I had absolutely no idea that when I signed up to race in Texas 8 months ago, that I was about to embark upon the most sensational and memorable Ironman journey. Ever. It was fully packed with drama, injury, romance (FINE...lack there of), international adventures (family friendly cruise to Mexico), high speed car chases (ok, maybe just a new car) and a lesson so large in patience that would make even Mother Theresa proud, despite my lack of church attendance in X amount of years.
I arrived in The Woodlands, just outside of Houston, after all of my friends had already settled in the days before. I am typically late to "the party" but I always try to arrive fashionably, and with an arsenal of funny jokes and props so that I can divert the fact of my tardiness with lots of laughter and smiles. It usually works. I'd say it was yet another successful late-to-the-party entrance as I showed up at my hotel room, hours after I was expected, looking like a rag doll that had been tied to the bumper of a Jeep that had spent the entire day four wheeling in the mountains. in the rain. and snow. Poor Heidi stayed up so late to settle me in with a huge hug and lots of empathy. and then the laughing commenced...and I am fairly certain it did not stop until we parted ways 4 days later. Between her and Kelly, my stomach has never hurt more and my eyes have never watered so much. Are we sisters? Absolutely... the IRON kind.
I imagine I could spend words after sentences after paragraphs after pages describing what all went down on May 17th...but I don't think that's necessary. I keep getting asked, was I happy with my time? CLEARLY the people asking me don't know anything about me. If I was blessed enough to cross that finish line, you better damn well know not only was I happy, I was ECSTATIC. The kind of ecstatic where you skip around, fists in the air, twirling around in circles, screaming out things like, "Again!" and "When's the next one?" Yeah. I was happy, I guess.
The swim? Oh my gosh the swim. The water was a record race day low at 71 degrees and so it was declared wetsuit legal. I had only brought my sleeveless wetsuit and panicked to get my hands on a full sleeved one. Thanks to the charming skills of my buddy StevieMac, he scored me one from a more than generous local who just happens to be shorter than me and weigh more. UM. Whatever, I would make it work and with some ingenius sleeve rolling and velcro manipulating, I swam 2.4 miles in 1:31:48. This was 24 minutes faster than the disastrous IMKY 2013 swim and only 5 minutes off of my IMWI 2009 PR. I. was. back! Was I happy with my time? I was SO happy with my time that when I exited the water and looked at my watch, I started screaming like a crazy person with my hands waving wildly in the air, so much so that I lost my balance and completely took a digger in front of EVERYONE. Yup, that's how I roll...all klutzy-like style...but happy!
I ran into T1, changed, still screaming, still smiling and ran to my bike. Did you read that? I RAN. After 63 days of not running, patiently not running, I RAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The weather was fantastic. The high for the day was somewhere mid to upper 80s, low humidity and lots of wind. yay! wind! This was going to be just like any other long ride back home, where the wind was always my most reliable training partner. The advantage today though was racing at sea level. I can breathe. and that meant I could pedal harder. and I did. I rode the hell out of that course. My nutrition was perfect. There were no head-nods or bonks or stops along the way to rest or recover. My goal was 6:10 and with just a quick 40 seconds special needs stop, I missed it by a mere 8 minutes. 6:18:35. Maybe the 15-20mph head and cross winds had something to do with that. Maybe not. Regardless, I rolled into T2 with yet more fist pumping, screaming, smiling and a hell of a lot more *happy*...a 10 minute bike PR off of IMFL 2010! Are you kidding me? And with successfully dismounting my bike and not taking a digger, I ran to T2. RAN!
I was in T2 shaking, literally, with excitement and anticipation. I could hardly breathe. As I laced up my shoes, my mind was racing with questions...should I run? can I run? will I run? I tried to answer them... I wanted to run. I am going to run. I tried to calmly walk out of the changing tent as I mentally prepared myself for what was about to happen. I only had one goal left for the day...to finish. I knew I could do it, I just didn't know HOW I was going to do it. I crossed the timing mat and at the very moment the tiny little buzzer went off, signaling to my friends and family that I had begun the marathon, the magic of Ironman began...I nervously lifted up my foot, leaned forward and...one step, two steps, three steps... and before I knew it, I was running. My legs felt like lead. My ground clearance was low. What the hell? OMG...could it be? My eyes started to water as I realized what was happening... I was doing the Ironman shuffle. I WAS RUNNING!!!!!!!!! and I was able to do that for 90% of the race. without pain. my hamstring? where is that located again? my glute? Isn't that the thing you slap when you're coming down the finishing chute? I ran almost the entire marathon after not running at all for 63 days with no "injury" pain. This was my slowest Ironman marathon, at 5:49:02. Hell, it is actually my slowest marathon time ever having finished 62 stand alone marathons. But you know what? It was the best 5 hours, 49 minutes and 2 seconds of running I have ever, well, run in my entire life. I wouldn't trade one single step of that run for the world. and after 13 hours, 56 minutes and 5 seconds, I became a 7X Ironman Finisher.
So. Was I happy with my time? I dare anyone to ask me that question now.
|My IRON sisters|
|My Favorite IRON couple and best friends|
|My Betty sisters|
|The swim start|
|the moment before I'm 'bout to "slap that ass" in the finishing chute|
|me and StevieMac representin' the 303|