Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Part 2...The Non-Data Version....

I feel like I spent the weekend at summer camp. People were around all the time. Everyone was happy. As much as I have my goal race in 4 weeks (OMG FOUR WEEKS!) I'm fighting my own post race funk.

You've heard me mention Stephanie before. I don't know how to describe her: Tri-wife? Tri-bestie? Tri-friend? Race-mate? We met through a FB training group and found out we have the same race schedule. She's done these races before and while that doesn't minimize her accomplishments, it's great to have someone who will take you under their wing and show you the ropes.
Me and Stephanie the morning of.
Talk about things that are meant to be, we ended up connecting on the highway driving out. Instead of meeting up at the expo, I just followed her there.

We got checked in, got our wrist bands, obligatory name t-shirts and went to an athlete's meeting. Stephanie reminded me there will be online sales as well as more shopping to be done in Florida. After that we parted ways to meet up back up later for a practice swim.

Wandering about the expo a bit longer I bumped in to Allan and Amy, fellow members of the North Georgia Tri Club.
Amy, Allan, and a great print I got from Carrie
I left the expo to find the house where I was going to be staying. A wonderful friend offered her home for use for the weekend. It was absolutely perfect. I wonder if she's taking reservations for 2015 yet...I digress.

Over to the practice swim that was organized by some awesome TriAugusta folks in the Augusta 70.3 Facebook group. While walking from the car to the river, I saw the back and profile of a gentleman leaning on the bridge and I was excited to see someone I knew. I walked up behind him and smacked his ass. Why? Because I thought I knew him. As I continued past him, I turned to say hi only to realize it wasn't who I thought it was! I was so embarrassed. The man looked at me and smiled and told me he had heard Georgia was friendly, he just didn't realize how much. We both got a good laugh over it and Stephanie and I hopped in the river and got acclimated to the chill in the water.

After we swam I saw a guy (Bryan) I had chatted very briefly with at the expo. Found out he was on his own for the evening so we exchanged numbers to see about meeting up for dinner later.

I headed back to the house to clean up and figure out dinner when Kevin messaged me and Heath about Nacho Mamas and we both replied to save us seats. I reach out to Bryan and he said he'd meet me there. Apparently I'm getting a reputation for my cookie baking as Kevin told me he got me a small present from the expo. I said really? Why? He said it's an M-Dot cookie cutter!!!
Me, Kevin, Heath
About 30 some triathletes from the river swim were throughout the restaurant. I had dinner with this impressive crew:
Lester (far right) earned his spot to World's on Sunday.
It was lots of fun bumping in to everyone walking to the restaurant and while hanging out. After dinner Bryan suggested ice cream and since he had never been...we headed to Farm Haus.

Bryan was there racing for the Scott Rigsby Foundation. Turns out some of the people he had been chatting with on Facebook were at Farm Haus, so we joined them. Bryan and I talked about expected finish times for the race. I told him if I caught him, I was going to smack him on the butt. He had an hour head start on me, so it was fun to play Where's Waldo on the run course.

Some of the group racing for Scott Rigsby Foundation.
Saturday morning I met up with Stephanie and her husband for our last big meal before the race. Come on, do I really need to tell you where Stephanie and I went?
From there we went to take our bikes for a quick spin to make sure everything was working right, check in our bikes and then go for a 2 mile shake out run. While getting ready to turn our bikes in we bumped into Karen and her mom again. I was lucky enough to bump into Karen throughout the weekend.

Nice easy run and then Stephanie and I headed back to the expo to meet up and say hello to Allan and his wife Carla. I bumped in to Brad, volunteer extraordinaire.
Brad is often volunteering and always smiling!
Stephanie and I went our separate ways. I headed towards the house. Went to Publix to get half a sub for lunch, some watermelon and food for dinner (chicken and veggies). While I was standing in line, Nancy (I think) asked me if I was racing on Sunday. I said yes, She said she was also and lived locally. She asked if there was anything I needed or was I all set? It was a very genuine question. I've learned to expect this kind of kindness from the folks in Augusta. I assured her I was all set!

After taking a short nap, Sarah got to the house. We gathered our treats and headed to the pasta dinner hosted by St. Paul's Church. This was also the North Georgia Tri Club Meet-up. The dinner was great (even though I didn't eat the pasta/meatballs) and there were LOTS of different cookies. I finally got to meet Michelle from N'awlins. I also got to see Jody who I had done the Ride for a Reason event with as well as too many others to list. I just know I'm going to forget someone. At the meet up we had TWENTY members of our club present and a good number weren't there.
NGTC in Augusta!
After dinner Sarah and I dropped my car off by the finish line for Sunday and then we went and checked out transition.
Pretty surreal with the gorgeous sky and 3000 bikes.
We met a Level 2 tri coach and all she kept saying to me was to go home and get off my feet. Sarah and I did finally head back to the house and she started bossing me around. Okay, not really, but she did tell me to get off Facebook so she could stretch me.

Dark and early we woke up to head over to transition. I met up with Stephanie and also found Lia.
Much better picture than the one in our wetsuits!
IT WAS RACE TIME! Well, at 7:30 for the pro men. Sarah drove me up St. Paul's to hang out for a little and then I headed to the flag pole to meet up with Stephanie. That was the first time of many I bumped into my favorite badasses from Greenville, Lauren and Rho and met their husbands!

Sarah before the swim start.
Lots of fun hanging out, watching the pro men, then women, then Wounded Warriors and Scott Rigsby Foundation athletes launch. Time flew by. Everywhere I turned I was seeing a familiar face. It was great.

We got in 'queue' for our wave and Lia and I had an impromptu dance off with Claudia in the corral behind us. It was time to get ready to swim.
I'm in there with Lia and Stephanie
We were permitted to start in the water, so we did. The horn blew and I started swimming. And swimming. And swimming and then I was done.

For the full race report, click here

I followed Stephanie out of transition and this was the last time I saw her. She has an incredible story and I really enjoy finding out that she kicked major butt on the ride and run.

I never race with 'support'. My dad has made it out to the Merecede's Half Marathon in Birmingham for a quick visit. However on Sunday, Sarah was EVERYWHERE! She took some pictures (most of these pictures are her's) as we rolled out and I figured I find her on the run course. Nope. She showed up at no less than 3 spots on the bike course. It was awesome! Every time she had a sign for me and a big smile telling me how great I was doing.

Into transition 2 and I got to see Karen and use the bathroom. Sorry Karen, I'm not sure which I was more excited about.

On to the run... Sarah hopped all over the course encouraging me and taking pictures. I saw so many people I knew cheering on the course.

Robbie has been getting lots of props in many race reports!
Robbie had told me he'd be down there supporting a friend. It was great to see him so many times on the course. He always had a high-5, a smile and encouragement.

I also was a few minutes ahead of Rho so I got to see Lauren and her crew many times. As I was running along, Natalie hollered at me from a perch with her two boys. It was fun discerning people calling my name because they were reading my bib and who I actually knew. TriAugusta and TriCoachGeorgia had a presence and I looked up to hear Brian cheering for me. Turned a corner and there was Luis. I didn't have time to think about the winding road because I was spotting the crowd for people I knew and the course for NGTC kits and others I knew.

I think around mile 8 Rich finally caught me. He came up behind me and very politely said, "Guess who?" I smiled and told him to get running! I'm slightly disappointed because I didn't get an ass-slap as promised if he caught me!

I leap-frogged with Lynn for a bit and saw Karen's mom on the course. And then there was Bryan...I spotted him ahead of me and I knew I was going to catch him. Being a woman of my word, he got a good slap as I ran by him. Elizabeth was just a moment or two behind me so I saw her family a lot too. She caught me at mile 12 and all I could come up with was, "It's about time you caught me." Elizabeth is one hell of a runner and even though she thinks she didn't have a good run, it was still pretty impressive.

Some don't like the run course because it winds a lot. I really enjoyed it as I got to see people over and over again. I think I even got a shout-out from across the way from Lindsay.

At the finish line I finally got to meet Devon K. We have been in the same place at the same time multiple times this year yet not met. I was talking to Sarah and Devon turned to me and said, "Are you Shawna? I'm Devon."

We hung out a bit. Chatted with others. I got to congratulate Rho on a great race.
If being a badass was a sport, these two would podium every time!
I can't thank Stephanie and Sarah enough for helping me make this a great weekend. And the volunteers. And the JROTC kids who were voluntold to be there were wonderful. And the woman who was dancing in the streets making sure we took the left turn. And the aide stations on the bike and the run. And the family who set up an aide station in front of their home. And the guy serving beer who smiled when I offered to show him proof of age by showing him my leg (I was only #50 to say that). And the guy who handed me a Coke. And everyone who encouraged me as I went by. If I didn't mention you by name (Jeff, Lisa, Millie, Samantha, Sher, Maria, Hal etc) I'm sorry. Every one of you impacted my weekend in the most wonderful way.

I'm not even going to focus on the one negative: walking to transition to get my bike. It's an easy fix. Have sneakers for the walk or get someone else to get it for me.

Huge take-away from the weekend. I found my saddle! The Cobb SHC 170.

MP lives up to his name, but I think my saddle issues are resolved. THANK YOU CURTIS and CANNON CYCLERY! Thank you for working with my fit and getting me to a saddle that works for me. Thank you also for making sure that MP is always in good, safe, working order. And thank you for the ice-cream cone today.

 You heard it here first (or second) I'M IN FOR AUGUSTA 70.3 IN 2015.

I pre-purchased my photos, but haven't received the downloads yet. Hence, the watermark.

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