First, huge thank you for all the support coming from tweets, FaceBook, texts, at my doorstep, US mail, everywhere. Wow. You guys really fired me up to get to the swim start! Every single well wish and good luck helped, I thought of you guys on the course!
Since I don’t know what else to say, I’ll just start with the swim!
Swim – 36:19 rank: 32/139
This was my best race swim ever. In my past triathlons I’ve not been able to keep my face in the water because my heart rate and breathing skyrockets out of excitement. Right before I got in my wave John (Mr. HappyPace), said, “Remember, you LIKE sunny days like this. You LIKE being outside and doing this stuff!” For the whole swim I just kept repeating that, “I like this, I like this, I like this” If there was a FaceBook Like button on the shoreline at the swim exit I would have pushed it! *like*
Bike – 3:19:06 (16.88 mph) rank: 65/139
Having trained on the IronMan Wisconsin bike course with some big climbs, this course was pancake flat and a joy. The wind was forecasted to be 5 mph, but there were a few stretches where the wind was blowing hard and was a nuisance. I drank all of my Nuun, gobbled ShotBloks every 5 miles. At mile 40 we were going into the wind again so I took that opportunity of slow riding to eat my NutRoll that I taped to the frame of my bike. That was a genius fueling idea if I do say so myself. It was SALTY!! After a couple packages of ShotBloks salt is the most amazing taste in the world. I think my timing on eating the NutRoll was perfect because it had settled by the time I got to the run.
Run – 2:26:20 (11:10 min mile) rank: 54/139
Remember when right before the swim I was reminded that I like the sunshine? I didn’t. I started my run sometime during the noon hour without a cloud in the sky in 90 degree satanic heat. My arms, shoulders and neck were already on fire from sunburn during the bike ride. This is not ideal to run in!
This is where racing morphs into surviving. Every few miles I’d be reminded of survival as I would run past someone keeled over on the side of the road hurling. The sound of throwing up is a surefire motivator to get running from a walk break so I don’t have to hear that.
The run is where I was the most strategic I think. In the first loop my walk breaks were at aid stations where I would down a cup of ICE WATER, the IronMan people give ICE WATER. Actual ice. Ice is a delicacy in most hot races, to be handed an actual cup of ice water felt like winning the lottery. They had cola, which was not iced, but, the last table of the aid station had cups of ice. So I’d grab a cup of warm cola, head over to the ice table and put the ice in my cola myself. I know that sounds simple, but at the time I felt like I had invented ice-cold cola.
The run course is a two loop course, so as I finished my first loop, it came to a fork where one direction went to the finish, and the other went to do it all over again. That was probably the most confusing and depressing moment of the whole thing, having to run away from the finish line for another loop. But the benefit of that was knowing what to expect for the second loop. I knew exactly how to plan for hills, sprinklers, and aid stations. My second loop was slower, but the miles ticked by quickly. Finally there was the mile 12 marker, the most glorious mile marker I saw all day. So glorious that the dreaded OMG-I-HAVE-TO-POOP-RIGHT-NOW feeling hit. It hit so hard and out of nowhere that I had to walk the bulk of the last mile and watch a 2:20 run finish time slip away.
Coming down the finish chute was simply awesome. The amount of arms reached over to high-five me, the screams of hundreds of spectators, I heard my name announced, and FINISH!!
I collected my precious finisher medal and exited the finish area quickly. John was waiting at the exit and tried to hug me but I yelped, “I HAVE TO POOP! RIGHT NOW!!”
So there it is, the first words uttered after becoming a half IronMan were “I have to poop right now”
Finishing a 70.3 might make me a badass, but no one ever said that I had to be classy!