If you have been following my blog, you know that I have had some interesting hiccups leading up to Ironman Chattanooga. (Catch up here) The jinx continued as we prepared to ship our bikes. We contacted FedEx and made arrangements to have them pick up our boxes at the house in Montauk the day before we flew to Tennesee. We used my dad’s account number for convenience. When the driver hadn’t shown up in the given time frame, I got worried. Then my dad called and said he arrived at home, IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, to find a note from FedEx on his door, telling him that they had come by for a pick up. Oh boy! Now we were left with figuring out how to get the bikes shipped, and we were supposed to head into the city that night to stay with my daughter before going to LaGuardia early the next day. SCRAMBLE!!!
At the same time, I contacted the Jitney, to make reservations for an evening ride into Manhattan. I was told that there were no seats left on ANY of the buses that day. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Another reason to send me over the edge. The short answer to how we solved this last flurry of “oops’s” was this: We rescheduled FedEx, skipped the visit to my daughter’s, and reserved seats on the 4:15 am Jitney for the next morning. Oh, yeah, and there was a car that I also had to take to the local shop for repair to deal with as well. The day turned into a blur, but we managed to make it to the airport the next morning, with several hours to spare.
Arriving in Chattanooga, I was struck by how small the airport is. We quickly got our bags, and walked up to the Hertz counter, where the most delightful woman set us up with an SUV, gave up a free upgrade, and threw in a few other perks. The process was quick and easy, and we were on our way to the hotel. Jeff got us a room at a Residence Inn, so we could have a full kitchen. Eating the way you are used to is VERY important before a race, and we wanted to have full control over this detail. My bike was waiting for me when we arrived, and we piled everything into the room, and headed off to the Expo.
Athlete check in was quick because the bulk of racers hadn’t arrived yet. We got some great swag too.
My coach, SheriAnn was there, working a booth for NormaTech,, and I got to try the boots out for the first time. PURE HEAVEN. After checking out the vendors, we headed to the grocery store and then back to the hotel to unpack and settle in.
Friday we went back to the expo and it was raining. It was a soggy mess. Later we brought my bike to a shop to have them put it together and make sure everything was ready for the race. Jeff picked up the bike he was borrowing from a friend there, as well. Naturally, there had to be another “Uh oh”, as we discovered that the wedge that holds the bike seat in place was missing. As I got back in the car to drive back to the hotel, I was stunned. Kind of in a daze, actually, trying not to cry. Trying not to throw up. I hoped and prayed the entire drive that the wedge was somewhere in the bike box. To my extreme relief, it was. So, BACK to the shop I went, and within minutes, we wheeled our bikes out, and headed back to the hotel.
Saturday morning, the rain was pouring down, and while we intended to try out the river before Sunday’s race, I was not interested in doing so in the cool, crappy weather. I opted for a swim in the indoor hotel pool. We then drove to the Expo and checked our bikes and transition bags in,triple bagged because it was still raining. Mid day, we went to meet with the other athletes that also had partnered with Zero, the Prostate Cancer charity. We had a yummy lunch and shared our excitement and nerves, about the next day’s adventure. The rain had started to subside as we headed back to the hotel for the final preparations, and to rest.
Within seconds of entering our room, Jeff said, “There’s a knock at the door.” I didn’t hear it, but went to the door anyway. I opened it, and nobody was there. I think I was about to tell him he was hearing things, when the knock came again. So I opened the door, and to my absolute and complete shock, my son Mike was standing at the door. All 6’5″, 200+ pounds of him: grinning from ear to ear. Behind him, were BOTH of my daughters, Dede and Audrey, all sporting huge smiles. I can’t tell you how surprised and completely happy that moment was for me. they had flown in from Minnesota, New York, and California! THIS was the best and most precious moment. Of course, I cried, and laughed, and hugged them tightly. WOW, they came to support me. I was over the moon. Once the shock wore off, we hung out and had fun, just being together.
After the kids left, (LOL, kids. All adults, over 5’10”, with careers, and their own lives, and I still call them kids) we put the rest of our race nutrition together, and talked about our hopes for the next day. Mostly, I hoped it wouldn’t rain-at least until the run. When I went to bed that night, I felt nervous, scared, excited, and vulnerable, but most of all, I felt loved. We set the alarm for 3:15 and tried to get some sleep. Let’s just say that we didn’t need the alarm. Ironman Chattanooga, Patty’s coming to get you…..