This has been the most emotionally difficult year for me yet.
· My grandfather was sick in my busiest work season, touch and go sick, which lasted 6 weeks or more of never knowing if there’d be another day. He ended up passing.
· My motivation dove into the darkest place possible. Luckily, I know when to ask for help, and had friends doing wake up calls and getting me to workouts. Some that really know me were aware something obviously had to be going on, but they never pried, they just helped.
· I had a car accident 7 weeks prior to Ironman. I was sure my foot was fractured, weeks later we found out the cuboid bone was bruised and I had a foot sprain. This put me exactly back to the spot I was last year, aqua running, needing focus, and training/racing through lots of pain
Day of Ironman
· We say good bye to my AWESOME support crew (mom, dad, aunt, sister, hubby, and Addison), and my husband’s parting words are, “remember you’re a mom and wife first, come back”. I was left in tears, but it was a good reminder, my family saw someone die at my 1st IM.
· AWESOME! Mass start while treading water, and I loved it.
· The start was so spread out, but it took only 100 yards for everyone to be in the same spot. The thrill of mass starts, people swimming over you, the draft, and intensity of the situation is right up my alley.
· I reveled in it, enjoyed the water when it got a little rough, embraced the kicks and elbows to the face, and got to pee twice….SCORE! I was happy to finish in 1:17 (42nd in AG) and faster than last year’s debacle.
· Most people walked the HELIX (the circular parking ramp up 3 floors to the parking area where transition is), not me. I jogged, enjoyed the cheers (Liz thx!), and made my transition time quick (6:29). Free speed, and the volunteers were awesome.
· This course is so awkward. There’s no real way to describe it to someone. I’ve done many rides with that amount of climbing, but this was different.
· This course was the toughest yet, if we weren’t climbing short steep hills, we had short technical descents, and don’t get me started on the wind, or roads that had me questioning if my lady parts would ever be the same.
· Barlow (new edition), I was just anxious to get to it. I literally yelled in joy, “Barlow! Finally!” I may have gotten a few stares, but I just smiled & kept pedaling (some walked their bikes).
· I knew the very technical pieces that followed. I watched one guy obviously overshoot the turn and end up in someone’s driveway.
· The good piece that offset the difficult course was that at EVERY MAJOR climb (3 in total, did 2 of them twice) it was like the tour de france….people partying 5 deep on each side of the road cheering you on, totally inspiring.
· The bad part, was at the halfway point I could tell my quads were already feeling it, and my avg. mph wasn’t what it really should’ve been. My legs just didn’t have it in them. I focused on readjusting goals, looking at what my arm said (focus, fearless, and fun), and no matter the situation, I would end up with a smile and a laugh or two.
· I was disappointed in my bike time, but I pushed through and kept the avg pretty consistent. My time was 6:24 (17.4 mph avg) and I had worked my way up to 28th in my age group (AG).
· I wasted no time in transition, but still brushed my teeth and went to bathroom (3:58)!
· Katie (my coach) was right, this run course was made for me. People and positive energy to feed off of EVERYWHERE, and I LOVE a 2 loop course.
· The course had a little of everything, college madness, the capitol, running by the lake and sailboats, Observatory Hill (ugh!), and running through the university’s football field.
· The course and spectators were awesome, especially #baseperformance and their music and dancing…yes I danced while running!
· I got dizzy a couple times, but reminded myself the goal is always aid station to aid station. I’d stuff ice down the front and back of my suit to stay cool and wake me up. I kept with that plan, but the walks at aid stations got longer and longer.
· My “normal” run was no longer, that was clear when my IT band hurt at mile 23. I started trying to relax, take deep breaths, and focus on pushing out the pain in my foot and other ankle to try and get my run form back to normal. It seemed to work, or I just wanted to finish that bad.
· My run time was 4:22 and I’d ran myself up to 23rd place in my AG with a total time of 12:14.
I’m completely satisfied with what I did on that given day with everything that happened. I left it all out on the course, I couldn’t have done any better on that day, I did it smiling (sometimes grimacing), and was thankful to be able to toe another start AND finish line. I enjoyed every bit of the day, even the bad parts. I will say I left that race feeling the need for redemption, where and what I do with that is up to me. I’ll reveal how those feelings translate into change for the following year shortly.
I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes seeing friends suffering with you on the course. Thanks to Garret Mozler, Bryan Milling, Dana Spark, Will Fowler, and especially Jeff Walthew for letting me be a part of all of your special days (3 of the boys did this as their 1st IM). They all did great, and their families cheered for me and included me just like I was one of their own. Spectathletes will never know the difference they make in an athlete’s day. The giganta head that included a booger in my nose, PRICELESS! My family, especially my husband, keep me going. My hubby tries to be understanding, pick up the slack when needed, and is my rock. Without his support, this distance of racing would be impossible. Racing would also be impossible for me without the help from companies like www.trisports.com (one stop shop!), www.atlantabreadco.com (Cherrydale keeps me fed with all their new delicious food), www.powebar.com (fuels me while racing), and www.nuun.com (keeps me hydrated!). Katie Malone with Malone Coaching puts up with my shenanigans, Dr. Cassas with Steadman Hawkins is always there to put the pieces back together when I fall apart, Frank Roth tries to keep my pieces moving smoothly, and you Upstate SC peeps….you amaze me with your caring attitude and just pure AWESOMENESS. Sunday Runday Fun Day group, I will be cheering all of you on through your IM’s, marathons, and crazy 10 mile swims! Just don’t forget….I have 1 more IM this year!