Well, I know I said goodbye on Thursday, but here I am alone in our hotel room with a laptop and an Internet connection, and I guess I can give you the boring part of my race report early.
I've been to the check-in, the expo, the welcome dinner, the athlete's meeting, the bike dropoff, the bag dropoff, and the expo again. I decided there was no realistic way to "keep my bib number visible at all times" without a race belt, so I bought one, along with a water bottle and a pink T-shirt with "IRONMOM" across the front that was calling my name and making the kids freak out. (And here I thought I was so original and clever.)
Also, I was wrong. It's NICE to have dropped off my bike and gear bags, and to have those irrevocable decisions behind me. I feel lighter, and I'll have almost nothing to think about tomorrow morning.
Speaking of lighter, my husband has taken the kids to an amusement park for the rest of the day, and will then drop them off at my parents' hotel to spend the night there. The chaos level just dropped 398%, and I can actually taste the silence.
I dipped my hand in the lake (54.5 degrees at this hour) yesterday, and since I was braced for mountain-stream cold, I was actually pleasantly surprised. I've seen a lot of studly-looking triathletes come out of the water complaining, though, and we overheard one declare to his friends that they were all just going to have to "embrace the suck."
I wish I could say I felt super-fantastic, in the best shape of my life, and raring to go, but truthfully I feel stressed, chubby, and not completely sure my body remembers how to do this. But to my self-doubts, I say this: The stress can be turned into a force for good. You feel chubby because these people doing this race are magnificent specimens. And you did not undo 38 weeks of hard work with two weeks of pretending that "taper" meant "lie around doing nothing." (Wait, was that encouraging?)
In case I forget to mention it later in my elation/despair, all your words of advice and encouragement have meant a lot to me. Thanks for reading this! I've loved both the training and the writing, but making a couple of imaginary friends along the way has been even better. (Yeah, I just called you "imaginary." You know what I mean.)