I woke up at 4:30am not quite knowing what to expect after racing back to back olympic distance triathlons the day before. 5 minutes later I got a phone call from Paulo. After about 30 seconds of solid laughter he said: "you sound like shit!". Yeah, well that pretty much sums it up.
I got moving, called Tony to meet me in the lobby for breakfast and we contemplated the day. This is going to be hard.
After packing the car I gave my parents a hug and told them we'd meet them at the race. Tony and I put our race anthem on repeat and tried to psych ourselves up for this 70 mile undertaking ahead of us
When we got to the race site we were surprised by the COLD! It was 43 degrees when we got here. Yeah, this cold:
The race started a bit late. The competitors filing in were moving about as fast as I was and no one was really chomping at the bit to get back in that lake for the 4th time, especially since it was so freezing. We had plenty of time to get our race 4 photo op:
Watching all the races start was really, really funny. On Friday night everyone was SPRINTING in the lake. There were shouts and screams and laughter and nervous energy. By day 3 people were slowly wading into the lake, walking to the first turn buoy and slowly beginning their nice and easy 1.2 miles in the 57 degree water. So Tony and I decided to mix it up and we threw our arms in the air and yelled the whole way in:
Originally when training we had planned to stick together on the swim. But it became apparent that the races were a bit too chaotic to pull that off. So we just planned to swim our own races and that I would wait on the beach for tony to get out. So after the swim I went over to hang out with my parents for a bit:
Then when Tony came in we stripped off each other's wetsuits (It wasn't very graceful) and headed into T1. (that's my dad and Maddie in the background)
After a slower than optimal transition, we were out on the bike course, for the incredible misadventures of Tony and Jodi on lap 1
The bike started out really well. The course was absolutely beautiful. About 5 miles into the race there was a constant beast of a 2-3 mile climb. It wound back and forth and back and forth and the scenery was breathtaking. I was thankful for the 100th time that I bought a 12/27 rear cassette and was able to spin up the whole hill. All was good until we got to the second group of smaller hills. I proceeded to drop my chain in the middle of hill. It was on a narrow fire road so I had to put the chain back on and ride down the hill and turn around in order to get clipped in. We got passed by dozens of people that we had just worked hard to pass.
Then near the end of the first loop we ended up back in the section of road that we were on in race 2 where there was a ton of construction and gravel patches/bumps everywhere. It was worse on this race because we were going in the opposite direction and traveling fast over the bumps. Tony launched a bottle and didn't notice it. I stopped and turned around to get it (the race was self supported and he had just one bottle for each loop). I didn't have a cage to put it in so it was slow going trying to navigate the hills holding a bottle. My rear brake wasn't working well (whenever I would tap it going downhill my rear wheel would skid and try to come up to meet me. The rim had a seam that the brake was hitting and catching on), so I had to just rely on the front brake. A few minutes later Tony realized what had happened and turned around to meet me. But then not 5 minutes later HE dropped a chain 3/4 of the way up a hill. So again he had to put the chain on, go down the hill and turn around. When we met back up I said- Ok, no more problems!
When we hit the turnaround Tony had to stop at the bathroom and I took the opportunity to eat a bar. One of the girls volunteering at the turnaround recognized me from my blog, so that was neat (Sorry I didn't see you at the end!). A few minutes later we were off for loop 2.
The second loop went off without a hitch. The only scary part was going up the beast of the hill again and hearing the unmistakable sound of air coming out of a tire. I heard it for about 3 seconds and then it stopped. At the top of the hill we both checked our tires. They both felt good so we shrugged and were on our way. Other than taking the descents a little conservatively because of my rear brake issue, we really made good time on the second loop. There were a couple hills that made us really feel the effects of the weekend, but we were both feeling really strong on the long descent into town.
When we entered the park we were both on total adrenaline highs. We were so happy to be done with the bike and to start the last leg of the journey. Here we are coming into the park:
I had told Tony that rather than leave T2 together I would fly through it and hit the bathroom. When I got out I saw Tony heading over to a different portapotty so I had time for a sexy portajohn photo op:
And we were off to tackle the hardest 6.55 mile run course either of us had ever encountered... twice.
We both took water bottles with us because neither of us got more than about 24 ounces of fluid into us on the bike. I scarfed down another bar before the run started and immediately regretted that. About 1 mile into the race my stomach was in knots. I had taken in about 12 ounces of gatorade and decided that I was done with calories until the first loop was over.
Tony and I celebrated each little victory on the run course. High fives for every hill we crested, battle cries as we ran up and down the steep parts, cheers of encouragement to everyone that we passed that we recognized or just looked like they needed it. We had become friendly with a team from Wisconsin and yelled "GO BADGERS!" every time we saw them. And there was also Gerri and Nevada, the female team that was racked next to Tony that were super fun. We loved to see them out there. And our other favorite competitor was the awesome guy with the HUGE white Paris Hilton-esque glasses that Tony high-fived every time we passed by. All in all, for as much as that course hurt, it was just such a blast! You got to see every competitor out there several times. We had the pleasure of being lapped by Joe Bonness at mile 2 and cheered him up a hill. What a fun day!
When we came down for the turnaround we took in some more fluid and saw my parents:
My Dad asked how we were feeling. Tony joked that we were GLIDING!!!
Then we headed back up the hill for the last time. We took it a bit easier on loop 2 but we had made a pact that we were NOT GOING TO BACK DOWN! No walking (except for aid stations). Every mile or so I would ask Tony- "are you going to back down?" NO WAY!
When we hit the turnaround at mile 10 Tony said to me- JT I don't think I can take this hill as fast as we've been going. I told him that whatever he did, just keep jogging. As slow as he needed to, just no walking. At the turnaround aid station I grabbed a banana and told Tony to just get started up the hill, I would catch him. And off he went. About a quarter mile up the hill I caught up with him and he was still trucking. At the top I turned around and he was only about 30 feet behind me. He did it! We had a little celebration at the top, as that hill was the pinacle of the run course and we just had 2.5 miles downhill to the finish. When we got to about the 12.5 mile point we both got hit with a rush of emotion. We hadn't been talking but all of a sudden we both got tears in our eyes. Tony said- I just can't believe we did it! We started to laugh and smiled all the way to the finish line.
And we got our finisher's medals- together!
And of course, the obligatory, we just biked over 100 miles, ran 26.2 and swam 5000 meters in the last 2 days pics:
And the long awaited post-race treats!
And the bonus pic of the levatating bike! My bike was the only one in transition that didn't touch the ground- and it was about 1.5 FEET off the ground!
Notes about the race:
-Absolutely the 4 most fun races I've ever done. We will be back next year without a question!
- Triathletes really are a very supportive and fun group of people
- Neither of us wore a watch or HRM the whole weekend. Completely liberating.
- My parents are the best race Sherpas in the WORLD. They lugged my dog around all weekend, took pics like pro photographers and never once complained. It was so fun to try to spot them every time we came into transition. Once they were even 2 miles down the road! And mad props to them both for all the exercise they got during the races. My dad even ran all 6.55 miles of that brutal run course during one of our races. What a SUPASTAR!
Nashville Kids Triathlon
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