Saturday morning, everyone met at our home around 9 a.m. so that I could distribute bibs and we could load the bikes, ski and other equipment. We had to check our bikes in before our 10:55 start and to avoid potential complications & traffic congestion, we left a little early. We took this photo shortly after we arrived at Mt.Bachelor for the first 3 legs of the race (alpine, nordic and bike).
While we awaited our start time, the guys did a warmup run while mom and I took the kiddos into the lodge for hot cocoa. Just before the start, I jogged up the hill to the start of the alpine leg to capture the 'exchange' on camera. It is here that I started my watch to get splits for each leg of the race (I estimated the Alpine leg once we learned the official finishing time) for my team.
The guys were neck and neck nearly the entire way. BuD had a slight lead as the skiers had to run 200 yards uphill in their boots to retrieve their poles and skies. As he manuevered to click on his skies, however, the ski flipped over and the binding needed to be reset, enabling D2 to move ahead and reach the exchange just a few seconds before him. D2 finished his leg in 5.32 and I estimate BuD finished in 5:35.
The nordic skiers, M & B were off to a great start. Just before she departed, B informed me that she would finish the 8K cross country course in about an hour, give or take 15 minutes. We had no idea when to expect M. However, I knew that he had participated in the PPP several times in years past as an "ELITE" individual... [his best time ~1.55] so I was assuming about 30 minutes. My mom and I went over to the bike start immediately after the guys loaded up their skies. It was fortunate we didn't delay, because M finished his leg in 24.04, just shortly after we found our bikes, with blood streaming down his face. The medic followed him from the trail's edge to the bike exchange and asked that he be 'checked out'. Fortunately, he required only a bandage. We were all impressed that he managed to finish (he even went back for his sunglasses!) let alone in under 25 minutes! I'm still aghast. B arrived about 30 minutes after M and I was then off on the first leg of my first 'duathlon'. My mom had a 30 minute head start on me, but unfortunately for her, she was plagued by a loose chain. Nearly every time she shifted gears, her chain would fall off. She said she had to stop about 5 times to fix her chain. I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been for her. Worst part of it though, is that she had had her bike 'tuned-up' the week before... which resulted in approx. $200. She definately has a bone to pick with them.
I tried to really push myself on the bike leg, but at the same time, I felt myself ease up occasionally because I didn't want to over do it. I knew I had the 10K run yet ahead of me and I really wanted to at least match last years performance which netted me a PR for the distance. I had no idea if it was even possible but I was certainly going to try. In the weeks that preceded this event, I had had the best of intentions to do a 30/30 brick (30 min bike ride/30 min run) to get a feel for what my body would do after a ride if I attempted to run. Unfortunately, my intention was never realized. M had warned me that it would take at least 10 minutes before I felt I had my stride.
When I stepped off my bike, I clicked the split button on my watch (55.27.23) and removed my jacket & helmet. As I proceeded forward, what M had been telling me suddenly hit me... I had only taken a couple of steps and I knew I was going to have some trouble. My legs felt like I was trying to walk through a pool of thick jello or molasses. It was so strange. I felt I was moving so very slowly. There were very few other runners around me the first couple of miles so I didn't have a good gauge on how fast I was going. There weren't any mile markers either so I was clueless. I just kept pushing myself. Steady. Find your stride. Find your stride.
About seventeen minutes into my run, I saw Kong heading back to the run/kayak exchange (there are several points along the run course with 2-way traffic). At that point, she was about 2 1/2 miles into the run leg. My first thought was ... catch her! I tried to lengthen my stride a little, move a little faster. My legs still didn't feel like they were responding much. My mouth was so dry! I didn't have a water bottle on my bike so I was parched when I started the run. Aide stations where are you?! At the turn around, I ate a gel pack and walked through the aide station to quench my thirst.
I started to notice the fatigue of the other runners at this point. I didn't know if they were solely doing the run leg or, like me, were doing back-to-back legs. I was passing people. I felt a little burst of adreneline as I passed someone. It was a huge ego-booster. At the 3 mile mark, I glanced at my watch... 22 minutes. Wow! I wanted to go all out and had to force myself to hold back. Steady effort. Wait until the bridge. As the trail went down along the river, I smiled. Home field. This is the trail I run every week. I'm home free. Wait. Steady. Even effort to the bridge. If you got it then, let it loose.
Well, I didn't have it. I have always had reserves when I've approached the finish. Not this time. It was all I could do to maintain the steady effort I had been giving. My mom was at the finish - nearly the same spot she was last year and again, taking pictures. :) As I approached her she asked, "Are you tired, yet?" It was all I could do to nod. I tagged Bar and hit the split button on my watch... 44.29.05 a PR by nearly a full minute!!! Once again, I am in shock. I love this race! I love running!Bar & Kong, learning from last years mistakes, purchased new boats for the kayak leg. We knew they would be much faster than before... I had to get to the kayak/sprint exchange with the kiddos... but where were they?? I found mom right away but she hadn't seen them. I called DH on the phone and he had just found a place to park and was walking down to the exchange. I met them part way ... I unbuckled the little guy from the stroller and sent the two kiddos on ahead as I folded up the umbrella stroller with the kids' jackets and gave the bundle to DH.
We got to the exchange with just a couple minutes to spare before Kong pulled out of the water. She tagged our princess and they were off (look at her stride!). A few minutes later, Bar pulled out and it was my turn with my little guy. The kids were so cute during the sprint leg. Spectators cheered for them and remarked, "Oh, how sweet! Look at the little one!" As this was his first race, my little guy wanted to be carried briefly but our princess ran the entire quarter mile - just as we knew she would.
Each team finished without serious injury and we had a fabulous time. We are already looking forward to next year and will hopefully have more participants. :) Kong and I are strongly considering entering as a female pairs team. Regardless of what categories we may fit next year, one thing is for certain... we're going to get a new team name and wear costumes!! It is the only way we can actually be a contender for the coveted PPP mug. So... start thinking of names now. :)
Team A 3:05:11
Team B 3:00:17
Later that evening, we not only celebrated our success during the PPP but we also celebrated 3 May birthdays (Kong 5/30, Mom 5/18, and Me 5/19). As I was busy with last minute cleanup and making necessary food preparations, DH asked me for a drink of water. I remarked, "What!? I'm busy doing everything and you want me to get you a glass of water? You can't get it yourself?" My hunger (I still hadn't eaten since breakfast - the gel pack doesn't count) and my fatigue had obviously gotten the best of me by this point. Kong then replied to my outburst, "Oh... you should just get him some water."
So, I open the cupboard and sitting there next to the glasses is a GARMIN 305!!! "Happy Birthday! Love, BuD, Bef, Bar & Kong" Very cool. I can't wait to play with it. Let us hope, though, that all my usual training runs are actually longer than I previously thought rather than shorter. :)
The icing on the cake, the inscription on my mom's card to me read, "I've always cherished these couple of days we share from the beginning." Me, too, Mom. I love you.