Friday, May 9, 2008

PCB Day 2 (pm)

Well, the bikes are racked...

The Nutrition has been prepared...

Race clothes are layed out...

Aero helmets are at the ready (and looking like they're an extension of the "Green Goblin" character from Spiderman!)...

And my girls are calm, cool, collected, and handeling this part like the Superstars they are.

Because let's face it: the night before a race is always the most difficult. At least that's how it is for me. And why is that? Because you can do absoluteley nothing about it. You just wait. It's literally the calm before the storm of race day.

Racing is a joy, racing is fun; racing is the celebration at the end of your training. But everyone gets nervous - myself included.

But it's been great spending time with Mary and Ashley (and later Donna and Joanna). I have learned so much from them, am so happy to be here. I wouldn't want to spend the night before the Gulf Coast Half with anyone else.

Mary is her usual sunny self. Relaxed, cool, excited and ready to celebrate. She is very excited about the swim, as the water promises to be a bit more turbulent than last year. Her power on the bike is simply amazing: but the training and effort she has put forth to control her bike and enhance her run has really caught my attention the most. I her pace discussions, her incredible running schedule, and I know that she has the finess, the fitness, the strenght, and the courage to chase down her dreams.

Mile by mile, step by step.

And as usual, she'll be smiling the entire time (working hard, YES!), but more importantly, celebrating the fact that she is LUCKY enough to race a half ironman. Because let's face it: not everyone who wants to can race.

(very small sniff from the girl with the broken back, er mending back).

And my South Carolina Soul Sister Ashley Long. She is model triathlete all the way. And while the swim may shake even the most fierce compeditors to the core, earlier in the day while staring out at the chirning Gulf, she muttered, "F*ck it!" And sprinted into the water.

I have never been so proud.

After diving under the waves and leaving Mary and I breathless and bewildered on the beach, Ashley Long found her swimming gene. And we had to drag her out of the Gulf.

I am not kidding.

She is ready, she is fast, she has an incredible bike strength (again, I saw her drop ALL the Camp HTFU'ers while climbing a hill into a headwind), and can run FAST off the bike. Her strenght shows through, just as much as her quick smile. Even though this is her second half ironman, I know that she's ready. Ever since watching her and training with her in South Carolina, I know that this girl has what it takes. As soon as that gun goes off, Ashley Long will run headlong into the beckoning waves of the Gulf.

And I can't wait to cheer.

And finally, Donna. I haven't had the pleasure of knowing Donna as long as I've known Mary or Ashley. I met her at the UWF pool in Pensacola, and have been incredibly impressed by her tenacity and dedication. Her work ethic and desire are only a small part of who she is and what she can do. I've seen her swim, know that her rowing background lends her strength in the water she may not even realize she has. Her bike is ready to go, purple bar end tape and all, and she has a very fast run. Even though she's newer to triathlons, I know that she'll put herself out on the course tomorrow and walk away loving what she's discovered.

And those are the racers.

The two sherpas (World's BEST Sherpas, I might add!) include myself and Joanna. Tomorrow we will rise early, brew coffee, support, carry, lend a helping hand, pump, console, soothe, fire up, help, cheer, wave, wistle, snap-photos, and do anthing else in our power to support the incredible ladies racing. We are so proud of them, and feel lucky to share in their day.

I was a little sad while Ashley, Mary, and Donna racked their bikes in transition earlier. I really miss this sport, am so grateful to what I've gained through it, and want more than anything to run headlong into the crashing surf tomorrow morning. I know my time will come - but this race was really special for me last year, and as such - it holds a special place in my heart. There were some tears in the car as I drove back to the hotel with Mary. She was very consoling, and told me to let it out and that I have these feeling for a reason.

And she's right.

So I won't deny my own sadness, but I'll ALSO remember the good things, the good times, all the positives that have come from this race, from this sport.

The race is about celebration: it is only part of the Journey at large. It is a happy day, full of hard work, pursuing one's dreams, doing what one loves, and having the ability to swim-bike-run. Tommorow is a happy day for those racing (and spectating).

And while I know it'll be hard, I will do my best to live up to the World's Best Sherpa name. Coffee is a must, as Ashley has gone without it for several weeks (an impressive feat all unto itself).

We are getting up at some oddly early hour, as Mary wants to eat oatmeal at 2. Or was it 3?

All I know, is that I'll get up at some early time, brew coffee, and hit the raod at 4:45 am. And I'll cheery my friends, my soul sisters as they complete yet another part of Their Journey. Yes, it will be hot, it will be warm - but Joanna and I are ready to have a blast.

And afterwards, Mary has vowed to spend the next 24 hours in a bathing suit on the beach. I think Ashley admitted to being the "Queen of Skank", because of her drive down and the pungent odor she produced, and as such - told Mary that the showers WOULD be taken, and that the bathing suit WOULD come off in exchange for another at some point.

There was also promises of eating Peanut M&Ms and drinking wine on the beach. We'll see.

First - the race. And then a New Journey, a New Chaper begins.


Jen said...

Marit...check out my blog for "Ode to a Sherpa"

Have fun out there and Sherpa as you have never Sherpa-ed before!

rr said...

Goooo girls!! And I know it's hard to watch and not compete, Marit - but you are such a wonderful friend and sherpa, Mary, Ashley and Donna are lucky to have you!

Have a peanut M&M for me, I'm still on the wagon.

TriGirl Kate O said...

Despite the fact that you'd rather be racing than sherpa-ing, you'll still have fun and do your best. Those girls are damn lucky to have you at their back! You post makes me want to be there--I'll go out and buy the wine...and not the $10+under bottles either!
Some day soon I would be honored to be your sherpa!

Sarah said...


Just catching up a little on the blog scene...I'm always afraid to get to yours because I know I'll have missed SO MUCH in just a few days. ;)

In any case, I got a little caught up - I'm so excited to hear about your sherpa-ing experience!

Sure, you'd rather be racing, but I know you're going to have so much fun, not to mention all kinds of wonderful observations about this experience.

Hope it went well!!

:) S

BreeWee said...

You are the such a fun host! Please take a photo of Mary on the beach for 24hrs! That is so funny...
When you are back to racing shape I know you will have a line up of hosts to help you out!