Welcome to Florida.

The past two days have been somewhat of a blur.  We were lucky enough to get power back on Tuesday night (incredibly only 200 people in our zip code got power back on Tuesday and Shaun and I were two of them).  Wednesday morning I got up fairly late, did a steady swim, a bike and an easy run.  I finished up my workouts at 11:47 a.m. and when I returned from my run Shaun informed me that I had 13 minutes to pack, shower and get everything in the car so we’d make it too the airport on time.  While we didn’t leave the house until 12:11 p.m., we made it to the airport with plenty of time.  After two uneventful flights, we arrived in Panama City Beach around 6 p.m. Central Time (this Central Time is weird, I much prefer Easter Time).

We hit our first glitch at the rental car agency.  Shaun had reserved a full sized four door, after hauling all of our gear through the airport parking lot we discovered that they had assigned up to a two door Altima.  We couldn’t fit one bike case into the car, let alone two bike cases, two huge tri bags and Shaun and I.  I got to sit in the parking lot a top our big pile of luggage while Shaun went back to the rental car agency and got a new car.  The second car was a Nissan Rogue, much better.

Our massive pile of stuff.

Unfortunately the drama did not end with the car.  Once we got to the condo, we realized that we had forgotten to pack a bike pump and crack pipe for my HED 3s (for clarification the crack pipe is a valve extended that is used to inflate the tubes on my race wheels).  Shaun suffered a brief the glass isn’t just half empty, its decimated moment before we figured that we could hit the bike shop after our swim in the morning.  Crisis averted (for the time being).

The swim start (you can’t see the waves from here).

We got up early on Thursday morning, grabbed breakfast at Waffle House and headed out to swim.  I’m not a person who is a afraid of open water swimming or rough water conditions.  I’ve spent years in the water and spent summers in the cold choppy waters off the coast of New England so I was surprised by the swim in the Gulf of Mexico.   Heading into the water the surf was about 6 to 7 feet with some significant breakers.  Other than the occasional shock of seeing wildlife (thanks to my prescription goggles) that included several species of fish and a school of rays (I was a little frightened the rays would go all Steve Irwin on me) the swim out was rough but fine.  Heading in was a whole different story.  Not only had the wildlife changed (this time a dolphin and a massive Portuguese Man of War) my ability to deal with the chop disappeared.  I felt ridiculously sea sick swimming towards the shore.  I’m hoping the wind and the surf settle down to race day because I don’t feel like spending the first twenty miles of the bike vomiting. 

Shaun and I pre-swim.

After the swim, Shaun and I headed out for a quick bike.  While it was only in the 60s, it felt super warm to me so I went old school and biked in my sushi print swimsuit.  It was windy, then again its Florida so if there are no hills there should at least be some wind.  The rest of the day was spent winding out way through the registration line, grabbing lunch and then I ran to the expo for my pre-race massage.  Lucky for me, Shaun agreed to pick his mother up from the airport alone so I got to go to dinner with the QT2 Gang (Mary was my babysitter for the night).  Now we just need to pick my mother up from the airport and I can call it a night.  Tomorrow the goal is to do as little as possible.  I’m hoping to down a massive stack of pancakes and finish a book or two for good measure. 

The QT2 crew at dinner.
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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

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