|Various pictures from packet pick-up!|
|Some pictures from the Welcome Banquet - FSC teammates and Sister Madonna|
|Bike drop off...(clockwise from top left) me with Black Mamba, the mud in transition, the gear bags for the swim/bike transition and the bike all racked and ready!|
|Me and the Hubs before the race, the masses at the swim start, getting hugs from friends (Kelly, Jen and Ami), the swim starting!|
|Prayer and pep-talk with Coach John|
|The channel when it wasn't quite as crowded|
I know several 1:45-ish swim finishers and they didn’t seem to have issues with crowding in the channel. When I saw all the people, I thought that either I was faster than I thought, or there were just more slower swimmers than previous years, lol. I had trouble really getting into a rhythm, because it was just crowded. Eventually either the crowd of swimmers spread out, or the channel widened, because I could see open areas when I was spotting and knew I could swim several strokes without running into anyone. I only had one issue with a swimmer…he seemed to run into my legs and then decided to wrestle with them… I simply stopped for a second and let him move on. The channel was really exciting – I could see the crowds each time I took a breath, I could hear cheers and cowbells. When we first entered the channel, I remember seeing pretty yellow flowers on one side. I tried to take all of this in and just enjoy the experience. As I passed under the bridge, I looked for my friends and didn't see them. I found out later that I was faster than expected and they missed me. When I looked ahead, I saw the crowds and realized that I was almost done. I couldn’t believe it! I was almost done with the swim…it seemed so fast! I actually felt myself smile. While I was swimming. And then I almost cried. I was so happy! But, I pulled my happy self together and finished my swim.
|The only pic of me coming out of the water and my eyes are closed! At least I look happy. Notice the mud? It look a lot like the transition area.|
As I exited the water, I heard Mike Reilly say my name and lifted my arms and squealed! I realized I had forgotten to start my watch (doh!), so I had no idea of my time. A woman getting out of the water next to me slipped in the mud, so I made a point to walk slowly and carefully through the area. Someone came up and unzipped my wetsuit, which was great because I completely forgot to do that. The strippers stripped off the wetsuit in a flash and I moved on. I waved to my hubby, my parents and kiddos and happily grabbed my transition bag and went into the transition tent.
|Me picking up my gear bag|
|Feet cleaned, shoes on and ready to roll!|
I really needed to go to the bathroom again, so my first stop was at the mile 20 aid station. I saw my “Team Beef” friends from Woodlands Fit, used the porta potty, grabbed a water to top off my aerobottle, then put the water bottle in my pocket for later (exactly why I opted to wear the jersey..although it made for ugly race photos later, LOL!). My plan was to finish a bottle of Tailwind every hour (drinking every 15 minutes), sip on my water, eat a Honey Stinger Waffle and take two Electrosalt tablets per hour.
|Getting ready to leave The Woodlands|
I had been having back issues on the bike for the past 6 weeks, so that had been a major concern for me as the race approached. Fortunately, I had no real issues with my back. The only exception was on the largest hill on 1486 (affectionately named Bertha by a teammate). I felt a slight twinge, so I shifted into small chain ring in order to not have to mash the pedals so much. It seemed to help. Having the extra bottle of water in my Jersey was nice, because I could occasionally spray my head, back and chest with it to keep cool.
|My favorite bike pic..well except for that water bottle sticking out of my back pocket!|
|Off the bike, hooray! I was showing Jill that I had my good luck charm with me. :-)|
|Just one of the many good luck charms I had with me...this one given to me by my friend, Jill|
|Happy to see my "Team Christy"cheer crew...the Kiddo gave me the "Ick" look and opted for a double high-five|
|Just a few of the signs the Hubs put out on the course for me to see!|
|Cute signs from the cheer squad!|
|My Mom and cousin, Debbie, giving me some cowbell!|
|Happy to see my "Team Christy"cheer crew...the Kiddo gave me the "Ick" look and opted for a double high-five.|
|The Hubs coming along for a little stroll|
The second loop was more of the same. One thing I noticed was that I had to stop at a porta can way more often than I wanted to….again, maybe too much liquid on the bike? The sun was starting to get lower and the temps started getting cooler. This helped immensely with both HR and pace. Before North Shore Park, I saw my friend Jerry who jogged and walked with me for a bit and then met me again at the park exit. I stopped at special needs, changed my socks, added more glide and ate a few potato chips. I ate a Hammer Gel every hour and picked up potato chips, oranges and cold water at the aid stations. The aid station on Panther Creek had watermelon and it was insanely good! I had intended to use Nuun in my handheld water bottle, but it just didn’t taste good to me. So I had an Electrosalt tablet each hour, my Gu and a little chicken broth here and there.
|Just a couple of friends who cheered, rand and walked with me on race day - Kristi (top) and Tammie.|
|Coming down the finisher's chute...this part was a total blur!|
|To say I was a little excited would be an understatement...This is a sample of my happy dance. If I knew how to post the video, I would!|
|I stopped my happy dance too soon, because the official finish photo is well, kinda boring, LOL.|
It was all so surreal. My friend, Cheryl, was there to greet me and gave me a huge hug. I was given my medal and was walked to the next person who would give me my hat and finisher’s shirt. Coach Dana walked up and gave me a hug, congratulated me and made sure I felt okay (which I did!). He walked me to the finisher’s pic area and just like that, it was done.
Time - 15:37:57
|"Team Christy"minus a few who had to leave a little early. Best.support.ever.|
|Awesome coach giving congrats and checking in!|
|Lots of post race selfies! |
I have the most amazing friends and family...I love these guys!!!
|My heart and soul...I could not have done this without these guys!!!|
I was hoping to take a quick shower and come back to the finish line for the final hour, but the hubby went to get my bike and the kids had had a long day. Instead, I watched the big video screen from our hotel room and listened to the crowds while chowing down on two slices of Grimaldi’s pepperoni pizza. For once, the Kiddo was desperately wanting a shower and the Munchkin quickly fell asleep with his stinky, sweaty clothes on. I still couldn’t believe it...I had done it!
Later that night, I sat in bed and read the text messages and Facebook posts from the entire day. Everyone was asleep and all I could think about was how freaking lucky I am. I have an amazing support system – my Hubby, kids, parents, inlaws, friends, teammates, coaches. I felt thankful that I had such a great day. Everything fell into place perfectly. It was awesome.