry this year, although I did tear up any number of times.
Then we headed over to the RecPlex and stood in line until I was at the front of the line to get my race packet. I noted that I had been assigned to wave 10, which I later determined was not that far from the last wave. The first year I did the race, I was one of the last waves to set off, and I ended up being the last one to finish (if you don't count Sally Edwards, who was doing her gig as the final finisher and so ran across the finish line with me). I started a slow panic, which I ultimately defused by getting my start wave switched so that I could start with the survivors. Wave 3, baby! I had my bike's tire pressure checked, and then I attached my race number to my bike frame and racked my bike. By now it was about 11:45 a.m.
I tried to check into the hotel I thought I had a reservation at, but the rooms were not ready at noon. More on this later. Since I couldn't get into the hotel, and I was scheduled to meet the team at 1:30 p.m. at the RecPlex, I darted to the grocery store and picked up diet coke, hot dog buns, peanut butter, bananas and some bottles of water. Then I headed back to the RecPlex and sat through the end of the course talk and then saw Sally Edwards talk. It was a lot of fun, and it was very nice to see the team.
Three team members were staying at a different hotel, and the rest were driving from home on race day. I talked with the Madison team survivor coordinator, and the four of us who were staying in the area were welcome to join them at dinner at an Italian restaurant. Then we split up to go check into our hotels.
I went back to the Super 8, where I had stayed in 2008, and they could not find my reservation. I dug out the letter I had written, with my credit card number, (weird reservation system, but it had worked in 08) and, lo and behold, I had made a reservation at a different hotel this year. Oopsie-doodles. I drove about 10 minutes or so, and then I saw my hotel. The sign by the side of the road said "MOTEL" in big, block letters. The registration desk/manager's office smelled like curry, and there was a sign posted regarding the weekly room rate. Suh-weet.
I lugged my stuff up to the second floor room in three trips, cranked the A/C up to high and super cold, and plugged in the mini-fridge. Thereby changing the swampy, hot, stale smoke smell to a somewhat cooler version of the same. Then I tried to get online to update my blog, but could not hook into the wireless. I found out after dinner that this was because the wireless was based in the "office," which was too far away from my room to allow me to connect. This caused my tardiness in the blog update, which I regret.
Dinner was a lot of fun. The team from Madison was very friendly and nice, and it was excellent to spend a little more time with my highland honeys team. The portions of food were huge, and the pasta alone could have been my dinner. We had the outdoor patio all to ourselves, and the serious rain held off until we were done!
I headed back to my lovely sleeping quarters, and gave myself a bumble bee pedicure, packed my race day bag, put drinks in the now cold refrigerator, packed up all of my stuff into as few bags as possible, talked to DH on the phone, and turned off the lights by 9:30 p.m. I woke up in a panic about three times, convinced I had overslept. The third time was the charm - I had done something to my phone (which was serving as my alarm) the second time that killed the battery, which would have left me without an alarm. Luckily, I was able to reset the hotel's alarm clock, which then went off right on schedule. Race day will be a separate post, hopefully later tonight.