I don't think I have been more nervous or uptight than I was waking up on Friday morning. It was 5:30am and my alarm was going off. No need to hit snooze, I was already awake. There was so much to do before I had to leave for work at 9am. I hustled myself out of bed, turned on my coffee pot and started to mentally prepare a list in my head of what needed to be done and in what order I wanted to go at them. I decided it would probably be best to start packing, since I was leaving for Wisconsin in a few hours and hadn't even started! I made my list of everything I would need for each event and laid it out on my bed. Kind of like one of my grad school, I figured it may be helpful to walk away and come back to it in the hopes that I would remember anything I forgot....in reality I ended up throwing it all in a suitcase and not looking back. But in between that I decided it would be a good idea to head over to the lake to try out the wet suit I rented. The suit went over well but honestly I was more worried about swimming alone since it was only 7am and there weren't too many people out. Rule number one of swimming in the lake: don't do it alone! So I only went out maybe a quarter of a mile, if that, and came back. Suit works fine, back to the apartment! And because it's me I of course soaked my floor and filled with the sand I dragged in from the beach. Oh well! This is why I don't have roommates, I'd never hear the end of it!
I had enough time to run off to the store to grab some snacks/food for the road. Grabbed the essentials: almonds, Luna bars, apples, granola bars, coffee and liquid bandage (for the tiny yet wickedly painful cut on the bottom of my left heel). 8:15. Ok 45 minutes and I have to be out the door. I should probably shower, maybe? Yea. So I did that and then decided I needed to finish packing. My coach told me that the hotel coffee was just not going to cut it, and being an everyday user I decided it would be worth the extra luggage to just bring my whole Keurig with me :P So I loaded everything into the back of my tiny car and was ready to head off to work.
Work took forever! Probably because I really just wanted to hit the road but somehow I managed. All of my kids were great, asking me about my race and wishing me luck...it was a nice reinforcement. So I made it out of work and over to pick up Brian. On our way over to the dealership to pick up our sweet Toyota Rav4 I was showing him how organized I was for this trip with all of the directions and confirmations in a folder....the irony in all of this is that we ended up getting lost going to the car dealership and used the GPS on B's phone all weekend. So much for google maps!
We made it, and weirdly enough just about on time. On the way home I told B he could drive the rent car, once we left the lot because I didn't want him to die in my death trap of a car but he put on a tough face and said, "I got this". We got maybe 8 blocks away before he and I pulled a Chinese fire drill :P
Ok so time check in: We made it back to my dad's house (which I guess you would consider base) at probably around 2pm...actually probably like 2:30. There was this wicked long train a few blocks away from his house and I was being so impatient waiting. Mostly because I was starving and ready to eat my steering wheel. It was by pure luck that I was able to mentally block out my anger of not being able to go anywhere so I could remember that little-organized-me packed a cooler of food and it was already in the car. So since I grabbed it out of the trunk....only to see the train had just ended. I hate that!
I met B back at my place and we threw everything into the Rav4 and we were on our way....to go get Alivia. The smooth sounds of Incubus got us to LaGrange road when I decided I NEEDED water or I was going to die. haha. So we pulled off into a 7-Eleven. I remember leaving and this cop just squeezing out behind us. I say to Brian "Don't hit the cop" and he was like, "Yea not a good way to start the trip". This was a running joke the whole weekend whenever we saw a cop.
Around 3ish we made it out to Addison Trail, and after passing her house twice and almost hitting the same damn mailbox we finally found her! Packed up the car, which as you can see, most of that is mine! B had a backpack and Liv had maybe two bags. Cheers to a prissy triathlete :)
We were officially on out way! B was up front with me with the directions and Liv was chillin' in the back with the bike. We were ready! The drive was smooth for the most part, until we ended up in boo-foo Illinois in some whacky suburb-ish area being like, why didn't we just take 94 the whole way? I guess it's good that we didn't because I decided at that point that my bladder was about to explode from all the water I was drinking. We pulled off into a McDonalds and I said, "Do we need to buy anything to pee here?" A unanimous vote said no, and we just booked it into the bathroom.
Once we made it out we found 94 and were not far from Wisconsin. Upon crossing the border we found a Culver's. Which there would be like 8,000 all over the place all weekend. But we decided to celebrate our border hoping with this Culver's. And it was a good choice because they had veggie burgers!!!! For all you meat-eaters this is a big deal (hence the four exclamation marks). So after stuffing ourselves we made way towards the hotel. With my grade-A driving we made it there in something like 30ish minutes. So we unpacked and headed in. And by unpacked I mean B and Liv carried in half of my shit.
The Hampton Inn, which was one of the sponsoring hotels on the IM website, was SUPER NICE! The staff was great, as soon as we walked in. And as we went through check in the lady was trying to convince us to throw a rager on Saturday night. We stayed up on the third floor and upon entering I immediately started taking ALL of my stuff out of my bags. Liv and B, I'll never forget just sat and watched me go looney-birds, walking around the room finding a place for everything and talking to myself, logic-ing a reason for why I was putting things in the places I was. By the time I was done I think they had decided that I had lost my mind so we decided to get out of the room for a while. So we opted to try and find the location of the expo and the beach for tomorrow.
The beach where I would be racing was about 30 minutes away, so we hopped on 94 East and were off. Honestly when we got to downtown Racine we were convinced we were in the wrong place...at night it doesn't feel like the safest place in the world. Which is why we decided to wait on finding a liquor store for Mr. and Ms. "I plan on sitting on the beach all day sunday while you do 70 miles" :) But we made it over to the beach. I am a HUGE fan of late night beach visits, I do it all the time during the summer in Hyde Park. But we opted against climbing on the rocks because there were a bajillion spiders everywhere and I was not a fan. We found other ways to entertain ourselves though :) At one point Liv and B thought it would be funny to tape me running up something like 12 stairs to the Rocky theme music...because I'm a champ :)
At around 9:30 we piled back into the Rav4 and headed for the hotel. While winding down for the night I put together an agenda for the next day and was ready to call it night. But before I did B and i looked at each other and then decided it was going to be unacceptable to not push both of the queen beds together. So while Liv was in the shower we combined the two beds and decided we'd have a big slumber party for two nights. I feel slightly bad for them because one of them was always in the middle, and I imagine that wasn't too comfy but hey, who needs comfort when you were woken up at 6:30am anyways :P