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.