The high point of the race was definitely making it to the peak of the mountain on the bike leg. It was slow going, but I followed two pieces of advice from fellow triathletes ("point the bike straight ahead and pedal" and "stay in the saddle") and despite my totally inadequate gearing, I made it! Even as I trudged up the endless hills, I took the time to look around, because the pass was absolutely beautiful. I'm talking snow-capped peaks, meadows full of wildflowers, bubbling brooks, the whole package. Plus it was nice and cool and smelled like pine and clover the whole way. The way back to the peak going the other way had some steeper sections that I had to walk, but when I reached the aid station at that point the first time, I had conquered the mountain and was grinning ear to ear. I told the volunteer there, "This is a happy place."
The low point of the race was at about mile 8 of the run. I had been jogging a little bit on and off, and my legs had felt pretty decent, all things considered, so once I got into the second lap, I thought I'd try to jog more and walk less. That went on for about a mile, when suddenly I just knew I was done. My stomach started hurting, whatever energy had been in my legs evaporated, it started getting seriously hot, and I couldn't see a living soul anywhere around me. (Those in front of me were pretty much done, and those behind me were way behind. Plus the aid stations were no longer manned.) The most worrisome thing was that it was really hard to stomach anything at all, even plain water, and I knew that my choice was to (a) slow down enough to force down some fluids or (b) collapse from heat exhaustion, possibly not be found for hours, and die. I had hoped to avoid having this thing become a death march, but really, death march was all I had left in me.
Oh, dear. That wasn't exactly uplifting. I guess the good news is I'm really not that sore today because I didn't actually do a lot of running?