Sorry for the delay as I have been trying to really figure out how I feel about everything that went on during the race. Still deciding....
Woke up at 4:35am feeling pretty good, nerves were there, but in a good way. Made our way down to body marking, then into transition to set up the bike. At this time they said wetsuits couldn't be worn if you wanted to qualify for Kona (water temp was 77 degrees). There wasn't even a thought as if you have ever read this blog you know my swimming issues. Waited on line for the bathroom, then made my way to the beach, kissed Nancy and I was in the water up to my knees. Started to make my way out a little before the gun went off. I knew I'd be in the back of the pack so I planned to let the washing machine go out ahead of me. I crossed the start line with exactly 2 minutes off the clock. Swam wide as to not get hit (yes there are still people back there). Made my way around the course and as I was making my way into shore got punched square in the temple. At the exact time that happened, my left calf cramped. Go figure. Punch really didn't hurt and I got out and my watch said 54 and change. Ran back in and finished the swim in 1:51. Saw Martin on the run to transition, he ran with me a bit and reminded me to focus on pacing and nutrition.
Not many bikes left when I got to transiton, the volunteers were incredible all day. I am so amazed at how encouraging they are. Saw my brother, niece Haley and Nancy as I exited transition. Didn't realize I was going to have PTSD from my crash. My brother and I rode the course in the car and it didn't seem too bad. Felt faster on the bike. People flew by me on the downhills, I'd catch them on the flats and pass them on the uphills. The winner lapped at my mile 40 (his 96). The second loop was tougher, I had already had enough of the clif bloks that I'd been eating. Pulled into transiton after a slow 7:45 on the bike. All I could say when I saw my team was "Boy that was hard". Off to the run.
Felt good by mile 3-4 and actually felt better at mile 8. I was keeping to the plan and was thankful I was off the clif bloks. Finished the first half in right over 2 hours. Saw my team and said "I feel good". At mile 16 it all changed for me. I thought I'd either throw up or go #2. I choked it down and walked until it subsided. Started running again and it flared up. After not finishing Rev3 because of my crash, I wasn't about to dnf this race. I thought to myself what if I throw up and pass out? Next time if that happens, I will find out. Basically walked 8 of the last 10 miles. Every time I tried running, burning sensation flared up into my throat. Was able to muster a run into the oval where I saw Martin again and my team (so thankful they were there, sorry I worried them). Finished in 15:37:21.
Here is where I am deciding how I feel. I know I could have done better and am somewhat down because of it. On the other hand, I do know how far I've come in my journey. From completely out of shape, a lot heavier, not knowing how to really swim, never riding a bike with clips and never running more than 5 miles in my life to this. After my crash, I wasn't sure I'd make it here at all. Just to be able to finish it is a huge accomplishment for which I will always be extremely proud.
I was so happy to meet everyone connected with Team Cindy. It really helped that I had another cheering section throughout the race. I look forward to wearing the jersey at more races to help as much as possible.