The day before any big or new distance race, for me, always seems to be filled with so much nervous excitement. I think I stress more this day than I do the day of the actual race. Mathew and I drove from Valdosta to Greensboro, Ga on Friday so we could hang out with my family Friday afternoon then make the hour drive to Augusta, Ga early Saturday morning so I could take care of all the pre race requirements. The race expo and registration/race packet pick up was scheduled to begin at 11AM and we figured we might as well get there then and get all that taken care of before it got “busy”. We were not the only ones with this plan. The hotel was packed with compression wearing, fit, toned, lean, muscular, M-dot tattooed, water/sports drink caring, last race T-shirt wearing amazing looking athletes. I know this sounds stupid, I promise, but just looking around at these people was intimidating. I was standing in a VERY long line waiting my turn to pick up my race packet just taking in everything and I noticed a lady a few people up in front of me who was “wringing” her hands in what I picked up to be a nervous behavior. This particular lady was a bit larger than most of the 100’s of people around her and I could see her looking people up and down as her eyes moved along the line of racers. I don’t have a clue if she was feeling the same intimidation I had previously experienced but I really wished I could have given her a hug and told her how proud I was of her for being there in this line. All I am saying is if I felt intimidated by the extremely athlete people then I can only imagine how she felt and I was so proud of her for being there doing what so many don’t think is possible. After spending an hour in line I finally got my race kit and made it to the pre-race meeting just after it had started. I was able to pick Beth from (Discom-BOB-ulated Running) out in the room and since we had sort of a challenge I made sure she did not see me…yet. After the meeting I headed over to the Expo to look around and realized that was not going to happen due to the small size of the room which was packed with more people than a Fire Marshal would be happy with so I waited around till I saw Beth walk into the room. She knew I was in there due to the exchange of text but I was able to sneak in behind her. I was going to go in for the sneak attack leg hug but I really did not want to get kicked or hit in the face so we “re-introduced” ourselves before we exchanged leg hugs! Go check out he page I am sure she will be doing a race re-cap as well! (Beth I am so glad we got to meet).
Once all that was taken care of I found my mom and dad and we headed out for some lunch. Being that the hotel we were staying in was only a mile from where we had lunch we decided to go ahead and check in so I could look over Koa one last time before taking him to the bike drop off for his first slumber party. I knew something was wrong when my dad came out from checking in and Matt was not close behind him. I had already taken Koa off the truck and was messing with my gear. I realized Matt had been in the lobby for a long time so I called him and he informed me the hotel had messed up our reservations (made in June) and they were booked with no room for us. The hotel began calling other area hotels trying to find us a room. They finally found one a few miles away that said they had one room left and for us to come on over. The Jameson Inn (Original hotel) told Matt they would pay for the room due to mistake being their fault. So I put my bike back up and we took off to the other place. Once again I realized something must be wrong because people were coming and going and Matt was still in the lobby. I walked in and he looked at me and shook his head. I asked what the problem was and basically there was a new person working the desk who did not understand how to read the computer and they were also booked. My stress level went from medium to low high. We drove back over to the Jameson and Matt explained to them what had occurred at the hotel they had just sent us too. While Matt was dealing with that I went to my parent’s room and hung out with my mom. Apparently the Jameson Inn had done the same thing with another lady’s room and she was at the front desk being rather crude. Matt on the other hand stayed cool calm and collected which went a long way. Crude lady was sent packing and Matt was told 20 people had yet to check in their rooms thus he was given a room due to the length of time we had made reservations and his “nice” demeanor. I felt sort of bad for the last one that got there to check in only to find out they did not have a room. Augusta was booked!
I had Matt check Koa over real well for the 100 time and we headed to the race start to look around at the swim and drop off the bike. I was able to meet up with a good friend of mine who lives in Augusta. She brought her husband and daughter to the bike check in to check out the atmosphere and wish me luck. She is a runner – a good runner at that. I have had the privilege of running with her and she made me work for every mile we covered… Maybe she will try a Triathlon next =) I dropped Koa off amongst the gaggle of other bikes. Goodness there were some good looking bikes out there! It did feel rather odd leaving the bike there. The officials were asking those that were there to go ahead and get marked to save time in the morning so my number and age were placed on my arms and leg. I sort of thought this was pointless because I knew I was going to be taking a shower before the race but they said if it came off they would just redo it in the morning. Matt, my dad and I walked down to the swim exit so I would get an idea of where I was going once out of the water. The exit was a boat ramp and and I remember thinking running up that after swimming a mile was going to suck. I stood at the end and looked back to where the bike racks were and man it was a long way away. I am not sure if that is normal all I know is the Oly Tri was not that long of a run from swim to bike. I had a moment of panic when I “saw” how long the swim was… I sent KC a text and she reminded me to focus on one buoy at a time just as I had been doing in the pool one 25 meter lap at a time. I know I have swam the distance before but it just seems longer when you can see the whole distance rather than laps in a pool. Anyway, I knew she was right so I put it out of my mind.
|My dad and I checking out the swim course.
By this time it was getting rather late so we headed back to the hotel to pick up my mom and my aunt and uncle who had made the trip to watch the race. We all went out to Bonefish grill for dinner. We had to wait an hour before we could get a table but it appeared to be that way every place we passed. I struck up a conversation with a husband and wife who were there for the race (the husband anyway). He was from Tennessee so we got along GREAT! This was also his first 70.3 but he had done several Olympic distance triathlons. I love hearing race stories from other athletes!
It was a long day. It all worked out in the end which I am rather thankful for! It also wore me out which helped me get over my pre race jitters and sleep. I set my alarm for 4:15 and I was OUT. Next post… Augusta 70.3 Race Day Recap.