Such an inspirational weekend following everyone on their Kona adventures. I had some serious envy of those on the beautiful island both racing AND spectating. Honestly, I'd take either! Kona was never ever been a goal of mine. Since my first triathlon (Las Vegas Sprint in 02') to my first half Ironman (Soma 05') to my first Ironman (CDA 07')… I was always a back of the to mid pack "racer." Injury after injury kept me from improving, and honestly I just never thought I could improve much. But, things change and who knows… maybe someday…..
I remember training for my first marathon and a couple of gals on our charity team who were 10+years older than me were in amazing shape, looked great and FELT great. I was in my early 20s, drinking a LOT (ok, some things don't change all that much) and more of an exerciser than an athlete. I remember asking them how (after KIDS) and being 10+ years older than me they looked so amazing. Flat abs, toned legs. I still remember to this day what they said.
"Everything changes in your 30s." Your body figures it out, you look better, feel better & your priorities are different.
While by no means did my body turn into what they were looking like at my age, but I can without a doubt say things are different. I'm stronger, leaner (can only do so much with the genes you were given tho, right?), healthier, more fit & well all be darn - FASTER. They were so right. So far, I'm liking my 30's!
Going back to 2005. Actually, 2004. My original IT band issues started when I finished the RnR San Diego marathon in 2002. I did PT off and on, switched shoes, cortisone injections, time off, cross-training. You name it I did it. For some crazy ass reason I convinced myself I could do Soma (2004). After talking with my coaches (Racelab) at the time, they promised to get me there - and they also promised if I just couldn't do it, they would help me transfer my registration to the following year. This was important to me. I was only 26 and had lots of student loans and was getting married that year and had a vacation to pay for ya know? $200+ was a lot of $!
I started training, mostly biking and swimming, and I remember my first 3hour bike ride. I was on a road bike at the time & my IT band was giving me all sorts of grief. I remember climbing up Cave Creek Road, just north of Pima (oh how I thought that was a MOUNTAIN at the time) basically pedaling with 1 leg because my right IT band/knee hurt SO bad. I was stubborn (some things don't change). I don't remember much else about the training in 04' but I remember exactly the moment I gave in and realized I could not do the race.
It was August and we were in San Diego for the AFC half. I had to bail on the race because of my IT band but was there with Shane & Daniel. We were eating dinner and talking about my pain and how I couldn't run, etc… I remember Daniel looking me right in the eyes and asking if it was worth it. To potentially not finish, to ruin my knee? I started crying at the table and made the decision right then and there to back out. I was devastated. I felt like a failure. I hated starting something and not finishing it.
That October I had surgery to repair my IT band. It was a LONG LONG painful recovery. By the time my PT had me running for the first time it had been almost a year since my last run. I could barely make it 3 minutes without walking.
I followed a Mark Allen online plan that was very heavy on swimming. It was all HR training (which was extremely painful after so much time off) and I was slow as all get out. My longest run was about 10miles. I ran scared every day. Scared the injury would come back, scared I wouldn't make it thru the race.
Somehow I made it to that start line at the end of October in 05. I was scared shitless but excited to the same extreme. I was about 10-15lbs heavier, slow, inexperienced & so young. I had no idea the journey that day would start.
Here's Shane & I with another friend before the start of the race. Such babies :-)
My swim was slow for me (and so begins my never ending story of unsuccessful swim times!), but I was relieved to get out of the water. The bike was so much fun! I had just gotten my new tri-bike (mini-me) and gave it my all out there! I remember pulling up next to my coach and passing him, he asked me if I was going to0 hard. I laughed and said I knew I couldn't run for shit so I might as well go hard on the bike! I had a blast and enjoyed every minute of it.
When I started the run, it was HOT as hell. My girlfriend Stacey was waiting for me right outside of transition to run with me. She had planned to run with me until my girlfriend Sara met up with me around mile 8. She talked to me, made me laugh, told me how amazing I was. At mile 8 when we found Sara (who by the way was straight off a plane from India where she was doing a volunteer doctor thing), Stacey just kept plugging along with us. They had water (yah - I know race support, but come on I wasn't winning anything!) for me and sang to me. Sara told us about her crazy adventures in India (I still to this day have no desire to visit after those stories). Those girl made my day. They got me thru something I wasn't sure I could do. At the end before they pulled off they were singing to me that "I was the wind beneath their wings." It was absolutely AMAZING.
I crossed the finish line with one of the biggest smiles on my face. Tears overwhelmed me. It was the start of so many more adventures to come!
My official time was 6:05:30
Swim: 41:45 T1: 2:10 Bike: 2:57 T2: 2:25 Run: 2:21:11
Shane, he was almost an hour ahead of me…. 5:10:46
Swim: 38:08 T1: 2:07 Bike: 2:40: T2: 2:44 Run: 1:47:17
Can anyone guess my Soma goal? :-)