I chose to race Muncie 70.3 for about three reasons, a primary one being it was close enough to Niles (my hometown and where my parents still live) that we invited my parents to join us for the weekend. And they did! It made the race experience just that much more enjoyable.
Carlos and I left Atlanta Thursday morning. In hind sight we could have left later, or even early Friday morning and still made registration, but it was nice just to relax and travel. I use vacation primarily for races and when I can, I enjoy going up early and leaving the day after the race. It makes it much more relaxing, and a bit like a mini vacation.
We hit the road early, and were in Richmond, IN, where our hotel was, by 4 or so. One thing about Muncie 70.3 is there aren’t any really close hotels. The primary hotel cluster in Muncie is about 20-25 minutes from the race site. It’s a pretty rural area, so hotels are not abundant. We were late in making reservations (2 months out maybe) and ended up in Richmond, about 45 minutes from the race site. That’s a bit of a trek but we made it work.
So Thursday we enjoyed the evening and played Putt Putt which was across from our hotel.
Friday we decided to do my very short and easy pre-race ride/run at the race site and then register.
The volunteers were fabulous. We learned after the race that they had more volunteers than race participants! You felt it. Things just seemed easy, even when they couldn’t find my race packet right away the volunteers were helpful and worked to find it. They had just missed it, but were already working on their back up scenarios before they realized it was there all along.
I took my goggles and a swim cap with me, even though we weren’t parked far, just in case they let you swim. They did allow participants to swim before. Participants got to enter the beach area for free ($1 for others) and they had life guards there and you could swim. They did ask that you stayed in the swim area and not go out on the swim course as boats were around.
A very brief swim and I was done. It was nice to get a feel for the water. I knew it was “borderline” for a wetsuit legal swim which meant it would be wetsuit legal the next day barring an extreme change in the situation.
As we drove back to the hotel we called my parents: they would arrive about 3:30. We grabbed some lunch and relaxed a bit until my parents arrived. Carlos explored the area via maps to get an idea for the next day. The plan was to go and drive the area so he knew where he was going while I attended the athlete meeting. Carlos is getting very good at spectating.
After dinner I went to bed, my parents and Carlos played Putt Putt. They racked in the business from us! We ended up playing on Saturday night too.
I don’t normally sleep well the night before a race. I sleep ok, but not great. This was no exception. I was up 10 minutes before my alarms (yes, alarms). I dressed, packed last minute items, made double sure I had what I needed, ate my instant oatmeal dressed up and was out the door by 4:30. Parking opened at 4:30 and transition opened at 5. I arrived about 5:15 and it was already busy and I was in the second field out. Still close but I was surprised at the amount of people there that early. No mind, plenty of time.
I get there early to set things up, do my warm up run, and cycle through the bathroom line a few times. Participants could chose to rack their bike the day before or the morning of, and I opted for the morning of. Once on site I looked at my Garmin Forerunner 910XT. I had noticed condensation under the screen which is a very bad sign.
Yup….somehow my Garmin, which is meant to wear in the water and I know many that wear it in the pool every time they swim, had sprung a leak and water got in. And I don’t wear it in water except the rare LA fitness swim and open water. Of course. I have bad luck with electrinics and water, even if they are supposed to go in it. I never freaked or panicked. I can always race by feel. In fact, I have written about it before. But, it’s nice to look down occasionally and check my pace. And it can make me step up my pace on the bike and run.
I looked through my bag thinking I had my little Timex with me I could use as a timer of the run but, no. I must have removed it! And I had seen it so many times in my tri bag. Argh! I can be my own worst enemy in trying to be organized.
So plan C was, if it survived the swim, to hope I could at least use my Garmin as a timer. I was glad that I had my Garmin Edge 510 with me for my bike, planning on using it to monitor my normalized power. If I could just use the 910 as a timer I could pace my run easy peasy. No problems and I was set.
I went off for my warm up run, using my Garmin to time. And I thought it might work. I returned, and finished setting up transition. I couldn’t find my body glide but someone let me use theirs. Yes, I borrowed body glide. And then I found mine after.
As I was getting set to leave a man next to me noticed that my chain was off and told me. Wha? I put it back on and realized that in my low gears the chain is literally sagging. I had a new chain out in in mid-April. I guess it’s time to get it adjusted. I figured this is ok because on this course I wouldn’t shift out of my big gear anyway, and just popped it in to the big gear to start. Technical glitch number 2. I was really hoping things didn’t happen in 3’s today!
So…things were going well. Pre-race nutrition was on. I cycled through the bathroom a few times, finding another woman behind me also doing IMWI and we chatted.
I was pretty much on my own before this race. I knew Shanks was going to be there, and looked for a friendly face but never saw him. I never spotted Carlos and my parents but knew they had a plan, and they were around.
I got in the water about 30 minutes before my wave and did a warm up swim. I really love it when they let the athletes do a pre-race swim. It really seems to help me get over that tightness that can make me do back or breast stroke for a few seconds after I start.
I got out, and sat down on the beach near my wave sign and ate my sports beans and finished off my water. Soon we were standing at the water’s edge getting ready to start. I chatted with the woman next to me. I actually asked her if I could use her wetsuit draw string to wipe out my goggles as they had fogged up a little. She said yes and we chatted from there. As we entered the water I put my head under a couple of times, checked my goggles and kept splashing water on me. I was set. It was just a matter of seconds now….