Ironman St. George 2012 Race Report

Wow, where to start…  The race report is going to be brief because I don’t want to get into every little detail about the race but give you the highlights of the day.  If you have any specific questions, leave me a comment and I will gladly fill you in!

The last weather report we got for race day predicted a perfect day for the event.  Low to mid 80s and a slight wind.  That was not the case at all.  The swim started off fine.  I was worried about the mass start because I have never done that before.  I didn’t have too much trouble finding open water to swim in and didn’t get whacked around too bad.  We all has no idea what was coming our way.  The race was essentially a big rectangle with three 90 degree left turns.  When we made it to the first turn we were greeted with waves that were (IMHO) 2-4 feet high and coming at us from our left.  All I could think of was we had another left hand turn to make that would put us straight into the waves.  Once that happened all hell broke loose.  The kayaks couldn’t stay up, the buoys were pulled out of wack, and there were people everywhere.  I realized immediately that fighting through the waves was just going to wear me out so I relaxed and worked with them to just get the swim done.  I had to look up often because everybody was so spread out and the buoys were no where near straight.  Amazingly I made it out of the water in 1:33:03; rumor has it that over 200 others missed the cut off or were pulled from the water.

I got into the transition tent where the AMAZING volunteers got me situated to get on my bike.  I ran out, found my bike, made a few last minute adjustments and I was on my way.  As soon as we got out of the reservoir I realized the wind was blowing everywhere.  The bike loop consists of three parts; the ride back to town, then two loops that are fairly hilly.  If it hadn’t been for the wind the ride would have been fine; but the wind was so bad that the ride felt like 80 miles uphill!  I made it though the first loop and was re-energized by the descent back to start the second loop but as soon as I started the second loop I realized the wind hadn’t stopped.  At mile 70 I started to worry about making the cutoffs for the bike.  I hadn’t paid close attention to what they were because I hadn’t expected to ride so slowly (Average less that 13 mph for the whole ride!).  The first cut off I was in danger of missing was at mile 93ish after the really big hill affectionately know as “the Wall”.  I made it through that one with about 2 minutes to spare.  The next cut off was getting out of T2 by 5:30.  At this point I wanted to get pulled off my bike.  I couldn’t imagine how I was going to run after the day I had so far and I wanted to be pulled rather than quit.  I rode the last 10 miles in tears.  Amazingly I made it in and out with 90 seconds to spare!

As soon as I started running I was thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t quit!  I felt great!  My legs were a little tired and my skin was hurting from the sun burn I had been getting all day but overall I knew I could finish the marathon and was going to be an Ironman by the end of the day.  I could have cared less about my time.  I just wanted to finish.  I met a guy, Chris, around mile 8 and we totally hit it off.  He was the perfect running partner for the race.  We chatted for the whole run (almost 5 hours together) and had a blast! I realized at this point that even though triathlon is an individual sport, when you get to the last group of runners together in an Ironman it becomes one big team; everybody was helping everybody to keep going.  We did our best to walk the ups and run the downs (something I learned from trail running).  The run is three loops which was cool because you had a great chance to see all your friends that were running; and if you were a spectator you could catch your family and friends very easily.  We did pretty well for the first two laps but we walked most of the last one.  We were both starting to fall apart a little by 10:30 (we had been moving since 7:00 AM).  As we got closer to the finish you could hear the crowd going crazy; Mike Riley was doing an awesome job MC’ing the finishers.  In just a few minutes he would be calling my name!!!  Chris and I wanted to finish together so we ran down the chute and enjoyed the glory.  Apparently the male pro winner, Ben Hoffman, put my medal on me; I had no idea at the time!

Overall the day was incredibly hard. I knew going into it that there would be a time during the race that I would want to quit and that was going to be part of the race.  It was how I would deal with that moment that would determine the out come of the day.  I am so glad my body wouldn’t let me quit and neither would anyone else out there.  The support on the course was beyond anything I have ever experienced before both from the volunteers and my friends.  The words “thank you” are not enough to express how thankful I am for the support I got on race day and leading up to the race.

I forgot to mention my times for the race and I think I will post later with more information but just so you know, I was the last finisher in my age group and I finished 1010 out of 1026 finishers…I have never been so happy to be last!

Here is the link to the bike data from my Garmin.  My battery died during the run.

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32 comments

  1. My friend in the truest spirit of the word you are an Ironman. You gave it your all and nobody cares about the time because you will say you are an Ironman. And on the hardest course in the worst conditions too.

    Congratulations and I am so proud to have sponosred you for this event.

    So the simple question is What’s Next?

    1. Way to go Rebecca….If you ever spent any time wondering if you could finish…….now you have the rest of your life knowing you did!
      “Awesome”….isn’t even adequate to capture your accomplishment…
      you are an inspiration!

    1. so happy for you! heard the swim was a nightmare and know a lot of folks didn’t make it. you took on the toughest ironman on it’s toughest day and kicked it ass!

  2. Great race report! I was a spectator/volunteer and am so amazed at what you accomplished. Congratulations! You earned it. Just watching the swim with the waves was terrifying; that you made it through is something to be so proud of.

  3. Fantastic race report, Becca! I have on Canada on my list as well, maybe 2014?

    Happy recovery!!

    Cheers,
    Taryn

  4. Becca! we never got a chance to meet in st. George. Maybe at the next one! glad you made it out of that water and onto the rest of it. It was unreal! I know what you mean by sunburn! I’m blisters except where volunteer hands slathered in sunscreen were able to quickly brush on. Congrats on becoming an Ironman!
    Erica

  5. So proud of you. I plan on doing a 70.3 in 2015, but would never consider a full Ironman. You are my superwoman!!!

  6. You’re my hero, Rebecca! Congrats on a job VERY well done, I’m proud and happy for you! Gretchen

  7. Hey – what an amazing race report. I can’t phathom the combination of swim and then bike you had to deal with. Nevertheless, congratulations IRONMAN!

    (and btw, thanks for reading my blog & reblogging it today!)

  8. Congratulations! Incredible!! So proud of you!! I hope your next IronMan offers better race conditions, to deal with crazy wind and tsunami waves during your first is proof how dedicated you were to finish and claim that title IRONMAN!!

  9. I am doing my first Ironman in Canada at the end of August and have a couple of questions if you have time to answer:
    1. How much and what types of nutrition you comsumed while on the course?
    2. What is the one most important bit of advice you would give to someone racing their first Ironman?

    1. First of all I am really jealous that you are doing Canada! I am hoping to get in next year, just not sure how to do it!
      1. For breakfast I did cereal and coffee and then some yogurt and granola while I was waited at T1. For the ride I used GU Roctane drink (240 calories and extra electrolytes) (drank about 1.5 of them) and then I mostly ate what was available on the course. They had Bonk Breakers, Gu Chomps, and bananas. I prolly drank 3 water bottles as well. Once I got to the run I only ate what was on the course. I had oranges, coke and chicken broth. I met someone on the run and at the special needs bag he had a Rick Star energy drink which we drank! It was so delicious! I had to keep myself from drinking too much coke and chicken broth because it tasted so good and I didn’t want to get a sloshy tummy!
      2. Advice would be don’t over think what you pack for the day. They really have everything you need on the course. But for the special needs run bag pack yourself a treat! Anything you think you might want! And also, be ready to be happy with a finish. I was so thrilled to make it through the day even though I didn’t even come close to my time goal.
      Good luck! I am coming out to Vancouver this summer and I am going to check out the course!!!

      1. Thanks for your quick reply. Its great to hear advice from an Ironman! Getting in to IMC is tough, I drove there last year (18 hour drive from where I live) and volunteered for the race because volunteers get their own line for registration on the Monday following the race.

    1. SO AWESOME!! My first Ironman was a 16:15:00 finish. Such a long day with so many different obstacles to overcome, but we are both Ironman finishers and will be again 😉

    2. Becca, Thanks for the reminder! I’ll never forget that day. It was the epitome of racing “in the moment!” > > >

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