Galena 2008… Well it won’t be a race where I beat my previous time over last year but when I REALLY look at things it makes sense. I wrote about this race, my first multisport experience ever, last year. This year I did expect things to be different. First I wasn’t white as a sheet driving from T1 to T2 on the bike course. Last year driving that route I was silent, wondering to myself HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO MAKE THOSE HILL CLIMBS? This year I just smiled knowing I CAN make those climbs and just enjoyed the scenery. Even after doing several tri’s last year, I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing when racking my bike at T1, or for the duathlon at Galena, putting my stuff in T2… but maybe that feeling never goes away no matter how long you do multisport.
We left Elmhurst around 12:30 and got to Galena before the crowds. All set up at T1 we headed to car to make the 16 mile drive to T2. Ran into Dave, Tracy and Karen, and duh realized that most of us forgot our Elmhurst Tri Club shirts. Over to T2, get set up there and ran into a friend of Robin’s, Twyla. Very nice lady. So now it’s onto the place we are staying at, which is literally about a mile or so from T2 area. Drag our stuff in the house then it’s off to the store for food. I had not slept well on Thursday and was hoping for a good night’s sleep on Friday. Just trying to find the grocery store was interesting but we finally did, got our stuff and came back to eat. Got all my stuff laid out for race day, then it was off to bed. Where I promptly tossed and turned all night. I wasn’t nervous about the race so why I couldn’t sleep is beyond me, but lately it’s been an issue anyhow, sleeping that is.
It was chilly on Saturday morning add to that the water at Galena is still chilly, makes me happy that I’ve decided the triathlon at this venue will never be for this weenie girl. We decided to walk about mile or so over the creek to the visitor’s center and catch the shuttle… Well while walking thru town this vehicle goes by and yells ‘hey Kim’ its Iron Snoopy and hubby Rog, Waddler and her son (handsome young man), we say hello, say lets meet up after the race and off we all go. Waddler’s first tri and I was hoping for a great day for her. Get to bus and freakin eh it is like a sauna on this bus. Now for me to say it was hot on the bus, believe me it was hot, because I can be cold in 80 degrees – I had to come out of my windbreaker. Well the bus driver, I have NO clue where he was from, but it obviously was NOT Galena because he had no freaking clue where he was going – thankfully someone sitting in front seat behind him was giving him directions – we finally get there. Get into T1 just to check things over, remove plastic bags, put on some sunscreen, and then just hang out till it’s our wave time. Mind you it’s like 7:30 am; my wave in the du goes off at 10:01. Hit the potties, first time of many, guess the rush and/or adrenaline of race day gets the body revved up. Found our tri club members, then we all just kind of hung out till it was our time.
Got a bit nervous sitting around watching. Like I said the water was cold and there was already one person in the ambulance, with blankets around them, getting warmed by paramedics. I could not stay to see Kevin’s wave go off, so I could only hope he would not end up in that same spot. So now at the top of the hill for du start, last wave, sometimes being older (and I don’t consider 42 old) sucks you’re the last wave to go off… well before that can happen we all have to move over for the ambulance that now has a victim in it that must be transported to the hospital – all I could do was hope it wasn’t anyone I knew. Ok time for the 10:01 wave. And in case anyone wonders that first leg of the duathlon is pretty damn challenging. I quickly fell to the back of the pack cause running just ain’t my thing. I felt pretty slow and tried not to worry about HR, #1 cause it really takes a could mile or two before your HR will settle in a race and #2 with this hilly course the chance of it settling in 2 miles was slim and none. Get back into T1 where I was not DFL (dead fucking last) because as I was biking up the hill the last runner was coming down. Anyhow I realized this run was kinda slow, looked at time but not miles, oh well transition to bike, will look at stats later. Again I am thankful for Kevin’s suggestion to be in my easiest gear, you get to the bike mount spot and immediately have a hill – being geared properly makes ALL the difference in the world as to walking up that hill with your bike or riding up that hill – I RODE up it. Of course at the top of the hill I realize SHIT I forgot my biking gloves and know they are laying on the ground NOT in my transition bag – well maybe I will get lucky and they will realize they are mine and put them in the bag or I can find them next day at lost/found, believe me I was NOT going back for them. Very quickly into the bike leg I wondered why the hell am I doing this race, the hills are tough. I had two goals this time, beat first year time and not walk any hills on the bike – well I achieved one goal…. I did not walk any bike hills, I rode up every single one of them, even passing others and gaining speed at times on the uphill? Go figure… And I wasn’t freaked by the downhill either. I did look at speed once, it showed 27 and gaining, I looked back up. In the end my fastest speed on downhill was almost 38mph. That can freak you out. So not only was the course hilly but they had predicted winds that day, and sadly this time the weather man was correct, it was windy. And of course the wind is never at your back. The only time I got concerned was barreling down a hill and a cross wind comes along; I just gripped the bars and said nope not today, you are not going down. AH the JESUS SAVES sign and I know I’m half way there and pretty much the worst hills are behind me, not all but the worst. It was pretty uneventful after that on the bike… well until some guy came up behind me, maybe a mile or two to go, and said ‘hey I like your jersey, I’ve been watching you from behind for a while now’ ok do you like chicks with fat asses or what dude? I mean what the hell were you watching from behind for gosh sakes and the WAY he said it…just creeped me out. Now I did have on my cool yellow Curious George cycling jersey. I got this as a present last year for finishing this same race, Galena, my first every multisport event. But somehow I don’t think this person was focusing on CG, he must like big butts. So coming into T2, there is Kevin and some members of tri club…. All I can think is gee someday I’d like to know what it feels like to be done in an hour and half or less. Make my transition and it’s off to the daunting run…
Somehow that 2nd run didn’t get any easier and that first hill didn’t get any less steep from last year. The 2nd run was uneventful… I had such stomach cramps, I wanted to burp, throw up or fart, anything to relieve this pressure in my tummy – nothing doing. One time in my life I could care less if I farted like a teenage boy in a farting contest and I can’t muster a thing to relieve this pain in my gut. Run 2 was a total walk run… I’d walk when the pain got too much to take, dig into my stomach, hoping to move something round, then run again when it felt a bit better, then it would come back… this went on the entire 4.3 miles. Now what was kind of cool was when you wear a cool yellow Curious George jersey, all the folks you know or have meet can recognize you…. Waddler came by, on the back half of run, go Kim! First thought YEA Waddler survived the swim, she made it, she is a TRIATHLETE, and I was excited for her. Then I saw Iron Snoopy, happy she made it too as she was wondering why she did this race again this year… good job Kim she shouts! Then others who you don’t even know who are on the 2nd ½ of the run, returning to the finish are cheering you on, GO CURIOUS GEORGE! Thankfully no more creeps. And just like last year the crew at the half way point water stop are out there having fun, doing a great job, blasting music and cheering everyone on. This one gal and I kept leap frogging each other… she’d run ahead, then I ahead of her, and we exchanged like this for 90% of Run 2. I was really just playing the telephone pole and/or cone game with myself this entire run. I’d get to a telephone pole and say ok you are going to run to the next pole, then walk the next, then run… when the poles became a pain to track I played the cone game, ok run the length of two road cones, walk one, run two, walk one… by this time my tummy was really in pain and I was just doing anything to not think about it. I looked down at my belly and it was so full of air I literally looked about 5 months pregnant.
Somewhere after mile 3 Kevin and Dave came running up the hill to cheer me on the rest of the way. The company did help to keep my mind off my tummy… so finally we get to the last downhill (you know that first daunting uphill on the 2nd run leg) it’s just as hard to run down it, you start going too fast, or lean to far forward and you are going to roll down, face first! Finally the jarring on that downhill somehow displaced some air and I managed a couple of burps, nothing significant but enough to get me to the finish… I again found the strength somewhere to sprint to the end – I think at that point I just wanna be done….
So at first I was a little disappointed that I didn’t beat my 2007 times:
2007 - R1-20:53 (10:27 pace), T1 2:54, Bike 1:23:56, T2 2:58, R2 – 55:35 (12:56 pace) total 2:46:15
2008 – R1-28:52 (14:26 pace), T1 2:28, Bike 1:20:39, T2 3:17, R2 – 56:30 (13:09 pace) total 2:51:44
But when I looked at the stats on my Garmin I realized that 2007 Run 1 was 1.8 miles and the 2008 run was really mismarked at 2.45 miles – its suppose to be 2 miles. So ok that explains a bit of the time difference, yes I was slower, but I’m probably 10 pounds heavier this year than last too. Now I did do better on the bike AND didn’t walk one hill in 08 and I did in 07 and according to the Garmin, last year’s bike was 16.9 miles this year was 17.7 – suppose to be 16.8… I am hitting my Garmin at the mats too. So all in all I’m happy with how I did.
This year the food at the after party sucked! Really sucked! Last year was brats and burgers; this year was ham or veggie wraps that were in a word G R O S S! Only good part of the food was the cookie. Needless to say we didn’t hang long. Ran into Iron Snoopy, Waddler, Rog as we were all gathering stuff to head back to respective wknd homes – we decided we’d get showers, nap and hook up for dinner. Well even though I was tired I STILL could not sleep to save my soul. I laid there for 1.5 hrs and finally said screw this; I’ll eventually fall down from exhaustion. We headed into downtown, got some wine and then Iron Snoopy called – we all hooked up for dinner and THAT WAS the cool part of the weekend.
It was fun all of us at dinner talking about our day, toasting Waddler to finishing her first TRI and a tough flippin’ one at that (you ROCK girl), talking with IS and Rog about training for IM AZ (I so hope I can be there) and Waddler’s son (sorry but the name escapes me right now) is just a sweet and handsome young man, who probably thinks us old folks are crazy! Then it dawned on me… that finally EYE am making friends and we are hanging out with people I know and Kevin doesn’t. Usually it’s me hanging with Kevin’s friends, who of course have become mine, but this was cool and different, we were hanging with peeps I knew and he didn’t! He laughed afterward because he said damn you’re beginning to know more people at races then I do. After some substance in our bellies we all walked around downtown Galena, checking out the shops and chatting. But I think finally the fatigue for all of us was setting in. I could tell IS was fading, I knew I was fading (I think the wine helped), so we decided it was time to part ways and head back to our weekend homes. All in all a GREAT day and now I’ll just have to decide do I want to do this race again next year or no…..