Finish Line 70.3

Finish Line 70.3
Finish Line 70.3

70.3 Finisher!

70.3 Finisher!
70.3 Finisher

Monday, April 4, 2011

Anticipation: 6 days 'til race day!

Carly Simon was one of the greatest crooners of my generation. Voice like silk over brandy, in that low Karen Carpenter-like register that IMO is the best place for a female voice to be, Maria Callas notwithstanding. She was also a bit shunned for a while by her musical peers, apparently because she came from money, and hey, no rich girl could possibly sing, right? Just like no sloth like 53 year old can do a 70.3, right? Oh, so wrong.

Anticipation was a good song, enough to land on my iPod, although IMO not her best ("Loving You's the Right Thing to Do" is much better, and "Let the River Run" makes me want to sing along). Still, this week is simply nothing but anticipation of Sunday, along with starting to pack (and every day I think of something else I need to bring with me), organize, clean up my stuff, and put myself in my Mental Happy Place.

Saturday was a tough 2 hour ride in the hot wind at 2 p.m., and a very close call that nearly ended my 70.3 hopes. I was cruising down Lawther drive at White Rock, wind at my back for a change, about 17 mph or so, down on the bars, about 40 minutes into the ride. It was very crowded at the lake, like most hot sunny weekends. I had been very careful so far to avoid running into anyone and calling out "biker left!" so much that I was getting hoarse. I had already narrowly missed creaming a biker that decided to hop on his road bike and pedal into my path from the dam stopping point WITHOUT LOOKING EITHER DIRECTION but I hollered loud enough that he whipsawed out of my path. I had avoided 3 toddlers on Big Wheels meandering into my lane and one lady pushing a large stroller who was determined to take up the exact middle of the pathway, causing everyone on either side to have to swerve.

There was a parking lot on my right coming up, and a Jeep Cherokee headed toward me with its blinker on, wanting to turn left into it. This Jeep let two other bikers pass, and I was no more than 20 yards behind those two, and I smiled at the driver as I hurtled towards him.

I don't know if he didn't see me (this was sunny daylight, and no curves in the road, I was visible for miles) or he thought he could zoom in between me and the previous bikers, but he suddenly elected to turn not 15 yards in front of me.

I was going to go over his hood. There was no way to avoid it. I know people say your life flashes in front of your eyes. It didn't, but what did flash was me thinking, "a year of hard work and I'm going to end up a week before the race in a pile of twisted metal and rubber." I swear I don't remember sitting up and hitting my brakes, but I did, and I screamed. The driver looked up, and I saw his eyes go wide, like the slow mo movie thing, and he hit HIS brakes, but he was already halfway through his turn and I was zooming toward his white gleaming hood as I frantically pumped the brakes and continued screaming.

I don't know how I did this, and I give it all to the Man Upstairs, but somehow, I managed to swerve at the last freaking second and miss his bumper by about two inches because I turned INTO the parking lot he was trying to enter, fishtailing and bucking and working my butt off to stay upright.

I don't know what I said to this guy, because I truly don't recall. I know I said something. I know he said he was sorry. A biker right behind me stoppped to check on me, and shook his head about the idiot driver. I got back on the bike, shaken but not stirred, and it took about 30 minutes for me to get my heart back down from where my ears are at. I was lucky. This could be a post from a hospital bed, or even worse.

So, I put that down to the "bad rehearsal, great performance" file. Hopefully, the only traffic I will have to deal with on the race is other bikers, and because I am not the fastest bullet from the gun, and it's a one loop ride, that should be very few of them.

On Sunday Patient Spouse and I went to Lake Lavon for a practice open water swim. It was very breezy, wind about 35 mph, and the swimming cove was fairly protected, but there was still enough wind and chop and current to make me glad we practiced, so I will be prepared for those kind of conditions (the advance weather forecast for Sunday currently says "breezy. High 80." Hot and windy. I'm ready for it). We worked on sighting to some bouys, running into each other, and doing the thing that is the worst IMO of open water swims--putting my face into the cold water and forcing myself not to gasp myself into oxygen debt instantly. Once I get about 200 yards into the swim, that feeling dies down, but the initial shock is something I never can seem to avoid. I do love my new wetsuit and actually enjoyed the swim outside; so much more fun than flip turning on pool walls 3,453 times in a row.

Wetsuits were then washed out and hung to dry (will be folded and put away tonight), bike was washed, cleaned, oiled, bike repair bag examined (lots of old interesting things in there) and repacked. Lists upon lists have been made. Maps studied. There are 35 women entered in my age group for the 70.3, and I will be happy to come in 35th so long as I cross the line before the time deadline.

Tonight I'm taking a short easy walk with the dogs, and tomorrow is probably spin class with tension bar nearly all the way to zero, Wednesday is a long swim and Thursday a short run in the morning.

I plan to post from Galveston on Friday and Saturday pre race, and my spouse is supposed to post updates during the race when he sees me (after the swim, the bike, and during the run).

Ready to get this baby done.

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