For some reason, was feeling a time-line on this one, let me know what you think:
2 AM – (2 hours before alarm). Wide awake. Check the 10k results from the Stanford meet the night before. A buddy on the Oregon Track Club, Chris Thompson, runs 27:29, crushing his personal best (3rd all-time for UK, he’s a Brit). I train with Chris (only on his easy days!) and we both had our major debut on the same weekend, so to see that he raced so was a good omen. I proceed to lay in bed for 2 hours wide awake.
4 AM – Get up, oatmeal, berries and chia seeds. Boomshakalaka.
5:30AM – Warm up 20 min on the trainer, yes, 2.5 hours before the race. Feels a little silly, but I do it anyway.
5:35AM – Begin listening to “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap (500 Days of Summer Soundtrack) on my iPod. It sounds so good, I literally keep in on repeat for the next 2 hours. I want to make sure it’s stuck in my head for the race.
6:30AM – Transition set up. Bus line. Timing Chip line. Port o potty line. Boat line. Boat bathroom line. You get the picture.
7:30AM – Turn off iPod and put on wetsuit. “You Make my Dreams” by Hall & Oates (next song on soundtrack) immediately stuck in my head. Oh well.
7:58AM – Position myself to front of line so I can leave as close after the Pros as possible.
8:00AM – Pros take off, oh my god oh my god oh my god!
What feels like 9:30AM – When are they going to let the Age Groupers start!?!?
8:01AM – They let the age groupers start. I try not to jump on someone’s head.
8:05AM – This is what freaks me out most about this race. You start with 2000 people jumping on top of each other off a boat, but 5 minutes into the swim, I can swear I’m the only one out there. Is it the waves? Are my goggles foggy? Am I swimming towards Oakland? These questions loop in my brain for the next 20 minutes.
8:30AM – The 3/4 mile run to transition area – barefoot or shoes? My thoughts are 1) it’s a pain and takes time to find your shoes, 2) your feet are numb anyway, and 3) it makes you look tough. I go barefoot and I pay for it the next three days. But, the glory is forever.
8:45AM – Biking. Wow this is a hilly course, but super fun. I feel like I’m in a video game. A really tiring video game.
9:00AM – I pass the Women Pro leaders & TV Cameras. Realize my 2 seconds of fame will be as that random Age Group dude in the background of the Women’s race. Make mental note to watch TV coverage, and to tell all my friends to watch TV coverage.
9:05-9:15 – Start picking off guys with “P” on their leg (Pro field), legs hurt, but getting pretty excited.
9:17 – Head out on the run, mom and best friend yell that I’m in 17th place. I find out later they added two places (I’m actually in 15th) to make me work harder to be in top 10. Thanks guys.
9:17-9:35 – Manage to pick off 4 guys, think I’m in 13th place. Just three more to reach the goal.
9:40 – On the beach, wow, my legs feel awful.
9:45 – 1/2 way up the Sand-ladder. I give in and do something I’ve never done in a race before, I walk. Head down, keeled over, hands on my knees, flat out walking up the Sand-ladder. This is misery. Look up to see a second TV camera of the day. Perfect, my 4 seconds of fame are now background dude and dying on the Sand-ladder dude.
9:59 – 1 mile to go. I’ve passed 2 more guys and think I’m 11th. I see one more Pro way in the distance, my coveted top 10! I’ve got a shot!
9:53 – Legs aren’t cooperating with my top 10 goal.
9:54 – My epiphany: I started 45 seconds behind the Pros. Meaning I’m technically ahead of this guy and in the top 10! I literally start smiling, and slowing down.
9:55 – Cross the finish line to the announcer saying “Our first Age Grouper, Jesse Thomas! Someone’s earning their pro card today!” Subsequently find out I crossed the line in 8th, finishing 7th with the time difference! I am stoked. High fives and sweaty hugs ensue.