There were 3 loops to the bike course, about 37 miles each, along the southern half of the island. I’d already read about and was told by my coach, Dawn Monroe Eastwood, (www.coachdawnelder.com) where to expect the hard winds on the course. I figured for the first loop, I’d familiarize myself with the course. I started out slow trying to get a feel for my arthritic knee and if it was going to act up. It was not bad, but I didn’t want to risk a flare up, so I rode very conservatively and focused on enjoying the gorgeous scenery. Riding along the ocean on the east side was breathtaking.
By loop two, at 38 miles, I was feeling strong and I started to push it, moving my speed up to about 16-18 miles per hour. Mind you, that is considered pretty slow for a race like this. I could tell people were passing me left and right, well, mostly on the left. I had to remind myself constantly that I was racing my own race, just to finish. I couldn’t let anyone dictate how fast I would go. In my mind, maybe I’d to catch a lot of these people on the run. HA !
The “windy” side of the island went from about mile 53 to 65 on the second loop. About halfway into that windy section, the arthritis in my knee started to flare up. I’m sure I popped another Advil plus a Hammer Enduralytes pill. By this time, I’d had 2 Lara bars, but I couldn’t stomach having any more. Solid foods no longer felt like they were being processed by my body, and my digestive system was stopped up. Sorry, TMI there, but it’s a real issue with me. I would not eat anything else for the rest of the day and that’s unheard of. So I kept drinking. I didn’t feel a need for food which kinda scared me.
Heading into the last 5 or 6 miles of loop two through downtown were bumpy, lots of turns and a bit slow, but at least this time, I maneuvered refilling, emptying and unloading my water bottles much better.
Starting the last loop at about mile 74 near Chatakanaab Park I felt strong, but not as strong as the last time around and I was starting to feel uncomfortable in my seat. So I did a lot of shifting around, some standing and just changing up my position to try to find a less compromised spot on my tush. Somehow I muscled through that last windy stretch and took the left turn, heading west to the city center. I was in the home stretch!!! Although it felt like forever until I started to see the familiar traffic intersections, cheering sections of local folks and traffic police stopping cars to let us through. In case you’re wondering, I only stopped once on the bike when another cyclist blocked me at a water station. I had to stop to keep from crashing into her. So I did, just for a second, refilled gatorade and kept going. But I never stopped for a restroom break which seemed unreal for me since I’d been taking regular bathroom breaks during my training. And usually, no bathroom breaks (some triathletes just “go” on the bike and don’t stop) means you’re dehydrated. I just hoped I wouldn’t pass out although it didn’t feel like dizzy in any way.
I just kept going and going until it seemed like all of a sudden, volunteers were waving me into the finishing lane and I was about to dismount. That’s when I heard my name, I wasn’t sure from where, but all of sudden I saw my hubby sitting on the curb, taking photos with his iphone. Oh my gosh, that was hilarious and so sweet because he hates taking pictures, being in pictures and anything to do with social media. So I smiled, waved and called out to him, too, as I rode into the second transition area.
As I was getting off the bike, I thought to myself,”Okay, this could be a great day. I don’t need to do anything else to feel like I’ve had a great day of exercise…….But…. there was still a marathon left to run. Ugh! Whaaat??! This is insane. Can I do it?”