As I was typing the title, I looked up and must have shifted my right hand, because I typed, "Greenfuekd." Which is starting to seem appropriate. The last time I did this race, the swim had to be canceled because heavy rains caused high bacteria counts in the river. It's supposed to rain a lot tonight, so I am skeptical about the swim happening. Which is unfortunate, since oddly enough that feels like my strongest leg right now, but what can you do?
In some ways this race seems a little doomed. At the end of my last race, my achilles tendon was seriously inflamed, which was kind of a new thing. Then we went to PA to visit my mom and stepdad, and I did this to a toe on that same foot:
Then this week I came down with some kind of mild GI bug that has kind of wiped me out. I think maybe I caught it from reading Mary's IMLP race report. But actually, having read that report, a squirrelly stomach and a bruised toe before a short Olympic race don't really seem like such a big deal, so I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow. Oh, and I also sustained a minor forearm injury last night when I tried out the zipline my friend Nancy and her family have put up in their backyard. I think it will be fine, though. The zipline, that is.
Our trip to PA now seems long gone, although I think we're all still having flashbacks to the seemingly endless drive. Here's a shot I took of Route 80. My friend Natasha once told me this was the most expensive part of Rte 80 to build because of all the rock they had to blast.
This is about the point in the trip where, when the kids were under 2, they would sort of just start screaming and not stop. The time I made this drive with Natasha and her now-husband I almost did the same thing, because they were taking a TV home to her mother, and the styrofoam packing they had it protected in squeaked for the entire trip.
We spent a lot of time in PA at the town pool, which has been transformed into a water park. It was, as the little boy next door told us very earnestly, "A wonderland for kids."
I got to go on some nice bike rides while the kids played with my mom and stepdad. Although I spent 18 years living here, I really don't know a lot of the roads outside town, so I relied on MapMyRide to find me some routes. They mostly looked like this:
Partway through, just as I came to realize I hadn't eaten enough breakfast to get me through the ride on shot blocks alone, I came upon a fruit farm that I've been to many times, only I had no idea it was on this road. So I stopped and bought a scone and enjoyed the view from their porch:
I don't have a shot of the most exciting part of this ride, which was when I swear I saw a panther. Now I know this is unlikely, given that the only confirmed large cat sightings in the area look like this:
All I know is that a large, dark animal with long legs and (I think) a long tail walked slowly out into the road a quarter mile or so ahead of me in the Scotia Gamelands. It stopped and looked at me, at which point I pulled a hasty U-turn and pedaled as fast as I could in the other direction. Eventually some traffic came through, so I turned around and went back to continue on my loop, with no sign of the animal. Because yes, as much as I didn't want to be panther fodder, it really irks me to do out-and-back rides. I asked my stepdad, a retired park warden, if it was possible I actually saw a panther, and he very graciously said, "Well, if you were going to see one, that's where I think it would be." So maybe a big, big dog, for all I know. (In the Gamelands? Hmm.) But a very scary one.
When I told this story to my husband--as I explained, my first thought based on size was "bear," but then the long legs didn't make sense--he just looked at me for a minute, then said, "So you know you couldn't outbike either a bear or a panther, right?" Cheerful thought. But given how, um, motivating the sight of the panther was, I think if I lose focus somewhere on lap 3 of the bike tomorrow (a 4-loop course, over 30 miles, god help me), I'll imagine a panther in the road behind me.