Monday, July 5, 2010

I am an IRONMAN!!!

WOW!  Hard to believe that after a three year journey toward this goal it is now achieved, what next?  I guess I should post a race report first!  :-)

I should probably go back to the weekend before the race, the whole family got the stomach flu, yuck!  Many tears were shed between bouts of being sick.  My mom told me that everything happens for a reason and that I just needed to focus on healing my body rather than worrying about the coming weekend, so I listened to my mom, thanks mom!  I still had trouble eating all week, I think I converted from sick to nervous and never quite got back to feeling completely normal, but I think nervous is to be expected.

Thursday night my husband gave me a DVD that he had made for me for inspiration, it was AWESOME!!  It was a bunch of pictures that he had taken of me while training set to the song "Something in the air tonight" by Phil Collins, it was really perfect!  Then it transitioned to photos that my friends and family had taken of themselves holding signs of encouragement for me, it almost makes me cry thinking about it while I write, it was so very cool, thank you JP!!

So we headed to Coeur d'Alene on Friday morning, I dilly dallied around the house trying to avoid leaving for as long as I could until finally my husband told me that we REALLY needed to get on the road!  Once we got to Cd'A the town was rocking, the park was filled with athletes and families and a really great vibe!  I headed over to check in and pick up my race packet...holy cow this is really happening!!  We settled in to relaxation mode for the next day and a half, this included a few naps.  Saturday night we ate pasta, watched the video once or twice and tried to hit the hay early, I was surprised by how well I slept that night!

Sunday morning, I woke up on my own at 4:45 and headed downstairs to make a smoothie, eat some oatmeal and drink a little coffee.  Nothing was going down very easily and I didn't eat nearly as much as I should have but, oh well!  We headed to the park to drop off our special needs bags, pump up our bike tires and get body marked.  I started to settle down, the gun was going off in 45 minutes no matter what, I might as well enjoy myself!  I head back to the house, got my hair braided and put on my wetsuit, also at the house are my dad and brother-in-law who are racing with me, the mood is pumped!

We hit the beach, I ate a huckleberry Hammer Gel and waited for the gun...BANG!  I started my watch and held back a bit, blew a kiss, hit the water and started to stroke.  I had a little trouble putting my face in the water at first but I just kept moving forward, not fast, but forward!  I finished the first lap in 58 minutes, dang, I really wanted it to be faster!  I started the second lap and I was FREEZING!  There were a couple of moments that I didn't think I was going to be able to finish...I pushed that out of my head and started to stroke harder to try to warm up.  The waves were picking up and I felt like I was swimming in an endless pool!  I checked my watch at the second turn buoy and figured that I was going to make it with time to spare, YES!!  I hit the beach in 2:04 but I was super cold, I went to the warming tent and spent 24 minutes trying to get warm, this is where is gets good volunteer was none other than SISTER MADONNA BUDER!!!  I knew that this was a awesome omen and that the day was going to be a great one!  When I finally emerged from the tent my sister and JP were there, we all that this would help to carry me through my tough times during the day. :-) 

I made it out of transition with 2 minutes to spare!  I didn't plan to cut it so close but there was nothing I could do about it now!  I had a plan for the bike, 10 miles at a time, switch out my water bottle at each aid station and sip perpetuem in between; I had a second bottle of perpetuem and a sandwich in my special needs bag.  I tend to gulp a lot of water when I swim so I typically carry Gas-X with me, I felt a few pains hit me high in my stomach so I reach for my Gas-X, uh-oh I forgot it, this is not good!  On to plan B, wait, I don't have a plan B, this could be painful and it was!  All I can think about is my sandwich in my special needs bag, once I get there I will be fine, so I press onward.  I hit the 56 mile mark in about 3:30, I can ease up a bit on loop 2 but not much, my plan is going pretty well.  I finally hit the special needs bags and at this point I cannot seem to force myself to eat but I continue drinking water and have water belly really bad. I see the fan club again, that is such a great feeling when you are out there by yourself!  I hit the 4th aid station (for the second time) and know that I am home free barring any mechanical problems, so I am on cloud nine as I ride those last 16 miles!  About 4 miles out I sit up on my bike and try to starting stretching my legs and back a bit for the run.  I hit T2 in 7:29, I am very pleased with my time and know that I have the finish in my sites, if my stomach will just cooperate!

If you can believe this, I again have the good fortune to have Sister Madonna as my volunteer, I am truly blessed!  Another volunteer comes up to help and sends the sister over to a woman who was in really bad shape, she ended up being carried out of the tent by the medics, I feel extremely fortunate to only be dealing with stomach cramps!  I see a friend of my dads who is a nurse and a medical volunteer (I have to add that she finished the race in 2009), we talked about my stomach, what is the first question she asks I have any Gas-X!  She is a little bit concerned that I haven't gone to the bathroom but feels that I have had enough water through out the day to be okay.  She wants me to make sure to take my endurolytes and drink some chicken broth on the run to make sure I am doing okay with my salts and electrolytes.  I take two endurolytes and took two every hour through out the run.  I come out of the tent in 17 minutes, man I need to work on my transition time!  My husband, mom, sisters, uncle, aunt, and in-laws are there to cheer me on, I was so HAPPY to see them, Ironman is a long and lonely day!  I saw many family and friends along the run course it was so AWESOME!

My run plan was to run as much of the first lap as I could and then walk/run (or ralk as my sister calls it).  My stomach hurt but I was surprised by how very good my legs felt!  I sipped on cola and broth in the hope that there was a magic stomach cure, there wasn't, so I pushed the cramps out of my mind and just tried to focus on finding a good sustainable pace.  I saw my training partner at mile 13 and I got a good talking to, she said that the race was all mental now and that I could do it physically, I just needed to keep my head in the game.  She also sternly told me that I HAD to eat, even if it was just half a gel every mile.  I had a sandwich in my special needs bag and forced myself to eat it, it took me 3 miles but I got it down, I am pretty sure that my body used up the calories in about 3 minutes and wanted more.  I ate a few banana pieces and some oranges but nothing would sit well.  At this point I met a new friend named Lesley, she was awesome and I knew that I found a comrade to finish the race with!  We forced ourselves to run small jaunts but after awhile my stomach wouldn't even allow that.  She kept me moving when I though I was going to vomit and I so appreciate it! 

We hit the run turn around with 30 minutes to spare and got our heads in the game. All we had to do now was maintain our pace and we would hit the finish chute at about 11:30pm, slower than I had hoped but still fast enough to be called an Ironman!  With less than 2 miles to go I see my husband (he was like Waldo, all day he just kept popping up and giving me encouragement), he walked with us for a little bit and then took off so he could be at the finish.  We finally made it to Sherman Avenue and it is a straight shot to the finish, HOLY COW, I am going to do this!!  Lesley and I have a conversation as to who gets to cross the finish line first since we are in the same division, I tell her to cross first, she was an angel to me!  We decided to cross together, until I saw one of my best friends and stopped to hug her, her husband had finished the race about 5 hours before and she stayed out there for me.  I hit the finish chute and high-fived anybody that I could, that is an AMAZING feeling, truly one of the most amazing feelings ever!!!

I crossed the finish line in 16 and a half hours, I gathered my medal, my finishers hat and shirt, got my picture taken and started hugging everybody, my mom was one of the first people I saw, she grabbed me and said "I am SO proud of you" and gave me the biggest hug, I look up and JP is right next to her, I get another huge hug!  My dad who had finished an hour earlier was there and then I see my mother-in-law and aunt, more big hugs!  What a feeling, thinking about it now brings all kinds of emotions to the surface, I am still not sure if it as sunk in!

I had a sore hip and was still nauseated the next day but recovered surprisingly fast!  I said when I finished that I was never going to do that again; I think I lied, I am already thinking about the next time...I think I am insane!

I know that not many people will read this but I still feel like I need to shout to the world about what a great family I have!!  My husband was such a great sport through out this journey and my family and friends were Ironfans all day while I was out there, I am truly blessed!  Thank you JP!!!!!!


trifitmom said...

love it !!!!! what an amazing day for you...

Tricia said...

whoohooo amazing!

Catharine said...

Huge congrats!!!! You are and will always be an Ironman! Smiling big for you in Washington DC!