Sunday, October 01, 2006

I started the swim out okay though I did get a little panicky every once in awhile. I couldn't tell you why, but whenever it happened I'd just flip over and backstroke. Two women passed by me and I looked back and could see that I STILL wasn't the last - which made me feel better. The course was a rectangle and it was marked by white buoys. The women's caps were also white, so when I looked up or back I couldn't tell if I was looking at a buoy or a cap. Breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle...I would have thrown in the butterfly but it's the only one I don't know how to do. I just kept going and going and switching and doing whatever I could do to go forward. I finally made it to the shore and thought to myself "I survived the swim!!".

2km = 55:00

Just as I stepped out of the water and up the stone stairs I got this MEGA huge cramp in my left calf. There were two volunteers helping me out of the water but I was paralyzed and couldn't move from the pain. It had just completely seized up. Another woman ran over and started to massage it and after what seemed to be about a minute (with two more swimmers coming out of the water and passing me) it finally relaxed and I limped my way towards transition. The rain had stopped by now but water had seeped into my bags. I had a hard time taking my wetsuit off and even more difficulty putting on the biking clothes. Six full minutes later I was out of there and on my way on the bike.

That morning they had announced that they had cut a steep hill out of the bike course because of the rain. They'd already accidents on it last year when it was dry and they didn't want to risk it this year on wet pavement. I knew that the course would be shorter, probably 80km instead of 90km, but nobody would confirm exactly how many kilometres they had cut out. The course was two loops out and back. While going out on the first loop I was passed by the last stragglers from the swim and then by the pros who were on the second loop. The road went up and down and curved around here and there but I never felt it was difficult. The only thing I had to be really careful about were these huge speed bumps that were placed in the town of Vogogno. There were about four of them and they were pretty high and wide. I had to slow down so that my tires wouldn't blow and then try and speed up to make up for the time lost in slowing down. When I started to get back to the turnaround I looked at my odometer and couldn't believe that there were only 37kms. I passed by some official that yelled "first loop!" and then heard Giorgio yell my name and saw Linda standing on the side of the road. I went past all of this and it didn't seem right so I slowed down and asked one of the officials where the turn around was. He pointed me down towards the lake so I went straight ahead but it still didn't feel right. When I finally got down to the lake and asked another official where the turn around was he said "It's not here! It was at the top of the hill!" I whispered "vaffanculo" under my breathe and headed back up the hill. Giorgio and Linda had all my special stuff so I stopped and got my peanut butter and jelly sandwich (thanks Nancy Toby!) and refilled my water and took off. Now I was definately last. I talked out loud to myself for a few minutes, I don't think anybody was listening which is why I did it. I just said that I was there to enjoy my day and who cared if I had ****ed up on the bike course, I was still going fine and I felt good and I was going to make the bike cutoff...I came to the turnaround and then started on the final 18km stretch of the bike. At one point I heard the sound of a truck following me. I knew what that was. It was the ambulance that follows the last person on the course. I motioned for them to come closer to me and even though I knew the answer I asked "am I last?". They confirmed it and told me to take my time, that I was doing great and that I was almost there. A half hour later I rolled into transition and had a little difficulty getting off the bike.

75km = 2:44:22

The weird thing about being last on the course is that people act as if the whole race is over. There were some people mulling around the trasition area and BLOCKING my way.
I did the best I could to quickly change out of my clothes. The transition guy made sure that I went the right way and I was off and...walking...


dg said...

oh wow... what an epic tale! :) you tell it so well!

Mojo said...

I'm catching up on your blog! I didn't know you were racing a HIM! Great job.

I looked at your swim and bike splits and was shocked to read you were last. Those Italians really are hardcore. If you race in the US, those times would put you probably in the top of your age group. Great bike split!I can't wait to read about the run.

I'll work on a soap tutorial and post it later this week on my blog. You probably have access to some awesome olive oil for soaping in Italy.

nancytoby said...

LOL! Thanks for the kind mention! I had my PB&J yesterday too, and it really perked me up!