Well, I will start by saying that I didn't finish...It really isn't as devastating now as I thought it was on Sunday. I will start by saying that I learned so much about myself on the journey to the starting line, I am not going to get all philosophical here but the Ironman journey is an amazing one!
First things first, I completed the SWIM!! I have never swam 2.4 miles in my life and I did it on Sunday, woo hoo! The swim was my Mount Everest and I DID IT!! In the picture of me coming out of the water, I have the biggest smile on my face :). The water was COLD, about 55 degrees, but I only felt cold a couple of times and that was when I was resting (oh yes, I definitely rested). I was the last person to come out of the water who made it within the 2:20 time limit, my time: 2:19:, nothing like taking it to the wire. The unfortunate part of it all is that I aspirated a whole bunch of water right at the end and that was my ultimate undoing (besides a drafting penalty, but more about that later). I felt like one of the pros with everybody on the beach cheering for us last few swimmers. I can honestly say that if not for the crowd and volunteers in the water, I never would have made it, the encouragement was unlike anything I have experienced. If anybody who reads this was a volunteer, THANK YOU!!!
The volunteers took me to the "warming tent" after the swim, they had to make sure I was warm enough to go on, which I was, so I transitioned to the bike. The best part about it was my friend was the volunteer who shows up in the tent to help me get dressed and everything put away, it was AWESOME! So I made it out of the transition area in 10 minutes and was off. Less than 10 miles in to my ride the pros started to pass me on their second loop, they are absolutely incredible, I was just in awe of them as they cruised by me. I got a penalty shortly after that because I was going to pass (my dad of all people!) and a pro came up on my left so I dropped back and got a drafting penalty, I know that if it wasn't my dad I was trying to pass I never would have felt comfortable enough to be that close, but because it was my dad I don't think I really processed what I was doing. I deserved it, I even thought to myself I am probably a little too close and BAM the red card was shown to me. My inexperience at that level of competition really showed, but at least I got to see two pros in the penalty box too, I guess they also make mistakes! I learned from it and that is a positive lesson for next time.
About 35 miles in to the ride my lungs started to give me trouble, I just couldn't take a deep breath; it was very painful and it would make me really cough. Because I couldn't get any good deep breaths I could not get my speed up. So to make a long story short, I missed the cut off for the first loop of the bike course by 1 minute and wasn't allowed to go on, it was right at this moment that I was really kicking myself for the "drafting" earlier in the day :). It was truly a blessing though because I ended up in the medical tent, the PA that saw me told me my lips were blue and my oxygen sats were about 94, which isn't terrible but apparently it wasn't too good either. I got a couple of albuterol treatments and then was sent for a chest x-ray. My lungs still hurt but they are getting a little bit better everyday.
All in all, it was so much fun and such a learning experience, that even though the outcome wasn't what I wanted I can't say anything bad. The whole Ironman experience is outrageously positive and I am looking forward to 2010 when I attempt it again, the only difference, I will finish!!