Day before race: I met up at my friend Brian’s house at 5:30am and we were off to the Poconos. We were heading up early so that we could watch our teammates in the Sprint Race. The drive was smooth, totally traffic-less and uneventful. One funny thing we noticed though…every radio station we put on was totally depressing; one station was talking about divorce, another was talking about vehicular fatalities and another was going on about something with dealing with depression. We figure, if you are up that early on a Saturday morning, people must think you are depressed!
We arrived to Black Bear right on time and met up with our teammates. We watched the Sprint race, hung out for awards (we had a 2nd AG winner and a relay winner) and then headed out for some lunch. Then it was back to the course to volunteer for packet pick-up for the Olympic race. Normally, I love to volunteer but this time I was bored, hungry and bored. Did I mention bored? They actually had way too many people, so my friend Brian and I ended up sitting on a rock, not kidding, directing people up a hill to the expo. The one upside was that we got to converse with some really awesome people. Oh, and there were lots of super cut dogs coming to the park too. After about three hours on the rock, we headed up for the pre-race meeting. And then the skies opened up. And it poured. And it poured. And it poured some more. We decided to pack it in for the day and head to the local pub to watch the Flyers game. Turns out, most of our teammates had the same idea. We were having dinner there later that night, so it worked out perfect. Dinner was great- so many people racing were eating there, including my favorite RD’s, Michele and Larry!
After dinner, it was (finally) time to head to bed. We stayed at my friend Kurt’s sisters house, which was great because it was less than 30 minutes from the race site…and free I usually have a lot of trouble sleeping before a race but I was so exhausted. I fell asleep within ten minutes and only woke up two times.
Race Day: Wake up call was 5am (which is actually pretty late for me on race day) and we were out the door by 5:30. Had a banana and some water and was good to go. It was raining, but not much and I was excited to get the day started!
Once we were all body marked up, we headed into transition and started the wait. Before I knew it, it was time to get my wetsuit on and head down for a practice swim. I was calm and feeling confident. I did a few laps and it was not nearly as cold as expected. The water was 64*- still cold, but bearable. After a little more practice, it was go time.
With the Garmin sized chip!
And I was off. I started off well and once I got through the crowd, I really got into a rhythm. I acclimated to the water pretty fast and it was so clear and beautiful. I was really kicking some ass.
Then hell broke loose.
At the turnaround buoy, I was slapped in the face with a raging current. I could not get back into a swim and kept swallowing water. At one point, too much water got in my mouth and I started coughing. I had to hang onto a kayak and ended up coughing up my breakfast (and probably part of my dinner from the night before) which was, as I am sure you imagine, gross. I was there for a good couple of minutes and I was really upset. I totally felt like I was letting my team down. And even after I felt okay to go, every time I put my head in the water to swim, the wetsuit would push into my neck and make me gag. Let me just say this…that last 300 or so meters was not a good time. And even though I was dissapointed in myself because my great swim was ruined, I pushed through. And after 37 minutes (about 4-7 minutes slower than I had expected) I was finally out of the water. I booked through transition, tagged my teammate Kurt and fell to the ground. Seriously.
After beating myself up for a few minutes, I got over it, threw on some dry clothes and headed over to cheer on the racers. I went back and forth from watching the race to hanging out with my teammate Brian who was waiting to go out on the run. Brian and I talked about my swim and my dissapointment…he reminded me that this was my first ows of this distance, I was coming off injury, it was my first race of the season and my first ows in a wetsuit. And he reminded me, as always, that I was being too hard on myself. I called my mom, who repeated all the same things and decided that I was not going to let it get me down. The thing is…when you don’t have the greatest race, the only place you can go, is up!
When the race was over, we all got changed and then Brian and I took off. We stopped for lunch and we were home by 3:30 All in all it was a great weekend. We had over 20 team members come up for the trip and we had 2AG winners and a relay team winner. Overall, great weekend!
And more pics from the entire weekend: