I did it! I did it! I did it! And yes I will do it again :)
So here is the report....
2100+ of us gathered in the pre-dawn hours with all of our gear (and there is a lot of gear) to be crazy together for eightish hours. All of us there for different reasons and goals.... all of us reaching for the same finish line. All the work that lead up to this moment was about to be put to the test. Would it be enough? Would it get us to our finish lines? My reason, My Goal for this race? This was my happy birthday to Michael! His birthday was the 28th so on the 25th I would push myself harder than I ever had for him, I would learn what I am made of.
For those who don't know what this would entail here is the low down...
1.2 mile open water swim + 56 mile Bike + 13.1 mile Run
Due to the enormous amount of people racing this race was a wave start by age group and gender, except the pros. They got to go first. That was so awesome to have almost an hour before it was my turn to start and have the chance to see the pros. They flew around that lake. We were right on the shore where they swam right past us into the finish. It took them about 17 minutes!!!!
Green caps were the pros.... purple/pink caps was my division. The swim went ok. Swimming has never been my strongest point but I did get through it close to the time I thought it would take. 48:27 and I was climbing out of the water and heading to the wetsuit strippers and onto transition #1 - this was a two transition location race.
We then headed out for a long hill filled full of head winds 56 mile bike ride. I felt pretty good heading out. The swim didn't get me too disoriented. Grabbed my bike, strapped on my helmet and out I went. I can truly say I have never felt like just quitting in the middle of a race but there were moments on the bike near the end when I learned what that feeling feels like. Every time though someone would ride up behind me and ask about my "Running for Michael" tag that I had on my back and it was just enough of a reminder of why I was out here, and I pedaled on.
I finished up the epic ride in 3:50:34, right about what I realistically thought it would take. Pulled into transition #2 racked my bike, switched my shoes, grabbed my PB&J and headed out for my run. The course was changed a few days before the race due to the drought conditions in Austin this year which made the run a 3 loop course! Could they make this any more mentally challenging? The first loop was mostly walking due to feeling like I was going to throw up. Drank a ton of water on that first loop trying to flush out my system. It seemed to work, loops 2 & 3 I felt much more capable of running - albeit not very fast. 2:54:43 I rounded that last last and into the finish line in the stadium. I have never been so happy to cross a finish line, but at the same time there were so many emotions that I carried with me across that same finish line. I had done it, but not without my little brother cheering me on, carrying me through that line through the words and encouragement of others out on the course who cheered for me when I needed it the most, when I was so close to not finishing the volunteer picking up cups on the side of the road looked up and told me "Michael is so proud of you" and I knew he was there at that moment.
7 hours 49 minutes and 28 seconds!!!
Will I do it again? ABSOLUTELY!!!!! Not next year but October 2011 I will be back out there on the road and in the water. Will you be there with me?