Race day AM: After many nerves the day before, race day was finally here! We got up at 3:30 AM, along with Maria "Go-go" (and hubby Mark), S. Baboo, Geekgirl, Duane and of course H. Some poor friends of Maria's who came to see the race got first hand experience of getting up in the the middle of the night to see some anxious, crazy Iron crack peeps eating their much needed pre-race nutrition. Mine was my usual-2 bagels-one with creme cheese, one with peanut butter, banana and Infinite powder drink. H & I left at my usual anal retentive early time of 4:15 AM so we were there by the time transition opened at 5:00 AM. Thanks to Maria, who suggested we put our running shoes and bike shoes in zip lock baggies and garbage bag over our bikes, the rain the night before got little wet in my T-bags, that were lined up outside on the ground. Last minute tire fill up, bike seat adjustment and I was ready. As I stood at the beach at the beginning of the swim, my eyes filled with tears. Finally, after all these months of training, the day was HERE. It was pretty emotional..I got in the water to warm up-ahh, a balmy 58 degrees or so-didn't feel so bad..at least at first.
In case you have never seen the start of an Ironman Swim, here it is:
The gun went off and I actually started near the front with all the fray. I got bumped around a bit but nothing too violent. The crowd seemed to create a wake that you actually just draft in for the first loop or so.Those buoys looked a lot closer than they were. After getting close to the first lap finish, I could hear the roar of the crowd and I was really feeling great, having positive thoughts, etc. I ate a Carboom at the turn around and asked for water and alas-no water. Oh well, lake water would have to do so I swallowed some to wash it down, hoping not to catch any unwanted stomach bugs (so far, so good). When I jumped in for the second loop I started to notice the cold. My body temp felt like it was dropping as I swam along this time and the water seemed to be getting choppier. Are their more swimmers making the water choppier? I thought to myself. I was getting confused by the chop and the cold. I could feel my body start to shiver as we rounded the turn around buoy-this is not good-I thought. As I got out of the water I really had no idea of my time and asked a volunteer the time. 1:37 he said. Oh dear that is really slow for me! Must have been harder than I thought! As they stripped my wetsuit, I realized I was indeed shivering uncontrollably. The hot tub was looking mighty good at that point. It was right next to my transition bag so I jumped in. There was a guy in there with some very large IM tatoos that was just sitting there in a relaxing pose. I was sure in my hypothermic Ironbrain: he is a plant so I will not feel bad about using the tub. I thought how odd this picture was-us there hanging in the hot tub during a race. After what seemed like an hour, but was really only about 30 seconds I hopped out. Still shivering, I went into the changing tent, stripped and changed into my bike stuff, with the help of an angel volunteer. Without her, I would still be sitting there as my hands were shaking so bad I couldn't even get my stuff out of my bag. After finally managing to get out of the tent and get my bike, I saw H as I ran out of transition. He asked how I felt. I said in a very LOUD voice-F#^&*king COLD! I am sure all the mothers of small children appreciated that one. I had put on my arm warmers and jacket and was still shivering H said-he was worried..
Apparently they had to pull several athletes from the water, including one pro so that makes me feel better.
I think the polar fleece shirt, booties and cap slowed me down, along with the coldness of the water. AND all of the above kept me from succumbing to hypothermia so it all evened out in the end I guess. I was feeling really discouraged after the swim, as I had done so much swimming in the last 5 months with MAO online. I would later understand better.. I was going to wear my HR monitor on the swim but pulled it off at the last minute as the strap felt really uncomfortable under my wetsuit (all that eating in taper I guess).
Swim time: 1:37
Bike: I had my Garmin already on the bike and stuck the strap on in T-1. I was pretty slow at the beginning, trying to warm up, get oriented. By the time I was at the top of the first little hill, I was OK warmth wise. Geekgirl passed me after a couple of miles. I had conflicting thoughts about this. One was You go girl-you deserve a good bike! The other was: I better get my ass in gear! By mile 30 or so, off came the arm warmers and jacket. I kept my HR below 135 for the most part. Plan your race, race your plan- was my mantra as several people passed me. I stuck to the HR plan no matter what. The first loop wasn't so bad, except the hills were much steeper than I remember when we drove the course-duh..There were some folks walking up one of the big hills. I had to stop and pee at least 3 times on the bike, which was a pain however a good sign that I was hydrated. I could have peed on the bike itself but somehow peeing all over myself (which I have done before) just didn't sound appealing. The only near mishap was in a porta potty when I almost slipped and fell on god knows what kind of liquid was on the floor of the increasingly gross potties..I held my breath and closed my eyes when entered each of these lovely toilets. Can't be worried about this right now! The second loop got harder on those damn hills. The Zipp wheel tech had adjusted my derailleur so that it clattered a bit in the lowest gear-he told me he did this for the pros so their chain wouldn't fall off. Guess what? My chain did NOT fall off or do any other funky thing it had done on the other new bike. So my new "new" Cervelo worked perfectly! I saw many people who's chain fell off. Thank you Zipp guy at NA Sports! And Val at Outspokin Cycles in FLA.
Nutrition wise I took in about 6-8 bottles of Infinite Nutrition solution. I had a concentrate with me in the beginning, then had another bottle at Special Needs pickup. I took in about a goo an hour. My stomach started to gas up so took about 3 Gas X's, which helped. I finally ate a Yammit Bar, which I had trained with and that helped ALOT. I took about 2 Advil when my legs started to hurt and 2 Endurolytes.
I thought of several things on the bike. My sister Sara, who I know gave me strength, Michael, the young man friend of my daughter's who's body they just found and had the funeral for the day before. My mom, who died 14 years ago-she would have been proud of me...
Maria (Outlaw roommate) and I had a conversation the day before about what she thinks about when she feels like giving up or slowing down (Maria was 2 places away from Kona qualifying by the way). I call this how to survive the "F^$#&k it! attitude" that kicks in for me sometimes in these long races. One thing she offered was that she is just focuses on the moment. I actually used this several times during the race. Like: How does my body feel right now? Oh, look at the beautiful scenery and cows. What great support on the course right now! I said thank you to almost everyone who cheered, handed me water, just positive energy to all those folks who had come out to cheer us on. I love those Idahoans..
My bike time ended up being longer than I expected: 7:41. There was a headwind coming back into town each time-uh what happened to the 8 MPH wind forecast? I should know better by now not to count on the weather report..
T-2: Took my shoes off on the bike so jumped off and ran to my transition bag and made it to the tent right away. Changed into my running tri shorts, fresh socks, shoes hat and running belt. Another angel helping me. i got my new white arm warmers only to find they were wet. Maybe the rain?I stuffed them in my pocket and out the door.
Run: This is where it all comes together. Right away I started seeing Outlaw and blogger friends. Mighty Mike, Sluggo Tim, S. Baboo-who were on their second loop and JohnnyTri, who stayed about 2 minutes in front of me the whole race. He was my BFF at Rage half Ironman suffer fest in April. Right away people started yelling Go Debi! I had my first name on my number belt. It was awesome. After about a mile there were the blog sherpas yelling and high fiving me. That was awesome! (thanks Duane):
I was feeling great right out of T-2. My new friend Adam at my LBS told me Just keep running, no matter what! So that is what I did!. I walked the aid stations, got water, added my Infinite concentrate each time-probably 15-30 secs each mile I walked. Otherwise I ran. Now running has always been my nemesis so this was quite a feat for me. My time really doesn't show it but just psychologically to be able to keep it up was great. I had put on H's Garmin for the run cause mine was running low on batteries but alas, the HR monitor was not working! Note to self: ALWAYs try equipment in training-duh! So plan B-took my HR after a few miles-it was OK, then forget it and do the best I could. I saw H after about mile 14. What a sight for sore eyes! I told him how great I felt. He related that he had talked to all the kids and they were pulling for me. That brought tears to my eyes. I kept running. The second loop was a bit more challenging. I took some more Ibuprofen, Endurolytes, coke, boullion. It all helped-I am sure. Still seeing my buddies on the course. I saw Geekgirl passing on one part so knew she was doing well. Momo looked like she had just stepped out of Vogue for athletes at about mile 20-she did well! Maria blew by me on her second loop as I was on my first-she rocked it! About 200 people yelled Go Debi! The longer the race got, the more confused I got from this. How do I know these people now? Then I would remember the race number belt thing. So funny! Around mile 20, I started getting what I call IBD-Ironbrain Delerium. Kind of like tripping on drugs (not that I know anything about that from my teenage years) only not the good kind of high. It is like my head was detached from my body. It was getting dark by now and I was definitely in some altered state. My legs were starting to ever so slightly feel crampy-not something I have felt before. Oh no- not now! I thought.. Finally someone said Only 1.7 miles to go! I found this kind of hilarious since that number made no sense to me whatsoever. Plus I couldn't hear the crowd or the finish line. This last bit took what seemed like forever!! Finally, I turned a corner and there were the lights and millions of people cheering me in for about a half a mile. It was awesome! I was so happy! I did feel pretty good considering..Pirate Jane was at the finish line-we hugged and I spotted Hartley-so good to see his face!
I went to the medical area but didn't really need anything but the darn pizza! I rested a few minutes and chatted with Jane and H in my dazed state but overall felt pretty damn good! we made it back to the Paradise Mansion about midnight and that bath never felt so good!
Final run time: 5:54 (13th in my AG)-proud of that one)
Overall time: 15:27 (18th out of 32 in AG)
I did want to better my time in FLA from 4 years ago of 14:15. In a way, it is too bad I did that one first. But given the cold water, more difficult bike and run course, being (ahem...) "older" and all these things being equal, I am proud of myself. My run time does not show the strength I felt on that run but I did pass alot of people on that part of the course and for that I thank the Mark Allen training program.
Congrats to all who showed up at the race. It was challenging!
The 2 day endurance ride in the car was the most grueling part of the whole week! We are home now- I cannot sleep for the life of me right now-must be the body adjusting or something. My daughter and granddaughter are here. Lane (4 yrs old): Grandma-you biked and ran and swam! I am so proud of you!
THAT made it all worth it!
Oh and yep-I BOUGHT me those Zipp wheels after the race!