I don't even know where to start. What do you say about a day where everything was super challenging but exhilarating and joyful at the same time? What do you say about a trip that took me into complete loneliness on the Island of Madam Pele, who chose to rise up with her firey side on Saturday to challenge me on the bike?
The week before the race was excitement building. Friends from Australia, my coach, my whole family all 15 of them arrived, only to bring my energy up for the big day. I spent the night in a hotel room near the race start for 3 nights, to get myself centered and calm before race day. The "dated" facilities were less than desirable, toilet overflowing with sewage several times, ants in the bathroom, and I was a little afraid to sleep on the bed to be honest. But it served its purpose having me near the transition area for bike checkin and race morning so the ants could be overlooked for a couple of nights.
H and I went to the Pre Race Banquet and heard what sounded a little too corporate for me. It also was LONG! The entertainment (Hawaiin Dancers and Drummers)were amazing! We enjoyed the company of friends but I was antsy, hasn't seen the kids much, so we left early,
I was impressed. It was lovely to unload some of my stuff, the weight on my shoulders felt somewhat lighter! I tried to relax the rest of Friday. It was difficult. My hubby and daughters helped me get settled, my nerves were running a bit high. I had met with Coach Michael one last time prerace to talk about my "race plan". Then after my youngest Allison told me Mom, breathe God in, breathe Debi out (good advice for crazed pre-race Iron Mom-thanks honey!) they said goodbye and I was on my own for a bit. Since I had time to myself I went to a local eatery and ordered a sandwich and n/a beer, people watched and ocean gazed for a while. I went the Expo and wandered a bit. It felt good to do my own thing for a few hours. I tried to drink all the Electrolyte drinks I could shovel in, preload planning for the hot sweaty day ahead.
Eventually I made my way back down to the "Sugar Shack", where the whole family is staying in our big home away from home. My son-in-law, an excellent cook made me a huge pasta and chicken Italian dinner. It was delicious and so good to see my kids and Grandkids the eve of the race. The little ones knew they were going to see "Grandma race" the next day but not sure they knew exactly the long day of excitement they were in for on Saturday. But get'n love from grandkids is the best medicine for a case of prerace jitters! My sister in law and her husband flew all the way from New Jersey to see me race. I was humbled and honored and it was so great to see them!! They joined us for the prerace dinner also. Every single person had a blue "Team Wess" T-Shirt on during race day. It made it easy to see my crew. Special cowbells were made with "SWTrigal" on them. Thanks Allison!!
Becca, an older daughter offered to come stay with me to help prepare for the short night, early morning ahead. Hubby stayed in another room, he wanted to sleep later than my 3:00 wake up call. I had a good night sleep there on Thursday night, after the pre race Banquet. Friday night, not so much sleep. We went to bed about 9:30, I was wide awake at 1:00 AM. All fear of "oversleeping" was banished! Wandering down to the hotel lobby, I managed to make some instant coffee and start trying to preload much needed calories for the day ahead. It is really hard to get in the several hundred calories prerace but I managed a bagel and a half, along with a banana, hoping it would be stored up in me like a squirrel hiding nuts for the winter..
This is me eating bagel while Becca playing "Eye of the Tiger" and others inspirational prerace music..
Becca was an awesome Sherpa!! So was my dear hubby. I felt all the love he sent off with me that day..
At 4:15 we started to head down to transistion. I got body marked as I was ushered into to the "athlete only" tent, then went out to meet the family again. All these kids and grandkids had showed up by then. I wasn't sure with the early hour whether that was possible but was soooo happy to see them!
This is part of my Crew. They all had matching TShirts on that said "Team Wess" I felt so loved and supported...
I also had my T.E.A.M from Australia, the one I have been a part of since last year before IMs Melbourne. I felt better just seeing Michael and he giving me encouragement. He is an awesome athlete himself so I wished him luck too.
These are all some of my favorite people in the World! So glad to be a part of their journey. The support I have gotten from my Melbourne folks since January is incredible!
I got kisses and hugs from everybody and off we went to get in line for the swim. The men went first but not before a beautiful Hawaiin prayer was said to send special energy. This is Lauren, Jody and I waiting for the swim to start. Lauren WON the women's swim. No, I mean she really was FIRST PLACE out of the water. Quite a future ahead of that little gal!
The drums were beating, the cannon went off for the men. I guess I didn't feel nervous at all. All the swimming I did in Australia truly prepared me for the ocean waters of Hawaii..I had no butterflies, nothing, just joy! We lined up in the water about 50 yards into the deep and treaded water. I took a moment and looked at all the spectators, heard the cheers, just took it all in. I got tears in my eyes. I thought I wanna remembered this moment forever! The cannon went off without a countdown and we were off! I was beginning the Kona Ironman Worlds Championships-wow I never thought I would be saying that, in my wildest dreams!