Sunday, September 26, 2010


Friday, Holly, Jennifer, Stacey, and I drove from Tampa to Augusta. We stopped at Subway on the way, and there were two adorable sweet girls who were very nice and excited for us and our race. We arrived around 4, and we checked into our hotel a little outside of downtown. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, and it was brand new and super nice. I got to use my HHonors status to get us some breakfast coupons. Score…

After we checked in, we headed down to the Marriott in downtown to get our race packets. We had a great time checking in, taking pictures, and getting shopping in the store. We got hats and Ironman glasses. I also got a race belt because I forgot mine again. I have gotten a new race belt at almost ever race because I keep forgetting mine. DOH…. I also realized that after my flat last week, I forgot to put my flat repair stuff on my bike. We met up with Phil who is also doing the race, and energy and nerves were high. The weather was a hot topic because it is supposed to rain and thunderstorm. It is VERY hot outside, so we are actually hoping it does rain.

After getting our packets, we went to a bike shop nearby to get my flat tire kit. My theory is that if I have it, I won’t get a flat, but if I don’t then I will. Then, we headed back to the hotel. We went to Bonefish for dinner. Phil ate with us, and we had a nice dinner. I had my sea bass and salad, and it was yum. We had an early bed time.

Saturday, we got up fairly early and headed into Augusta. We went to the river, and we put our wetsuits on. I hadn’t worn my wet suit since April. I had forgotten what a pain it is. The river was actually pretty nice, and we swam to the first bridge before turning around and swimming back against the current. Thank goodness we don’t swim against the current in the race. Then, we went for around a mile run. I was nervous about running even a mile before the race because I wanted my legs to feel good for the race. I was also feeling pretty yucky. My stomach hurt, and I felt like I was getting head stuff again as my throat and ears hurt. As we went for a bike ride, Holly realized she had a flat tire. It was a stressful moment. She was really nervous because the girl at the expo said that the shop didn’t have her kind of tire. We went to the shop, and they had her tires! The bike shop was Andy Jordon’s, and they were AMAZING. They were so great to Holly. They had TWO tired left of hers, and they got them in about an hour.

While we waited for the tires, we ate at the Boll Weevil. I had a club sandwich that was good but not great. They had these enormous cakes. We didn’t eat them, but they looked amazing.

We shopped in the little market area and there were some adorable dogs that needed a home. I took a picture for Morgan since we are NOT getting any pets. 

We went to drop our bikes off at the transition area. We were right at 2 when they opened it, so there weren’t many bikes there yet. We put our bikes there, and got the lay of the land. We took some pictures. It was nice to get an idea of how it would all work.

Before going to the hotel, we went to Publix to get a few things. Then, we went in search of flip flops. Walgreens was a negative. Rite Aid was a negative. But, Fred’s had TWO pair – spongbob ones and peace sign ones. Score!

We went back to the hotel and got our stuff ready for the race. We ate our pre-race dinner at Carraba’s. Jenn and Holly apparently have a tradition of eating there pre-race. I have never had anything other than chicken and baked potato on the night before, so I was a little worried. I had chicken marsala and some pasta. It was good. They usually get Pasta Carraba’s with no sauce and added sun dried tomatoes. I thought it sounded scary, but it was actually really good. I might get it next time.

We went back to the room, and Stacey and I laughed hysterically when her friend said he hoped to break 5 hours. We kept thinking that we were hoping to finish the swim and bike by then. WOW, 5 hours. That is amazing. We read until we went to sleep and set the alarm for 4:45.

Sunday – Race day!!!!!!!!!!

I woke up with my stomach hurting and my throat sore. I was stuffy, and I was freaking a little. I thought I might puke, and I was worried about my nose running all day. It is supposed to rain some in the morning, and then it is supposed to thunderstorm this afternoon. We left at 5:30 and found a parking place at 6th and Broad in Augusta. We were very lucky and happened to catch a shuttle to the transition. Because Augusta Ironman 70.3 has a swim in one direction, the start line and transition and finish are in different places.

We rode the shuttle to the transition area, and got out with all of our stuff. I was really nervous by now. I was especially worried about the bike with the rain. I got my area set up, and there were really super nice girls next to me. One was Stephanie, and she was really nice. I borrowed a pump, and my front tire was flat. YIKES. I was freaking a little. Someone told me that there was a bike aid area, so I was about to take my bike. Then, I tried one more time, and it worked ok. Jennifer said she has done that a lot and it is probably the pump. So, we decided that I would go swim and then take it to the bike guys if it was flat when we came back.

Holly had a mean girl next to her that was really nasty with her stuff and where she should put it. She picked up her stuff and moved it. Wow. We went to the portable potty’s, and I put my flip flops by the water. Then, we got the shuttle to the start. It wasn’t too bad even though the line was really, really long.

When we got to the swim area, we went to get our chips and to drop off our morning back with our stuff for after the race. Then, we got in line for the portable potty. As I was going into the potty, we hear this person saying that they are sending the swim waves off early. It is a few minutes to 8, and I go at 8:18. So, I rush to find my group. I get in my wetsuit and get my goggles on. Phil finds me to say hi, and then Holly and Jennifer find me. I didn’t even have time to get nervous as it was time to go already. I couldn’t believe how fast it went. We jumped in the water and only had like one minute before we started. It was hard to tread water with the current. I was excited and then we took off.

The start to the swim was rough. I got run over a lot. I finally went to the right and found my own place. It was nice to have my own area, but I didn’t feel a lot of current where I was. I couldn’t easily tell where the exit was, so I just kept swimming. I did look at my watch a few times to guess how much father I had. I didn’t push, and I didn’t take it easy. I just swam moderately.

As I came out of the water, I was excited to use my new Garmin 310XT (my old one got a crack in it right after I got it so I never could use it in the water). I pushed the lap button excitedly and saw my swim was about 31 minutes. Hmmm…I was hoping it would be under 30, but I didn’t really push in the swim so I wasn’t really concerned. As I hit the lap button, the watch said, “Begin Biking.” What? Oops…I must have forgotten to include those pesky transition items in the multi-sport line up. I look for my flip-flops that I left at the top of the evil hill you have to climb coming out of the water (really, that was mean). I see one flop but no flip so I keep going. I walked and kind of jogged but I was really worried about hurting my foot. As I got to the back of the transition area (you have to kind of go around it to enter), there were the most amazing things – WETSUIT STRIPPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They help you out of your wetsuit. I was having trouble with that the day before, so I was really excited. They help you get it down low enough and then you plop on your back and they rip it off. Too funny. It was raining, so this did mean that you got pretty dirty. However, it was FANTASTIC and very fast. I ran the rest of the way to my spot in transition. I sat down and got my socks and shoes on. I got my race number on and put it in back. I got my helmet. I took a swig of Gatorade and headed out. I wasn’t sure how long it took me, but the official time says 7 minutes and 16 seconds. Long but about what I thought it would be.

I started out on the bike and I was nervous. It was raining, and the road was slippery. I was surprised at how great I felt. Jennifer passed me at mile 10 right in front of the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church – too funny since we are from Wesley Chapel! It freaked me out a bit in the beginning that everyone knew your name. I realized quickly that it was due to the number bib that I was wearing. Hee hee…it did make it fun though to be able to talk to people as we passed. It was very funny to watch the fast people come by. At one point, I counted people passing me for 10 minutes, and it was over 200 people who blew by me saying “on your left Amy” or “Great job Amy, keep it up, I am on your left” or many other varieties that meant they were flying by me.  I didn’t mind, and I actually really enjoyed the bike. The only thing I didn’t like is that it was POURING rain for the entire 4 hours (well 3:51:04). It would get lighter and heavier, and there was about 7 miles or so with no rain. However, almost all of it was wet. I was laughing because the hills were the thing I was most afraid of since Florida is pretty flat. Holly passed me at mile 20ish and said. “just a few hills and then you will be headed back.” I was a little scared especially about the turns in the rain and the downhill being so fast in the rain. The hills really weren’t bad. There were two hills that I even really remember thinking about. One was a slow climb that wasn’t steep but went on for a long time. The other was a short hill, but it had a good climb. The bottle exchanges were interesting. I was a little nervous due to the slippery roads, but I did ok with the first one. I stopped for a minute to take some advil and sport legs, and I had so many people asking me if I needed anything. One reason I really like triathlons is the spirit of the competitors. Most people are so nice! The second stop didn’t go quite as well. I got Gatorade and I stuck it in my bottle to refill it. Oops…It got stuck. I couldn’t get it out. I had to stop for a few seconds to pull it out. 

I was so happy to get off the bike, mainly because I had to PEE! It felt pretty good to get off the bike, and then I fumbled at getting my fuel belt of water, my gels and chomps, and my hat. I danced to the porta-potty and rushed in. I grabbed my polar watch just in case my Garmin failed me (at St. Anthony’s my garmin died in the middle). There was a little hill soon after transition, and it was mean. I was a bit nervous since the run is supposed to be flat, but it was flat the whole rest of the way.

The run is two loops, and you have to go right by the finish line. That is kind of mean. The volunteers were the best of any of the races I have been to so far. They were so on top of it at every rest stop. They had water, gels, bars, Gatorade, and SPONGES. I loved the sponges. They were cold and wonderful. At mile 3, some Michael guy from New Orleans said, “Looking good for mile 10.” HA! I laughed and said that I was only on mile 3. We talked for a little less than a mile. He was really super nice. I saw Jenn and Phil on the backside of loop 1. I also saw Holly across the street, but she didn’t see me. I started on the LONG second loop. It is evil because you are all alone for about 2 miles. It is like a deserted area, and it seems very long. I was so happy once I got back to mile 8 and 9 where there were people. Holly and Jenn were waiting at mile 10 and I saw them. Just a minute later, I hear this guy scream, “Now you are at mile 10!” and there was Michael from New Orleans!!! It was SO sweet of him to find me. Too cool. As I got near mile 11, Holly joined in with me and started running. She stayed with me until around 12 when she went to meet me at the finish line. I was so excited that I could hardly stand it. There was a very cool policeman at the end who was heckling everyone as they came by. He was funny. He said things like, “If you aren’t going to run, then don’t try to fake it.” To me he asked if he needed to get his pitbull to motivate me.  when I got to the finish chute where you run down and to the finish, I was so excited. I was literally bursting with pride and I was grinning ear to ear. I cannot believe I actually did that race!!!!!!! 7 hours and 38 minutes later – I had completed my first ironman 70.3 distance race – a half of an ironman race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last year this time, I was extremely anxious about being able to finish a SPRINT distance triathlon, and here I am a year later. I am truly amazed with myself. I want to thank Holly Tripp and Jennifer Biles for such great coaching. I remember when they did this race last year, and I thought, “wow, I could never do that.” HA! They told me that I could, and I think sometimes I need to believe a little more in their faith in me.  Also, my Wesley Chapel Tri Team ROCKS! A huge thank you goes to Stacey for training with me and for being such a great roommate. I don’t know that I would have done it if I hadn’t had you to train with.

Lessons learned…

1. Practice riding in the rain a little so that you aren’t nervous when it comes in a race

2. Prepare drinks at the hotel instead of thinking you will mix it in transition (I forgot)

3. Even when it seems unlikely, believe in yourself. Even if you try and don’t do it, you did more than most people ever do in their lifetime

4. Always take time to enjoy the race/event as when it is over the memories are all you have. I really enjoyed this one and had fun talking to people and looking around at the scenery.

5. Always train with a group of people who you like being around. I never in a million years would have done this without my coaches and friends

6. Definitely get to the city early so that you can get your stuff done without freaking out and can rest

7. ALWAYS do a quick test of the bike before the race. Holly had flat tires that we were able to get fixed because we did the test.

8. Have a plan for any weather event. The rain seriously added to my anxiety. The other extreme of heat during the run also made me nervous.

9. Have fun and laugh!

10. Drink a Jager shot after a race – it goes down really well!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cure JM WINS!!!

I am thrilled to report that Cure JM finished the voting in the Pepsi Refresh challenge!!!

This is the first time I have relied on social networking for something important, and today I am amazed by two things.

1. Pepsi- I am amazed that they do this. It takes not only the investment but the resources to create and maintain the voting site. I have always been a Diet Coke lover, but I am officially a Diet Pepsi drinker now. :)

2. The power of networking, especially social networking. It is incredible that tweets, texts, emails, facebook, and phone calls got enough votes to win. Remembering that only about 5,000 kids have this in the US, there was not a huge group of parents to push this. It is amazing that the passion of these parents did it. We are all definitely stronger as part of a community that has a network. Simply amazing...I am a BELIEVER!

Thanks to all my friends and family who helped vote and who listened to me ramble on and on about this. $250,000 is a Huge step in the right direction. Thanks also to Pepsi!!!