Once I got my kids off to school, I picked up Kathy and then drove down to Springfield to pick up Cheryl. Somehow our drive seemed to take forever even though we were all chatting it up about the race and hopes/dreams for the weekend. We didn't get to Louisville until 4 pm Eastern which was definitely later than I hoped, but in the end it worked out great.
Luckily, we ran into Scott & Gene as they were leaving the hotel. Being the gentlemen that they are, they helped us unload our van and then brought my Dolce and Cheryl's Cervelo up to our rooms for us. It certainly helped out quite a bit since we still had plenty of stuff in our hands even though the valet was bringing up most of our stuff. As soon as the rest of our luggage arrived, we went over to the expo and checked in.
|Awesome back packs we received from WTC|
We came back to the room to sort out some of our gear. I decided to chill and do and what I do best: FACEBOOK. I noticed Aaron had put a post out on the T3 Louisville Spectator Board asking if anyone was going out for dinner and so I put on my social coordinator hat and tried to get as many T3 people as possible together for dinner.
I failed in some ways. The boys staying across the river: Chris, James, Pat, Ed & Joe, ate dinner without us. Grrr. At Hooter's of all places. Oh well. As I explained to Chris, I was here to not only experience IMLOU, but Louisville as well. Or at least 4th Street. If they wanted to stare at their gear all night in their hotel, they could just go right ahead and do that. I was going to enjoy a free evening especially knowing I had no big workouts the next day.
|4th Street. A beautiful view late at night!|
Everyone discussed what they wanted to do on Friday. Scott wanted to do a swim & bike ride, but he hadn't received an email confirming that his bike was in Louisville yet. He was a little frustrated waiting for his bike knowing he had a lot to do yet to get it ready. I think that was the very moment when I went. UH OH. I washed my swim suit after the open water swim Wednesday night back home and had it hanging to dry in my closet....and it was still there. Quick text to Jeff. PLEASE BRING MY SUIT!!!! We decided to touch base in the morning and see about doing a quick group ride, maybe even get the boys to meet us as well. Aaron shared some of experiences from IMLOU last year. As we were eating, Ed stopped by. He happened to be in the same restaurant eating with his family who surprised him by coming down early. Don't take this wrong, but that surprise would not have gone well with me. I wanted a couple of days where I could do what I needed to do, when I needed to do it without worrying about anyone else but Cheryl & I.
As we were walking out of G&B, I thought everyone was pretty settled on heading back to their respective hotels and hunkering down for the night. I thought about what I had told Chris and asked if anyone wanted to go get a drink. I just wanted to be a part of the 4th Street atmosphere a little longer. knowing that as each day passed we were going to get more and more serious about this Ironman thing. I wasn't ready for serious.
And that's where Cheryl made her mistake. She declared that she has to draw a line. She's all in or nothing. Scott seemed to find that hilarious and so "drawing the line" became our theme for the night.
Now keep in mind Cheryl is my niece. She was born during my freshman year of high school. Believe it or not, we've NEVER had a drink together. It's just not something we normally do. Whenever we are together, we are normally training or preparing for a race. Or at a family function and while my family doesn't object to having a beverage, it's just not a part of my routine. So, this was an opportunity for me to kick back with one of my best friends. Whoop whoop! Look out!
|Gene, Scott, Aaron, Cheryl, me, Kathy & Cassie at Sully's|
|I think Cheryl was telling me about drawing the line.|
I'm not really sure. Everything was hilarious at that point.
I asked Scott to take a picture of Cheryl & I which turned out to be an epic fail. Laughter was the call of the night and I couldn't seem to get serious enough to take a decent picture.
|I think this was my Flirty Girl move. I don't know.|
|We are athletes. See???|
|I look like I'm worried ?!?! What the heck.|
Friday morning we woke up, ate some of the egg muffins I packed for the weekend and decided we wanted to test our bikes to make sure nothing had happened while transporting them to Louisville. As usual, Cheryl let me lead on our 20 mile bike ride. We rode from the Galt House down River Road and did a simple out and back. Cadence sensor is working great. No problems with brakes rubbing tires. We were good to go.
|My kids did not appreciate my sense of color.|
Friday night was the athlete's dinner. T3 took up 4 tables as most of us tried to sit together. FINALLY! I didn't fail as the social coordinator. Part of the evening was extremely interesting....and then part of it was awfully boring. The most interesting and terrifying part? The lady who did IMLOU in 2010 and fell apart at mile 20 of the marathon. SERIOUSLY??? I would belly crawl the last 6.2 miles if I had to. I can't imagine the heart break of getting that far and not accomplishing my goals. Cheryl & I talked about her the entire weekend.
After the athlete's dinner, we walked down the riverfront for team pictures. Gene's son, Nick, had a press pass and wanted to get some good shots before and during IMLOU. 21 athletes lined up on the walls along the Great Lawn and the Ohio River. After pictures, I decided to go across the river to the Indiana side and have a beer with my friend, Glen, who had just gotten into town on Friday. Cheryl, however, decided she needed to go back to the hotel and prepare her transition bags. She wanted to make sure she had everything before Jeff and her mom left for Louisville in the morning. So I wound up in Indiana...at Hooter's of course...with 8 guys. Some of the best 8 guys I know. Each one of them had been my support at one time or another and I was glad to spend some time with them not in a lake, not on a bike and not sweating like a day laborer.
Saturday morning Cheryl & I check and re-checked and re-checked again our transition bags. Paranoia about forgetting something set in.
|T2 - a lot simpler for sure|
|MY SPECIAL NEEDS.|
|My volunteer, Bob, helped me find my rack.|
Jeff and the crew arrived around 3 pm Saturday afternoon. My sister, Dera. My niece, Tiffany (aka our personal photographer). And my 3 girls. It was good to see them and have them there to share in this experience with us. We waited until they arrived to walk down to the transition area for the bike check in. I knew Jeff would want to see it anyway. So I thought I should save myself a trip.
|At bike check-in|
We had dinner at Ri Ra for a group of 18. Ugh. Way too big. Way too late to eat dinner. We discussed tattoos while at dinner though. Tiffany drew up some more ideas for Cheryl & I. Jury is still out on the design, but I'm pretty sure it's going on the back of my right shoulder. That way I can impress my class participants by subtly showing them their instructor is an Ironman.
|Pure joy....it plays over in my head again and again.|
The rest of the story? Well, it's old news now, but 9 months after quitting my full time job, 8 months after registering, 4 years after doing my first sprint triathlon, I became an Ironman.
Yep, it never gets old.