Monday, May 03, 2010

My travels started on April 22nd as I flew to Phoenix for Paul and Patty's wedding weekend, which was beautiful and fun! I am so lucky to have in-laws who I love so much, and want to go across country to see the extended family even when my link to them is deployed! It was a great weekend, and Dustin even made a suprise appearance by recorded video on the big screen to congratulate Paul and Patty and to say that he loved and missed me.....tears, yes, tears did flow.

Then, on the 22nd, I flew to San Fran to hang with Jeff and Kendra in their new home in Menlo Park....very cute! Went for a walk/run around "the dish" which was very hilly but overlooked San Fran. Then, we went to Muir Woods and hiked in the beautiful redwoods. Then, we went to a Giants Game which turned out to be VERY exciting (but the Phillies won). We then went to Thierry and Stef's for a yummy dinner and wine and met our friend Dave from Jax there too (he was in the city for work).

Thursday, after Kendra got off work, we drove to Monterey (about 1 hour 20 minutes) and it was beautiful! It was a bit cold, and very windy, but pretty! This is where Dustin might go to Naval Post Graduate school in the future. Then, we drove the "17 mile drive" which went through state parks along the coast and then into Pebble Beach. It was absolutely beautiful! We went to eat on Cannery Row at Louie Linguini's and it was super yummy! Then, we decided to drive inland to Salinas to get a little closer to the campground before the morning. We stayed at a Quality Inn an woke up the next morning for our true journey.......

The journey to Wildflower, about another hour and half was a beautiful scenic drive with mountainous but vegetative terrain, out in the middle of nowhere with no McDonalds, no grocery stores, not even a gas station close....we got into the campground and were immediately greated by free Avia visors and free gelato! Then, we drove around for way too long looking for a campsite! There were a lot reserved and then many people got there a few days before to pick out ones with picnic tables, but finally we found the perfect one and started setting up shop. Others started trickling in the campsites around us and the park was filled with triathlon campers! How cool! I figured that I would allow myself to drink on Friday, but not on Saturday, so I got started early as we played games and hung out with great friends.

Saturday morning, Jeff and I went on a short run around the campground and decided to go down to the start, where we had to make a brief stop for the National Anthem.......great moment. We ran down and up the big hill. Then later, we all hiked down the hill to the transition area. They had a free yoga class that we ladies did outside in the fresh air overlooking the beautiful hills. It was one of those priceless moments. We looked around at the amazing finish line with pizza places, gelato places, even eggroll places, just to name a few. I kept saying, tomorrow after the race, I want that....and that.....and that.....Kendra and I sat at the finish line and cheered people in for awhile. Later, Scott, Kat and I went on short bike ride to test out Sunshine (Kat's bike). She seemed to be working well. Then, we all made dinner (I was still able to make my pesto orzo on the gas stove Jen brought, but then Jeff and Kendra were also making these yummy looking steak kabobs. Now, I really haven't been eating much meet since January, and no red meat, but these looked so good! So, of course, I had 5 pieces! Prolly not a good idea...more about that later. I can't NOT mention that we started hearing cheering from afar and it was coming closer. We ran down to the road, and we saw around 30 naked guys and girls running through the campgroud! It was hilarious! After some more good conversation around the campfire, we retired into our comfy tents.....didn't sleep great, but pretty well considering it was tent camping!

Kendra and I woke up on Sunday morning, ready to go! We started biking down to the start, and somehow I realized that I didn't have my run number with me, so I had to go back and get it! We had to bike down the hill that we would later have to bike up right out of transition. My hands were burning from squeezing the brakes by the bottom of the hill. We set up our transitions and then just sat and waited as our waves didn't start til 10:25 and 10:30, so we waited and waited!

As my wave started, I got kicked in the face soon after the start, giving me goggle problems that I struggled with the whole swim. I wore my neoprene cap again which helped for the cold water around 60 degrees. But, you can't hear with those things on, so when the kayakers were trying to re-direct me, I couldn't hear them until they tapped me.....three times! Yes, the siting was horrible! I was siting off the buoys that were the ones coming back, but I was still on my way out! I swam way out of the way three different times. Plus, I was dry heaving in my mouth, from the food I ate the night before mixed with the rougher waters than expected. When I got out of the swim, I was hoping for under 30 minutes, but totally expected to see 45 on my watch due to all the problems, so when I saw 33, I was happy with that! T2 was probably the longest T2 ever; fine motor skills just wouldn't work correctly! So, I was pissed even before having to bike straight up Lynch Hill out of transition! Luckily, Sunshine wouldn't even go in her easiest gear (sense some sarcasm there?).....after having some aero bottle issues and issues getting my gus open, I had to laugh out loud at how much was going wrong in this race. Obviously, the gearing was the most bothersome, but I decided to laugh it off and have fun! As many people were walking their bikes up a few of the hills, I was going around 4 mph....smokin! I couldn't wait to get off the bike and onto the run! I saw our support crew a couple times on the bike, so that was really helpful!

As I started the run, I was passing people left and right. Hardly anyone was actually running up the hills because they were so steep, but I wanted to try to run the whole thing. Sometimes, I probably could've walked faster, but I stuck with my plan! I do believe only two people passed me the whole run! I sure wasn't flying, but it was SO hilly and SO hot....not humid though, thank goodness! I ended up averaging 8:53 miles, so I was happy with that.

At the end of the race, we had to run down the hill we biked knees did not like that, I would have rather ran up it! I ran into the finish line with a time of 3:15 on an extraordinarily hard course! Kat and Scott greeted me at the finish line and took pictures and got me some pizza as we waited for Kendra! After she finished, we got some gelato and called it a day! I was so thankful for my wonderful friends that day, but of course I missed Dustin. Kat kept him updated with emails though!

If you are a triathlete or a camper, or both, you HAVE to experience Wildflower SOMEday! I didn't wash my hair, body, or even face all weekend makeup, hardly any cell phones except to send an occasional pic to Dustin, and a connection to all the other people camping that I can't explain! It was a unique, fun experience that I will never forget! Now, onto that training for Ironman Louisville in August!