What a day this was for my hubby!!!
Backing up a bit...we left work on Friday around 4:00 and made our way to Lubbock. We checked into our Hyatt Place hotel and then had dinner at Nick's Sports Bar next door. Then it was back to the hotel to rest.
Saturday was mostly a day of rest. Which was sooooo nice!! We got up and did our workouts, and then had breakfast in the hotel. Chris had a BIG meal! Then we got ready and went to the Expo to pick up his race packet and my VIP packet. It was a very small expo, but Chris did find a new running hat and some compression calf sleeves to help with his calf pain. We stopped at Spanky's for lunch and then went back to the hotel to look through all our packet stuff and get that rest in. Chris did his compression boots multiple times and took a nap (which is very, very rare). He was very anxious and nervous and full of energy...so the resting was difficult!
Saturday evening, we met up at Italian Garden for pasta with our friends who drove in to support Chris! QLefty, his wife Andrea, and their kiddos!! It was a 5 hour drive for them, and we were so thankful for their journey to be with us! It was good to catch up with them all -- Ruthie and Lev even ran across the restaurant to greet me and Chris with huge hugs...that was fun!! If you'll remember, this sweet family is the one we met recently at Adsy's triathlon...Chris met QLefty on Instagram. So good to see them! After a yummy meal, we went to our respective hotels to prepare for a very early morning.
Sunday morning, Chris got up at 2:30 to start his prep...I got up at 3:30. We left at 4:00 and made our way to Buffalo Springs Lake...about 15 minutes from our hotel. Being a VIP spectator, we were able to park in a small lot right next to the action...so helpful! Chris took his bike and transition stuff (helmet, bike shoes, run shoes, run hat, sunglasses, etc) over to the transition area and set it all up. Then he worked on prepping for the race. He started in the green swim cap group...they did it in waves to prevent a huge mass of swimmers and to spread things out a bit. As a VIP I got to watch the swim start from a wooden deck area...it was so neat to see the swimmers take off!
Chris swam the first leg -- 1.2 miles. He says it felt very surreal to be swimming that far and that long...he doesn't entirely remember too much of it! He found it easier to spot the path than he expected, so that was good!! He expected tos win it in about 44 minutes or so...and he ended up finishing it in 36!!!! He was so pumped! Coming out of the water, there were "wetsuit strippers"...people who helped the athletes remove their hard-to-remove wetsuits in two swift motions!! Chris was in 361st place out of 740 athletes as he came out of the water.
From there, he went to the transition area to prep for the bike! I had a prime spot to watch him, and then also saw him get on the bike and ride out onto the course! At this point, the VIP coordinator, Sherilyn, hooked us each up with a Harley Davidson motorcycle!! My driver was David, and he took me out on the bike course for two hours to see Chris in action!! That was so awesome, and it was fun to see Chris killing this leg of the race!! He looked so strong! I took so many pics and a few videos...what an experience!! There were a lot of hills on this course...whew!! David got me back to the transition area in time for me to see Chris come back through! After the bike leg, Chris had moved up into 203rd place! He finished the 56 miles in 2:49! He then transitioned into his run gear, and took off!
This is where the prayers started...a week out from the race, something popped in his left calf and we weren't sure how his run portion was going to go. He had rested it completely all week and hadn't run at all...so it was unknown how it would feel. To sum it up, it hurt him pretty much the entire 13.1 miles...but he powered through somehow and ran a great time! 1:39! The run portion was two loops of the course so we were able to see him a few times...and then I rushed back to the finish line to get him coming through. He looked so strong coming in! Part of my VIP experience was to include me putting on his finished medal in the finishing shoot...but he came in much quicker than expected so we missed that. :( But I was able to be in the finishing shoot with him, and to get his raw, excited reaction after crossing the line! He was so excited!!! His final time was 5:12 -- he was expecting to do it between 5.5 and 6 hours! So this greatly excited him!!!! At the finish, he had moved up to 127th place overall! And he was 25th in his age group, which is the most competitive triathlon age group. So amazing!!!!! And for his first one!
After we made it through the finish shoot, we met up with QLeft and his family again and talked a bit before they had to get back on the road to home. Soooo happy they came!! Then we got Chris' stuff out of the transition area and made our way to the car. WHAT A DAY!!!!!! We finished off our time with a big meal at BJ's Brewhouse, complete with beer and dessert...and then a little wine at the local winery!! He definitely deserved all those calories!!!!!
Mr. Baber is quite the competitor...quite the athlete...he makes me so so proud!!!!
Now he will rest for a fewweeks and see how his calf is after that...then he'll need to figure out what's going on there!