Janice, Serena, Amelia and Kristen. For more images click here.
Sunday started early - 3:30AM. Out the door by 4:20 and was at Serena's doorstep by 4:35. She decided against staying at a motel with her teammates. I can relate, if a race is within 2.5 hours of home I always opt to drive. I'm just more comfortable at home plus I don't sleep much the night before a race. Anyway my job for the day was crew. My duties included; driving (to and from the race), helping her with her gear, cheering and support, and pacing for the run. I also had to try and keep her positive and focused.
The start was crowded, when we got there the pros were already heading out on the bike, simply amazing/inspiring. She got her body marked, bike racked and transition area set up while I stood in line for her at one of the really long bathroom lines. Bathroom lines, the one thing you can count on in races - marathons are the worst. While hanging out in line however I got to say hello to several friends and acquaintances, didn't realize so many of them were doing the race.
Swim went as expected and soon she was on the bike. She left happy and I hoped she would stay that way throughout the ride. Since I expected her to be on the bike for 3-3.5 hours I went out and socialized some more, got some food, etc, etc. The strange thing about this race is that the bike finish and the run start is two different locations - 15 miles apart. I got to the bike finish an hour earlier that her expected bike finish time and got to preview part of the run course. When she finally came in I didn't even recognized her. She looked very good and most of all she smiled back - a very good sign. Sure enough when I met her on the run she was still having a great time, tired but positive and moving strong. Ran with her for 3.5 miles. Eventually I stopped because I felt funny running alongside her on the opposite side of the road. There were a couple of pacers out there but pacing is not a common practice in triathlons. I told her I would wait for her here on the return trip, the run is an out and back course. However I didn't bring any water with me and soon I got very thirsty, so I decided to head back to the mile 3 aid station. While heading back I remembered that my tri team were working at the aid station at mile 4. In this race there's an aid station at every mile on the run. So I quickly reversed course and made my way to mile 4. Sure enough there was Amelia and the gang, yelling and passing out water. Anyone wearing the team gear got special attention, friends too. The refreshments were badly needed, I downed at least 4 cups of Gatorade and 3 cups of water. Timing was good, it wasn't long before Serena came through. I then ran the last 4 miles back with her.
The finish was a lot of fun. Lot's of friends, catching up, etc. Met up with Annie and her parents at the finish line, used to ride and run with Annie. Got to see Rochelle, Malik and Cecilia, I run track with these guys. Ran into Amelia, Janice and Kristen again, they came down after finishing their duties at the mile 4 aid station. Saw Nancy who also completed her first Half-Ironman distance and a few more folks here and there. There was a lot of Golden Gate Tri uniforms out there but I didn't know all of them. It was warm though so I eventually kept the walking around to a minimum.
It was good for me to be there. It turned out to be a very good day. I needed the extra inspiration to get psyched for my triathlon which is in 6 weeks, part of me is still on vacation. On Saturday I had the most blah workout ever and I bonked on the run because I didn't eat or drink properly. Bonking was the most exciting part:) Tsk...tsk...what's wrong with me?