What the hell is Ditch the Tiara?

Redefining the word beautiful...one dirty, sweaty, bruised up mile at a time, with a few downward dogs along the way...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Iron Tiara: Anything is Possible - Published on 303triathlon.com

Today's 303triathlon post!

Iron Tiara: Anything is Possible
By Kristina Jensen

IM Florida
As the countdown towards Ironman Boulder dwindles down, and we find ourselves within just days of the big race, one thing has become very evident. My iron family has grown ten-fold. It’s most obvious on Facebook, where at any given time my newsfeed is buzzing with thoughts (or rants) from my friends about August 3rd. Whether it’s nervous chatter about the weather, or the meltdown-inducing bike course, the latest topic of discussion most certainly contains an explosive energy that is ALL consuming. If you are one of the “3,000,” then I imagine concentrating at work is becoming a bit of a lost cause. If I were to check your browsing history I bet that I would find searches like, “how to keep your legs from cramping in the heat,” or “wetsuit legal water temperature limits,” or “how to avoid severe chaffing and sunburn,” or perhaps even “how can I get my spouse to love me again.” As you can probably guess, the speculation is that Ironman Boulder is going to be a hot, Hot, HOT beast of a race, and that’s exactly what everyone is preparing for. Or trying to at least. It’s better to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best, right? However, let’s not get carried away here and obsess over things you can’t control. No matter how many times you refresh the weather channel, the forecast remains the same: IT’S COLORADO SO WHO THE HELL KNOWS WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE. With every Ironman finish, I am continually being reminded that anything is possible on race day. ANYTHING.

Crappy IM Florida Weather
When I did Ironman Florida in 2010, I knew only three other people doing it and so it was pretty lonely out on the course. And all I had ever heard about this race was how it was so fast, and the weather was always sooooo perfect. [ENTER: LOUD BUZZER NOISE WHICH ELIMINATES SHOCKED GAME SHOW CONTESTANT] What a lie. It was grey and rainy all week. It was 38 degrees and windy when we started the swim, and the water was somewhere in the mid-70s. Standing in the sand was like standing barefoot, with open cuts on said bare feet, on dry ice, smothered in salt. OUCH! Once my feet went completely numb, the pain thankfully dissipated and I was good to go. Except the part where my feet stopped working…yeah, that part had its disadvantages. At one point, I kneeled down in the sand, partially to try and get some circulation back into my toes and partially to…well, um, uh, you know…pee! and apparently, it didn’t look that way to the guy standing next to me. He glanced down at me and said, “You don’t have to get down and pray honey, it won’t be that bad out there.” Oh brother.
As a self-proclaimed non-swimmer, I actually didn’t want the 2.4 miles to ever end, despite having been punched twice in the head, kicked in the chest AND the stomach. (Most gorgeous yet roughest IM swim, EVER.) I guess I wasn’t really looking forward to freezing my ass off on a windy 112 mile bike ride, on roads that were considerably less than smooth (that’s me describing them VERY kindly), unable to feel my toes…which were still numb. Somewhere around mile 80, the infamous KJ meltdown occurred, with body shaking sobs, and f-bombs colorfully radiating from my mouth, at the top of my lungs. I may or may not have thrown my bike down on the ground too.


Demonic Clown
OH, and let’s please not forget about the demonic clowns that came to taunt me. Those little bastards like to hang out on my back and feed my brain with all sorts of self-deprecating thoughts. I can just hear that creepy, maniacal laugh now. gah! That same meltdown happened at IMKY last year too (minus the bike toss), as clearly seen in my slowing bike times as I rode through each checkpoint. One thing is for sure, I can always count on my worst part of my day being on the bike, always. So, I guess no matter what, there is always an upside to the marathon!?
Once I got to the run at IMFL, I was so relieved, as running is “my thing.” Unfortunately, I had gotten completely sea sick from the salt water, and couldn’t take in any nutrition once I was upright and moving on my almost UN-numb feet. My stomach was a wreck and chicken soup was all I could keep down. And despite the insanity of that entire day, from the frozen sand, to the fists to the face, to the demonic circus clowns, I somehow managed a PR, which remains to this day. I race so much stronger in the heat and humidity, so I am still baffled with my finishing time there. (((sigh)))

So, my point. Crap, is there one? er. Give me a second while I exit my google search for
“how to keep track of thoughts during taper” and “stringing words together to form sentences.” Got it. ok, OK. my point? I have one. MY POINT!!! is that anything can happen on race day, despite your incessant worrying, and your planning, and your obsessing. You can’t rely on anything happening the way you have “outlined” it, or “excel spreadsheeted” it or “bullet pointed” it to. The one thing that you CAN count on though come August 3rd, is that your iron family will grow by 3,000 in the friendliest and most triathlon-oriented venue in the world, with the most sensational spectators out there. I’m sure that I’ll have my massive meltdown at mile 80, but I know that words of comfort and encouragement will be thrown my way by my “iron family” as they pass me, empathizing with me, and hopefully slapping those circus clowns off my back (little bastards). And since anything is possible, if I am superly duperly lucky, I will find a new home for my ironman PR…in good ol’ Boulder, Colorado, USA.

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