Oceanside represented my first true triathlon in three years. I did the Vineman AquaBike last year, but this was the first swim-bike-run in a while. It mattered. Perhaps a little too much.
I had my usual pre-race nutrition plan, falling back on the tried-and-true coffee, Cliff Bar, banana, water and gel. After we pulled up in the parking lot, I proceeded to puke. Hey, that’s not the normal routine. Morning sickness? Nope, this was my day to age up to 50. Somebody sneak some gin in my water bottle? Nope. It was definitely nerves. I so rarely ever get sick to my stomach. No kidding. A decade could go by with no barfing. And I hope I go another few years without a repeat performance.
My body was definitely going through the fight-or-flight fear thing. I have to admit, I’m still a triathlete who is afraid of waves. I’ve artfully avoided swimming in the surf the past couple of years and I dreaded what was to come at the turnaround buoy near the mouth of the harbor. And there’s that other kind of wave. I loathe the wetsuit mosh pit, washing machine churn at the start of the races. There. I said it. I know. I need to get. Over. It.
Those were my exact thoughts as I looked up in the parking lot to see if anyone witnessed my gaff. I only saw pre-occupied triathletes pumping up tires in the dark. Todd rubbed my back and went back to pumping up mine. (Oh, this will make a good story later.)
We headed over to the transition area. I did feel better. Though as you can see here, I looked like hell depleted of all my calories and electrolytes. (Is this the look of a woman who is about to kill a 70.3-mile course?)
I perked up when I found my good buddy Ryan. He brought me back over to his girlfriend, TriDiver, who was a volunteer doing the body marking. She gave me a custom job and I was relieved to have my real age on my calf. I had her add some props to Todd for the long day I knew he’d put in as tri sherpa. She marked my right leg with a heart and "THX TODD."
I got to rack my bike with the Challenged Athletes Foundation as a member of Team Operation Rebound. My friends and clients helped me raise $1,525 for the cause. It was great to hang out with these men and women who are thrilled to be athletes again after enduring so much while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. What a cool, courageous group. It was an energetic vibe. My bike was racked in a sweet spot right by the exit. This is how my day started. In the next post, I’ll tell you how it finished.