Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I really should have done this yesterday because I'm already in the post-race glow/haze and everything is already a rosy, fuzzy memory. I was really worried that Zach would be overwhelmed and freaked out by the chaos that is our family but that man and his woman, the amazing Kristin were able to roll with each and every punch (and boy did we dish them out). We had saved them some turkey day leftovers in the fridge and left them to sleep and next morning (Friday) we were headed to the island. Zach and Kristin went, accompanied by the girls, to the beach for a swim and a run while the girls hung out with Kristin. No, we didn't ask if she was okay with that. I was working and Jamie was getting shit ready to go. We planned on the 3:30 pm ferry so I was able to work until noon and then we turned into tornadoes of packing.
We teased the hell out of poor Zach. He is a professional triathlete and we gave him No Respect at all for his elite status. Kristin is no slouch either as a competitive swimmer, accomplished triathlete in her own and a RAAM rider. But since Zach is a pro, he got all of our teasing. They really rolled with it though and took it all and Zach even got a couple little zingers in on his own but the poor man was completely outnumbered and didn't have a chance. On Saturday, as we were headed out to take our bikes and bags to the dump off place (T1 at the swim start) Chris and I pretended we were paparazzi and pestered him with photos and questions as he tried to escape us down the exit to the street. I never called him his correct name until probably the last day. Jamie then started messing up Kristin's name. They either think we're insane or senile. Both are probably correct.
As the days passed, however, they really stole our hearts with their sweetness and quiet acceptance and openness and we are all of us, even the kids, missing them now that they're headed home. We hope they know that they will always have a home here whenever they decide. There aren't many people who can roll with 2 adults who can't seem to call you by your name AND 4 kids and a dog and the chaos that surrounds us. They not only rolled, they grooved. What incredible ambassadors for their support, strong competitors and just great all around human beings they are. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know them.
And yes, I will be starting a Zach Rubble (but we'll call it Nate, natch) fan club.
So, thanks to Kristin and Zach I figured out where to put the numbers and what to put in the bags and what to bring and had a plan which pretty much worked out. We all loaded up to go to package pickup where I got a cap, metal water bottle and a jacket. I think I got the Mexican special for either being an old fart or competing for Mexico. Jamie was drooling over all the expo stuff but the rest of us were just DONE with the car and the event and wanted out so too soon for Jamie but not soon enough for us, we headed to Chedraui for provisions and home. Zach was leaving 20 minutes before I did so we had to be at the start the next day really dark (as it turned out) and early.
The kids did GREAT getting up the next morning and after driving all around the closed streets (with Zach no doubt getting more and more worried we'd never arrive and visions of DNS dancing in his head) we finally made a quick stop for Pepto and Jamie dropped us off, hoping to find some parking somewhere to rejoin us. Zach and I headed in to the secure area but his bike was (pro, natch) right up by the "commoners" fencing (to keep the commoners away from the elites) so the whole famdamily (Kristin included) was right next to Zach as he readied his bike. I TOTALLY did not fit in with the pros gathered around and the TV guy was eyeing me nervously as I handed Zach the bike pump (he used OUR PUMP! We have his sweat on our PUMP! We'll NEVER wash it!) and kept looking at Zach for the slightest sign of "get her the HELL AWAY from me!" but I must have pleased the pro as he never gave the signal to cart me away with the rest of the riffraff. The kids were egging me on to go make funny faces or something more rotten behind the athlete being interviewed on TV but I (being the adult here) declined. Kinda wish I hadn't though.
Then it was off to the 45 minute portapotty line, I totally missed the Mexican national anthem (which I had MEMORIZED DAMNIT) did a quick undress and headed off to the water. I was shocked (but I had been looking for them) to find the whole famdamily (which now includes Kristin, natch) right alongside our walk-the-plank start and I got so surprisingly emotional I started tearing up. I had been avoiding thinking about the event the last week or so as I had trained thinking about it all the time and just didn't want to deal anymore. I was a little worried about the swim - I knew I could probably do it no problem but I didn't want to fail at any point. Before Jesse got sick I had specific times I wanted and after taking 8 weeks off I had to throw those expectations away but really, I never did. They were just my A goals and I was really hoping to attain them, lack of training or not. Still that marathon had me super, super worried, never having run farther than 21 km (half a marathon) ever. I tried to just be in the moment and experience each moment and not worry about the next. But that marathon was like a dark cloud looming over me and it was hard to avoid it.
I wanted to get out in front not because I expected a strong swim but because I wanted to find a spot out of the melee. Ironmans are notorious for WWF-like swim starts and I did not want my goggles ripped off, bloody appendages or broken bones, after all blood + bull sharks just couldn't be a really good equation. I wanted clear water and I figured that being up front I could scout that out. I think I would have had to go about 2 km out to sea to find it though. I was way in front but since the field was so stretched out it wasn't the bloody melee of normal swim starts, just jockeying and thumping and bumping. I did get one particularly nasty blow to my quad which made me wonder if I'd be able to bike, but that was around a buoy and not the start. So the start was good.
I really should have gone to the "mandatory" meeting though because I had no idea what the swim course was. Zach and I both figured in Mexico, where we ignore the cops and stoplights are mere suggestions, the "mandatory" meeting wasn't really all that mandatory after all and he'd rely on past experience and I'd rely on....well...I was screwed. The swim started and I figured it was probably a big rectangle and I'd just keep the buoys in sight and since there was no chance I'd be leading the field I'd just follow everyone else. Like follow the leader.