We arrived in Vancouver with ease and ready to roll. Just a couple little hiccups with directions and an extra trip to the US Border (oops), but Wed evening we were safely parked in our rental home ready for a good night sleep. We eased into Thursday heading down to pickup a few things from IM Village, but decided to wait for Lindsay and register on Friday. The water was like glass and I was itching to get in to do a pre-race swim. Unfortunately the weather turned and we got our bikes and gear bags picked up just in time to hurry home and out of a big storm that shut everything down! At least we got to loosen up the legs a little with run.
The Utah crew arrived Thursday evening and we all met up for some dinner. I got to meet some more Utah Bad A@@ athletes (do they just BREED athleticism in Utah?) and we had a yummy dinner.
Friday we headed down to register in the am and I finally got to get in my swim. I was in HEAVEN. The water was clear and smooth and everything I hoped it would be. I was calm and comfortable and felt great on the swim. Somehow 2 days before the race, I knew this was finally going to be MY swim.
Later in the afternoon we headed out to do our pre-race ride. Unfortunately mini-me had some issues... As we are ready to head out I had a flat. I had just changed all the tires, etc so I was a little worried. I quickly switched out the tire and we were off again. Or so we thought. As we headed up the driveway I went to downshift and realized I wasn't getting anywhere. My rear derailleur cable had snapped. I tried to stay as calm as I could as we rode down to the LBS to have her fixed up. I have to say I was less than thrilled when I learned I had to leave her with the shop & couldn't pick her up until the am. Whadayado?
I have to give a big shout out to Bike Barn. My bike was ready first thing Saturday am, and the gears were PERFECT. They even stretched out the cables JUST RIGHT. Bike & bag drop were completed and we were headed home to relax.
Lindsay's WONDERFUL friends from Utah made us the BEST pasta dinner ever. We didn't have to lift a finger. I can't thank Jody, Danielle and friends enough for everything they did. It was a blessing having you both with us.
Sunday morning was the normal pre-race jitters, porta potty lines and anxiety. However, something about this time was different. I was almost CALM compared to those around me. I entered the water with ease and moved my butt right up to the front with the big boys. I assured Shane he was not to mess with me as I WOULD be coming out of the water first :-) Little did I know it would actually happen...
The swim was INSANE. To say I was in over my head was an understatement. With over 2800 people starting at once I had my a@@ handed to me. Boys are mean. That's all I have to say. I was punched, pulled under and swam over. I wondered if it was ever going to end. I was dying to look at my watch, but made myself just keep on trucking. I never saw an open stretch of water, but did manage to stay on a few people's feet for a bit. As I started to see the bottom of the lake I was relieved. I had no idea what my swim time was going to be, but I knew I had given it my all and most importantly didn't swim off course. As my hand started to touch the bottom I looked up and saw there was still a ways to go, but everyone around me was standing so I did as well. I took off my goggles and lifted up my wetsuit to the see the time. 1:03:xx. I honestly started LAUGHING. Only in my wildest dreams did I actually think I would swim to my potential. I realized I was wasting time walking so I put my goggles back on and swam a bit more.
In T-1 I was elated. I looked up and saw Linds and screamed at her about our swim times. We were both quickly out of there and on our way to the longest part of the day.
Swim time: 1:04:20
My excitement from the swim carried me the entire day. I've been waiting for a swim like that since I started racing tris, specifically the longer distance. The bike course was STUNNING, I was feeling great and I just knew it was going to be a good day. I rode with Linds for a bit, then slowly she moved up ahead of me. Shane passed me (and gave me my official YOU BEAT ME OUT OF THE WATER) around mile 30ish I think, and then I just settled into my own pace. The first section was FAST. Then we had our first big climb of the day, Richter pass. I have to say I was a bit discouraged as I was passed A LOT, but I stuck to my plan and did my own thing. I was relieved when I saw a sign that the first pass was over, and it wasn't really hard. I realized my training was truly paying off.
The rollers were tough, but doable. The hardest part of the entire day was trying to pee (yes, I peed myself- but to my defense I wanted to stop but the lines were SO long) and the headwinds. I was able to see all my friends and a few tri-scottsdale peeps along the way. I realized I hadn't lost much time at all compared and just kept on plugging away trying to keep my nutrition going and stay in aero to minimize the head wind. The only time I really felt a little off was around miles 50-70. I was almost sleepy. I was taking in plenty of calories, but I decided to get some caffeine in to see if that would do the trick. It did, and just in time. Around mile 75 the weather turned and we were riding into a pretty bad storm. Pouring down rain and wind made the last 35miles extremely tough. The last climb up to Yellow Lake was scary and freezing cold, but seeing our cheerleaders out there, as well as all the locals and spectators put it all into perspective. The day is going to give you all that you can handle, and you do with it what you know how to. I think Shane said, "They don't call it EasyMan."
My hands and joints were achy from the cold and rain, but I knew we had a nice down to get back to T-2. I was cautious but still aggressive on the descend and as we got out of the pass you could feel the temperature warm up a bit. The crowds in town carried me through to the end as I realized how close to 6hrs I was. I had no idea what I was going to end up with on this ride and was extremely pleasantly surprised.
Here is a picture of one of the Utah stars to show you the weather. I'm not even sure this sums it up as you can't see the wind...
In the first mile of the run my feet were numb, but slowly warmed up. I had a quick porta potty stop in the first 10mins, but realized even with that stop I was well under 9min mile pace. I saw our friends Nancy and Wim cheering and they helped keep my smile rolling for a VERY long time. My legs felt fantastic. My effort felt easy and I was able to hold my sub 9min pace for the first 10miles before the majority of the hills started. I saw everyone again around the out and back and couldn't believe how close I was to some. Of course the Utah girls were just getting started doing their thing and were flying making it look EASY. I finally let myself walk the first big climb around mile 11. It was a steep up and I had Lori, my coaches voice saying if you are running as slow as you could walk, just walk. So, I opened up my walk stride and leaned forward just like she said. I had taken in 2 gels (forced) by mile 11, and just alternated water and gatorade at the aid stations. I was doing my nerdy math and realized after the halfway point even if I slowed down about a min a mile I could still marathon PR in my Ironman.
I caught up to Shane around mile 14 when he was struggling. I gave him some pepto and was on my way still feeling strong. Unfortunately things started to turn for me in the second half and I was now dealing with some stomach problems. I tired the porta pottys, chicken broth, pretzels, oranges, pepto, salt. It was getting worse and I began to feel extremely tired. I caught myself feeling faint in a porta potty and quickly got myself out to get some air. I decided I wasn't going down like that and just kept walking. I used my garmin to keep my walk pace under a 15min pace. I tried to keep the smile on my face, and tucked my head down to avoid the crazy headwind.
Shane repassed me somewhere in there, maybe mile 20ish? I really don't remember. I was walking and eating pretzels and making deals with myself to try to jog. Finally as I got to the last 5kish I dug as deep as I could go and started running. I had gotten down 2 baggies of pretzels and my stomach was a little better. It was a slow jog, but I wasn't walking. The crowds downtown were amazing. I saw Nancy and Wim once again and they carried me through to the end. I had tears in my eyes the entire last mile.
I was very disoriented at the end. I had pushed to my limits for the day. I made myself proud. I gave it all I had and wore a smile (nearly) the entire day. I met every single one of my goals (minus a tad slower on the run) and enjoyed every single minute of it.
Run time: 4:36:24
Final Time: 11:50:56 - 1hr and 19min Ironman PR.
The best part about the day was heading back down to the midnight finish with Jody and Lindsay. Jody - thank you for "convincing" us to go. It was worth it all watching the final finisher cross at 11:59:50ish... Priceless.
Thank you to everyone out there cheering. All the amazing good wishes and congrats. It was a day I will never forget. It was a stunning course, amazing support and of course... I will be back. Thank you to our amazing coach Lori for bringing out the best in us. I've never felt better in my life, and completely put my trust in you. I can't wait to do it all again with you guiding us.
A special thanks to Lindsay for bringing such great support and to Jody, Danielle and husband extraordinaire Devin for being out there for us.
Now some POST race wine tasting and fun pictures!!!
Therapy Winery - appropriate??