We got up early race day morning. Our fabulous B&B host got up early with us and, being a former marathoner herself, had bananas, yogurt, muffins, juice and water out for us. Fantastic.
We parked near the race site, and walked up. We stopped to help someone pump up his tires on the way there. I racked my bike in the transition area, and everything suddenly spun on its head.
I only had 1 pedal on my bike.
What followed was a few seconds of very vocal panic. What on earth had happened? What should, or even could, I do?
I dragged my bike to the local bike shop support tent. They weren't too optimistic about my chances. Remembering my bike dragging a bit after we left the guy who was pumping his tires, I told them that I MIGHT know where my pedal was, and offered to go look. I ran off.
Great - so much for conserving energy. I sprinted in sandals half a mile back to the site, and scoured the lawn on all fours. No pedal.
Almost in tears, I ran back, head down, scanning the ground for the pedal. No luck. Had it fallen off in the car? At home?
Back at the support tent, some good news. "I've found some pedals that should work. Want me to put them on?" Some unintelligable gratitude followed. I ran to get my shoes, and bike guy tried them out. He had to force them a bit, but they fit. Hurray!
By the time I got back to the transition zone, they were calling for people to start moving to the beach, and all the free space around my bike spot was gone. I put my towel and bike shoes out, grabbed my wetsuit, and joined my friends in the walk to the start line.
I have to take a moment to offer two huge thank yous. The first, obviously, is to the MC Cycle and Sport. The loaner pedals saved my bacon. The second goes to Lisa Bentley. I remember attending a talk she was giving, when she spoke about bad things happening to her during triathlons. She made the point that "everything happen for a reason".
Well, here I was, on the brink of the terrifying cold water swim, and my mind was blank and calm. The pedal fiasco had completely preempted my rising terror at the swim.
The PA played "Don't Stop Believing" and I smiled. They played "Welcome to the Jungle" and the first wave left. Now it was our turn.
My feet touched the water. "Damn that's cold." I need to watch my language when I get nervous. I put my hands in, because that usually helps get me acclimatized. "Oh god oh god oh god oh god."
I was intending to go to the front, being a competent swimmer, but now I wanted to go backwards. I didn't want to be here, I didn't want to do this. This was terrible.
"30 seconds to start".
I crouched down, to get my body wet. There was a slight chill at the base of my spine, I guess at the bottom of the zipper. Everything else was fine - the wetsuit did its job unbelievably well. Of course, my hands and feet were still SO COLD.
I looked at jeff. He had already gotten his face wet. Smart guy. I couldn't bring myself to.
"Go go go go go!!!!!"
Terror and panic. Step, step, heads up breast. Ugh. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. OH GOD. More heads up breast. Everyone is going away from me.
Ok, put my face in. Now gasp for breath. Another heads up breast. The support boats must think I'm insane, doing nothing but heads up breast at a tri. Roll over, fix my goggles. Man, nobody is behind me. I'm dead last. How the mighty have fallen.
Roll back over. Head in the water again. UGH. Heads up breast. How about dipping my head halfway under on breast. Ok. How about all the way? Ugh. Try a pull of freestyle again. Ugh. Again, this time I remember to breathe out. Does blowing help to warm the water, making it easier? Heads up free is too tiring, try heads up breast again. Try two pulls in a row. Breathing on the left is fine. Man, I really shot forwards there. Do it again.
Maybe I should sight?
Wow, I passed that guy like he was standing still.
I AM GOING TO BE FINE.