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I also made the decision to steer clear of discussion about weather and other "last minute" stressors that I observed on FB. Since SoccerBoy was joining me I decided to skip many of the group events (meetings, dinners, etc.) that my friends were attending. I wasn't trying to be antisocial. I merely wanted to experience this race with my husband on my terms. On Friday morning we met a girl at breakfast who would also be racing the next day. As she asked my husband what the HOUR BY HOUR weather report was for Saturday I was grateful for my decision to steer clear of groups. I knew this mentality for the next 24 hours would drive me, and SoccerBoy, insane. So, off we went on our own to enjoy the event.
Race Bags "Wisdom Words", Bike Check-in, Bag Drop Off - A+
Since I didn't have a cheering squad there with posters to cheer me on I decided to create my own personal posters on my race bags. So, I decorated all of my bags with a bright chevron print tape and words of wisdom.
I have decided that I LOVE long distance races and I HATE the whole race bag concept. I just want my little transition area where I can master fast transitions without 5 bags to stress over. Sigh! Iron distance races mean you will be racing for a very long time (for me that meant over 13 hours of straight racing....) and so it is hard to know what you will really need. I took the approach of creating bags with variety in them in hopes of having the RIGHT item when I really wanted it. I also followed the advice of friends and decorated my bags so that they would really stand out (BEST ADVICE EVER!!). What did I pack? Here you go (yes, those are pringles and rice krispy treats...and OREOS):
In the weeks leading up to IM Chattanooga I witnessed the angst from triathletes preparing to complete their first 140.6. It was frustrating and stressful to watch. The BEST preparation I did was to volunteer for IM Chattanooga as a lifeguard! I would HIGHLY recommend that future racers find a great ironman to volunteer for and cheer for prior to racing their race. It allowed me to see the race firsthand and to wrap my head around, "I CAN DO THIS!" The experience was PRICELESS!!
So the weeks leading up to my race were relatively stress free. I knew without a doubt that I could finish. The only things that would stop me would be beyond my control (injury, bike failure, etc.) and hence were not worth stressing over. I compared this race to a wedding. A year was spent working out the training, details, and preparation for the perfect day. No amount of preparation would stop the inevitable "not planned" events to occur. So, it was time to just enjoy the day and laugh at everything that happened in the "unplanned for" category.
So, I prepared my bike by dropping it off at Podium Multisport for a race check and to rent race wheels. When I picked up Sasha (think sexy Russian secret agent) up she looked beautiful and FAST!! Thanks Podium for taking care of my baby and setting me up to crush the bike portion of the race!
BEACH 2 BATTLESHIP - 140.6 Race Report - Part ONE
We then took the bags back to the convention center and bike check-in location to drop them off in their respective places. We had the option of turning some of our bags in on race morning but I was ready to just be DONE with them! One less thing to forget on race morning. I was happy I made this decision.
We got a suite with two queen beds and a small kitchenette for $99/night. The kitchenette had a small stove, dishwasher, sink, microwave, and full size refrigerator/freezer.
The hotel was VERY convenient for SoccerBoy to drop me off on race morning and was close to restaurants, shopping, etc. with very little traffic.
The pool, however, wasn't really what I would call a "lap pool" but it did make me laugh!
The morning breakfast was average...meaning we were both rather starved shortly afterwards.
The Hotel: TownPlace Suites - A+
Boy did I luck out again! I chose to make reservations at TownPlace Suites Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach (305 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC).
On Nov. 1st, 2013 I made the decision to register for the 2014 Beach2Battleship 140.6 triathlon. I look back at this bold move and laugh at how ignorant and naive I was and how brave and bold this life altering step was. Apparently I was the 4th person to register on the day the triathlon opened and so I was rewarded with the number "4" at the race. In most races the first 100 numbers are reserved for pros but at B2B they are in order of registration. Very cool.
M-Dot vs. Non-M-Dot:
Let me first clear up my perspective on the M-Dot. I chose to do B2B for several reasons:
1. The IRONMAN branded races by WTC near me were already sold out.
2. B2B was/is listed on many triathlon lists as a MUST do race.
3. It was close, inexpensive, and "flat". Prior to registering for this race I had completed ONE super sprint triathlon and my bike pace was in the 13 mph range. I thought I really needed a flat course. Boy how times change!!
I chose to do a non-MDot race and so for some people that would mean I could NOT call myself an IRONMAN since WTC has a registered trademark on the name. I do not follow the "name brand" image here and stand strong that anyone who completes the 140.6 (regardless of who runs the race) is an IRONMAN. That distance was created long before WTC decided to purchase a registered trademark on the logo.
In the 11 months and 25 days leading up to my first 140.6 distance race I exercised for a total of 411 hours, 59 minutes, and 42 seconds (according to what I logged into Garmin Connect) and according to Garmin burned 199,346 calories (4,983.65 oreos). To break it up by activity I:
Swam: 86.71 miles
Ran: 612.32 miles
Biked: 2,990.88 miles
Whew, I am tired just thinking about it!!
To prepare myself I raced 2 olympic distance races (Peachtree City International and Chattanooga Waterfront), Escape From Alcatraz, IM70.3 Timberman, repeated the super sprint I had raced as my first triathlon ever (PT Solutions Women's Super Sprint) and ran one marathon with friends and a few 5ks and 10ks and half marathons....
Photo Journal Year In Review:
Pre-Race Dinner - A
We had made reservations at Osteria Cicchetti for 5 pm. We, however, arrived at 4:30 with nothing else to do so we decided to go ahead and eat. They had a "Triathlon Special" however I stuck with my simple bread, pasta, plain sauce, and grilled chicken with a glass of red wine. Perfect!
We then stopped by the local bike shop supporting the race. They carried a large number of beach cruiser type bikes. I asked for compression socks and they pointed to a tiny section on their back wall and said, "That is where our triathlon gear is". I said, "Wow, you must have a lot of triathletes" (sarcasm obvious, I thought) and he said, "There is a triathlon this weekend. Other than that we have one or two triathletes who come here and they always know what they want." I had to laugh...one or two...wow!
After that I got a mani/pedi. I just wanted to relax and this was perfect! We then headed back to the hotel where the final decision was made for SoccerBoy to cut about 3 inches off the bottom of my hair. I had been so busy I hadn't had time to get it cut and it was so long it was giving me headaches. I didn't have time to find a salon and so he valiantly offered to cut it off. I still laugh picturing me sitting on the tub while he cut off my hair. It was kind of like those movies where they changed their appearances in some cheap hotel to escape the bad guys!
We made it an early night as I put my ear plugs in and drifted off to sleep early.... (READ MORE...)
Having 5 bags with various drop off points along with needing to check in my bike was a little stressful. However, I will say that the B2B peeps are PROs at this. Each step was super easy. We took my bike first and I checked it in and dropped off my T-1 bag. With the number "4" I was on the first row...however that also put me furthest from the changing tent and made me basically retrace my steps to get back to swim out. I certainly did not get any favors by having this low number in T-1. At the drop off I was able to help some girls cut their bike numbers to place them on their bike securely without them flapping in the wind. As I walked away I heard a girl say, "Did you see her number? She is a PRO!" I giggled. I wish!
With my bike ready to go we went back to the Convention center to drop off my special needs bags into big trucks and my T-2 bag on it's own hook in the convention center. Fast, easy, and definitely deserves an A+. I was especially pleased with how well my bright chevron tape stood out. Major score!!
The race was mostly centered around the Wilmington Convention Center. Parking was VERY easy and cost us $3 for the time we were inside. I prefer to go to the expo and race pick-up as early as possible to reduce the odds of long lines and increase the odds that I can find cool event stuff in my size. We scored on the "short line" goal however the "my size" attire was a complete failure. This is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine! I missed out on getting a cool shirt at Escape From Alcatraz because at the START of the expo they had ZERO smalls. At B2B I experienced the same thing. I wanted a finisher's jacket in my size (which due to the way they sized it meant an XS) and they had ZERO. They had LOTS of men's gear and larger sizes but not a single jacket in my size. So, I had to order one and pay an additional $15 in shipping. This just drives me crazy. I would understand if I had waited until the end of the event but not having anything available for people my size at the beginning is frustrating. They also only had "unisex" cycling jerseys which really means they only had MEN'S. I gave up on gear and walked around in search of some ear plugs. After securing some ear plugs we headed to our hotel.
Overall the expo was VERY small with VERY LITTLE to offer. This was SoccerBoy's first triathlon expo and he was surprised about how few vendors were there (his previous experience was marathon expos). I agree that running expos are top notch compared to triathlon ones. I am not sure what the reason is however I miss the chance to walk around and see cool new stuff. Triathletes love gadgets just like runners!
We finished our night with a stop for sushi and a visit to Target to get food for our cool little kitchen!