Ken and I left to make the eight hour drive to Louisville on Thursday afternoon. We decided that we would drive four hours to St. Louis and enjoy the evening and then drive the remaining miles the following day. Boy, did that work out well for us. There is nothing quite like the Embassy Suites cocktail hour. We enjoyed dinner in Old Town St. Charles and wandered around and had a few drinks. I cannot wait to go back during Christmas time. Yes, I am already excited about Christmas!
We finished up the drive on Friday and headed downtown first thing to get me all checked in.
All checked in and ready to go! The lady that checked me in even commented on my outfit. Most others were wearing athletic gear, but not me, I knew Ken would be photographing and I wanted to look extra cute. :)
We got these really cool backpacks. It is so big that I am not sure I can ever truly carry it, but it is very nice.
On the way to Louisville, Ken had noticed that the Cardinals were in Cincinnati playing the Reds. Since we were only a little over an hour away, we decided to make the drive to watch our team play and to see a new stadium. We skipped the athlete meeting to do so, but both think it was worth it. Oh and we got a win!
A view of the stadium from our seats. The stadium overlooks guess what, the Ohio River. Yep, that thing was taunting me. We met a very nice family from Green Bay, WI and they asked me why we were there. I told them about the Ironman. The dad was telling his son how far I had to go to complete the ironman and his son, who was probably around 10 or so, looked at me with a super straight face and said, why? It was priceless.
Saturday was the practice swim in the Ohio River. As much as I did not want to get up early to swim in that river, I knew I had to. Thank goodness I did. Let's just say I completely freaked out. Twice. That's right, the day before my Ironman, I was freaking out in the same body of water I was about to swim 2.4 miles in. I swam over to the shore once and one of the race volunteers came over to check on me. I told her I was fine, just freaking out a bit. She talked to me for a while and seemed very concerned when she asked me how many tris I have completed and I told her this was going to be my first tri ever.
I went on my way and then something happened again. I swam over to a kayak where there was a super nice lady named Susan. She was so kind and prepared and was wearing a wide brimmed hat like my friend Rob does, so it made me think calm thoughts about him and how he is always prepared for everything. She was so friendly, gave me many tips and calmed me down. I swam down further to the turn around and then started to make my way back. That is when some douche bag hit me twice in the legs and then smacked me across the head. Um, pretty sure this is called a practice swim dude. Chill out. I swam the rest of the way and got out of the water. My first thought was oh great, I am going to have to deal with 2500 people possibly trying to punch me, kick me, and swim over me. Not good people, not good.
After I showered, Ken and I had brunch at my friend Carol's. She fixed the most fabulous spread and I even tried grits for the first time. Of course I would try cheesy grits made by a true Southern woman! Carol was a fabulous hostess and sent me home with lots of homemade jam.
We left Miss Carol's and went to meet Ken's parents to check in my bike and gear bags. Ken was teasing me because I was wearing a sun dress and flip flops and everyone else was decked out in athletic gear. It was actually pretty funny watching me push my bike with my sun dress on, but let's be honest, do you really expect anything less from me? :)
Getting the low down on transition and dropping off my bags.
Transition and the river. It looks more like an ocean.
Alright, everything is dropped off! Looks like this race is happening!
After all of the business was taken care of, we decided to go visit the Louisville Slugger factory. For someone that loves baseball so much, Ken was in heaven!
They had a display with all of the bats from the World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals! It was so cool!
Along with the bats, there were life size replicas of a few players. I was hoping for Ivan Rodriguez or maybe Alexander Rodriguez, but I settled for Derek Jeter. I figured I should definitely pose with a picture with this fine specimen. Ken suggested I do something funny. Funny as in, grab his crotch. I was trying to, but with Ken's mom being right there, I was a little embarrassed.
This is the best I could do. The funniest thing is, there was a museum employee that was standing right there and he came over and told me to really grab his butt because he had buns of steel. I guess that was just the ice breaker, because he then told me to just reach on in there and cup his junk. Yes, that is exactly what he said. To say I about died laughing is an understatement. Although, more embarrassment came later when Ken's mom asked me what that man at the museum said to me. Yeah, I told her. I said cup his junk to Ken's mom!
With my mini souvenir bat, oblivious as to what lies ahead the following day!
Bill and Linda at dinner at the Village Anchor
Ken and me after dinner at the Village Anchor. It is unusual for Ken to be holding and not me, but in my defense I did just inhale a piece of flourless chocolate cake and a cup of cake batter ice cream all after my dinner of course.
I could not decide which picture to post, so I will post both of them. I love that you can see the lights tangled up in the tree in this one.
It was an early good night for us since we had a 4:30 am wake up call. Amazingly enough, Ken and I both fell asleep very quickly. Up next, the race of a lifetime!