Friday passed in a blur. I remember spending most of the day floating around, feeling like it wasn’t quite happening to me—that I was maybe there to watch my friends race. At one point around lunch, I ran into Michael Lovato at the expo. He and Simon Lessing had stayed in our hotel up at Timberman, and I had chatted them up a bit, thinking they were pretty hot (at the time I didn’t know they were major stud pro triathletes and in Michael’s case, married to another hot pro triathlete, Amanda Lovato). Michael was very nice, remembered me from Vermont, and wished me lots of luck. I also had met Bree Wee on Thursday night at the pasta dinner. She’s such a sweet woman and an amazing athlete—she ended up taking 4th woman overall and qualifying for Kona. Way to go, Bree!
Friday afternoon came quickly. I was able to talk to Marit and Jen about the race and my strategy. Jen’s best advice was not to write the end of the race before it even got started. I had a certain goal in mind for time, but she was able to remind me to take each minute as it came and be in the moment. That advice saw me through so many points in the race! Before I knew it, I was almost late to pack my bags and rack my bike, but got them done by 3. That evening I had dinner at the condo with my sister and two Lynn sherpas who had all arrived that day. While we were doing that, Joe took the kids trick or treating at the mall. It was not quite the regular Halloween experience they have at home, but they still had a good time and scored some good candy. Soon after they got home at 9pm, I went to bed.
Surprisingly, I slept pretty well. Not too much of the half-awake, I-know-what’s-coming-and-can’t-relax sleep before other races. I woke up around 1, but was able to fall back to sleep until just before the alarm went off at 4. It was nice to be the first one up and have a little quiet time to myself. I made coffee and started trying to eat my breakfast. At that point I knew the nerves were starting to kick in—it was all I could do to choke down my usual yogurt and granola. TriGirl Lynn got up and helped me pack up my last things, and then we headed down to meet up with Charlotte and Fred to ride to the race start.
Walking toward transition with crowd of other athletes, volunteers, and families, I was glad I brought my ipod. Being able to tune that out and listen to my usual music really helped calm me down and put me in the right frame of mind. I found TriGirl volunteers to body-mark me—big hugs all around! Once in transition, I was very glad to have gotten there very close to 5. I wasn’t rushed at all and was able to get tires pumped, nutrition loaded, and more breakfast eaten before finding Patty and the other TriGirls. Then it was time to stuff the sausage. I had decided to wear Cyndi’s full wetsuit instead of my own john-style one. I liked the added buoyancy and protection (from jellyfish) that it gave me.
By 6:15 I was starting to panic that Joe wouldn’t make it down to the beach in time to see me off. We did find Cyndi and Derek—Cyndi was an important part of my pre-race morning. She brought her trusty sharpie to write “Yes, You Can!” on my arm like I had done for her last year. Having her there, telling me I would indeed become an ironman that day was so special. Then it was time to hit the beach. I frantically called my sister since Joe wasn’t answering his cell phone, and she woke up the other Lynn and kids back at the condo. Joe was headed to the beach—and he found me! Good thing too, since it was time to head into the starting corral.