Thursday, September 30, 2010

The most important issue of our time...

When you complete an Ironman, do you get a tatoo or not? If you were to google this question, you would find endless blog posts, forum comments and articles about this. Who DESERVES to get the tattoo? Anyone who does a triathlon? Must you compete in Kona at the World Championships? Must you finish under a certain amount of time? What about getting the "M dot" - the official logo of the Ironman Franchise - which is a business.... There is much discussion about putting a business logo on your body forever.

The amount of passion with which people argue this point is unbelievable. What is worse is the arrogance that I find in many of these posts. There is a group that believes that someone like me - a 16 hour and 26 minute finisher DOES NOT deserve to wear the tattoo. Not only do they think I don't deserve it, they think that it is pathetic that I would flaunt my "mediocrity". They think that my accomplishment is worthless.

I read one blog post that talked about the stickers that people put on their car - 26.2 for marathons - and he said "show me a car with a 26.2 sticker and I'll show you person who runs more than a 3:30 marathon". Guess what dick...that's most of us. The reason why there are so many great marathons out there with so much support, great courses and "swag" is because the rest of us are paying YOUR way. Then he went on to say that anyone can run a 6 hour marathon.

This kind of attitude makes me so mad, I can't stand it. I hear it in triathlon stores, I hear it in running stores, I read it in magazines and online.

Maybe it makes these people to feel more special if they think that my accomplishment isn't as great as theirs. I will admit, I have no idea what it would be like to run a 3:30 marathon, I have no idea what it would be like to finish an Ironman in 12 hours. No idea. But I can all say for sure that these folks have NO IDEA what it took for me to get to the start line, much less the finish line. What does it matter to anyone if I get a tattoo or put a sticker on my it somehow lessens their accomplishment.

When will people realize that you don't have to put someone else down to raise yourself up. While I believe that anyone could train for an Ironman....most people won't. "Can" and "Do" are two different things.

Oh and here's another tip...chances are, you were born with the ability to run faster than me. Your 3:30 marathon time is my 5:00 marathon time. I put in the time, I train. Could I go faster, probably...THAT Much faster...probably not. So how about you just say "good job" as you blow past me. If that is too tough, than don't say anything. I've heard enough out of you already.

And finally. I am going to get an Ironman tattoo and I am going to wear my Ironman finisher's shirt, with my Ironman jacket and my Ironman visor while I drive in my car with my Ironman license plate frame and my 140.6 sticker and there will be a picture of me doing Ironman in every room of my house, on every page of my facebook and as my profile picture on my blog.

When I finished, they said the same thing to me that they said to you "You are an Ironman". Sorry if that pisses you off. It thrills me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Distance Between

Its been 4 weeks since Ironman. Its hard to believe that we even did it. You know how life is...always something else to think about! We had a few days to really let it soak in, then it was right back to life as usual. will never be "usual" again. We are different, in ways that no one may see except us.

While I am incredibly proud of the accomplishment, it is my nature to wonder if I could have done things different, better. My one wish for the day would have been to keep running instead of walking at mile 13. I know it doesn't really matter and I don't feel badly about it, I just wonder what would have happened if I had kept running. Then I think about those final minutes, coming down the chute at the finish and I know that it doesn't matter. Crossing that finish line may be the best moment of my life.

The Ironman is such a metaphor for life. I lived a lifetime in those 16 hours and 26 minutes. I learned so many lessons during those 140.6 miles. If I can face my life the same way I faced that day, I'll be okay.

You start off with a plan, apprehensive of how things will go. If you have done the work, put in the time to be prepared for the journey ahead, you will do well. There is only so far you can go on natural born ability and luck. Preparation will carry you the rest of the way. There were certainly people who were better swimmers, bikers, runners than me, who did not finish because they hadn't prepared.

So, you follow your plan and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You can either dwell upon that or you can adjust and keep moving. Those who keep moving are the ones who finish.

There are peaks and valleys. It gets hard, it gets easier, it gets hard. You can lose focus. You can get bogged down in the pain, you can feel sorry for yourself and ask "why". Or, you can smile, you can push through, you can want to do better...want to be better. You can suck it up, stand up straight and keep moving.

There are literally thousands of people out there helping you. There are kayakers and boaters on the water, people there to help you out of your wetsuit and into your bike gear. There are people to put sunscreen on you, There are people at aid stations every 10 miles on the bike, volunteers at the special needs station - they get your bag and dig through it for you, helping you hold your bike and sort through your goodies. There are volunteers who help you get into transition, they take your bike from you. Others who get your run bag and help you get out on the road again. Every mile of the run, there are aid stations, volunteers, with anything you could need. Spectators, other participants...everyone is cheering you on. They are all out there for YOU. Just for you.

I thought about how awesome it would be if every day life were like this. If we all had people there to cheer us on, to pick us up, to tell us how great we are and how proud they are of us. What if we had all the support we needed to keep moving forward. How possible would all the other things we want and need to do be?

At the end of each portion of the event, you realize that the end is really just the beginning. The end of the swim is the beginning of the bike and the end of the bike is the beginning of the run. The end of the run is the beginning of your life as an Ironman. It doesn't end there.

Someone told me that less than .2% of the population even START an Ironman triathlon. That is a pretty elite group. And I am now a part of that. As I said, it changes thing. Now there are no excuses, everything is possible. It has opened my eyes. It has made me believe in myself more than ever before. It has humbled me, but at the same time given me a bit of arrogance. It has allowed me to feel proud of myself and who I have become.

If I can start things I am scared of, keep moving, not get bogged down when it gets hard, smile through the pain, have confidence in myself, thank those who support me, support others who I may not even know and realize that every step is closer to the matter what the goal is in my life, I'll achieve it.

And so it is with you. Live your life like the Ironman.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hot Yog-oweee

I love the hot yoga. I've done it several times over the years. I never stick with it and I had forgotten the reason. Until this week. My back cannot tolerate it. I have a leg length difference and I wear a lift in my shoes to even things out. Without that lift, I have endless low back and hip pain. Pain that is almost unbearable. If you have experienced low back pain - you know what I mean.

Since yoga is done barefoot, I cannot wear my lift in my shoe. I believe that this is the root of the issue. I find myself hurting my back during postures that really shouldn't hurt my back. Its a "tweak" that turns into extreme muscle spasms. In the past, it has happened during class and I have been reduced to laying the floor for the duration. One time, I remember, I was bending over touching my toes and I couldn't even stand back up due to the spasms.

This time, it wasn't so bad. Wednesday, during class, we were in the second to last posture and I felt a little pull in my hip/low back "ut oh". I made it through the rest of class and hoped for the best. At 2 am the next morning, I woke up with back spasms....damnit.

Thursday I went to get a massage and he worked it out. I felt better and even went for a run on Friday morning. 3.5 miles and it was the best run I have had in months, seriously. That afternoon, I went to yoga. I was feeling really good....until that same posture. TWEAK. damnit again.

Sure enough, 2 am on Saturday morning, I woke up with back spasms. I wanted to cry. It hurt. When we got out of bed at 6, I could barely stand up, the spasms were so bad. I went to see my chiropractor that morning. He worked on me a little and said "no more hot yoga". This is the same guy that worked on my before Ironman - the one who fixed my arm enough that I could race. I thought it was funny - Ironman "yes", hot yoga "no".

It makes me really sad because I spend so much time thinking about how I would do yoga every day, all the benefits I would be out of it. I KNOW my arm is getting better because of it. But I can't have this kind of pain in my hip and back. I can't tolerate it.

So, for the fourth time in 8 years, I say goodbye to the hot yoga. This is probably our final goodbye. Unless I forget about this again. But I love the yoga....BLAHHHHH

Friday, September 24, 2010

What has your body done for you?

Its been almost four weeks since Ironman. They say it takes a month to recover and I believe that is about right. I've been doing lots of yoga, running and taking spin class. I want to start lifting weights but am holding off until my arm is better, probably another few weeks. I need to get back in the pool and I need to get set up with some lessons.

I am finally at the point where I don't feel tired ALL the time. I am surprised that my eating has stayed under control. One of my fears was that after Ironman I would end up eating everything in sight and gaining a bunch of weight. I had that challenge after the Portland Marathon last year, I just ate and ate and ate. I gained about 8 pounds and could not seem to drop it. I don't want to do that this year, I'd like to stay close to where I am right now.

I have been thinking about how amazing it is that we did all the things we did over the last year to get ready for Ironman. I am shocked that I am feeling so good, that my body has not forsaken me and shut down (knock on wood). I have had a few aches and pains, a few tweaks here and there, but nothing major.

I remember, a few years ago, feeling like my body couldn't handle running more than 13 miles and that marathons were not in my future anymore. Wow. How wrong was I about that!! I have been thanking my body for being so good to me, for doing all the things I have asked it to do and for doing them without resistance.

I am so blessed to be able to do these things. I have not always been kind to my body, in fact, I have really been very mean to it. It has taken good care of me. When I hurt my elbow, I remember thinking that I would heal faster because I was in good shape. Its empowering to know that no matter what comes my way, I can handle it. My body can take just about anything. I am proud of that. So no matter the issues we've had in the past, I think we'll move forward, with a new understanding...perhaps a truce. At least for a while!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ironman Video

Here's the Ironman video. It gives me chills every time I watch.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hot Yogaaahhhhhhhh

It has been several years since I have done hot yoga (Bikram yoga). I used to do it often and I loved it. It was always a great coping mechanism for me. I especially remember when Trevor broke his leg right before our wedding, I went to yoga alot to manage my emotions. I just love how it made me feel.

I haven't had the time to get back into it. During Ironman training I kept saying "when this is over, I am doing hot yoga, lots and lots of hot 30 days of hot yoga". I thought about it all the time, during training rides and swims, during the Ironman itself and certainly during the days leading up to the Ironman when I was freaking out!

There is a new studio that opened up here in Vancouver. Trevor and I started going on Tuesday. My plan is to go for 3o days straight, get all the junk out of my system (mental and physical) and then cut it back to three days a week.

I had forgotten how challenging the Bikram yoga is. First of all, the room is heated to over 100 degrees, so you sweat your ass off just by sitting in the room. There are 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises and you would think "how easy". Not so. Your heartrate goes through the roof, you experience dizziness and nausea. Sounds great, right? But you feel SO good when you are done. I feel so cleansed. Like someone wrung me out like a wet towel. Ahh...

During our first class, I looked over at Trevor and was worried he was going to pass out. He was wearing a red shirt and his face was the color of the shirt. Mine was too. He enjoyed it and is excited to see progress in his flexibility.

Today was day 4 of my 30 days of Hot Yoga. I ran for 40 minutes this morning and then did yoga. I was worried that it would be much more difficult, it wasn't. It actually felt better.

I am hoping that this yoga will help me open up my elbow. I am still unable to straighten it out. There is one posture we do that is specifically to help with arm/elbow/wrist injuries. I look forward to the healing power of yoga making me whole again!

In the meantime, it is nice to go somewhere that everyone is sweating! Usually, its just me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What now?

I think everyone who has done a big event like Ironman asks the same question in the weeks after "What now?" We have spent the last year of our life focusing totally on this one goal. We'd spent all our time, energy and money on this. We had a schedule, it was pretty firm. There wasn't much thinking about what came next, it was written out in black and white and there was little deviation.

We talked about what we would do after Ironman. Trevor said he would go back to fighting. I said I would do yoga. Lots of yoga. We are two weeks out of Ironman and we are moving on to those things. Trevor is starting his MMA training and yesterday we started at Bikram Yoga. After all these years, I finally got Trevor to come with me.

My plan is to do the hot yoga for at least 30 days straight. Bikram Yoga is done in a room heated to over 100 degrees. There are 26 poses and it lasts 90 minutes. It is an amazing workout. Supposed to be good for all kinds of things and very therapeutic.

We are also still running and doing some spin classes. We are planning to do a marathon at the end of October. We just love to run. We also love the spin classes. I am looking forward to a nice Sunday afternoon so we can go for a bike ride....with no agenda, just enjoying being out on the road.

I plan to take some swim lessons over the winter. I have only ever taken one and it got me pretty far, but I think I could improve some if I focused on it. We are tossing around the idea of doing another Ironman next year, but we need some distance between the last one before we can make that decision.

I am really focusing on healing myself. My arm is not better. I was feeling about 70 percent, then on Sunday at the triathlon we put on, I jammed it and now I'd say I am back to about 50 percent. I am also having an issue with my right thumb. I tore ligaments in that during my fall. The focus was always on my left elbow because it was SO bad, the thumb was kind of ignored. But it is difficult to continue to ignore it now.

I am tired of being hurt, tired of not having full use of my arm and my hand. Sometimes it overwhelms me and makes me sad. Sometimes I feel like I will never be whole again. My doctor said that it was a tough decision to let me race Ironman. I feel like I worked so hard to convince myself that it wasn't so bad, that I kind of forgot how bad it really was. It has only been 4 weeks and the dr had said it should take 4-6 weeks to heal, that was with no Ironman. I guess I need to be patient...not my strong suit.

I do know that I need to recharge - mentally more than anything else. I was suprised how mentally draining Ironman would be and how long it would affect me. Sometimes I feel okay and sometimes I feel so completely out of control with my thoughts and emotions. I am hoping that the yoga helps reset me a bit. I believe that going forward, I will be stronger and more able to cope with stressors like what we've been through. Right now, I just need a break....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rotary's Max Muscle Triathlon.

This is a race report from the Race Director's point of view! We've put on a half marathon and a 4k run. This was our first shot at a triathlon. Wow, what a lot of stuff to manage! We had a sprint distance and an olympic distance. Both events going on simultaneously.

This event has been looming for me. August was a tough month - between our hard workouts for Ironman Canada, my bike crash and all that followed, then the actual Ironman....I was exhausted, mentally and physically. The idea of putting together an event was often more than that I could stand.

I did most of the prep work for the event before we headed to Canada, that way, when we got back I would only have a few things to do. Those few things always seem to take up every single minute of every day before the event.

I thought we had things all ready, then we had a surge of last minute registrations, so we needed to do some more work. The night before, we were building bike racks in the garage. Trevor was drilling the holes on the last one at 4 am when I was getting ready to leave home to set up the course!

We did get a little sleep. We went to bed around 10 and got up at 3:30. I showered, ate and headed out to put up the cones and arrows. This is one of my favorite things about an event - being out on the roads, still dark, all the stars are out. Its peaceful and quiet...before the mayhem begins. I like that.

Trevor was picking up Jim and going to be down at the park at 5:30 to start setting up the transition area. I got there around 6:15, after setting up all the course marking. The sound system guy pulled in right after me, which was awesome. I saw Doug's car, which meant all of our team was there. A good way to start the day.

The guys had the transition area about half built. I got the registration table all set up, the food on its table and the cones where the needed to go. Next thing I knew, it was 7 am and people were starting to show up. This is where things turn into a blur.

This is how the pond looked. Beautiful.

Next thing I knew, it was 8 am and I was briefing the volunteers. I went down the list and realized that everyone who said they would be there was there. I breathed a momentary sigh of relief. Everything would be covered. No one had questions, I had briefed them via email a week ago. I have to say, my volunteers are the best. They make my job easier.

As I was briefing them, I saw Doug briefing the kayaks and the Sheriff's boat. The Sheriff's boat was there at 7:30 and helped us set up the course. So much help from so many people. Amazing.

I sent the volunteers on their way and then announced that the Olympic distance participants needed to get to the start area for a briefing. They were set to hit the water at 8:30. I headed down to the water to give them all the details they would need. The Olympic group was 22 people. We got them ready to go and sent them on their way. Journey started.

As I was watching them go, I heard Emimen's song "Lose yourself" come on the speaker. We were using my ipod for music and my playlists were playing. Earlier, when this song was on, someone came over to me and asked me to change the music because of the curse words. Well, I really like this song and so it is on just about every one of my playlists. I heard it start and I SPRINTED to the sound system area to stop that song before the first curse word was uttered. I made it just in time.

I announced to the Sprint distance folks that it was time to make our way to the start area. I got down there and Doug was watching the Olympic swimmers like a hawk. I loved looking out on the water and seeing the boat and about 6 kayaks on the small pond. Safety. I love it.

I got the Sprint group ready to go and off they went! 53 more people in the water. I thought I would get a moment to relax here, but I didn't. The Olympic swimmers would be starting to exit the water soon and I needed to be sure that the swim exit was ready to go. I told Doug to watch my swimmers and I headed back to the transition area.

The time really got away from me today. The swimmers came out of the water and got on their bikes. Some of those people really swam fast! We had to pull one swimmer from the water, she had leg cramps and couldn't continue. I felt sad for her, but quickly focused on the rest of our people out there!

I saw all my favorites getting out of the water....Liz, Trish, Koby, Angie, John, Mike, Garrett, Kim, Ron...the list goes on and on. I knew so many of these people personally and I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw each one of them.

The last of the swimmers exited the water and I got a call from the Sheriff asking if they were all on their bikes. I said, "Your boaters kept them safe in the water, now its your turn to keep them safe on the roads". I believe the safest place in Clark County on Sunday morning was Klineline Pond and roads of Felida.

I had over 40 volunteers helping out today - the majority were either on the bike route or at the transition area. The bike route was really hilly and I knew some of these people would be cursing me!

Again, I thought there would be a lull between the swim finish and people heading back in from the bike ride. I was wrong, before I knew they come. I had put together a time line of the day and I was about 3 minutes off all day long. I guess I didn't look too closely at that before the event, because I would have seen that there was no lull.

The bikers headed out on the run. I knew as soon as the first runner crossed the finish line, the mayhem would really start. That would mean we had bikers coming in, runners going out and runners finishing. Luckily I had amazing volunteers at the transition area. Jim, Derik, Eric and JR managed to keep everyone safe and out of each other's way. The had a whole line up of volunteers directing people. My transition area people really rocked it. Thanks guys.

Our first finishers came across the line. I was able to see the transition area and every once in a while would catch a glimpse of someone I knew coming in on the bike and heading out to run. I would yell words of encouragement to them.

I again watched all my favorites finish. I watched people I knew before the event finish and then I had some new favorites...people I had met at packet pickup or the day of the event. I found myself cheering for every single person who crossed the line. THIS is my favorite part of the day - seeing them come in, knowing their name and making a personal connection. I am not out there on the course, but I get to share in a moment with them. For many of them, I don't know what brought them to this moment, I don't know what hardships they have endured, I don't know if they have met their expectations for the day. But for that one moment, we are there together and I get to say their name as they cross the line. It may sound strange, but its a very personal thing and I really do get a lot of satisfaction out of it. THAT is the reason we do this.

That is the reason we go nuts with the details. I obsess over every minute of the event, every inch of the course, every race packet, decision point and detail of the day. I do it so that at the moment they cross the line, they only focus on themselves and their day, not the things that went wrong or were not what they wanted.

I am a control freak. I admit it. It drives me and most around me nuts, but I get great satisfaction from seeing something through to the end and having it go the way I planned. Right down to the minute.

Before I knew it, we were watching our last finisher cross the line. We were packing up and hitting the road. The day was done. There is still much work to be done to finish up this event. We got a lot of great feedback about our volunteers and the event itself. I look forward to an even bigger group next year, I look forward to making some changes that will make it run even better and I look forward to giving up a little bit of control to others....well, let's not get carried way. We'll see what next year brings.....

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It takes a village

Ironman doesn't just happen. We don't do it by ourselves and without the help of others, it would not be possible. I am going to do my best to put down into words the people responsible...

Trevor - The man who makes it all happen. He planted the seed (even though he doesn't remember) after our first triathlon. On the drive home, after we just about died in the water, he said "we could do an Ironman. He said "sure" a year later when I wanted to do a half ironman. He started looking for an Ironman event that was close enough to home that we could drive. He tolerated all my falling asleep on the couch, looking like crap, throwing things together for dinner and crankiness. He went on every swim, bike ride and run with me, always waiting for me at the finish. Sitting in the ER after my bike crash, he told me that I could still do it, that I didn't have to give up, that I would heal in time. He told me he always knew I would do it because I don't quit things. You are the best friend I have ever had and I am who I am because of you. You make it look so easy.

Doug - The other man who makes it all happen. Doug got us through our first half ironman, then happily signed up for Ironman Canada with us. He's done one before and I think he was more excited for us than we were! We spent a lot of time on the swim, bike and run with Doug. We shared a lot of hard days and a lot of fun. The hard days are always fun with Doug. Being around him makes me feel better. He sees me that way I want to be. He has way more faith in me than I do. Seeing him at the finish line is always something I look forward to. Plus, he makes me laugh.

Doug's family - What an amazing group of people. Seriously. Never met a better group. Melissa, Sera, Malia, Rose, Iwa, Momi, Tim and his wife. We spent lots of time with Doug's family on all our adventures to do marathons, half Ironmans and then Canada. They are kind and giving. I see the amount of love and respect they have for each other, themselves and the world around them and it almost makes me cry. They were our biggest fans during Ironman, they made sure we didn't want for anything in the days before and after the event. One of my favorite moments was Momi getting up at 4 am to braid my hair on race day. This simple act was very emotional for me, very personal and it started my day with some peace. I needed that. These people spent 17 hours on the course, watching and cheering. I still think that was more tough than what I did. They are a part of our memories now. A permanent part of our lives and we love them.

Ron - Thanks to Ron, the bike ride in Ironman was no big deal. This guy lead us on all kinds of crazy bike rides, full of climbs. Always excited to go out and ride 100 miles! He is an amazing cyclist, much stronger than me. But Ron never made me feel like he was waiting around for me. He never made me feel like I should be faster. He probably thought in his mind "what is taking her so long", but it never showed. Another good guy. To the core. We love him too!

Dr. Jake May - I've said it before, this guy is a miracle worker. He has fixed just about every problem my body has had. I crashed my bike 19 days before Ironman. I went to see him and the look on his face when he saw my arm said it all. I knew he was apprehensive that I would get better fast enough for Ironman. But he never said that. He went right to work. He acted as if it was possible and then it became possible. He could have very easily changed my course that day. I was holding out hope that I would be okay. He supported that hope, when he could have squashed it. Because he let me believe, it became true. I know I could not have done Ironman without him. Thanks Jake.

VancouverFit Friends - Wow, where to begin with this. I don't know how we got lucky enough to get in with these guys, but we do feel lucky. We have run with them every Sunday for over a year now and we are a tight knit group. I think we all really know each other, they've seen me at my lowest points, they know I'm a bitch, but they still like me. They cheered for us when we were going off to do our crazy things - marathons, triathlons and then, of course, Ironman. I took a piece of each of them with me on race day. I pictured them in the boats on the swim, cheering me on. I pictured them along the road side during the bike and of course on the run. They sent words of encouragement through text, email and cards. I read and reread those to give myself the courage to start. I didn't want to let them down.

Other Ironman Friends - How can we know so many people who have done this! Randy, Mike, Sarah, Tim, Neil...these people knew what we had done to get to the start line and they knew what was waiting for us on the course and at the finish. They gave us the hope that we could be just like them. Thanks for going before us guys and for letting us know that it would all be okay.

My friends - I often say that I don' t have any friends, boy, it that not true! Looking at my facebook page on the day of Ironman shows what great friends I have. It is so cool to see all the conversations that were going on about me that day. All the people who were watching. Old friends, whom I haven't seen in years, were right there with me that day. Amy, Tina, Tina, Krista, Karen, Shawna, Angie, and so many more. I felt you with me every stroke, pedal and step.

Diane - My hammy. All I wanted was for her to be with me on the run. To walk with me and make me laugh. She texted me the one thing that I kept going back to that day "whatever it takes". I wrote that on my hand and read it all day long. This is a person who has lived those words. She has done whatever it takes to make her life right, to be happy. I am in awe of her. Always.

Mom and Dad - I know they totally do not understand why I do this. I told them they could track us on race day and I knew that my dad wouldn't breath until he saw I was out of the water. I knew they wouldn't go to bed until they saw I had crossed the finish line. When I crossed every timing mat, I thought of them and knew they were watching.

Amanda and Casey - Our employees, they kept the stores under control while we were gone on all our trips, training rides and event days. We never had to worry what was going on at home. Thanks guys, we are lucky to have you.

Our pet sitter Joyce - Our pets are our family and I HATE to be away from them. We could never have done all this if we didn't have someone we could leave with the most valuable things in our life. I never worried about our babies, because I knew Joyce was taking great care of them.

The day of Ironman, I felt like the person that all of these people think I am. I felt like the person I wanted to be. Because of them. Thanks everyone, you will be a part of the memories of this experience forever. And when its your turn, I'll be there for you like you were for me!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ironman the day after and coming home

After I finished, we wanted around for a bit, got our official pictures taken, picked up our stuff and headed to the car. We had a drive home, a long, windy, dark drive home! I was so glad to arrive at our place. We unloaded our stuff. It was SO cold.

We were hungry and tired. Doug's family waited on us hand and foot! Brought us whatever we wanted. I had pasta and chicken, got up , brushed my teeth and went to bed. I didn't even shower and I went right to sleep.

I was relieved and for the first time in days, at peace. I believe the clock said 2 am.

The next morning we got up at 5 am and headed down to the village to get in line to purchase finisher's gear! Such a cruel trick from Ironman. The tent opens at 7 am. When we got there at 6:30, there was already a long line.

We were all tired and sore but really didn't feel so bad. Doug and I went to Starbucks and got some coffee. The line there was about as long as the merchandise tent line! There were also lines of people waiting to register for next year's Ironman. Lines everywhere!

We finally got into the merchandise tent after about 90 minutes of waiting. There was a lot of fun stuff. We spent some time shopping and surely got too much! We had decided that we would buy what we want and not worry about the cost. I didn't want to look back and wish I had gotten something.

We ended up with some good stuff. We each got two jackets, two running shirts, bike jerseys adn I got a visor. I love the visor. When we checked out, the girl gasped when she saw the total. I told her to not say the total out loud! Just give me the paper to sign!

We left there, had some food and then went to get our massages. We had signed up for massages on Saturday and were so glad we did. We laid in the grass and waited. That was one of my favorite times. Just laying in the sun. Here are my two guys.

We sat in the grass and listened the water. It was like an ocean again! We got so lucky on race day that the water was calm. It certainly could have gone the other day.

We had our massages, went to have breakfast and then headed back to the house. It was a great day, very relaxing. We sat on the couch and watched movies. We all slept for a bit. Then we had dinner and went to bed.

It was hard to believe that it was over. We were all sore and had a hard time going up and down the stairs, but overall, we were in pretty good shape. We spent the day sharing our experiences. Doug's family told us about their day. I think their long day as spectators was harder than our day as participants!! They were so amazing.

After a good nights sleep, we got up, had breakfast and hit the road for home. It was tough to sit in the car for 11 hours. By the time we made the turn into our neighborhood, I was so ready to be home. We pulled into driveway and this is what we saw.

What a way to end our journey.

Ironman in Pictures

We stayed at a ski resort called Apex Mountain. It was about 15 miles and 30 minutes outside of town. It was a great condo and we shared it with the most awesome family. Our friend Doug, his wife and two daughthers, his two sisters, his cousin and his wife. We were surrounded by so much love and excitement. And here was our view. From here we saw, sun, rain, wind and snow.

Trevor checking his timing chip on registration day

Here is the registration table. So many volunteers. For an event with 2800 people, they had 4500 volunteers.

My team. Trevor and Doug!

Something about these shoes....KEENS!

Here is the bike area on drop off day. 2800 bikes all racked in their own spots, waiting for their owners to get out of the water!

Here are all my bags before they were packed. Here's the list:
Morning dry clothes bag, swim to bike bag, bike special needs, bike to run bag, run special needs. Then there was the swim bag. So much stuff!!

Here is Trevor, dropping off his swim to bike bag. These bags were packed with all the things we needed after we got out of the water - bike shoes, helmet, gloves, sunglasses, coats, etc.

Trevor and his bike.

The hotel. Every time you saw this, it meant you were done with something...swim, bike or run. Great landmark.

Here is my bike rack. Funny thing, when I got out of the water, there were like 2 bikes left on my rack!

Here is the bike to run bags. All the things we may need after we get off the bike are here.

More swim to bike bags, you can see the water in the background.

Event day! Swim start. All these people started at the same time...

If you look at this picture, you can see me, Trevor and Doug. We are right in the middle of the picture. Doug and Trevor are in yellow caps, then I am in a red cap. We let the masses go before we took off.
See all the boats! The oragne buoy on the left is what marked our course. There were 26 of these buoys.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ironman Race Report: The Run

We had crunched the numbers before race day. If you took all of the 10 hours and 30 minutes to finish the swim and the bike, you would have to average a 16 minute mile for the marathon. I had 7 hours to cover 26.2 miles. My plan was to run to mile 13.1, the turn around point. We had to be there by 9 pm – 14 hours into the day. I figured that if I got there as fast as I could, I wouldn’t have to worry about making the cutoff and that would save some anxiety.

I felt good. My legs weren’t bothering me, my stomach felt good. I got to see Doug’s family again and was SO happy they were there. They took my pictures and cheered.

I was wearing my arm warmers still and had grabbed my rain coat. I figured I might want it once it got dark. I tied it around my waist and it was driving my nuts. At mile 3, I saw a chain link fence and tied my coat to it. I figured I could get it on the way back in.

Aid stations were every mile. Usually, I like to run from station to station and walk from one end of the aid station to the other. I didn’t want to stop every mile, so I planned to stop every three stations or when I needed to refill.

I was moving at a 12 – 13 min mile pace, which is my normal running speed. I didn’t think of the full marathon distance, that would have been overwhelming. Instead, I focused on mile to mile. Everyone around me was walking. Everyone was hurting. I felt good.

As I made my way towards the turnaround, it was a battle to not start walking. It just sounded good. I was tired of running, tired of the effort. My heartrate stayed low – right around 150, so I wasn’t burned out. I was just mentally tired. I had spent three weeks talking myself into the idea that my arm would be good enough to race today, I had spent the last two day talking myself into actually getting in the water this morning. I had about 4 hours of total sleep in the last 48 because I was so stressed out about the swim. I was tired of talking myself into doing things I didn’t want to do.

I knew I would run until the halfway point. I knew that any time I made up there would give me time to do anything I wanted on the way back. This was a low point. I didn’t want to be out here anymore and there was still a long way to go. But I kept going.

Eventually, I saw Doug coming the other way. I was walking up a hill after an aid station. He was having leg pain and actually had been walking the entire way. We hugged, checked in and went on our way. A few minutes later I saw Trevor. He was walking too. We hugged, checked in and went on our way.

I made it to the turn around. It took me about 2 hours and 50 minutes to get there. Not so bad. My last mile was 12 minute pace. As I picked up my special need bag, I thought about continuing to run. I was just about 13 hours and I figured I could finish around 15:30 – 16 if I kept running. I had beat the cutoff and now just had to make it back to the finish line by 17 hours. That gave me 4 hours to cover 13.1 miles.

The turn around was at the bottom of a hill. I believe it had been at the top of a hill or level, I would have kept running. Instead, we started steep uphill and that killed my momenteum. My arm was swelling now and my hand looked like a sausage. I had put an ice pack in my special needs bag, so I popped that and put it on my arm for about 10 minutes as I walked.

What followed was the lowest point of my day and it lasted for hours. There were glimmers during those hours, but it was mostly low point. Physically, I was okay and probably could have ran from aid station to aid station. But mentally, I just didn’t care anymore. Everyone was walking. So I walked too.

Doug had give me and Trevor an M dot (Ironman Logo) temporary tattoo to put on our hand so everytime we looked at our watch, we’d remember what we were doing. Under that I had written these words “whatever it takes”. My friend Diane had texted that to me in the days before Ironman. I looked at that a lot.

I had gotten advice from others too. These things ran through my mind. The advice was: Keep moving forward, don’t ever sit down, when they offer your warm chicken soup broth at the aid stations – take it. As I made my way back, I remembered these things. I started to get cold and worried that I could get too cold. I didn’t want to get disoriented, dizzy or sick. I slowed or sped up my pace as necessary to keep from feeling too badly.

It was still pretty windy and the sun was setting. I wished I still had my coat with me! I started to take soup at aid stations, pretty sure I wouldn’t be running anymore. My pace was 16-17 minute miles. I was offered space blanket at an aid station, the volunteer tied it around me. At the next aid station, I got a second one. I didn’t want to get cold, I didn’t care how I looked. Another racer told me that Lady Gaga would be jealous of my outfit!

I knew that around mile 22 we would be back into town. Until then, it would dark, lonely road. There were still people coming the other way towards the turnaround. Volunteers kept telling them to hurry so they would make the 9 pm cutoff. I was so glad I was where I was and not where they were.

They came by with glow necklaces. All I could see ahead of me was a string of glowing circles moving through the night on our final march. There is a lot of self talk that goes on here and it wasn’t pretty. I thought of things to keep me going. My friend Krista had told me to think of her at the lowest points. I thought of her now. I thought of her walking next to me and it made it better for a while. Then I thought of my friend Diane, the one who said “whatever it takes” and wished she was there to walk with me so we could laugh about how ridiculous this was.

I thought about how I couldn’t wait to be finished. The idea of 3 more hours, two more hours, one more hour to go…was not comforting. 3 hours of walking is a long damn time. Especially after 14 hours of moving. I focused on getting to each mile marker, to each aid station. One step in front of the other.

We finally made it to mile 22, back into town. Houses started to appear. People were in their yards, in lawn chairs, cheering us on. They would strain to see our names on our bibs in the dark. They had been there all day too. At this point, I thought of my friend Sarah. She did Ironman a few months ago and didn’t make the cut off at mile 22. I was going to go the last 4 miles for her.

I wanted to stop, I wanted to quit. It wasn’t really a possibility, but I wanted to. I couldn’t figure out how to quit and still finish. So I kept going. I had written this on a piece of paper and carried it all day: commit. Own it. Finish it.

There was another super low point. At that point I recited the names of all the people who had supported me, who was thinking of me today. I said their names out loud, over and over. I felt their strength and it kept me moving forward.

We hit mile 23 and I started to think I was actually going to make it. For the first time, I believed I would finish. We had been in the merchandise tent on Saturday and I saw all the Ironman Canada gear and I was sad because I worried I wouldn’t finish. I worried I wouldn’t get to buy a jacket that said Ironman. I don’t know that I ever really believed I would do it….until now.

At this point, I thought of all the things I would buy. I thought of the Ironman tattoo I would get. I thought about how I would wear something Ironman everyday for as long into the future as I could imagine.

I made it to mile 25 and saw the finish line. You actually pass the finish line, head out a ways and then back. The out portion went on forever. I heard the announcer say there was 40 minutes left until 17 hours…I was at 16 hours and 20 minutes. I actually worried that I wouldn’t make the cutoff. I could hear the crowd and see the lights.

I made the final turn, it wasn’t long now. At one point, a volunteer said “you have 9 minutes to make it in under 16 hours and 30 minutes, if you run.” Then, some other random guy said to me “want me to run you in”. I said, “not yet”. So he walked with me until we got closer and then we ran. He said “they won’t let me cross the line with you” and I thought “I don’t know you, why would I want you to cross the line with me?” He peeled off and I kept going.

I had thought about how tough this day would be, thought I understood what it was about, thought I knew what people were talking about in their notes, advice and race reports. I can tell you, unless you’ve done this, traveled this journey, you can’t understand. In the next few moments…I understood.

I entered the chute. The spotlight was on me. Thousands of people were cheering, stamping their feet, banging their hands on the barriers that lined the chute. It was exhilarating. I got the chills and the hair on my arms stood on end. They were all there for me. I ran, I smiled, I raised my arms in the air as they put the finishers banner across the line and I ran through it. Done. 16 hours and 30 minutes after I started.

I got my medal, they took my timing chip. I saw Doug and Trevor. Our theme as a team is “We live for Crazy”. I said to them “This is the craziest F*cking thing we’ve ever done”. And it was.

Run Time: 6:31:18

OVERALL TIME: 16:26:48

Ironman Race Report: The Bike

The bike is the meat of the Ironman, the longest part of the day. This is where you settle down and really get into the race. For me, this is where I really start to relax. I crossed the bike mount line and turned the corner to head up main street. I saw Doug’s family and they all cheered super loud when they saw me. I screamed back. I was SO happy to be done with the swim!

The weather started out nice. It was sunny with a bit of cloud cover. I had a general idea of how the route would go. Pretty flat for the first 30 miles or so, one small climb during that period. Then one big hill – Richter Pass. Then some rollers. An out and back to special needs. A final climb to Yellow Lake and a fast descent.

I was rolling along, feeling good. My arm was holding up, my nutrition was right on track. I spent a lot of time in the aero position, just relaxing and enjoying the scenery. It was beautiful wine country and orchards. There were tons of people out at the street cheering. People would sit in their yards and cheer, people parked their cars on the side of the road and they cheered. They didn’t just cheer for who they knew, they cheered for everyone.

We got to Richter Pass and it was over before I knew it. We trained hard on hills, so it didn’t feel so tough. Before I knew it, we were at mile 50. I was making good time. I was hoping the bike would take me 7 hours, 7 hours and 30 minutes at the most. I was right on track.

I knew special needs was at 75 miles, so I focused on that. It made it easier than thinking of 112. There were 10 rolling hills, I powered the uphills, coasted downhill. This is when the wind started. The sky turned dark and the wind started to whip. We turned on the road to do our out and back to special needs and the wind was relentless. I wasn’t sure how the weather was going to turn, but I wasn’t to happy about it.

I turned right and saw the bikers on their way back from the out and back. Then, unexpectedly, I saw Trevor. We had a moment to realize we were seeing each other before we passed. I said “hey” and he said “hey” back. That was it. I was happy to see him so that he knew I made it out of the swim.

I headed out to special needs. The road was super bumpy and that really bothered my arm. Too much jarring. I was playing leap frog with the same people all day long. We all had our names on our race numbers, so we could call each other by name. It made the day very personal. You could tell some people were struggling, but for the most part, everyone was in good spirits. When I saw someone with a flat tire or bike trouble, I would always yell and ask if they had what they needed and I thanked my bike for staying in one piece.

We made the turn to Yellow Lake and the wind was still really blowing. I kept expecting to get to a climb that was steep uphill to Yellow Lake. After a while, I realized that I was in my smallest gear and I had been climbing for miles. This was around mile 80. I believed that the downhill started around mile 90.

People were really struggling here. Everyone was very quiet, grinding up the hill. I had stuck to my nutrition plan, my stomach felt good, my legs felt good. I was feeling strong on the bike and really looking forward to that fast downhill to make up some time. Now, it started to rain. Wind AND rain?

The road to Yellow Lake was lined with cars, people were cheering on both sides like it was the Tour de France. They kept saying “you are almost there”, but they were never right. We finally reached the top, there was an aid station. I stopped, moved around my bottles of fuel and got back on for the final ride back into town.

I had until 10 hours and 30 minutes into the race to get off the bike. At the top of the hill, I was at 8 hours and 45 minutes. There was about 22 miles left. With a fast downhill, I figured that would take less than an hour. 45 minutes, 30 if it was really fast.

I started the descent and the wind was blowing harder that I have ever felt wind blow. I was scared on the downhill that I would get blown over. Plus it was raining. I did not get to coast the way I had planned, it was a slow descent. Once we got on the flat road into town, the wind was even stronger and I had to pedal hard just to keep moving. It felt like those last few miles went on FOREVER. I could see the lake and it looked like the ocean because of the wind. Insane.

I made the final turn into town and figured I would be out of the wind. Instead it seemed to be a stronger headwind. I just laughed. I looked at my watch and started to worry. It was now 9 hours and 45 minutes. Not as much time as I had expected to have before the cutoff.

I saw runners headed out on the course and I saw runners headed in toward the finish. People were going to finish the whole thing before I even started the run. Do you believe that?

I made the last turn, dismounted my bike, handed it over to a volunteer and thanked it for the ride of my life. I made my way to the tent to get ready for the run. Time was right around 10 hours. I had hoped to be here an hour before. Our friend Randy had sent us a note a few weeks ago about Ironman and one of the things it said was that planning your Ironman is like trying to land a man on the moon, by remote, blindfolded. And that how well you can adapt to changes on race day will make all the difference. I remembered that and just kept moving.

10 hours into the day and all that was left was a marathon.

Bike Time: 7:59:09
Transition Time: 7:02

Ironman Race Report: The swim

My plan was to stay to the outside left of the pack to protect my arm. I wanted to avoid contact and have a calm swim. Ironman Canada is the largest mass start in all of Ironman. 2800 people get into the water at the same time. That sounds scary. The three of us waited for the masses to go and then we got in and started our swims.

The swim course is a long, thin triangle. The route is marked every couple hundred feet by large orange numbered buoys. The turn arounds are actual boats, house boats. I was going to focus on getting from buoy to buoy and not get too worked up about how far was left.

On my best day, I figured my swim would take an hour and 40 minutes. Today, I would have been happy with a two hour swim. I put my head down and swam. It didn’t take long to get into a rhythm. I counted my strokes and stayed calm. The water was quiet, I was around a few people, but I didn’t feel crowded.

The buoys passed and before I knew it, I was at the first house boat turnaround. Just a bit further and then I hit the second turn. This turn put me towards home. Half way there. At this point, I thought about my friend Amy, who was doing a three mile swim in New Jersey that started around 8 am PST. I figured that was the time I would be making this turn, so I thought of swimming with her. I was having a great swim. A really great swim. The beach was getting closer and closer. I could see the bottom and finally decided to stand.

This part of the beach was super rocky and I actually slipped and fell back in the water. It was hard to keep balance. I looked down at my watch. 1 hour and 39 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I had been so worried about the swim and it had turned out to be great. My arm bothered me a bit during the swim, just enough to let me know it was there and not 100%. I was wearing a compression sleeve, the dr said my arm would swell and that would help control it.

I walked into the transition area and saw the wetsuit strippers. Since my one arm wasn’t working, I couldn’t get my suit off my upper body. I looked around to find the ones who I thought would be most gentle. There were some guys that were way too aggressive and I knew I didn’t want them. I found a few women who started to help and they couldn’t get my suit off my arm. Someone had to come help, then I laid down on the ground and they pulled my suit off me.
I got up, someone handed me my transition bag and headed into the changing tent. I found a chair and dumped out my bag. A volunteer came over to help me. I had read so many race reports about Ironman and it was so cool to see it all for myself.

I put on my socks, bike shoes, helmet, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses and arm warmers. My volunteer packed up my wetsuit and swim stuff, took my bag and said “have a great race”. I walked out of the tent, where more volunteers put sunscreen on me. Then I made my way to
my bike and walked it out of transition.

I was so happy to be out of that damn water, so proud of myself for doing it and ready to get on with the rest of my day.

Swim time: 1:42:06
Transition time: 7:16

Ironman Race Report: The Morning

I didn’t sleep at all. Not at all. My stomach was in knots all night, it was making so much noise that it woke Trevor up. I was so scared. So scared. At one point I fell asleep and immediately woke up with a start. Ironman. I have never felt this way in all my life.

The alarm went off at 3:45. We got up and started to get our stuff together. I told Trevor that I couldn’t wait to get in the water so that I could stop worrying and just start doing. As I mixed up my drinks for the bike, I thought “it will be a waste to mix these up and not get to use them. I have to get through the swim”.

Trevor started loading our stuff into the car. He came back in and said “be sure to put in your blog that the car was frosted over”. It was SO cold out! The three of us piled into the car and headed to town. Transition opened at 5, the race started at 7. We planned to get down there around 5:30.

We found a parking spot and unloaded our stuff, made our way to transition. We all went our separate ways to get ourselves ready to go. Trevor came over to pump up my tires. The time was getting away from us. They announced that it was 30 minutes to start time. We needed to use the restrooms and get on our wetsuits.

I looked at the water and it was calm, much better than the days before. I felt a little better about that. But I didn’t have time to worry. By the time we got on our wetsuits and made our way down to the beach, there was about 5 minutes to start time! No time to wait around and fret, just time to say our goodbyes, set ourselves at our spots on the beach and focus on the job ahead.

Trevor and I kissed, Doug hugged both Trevor and I. The cannon shot and off we went…

Ironman: Day 2

Today we got up to the most beautiful day. It was cold, but sunny and amazing clear. That’s more like it. We got our gear ready, Trevor trained me on how to get my wheels off my bike, should I get a flat. We went on a quick ride to check the bikes and got ready to get to our bike check in. This is where we leave our bikes and our transition bags today, so we don’t have to mess with them tomorrow.

I thought I had plenty of time. I got out of the shower at 10:30 and Trevor told me that check in closes from 11:30 to 2. Shit. We got our stuff together, threw it in the car and hauled ass down the hill to town. We parked in the first place we saw, unloaded the bikes and ran down to the bike check in. We got there around 11:25. Whew.

We racked our bikes, left our bags in the appropriate place. I looked at the water, rough again, and still felt like I needed to vomit.

We walked out of the bike area and headed to the village to look at the merchandise. I have a hard rule that you don’t buy or wear event gear until you have finished the race. It was hard to get excited about stuff when I wasn’t going to buy any and really was feeling sick about the whole event itself.

Then I realized that I needed to be a little more committed to finishing this race. I needed to get all in. This scared shit wasn’t going to cut it. I was going to do Ironman on Sunday and I was going to finish it on Sunday. Monday I would be an Ironman and I could buy all the cool gear I wanted. I would make it out of the swim, onto the bike and off the bike onto the run. That’s all there is to it.

We stopped at Starbucks, got some coffee, hit the grocery store and headed home – up the hill. We had lunch and parked our butts on the couch.

Here I sit now, 14 hours until start time and for the first time in two days, I am not sick to my stomach. I am tired because I didn’t sleep last night. Once I finish typing this, I am going to take a little nap. Then we’ll eat, do some last minute stuff and go to bed.

I am started to get excited about tomorrow. It is going to be fun. My arm has healed well enough that I am going to be okay. It is stiff and sore and still hurts sometimes. I don’t have full range of motion. But I am going to do Ironman tomorrow. I am going to remember that I cried when I thought my season was over, the day I crashed on bike. And yet here I am. Ready to go.

After dinner, I will sit in my bedroom and write out how my event will go. My plan is to be safe, have fun, keep my heart rate under 155 and finish with a smile. The road to Ironman has one last hill. One last long hill. Its been a long journey, a long road.

I am not going to let the person I used to be hold back the person I have become. Tomorrow, I become Ironman. And I can’t wait.

Ironman: Day 1

We slept in on Friday. Around 7, Doug knocked on our door to tell us that it was snowing outside. Do you believe that? August 27th and it is snowing. Awesome. Between the wind and the snow, I was feeling totally sick to my stomach.

Today was the day we would go down to the village and register, then at night would be the mandatory athlete meeting. We also planned to do a practice swim to test out my wetsuit that had been glued.

We headed downtown, the dark, winding road looked a little better in the light. Still steep and winding! I kept thinking how fun it would be to drive this road on Sunday night after Ironman…
We got down to the village around 11. We decided to go register. I saw the water – it was pretty choppy and I decided I didn’t want to swim in it. So typical. We went and got registered. We signed our paperwork, got our packets and our wristbands. It was seeming a little more real. I was freaking out.

I was looking at the water and it was nothing like Klineline pond, where we train. It was rough waters and I wanted to cry. Upon further thought, we decided we would go for a swim. They had buoys set up along the shoreline. It was a nice place to practice.

I needed a little help getting on my wetsuit. Trevor stood behind me to pull my sleeve up. His hand slipped and he totally punched me in the face. Hard. Now I am prepared for the swim. We laughed SO hard about that. Otherwise I would have cried.

We got in the water and it was cool. Not too bad, but cool. We started to swim. We figured we would swim about half way down the shoreline and then out and then back. Holy shit, the water was rough. I had a long conversation with myself “this suck. I don’t need this practice. This isn’t helping me. What am I going to do on Sunday if its like this. Oh God, what have I gotten myself into”. I stopped a few times and breast stroked. Then I realized that I need a plan – because it was probably going to be rough like this on Sunday. I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit. I wanted to get out and go home. I didn’t want to do Ironman. I didn’t want to do any of it.
We got to the turn around, swam out a bit and headed back. I breast stroked a lot more than I wanted.

Then I realized that it was a great thing that we had done this practice swim. Now I don’t have to have these conversations with myself on Sunday. I can just adapt, breast stroke for a bit to get my bearing and keep going. If I need to. Otherwise, I can just put my head down and swim. Like I always do.

We got out of the water and went to have lunch. I couldn’t eat, I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to cry. I was so upset and nervous. These feelings followed me through the next 24 hours or so.
We headed back to the house – up the hill. Cleaned up, packed up our bags for race day, had dinner and headed back to town – down the hill - for the athlete’s meeting. This is where they go over the course and the rules. They asked how many people were racing their first Ironman. About 75% of the room stood up. I asked Doug if he thought other people were feeling like I was feeling. He said “most of them are feeling worse”. That helped. But I still felt totally sick to my stomach. The meeting ended and we headed back to the house – up the hill.

We went over our bags one more time. There is so much stuff for triathlon. For Ironman, it is even worse. You don’t set your stuff up at your bike like you do in smaller events. You put your stuff in bags and you have to drop those bags off before race day. You have to plan ahead. Lots of planning. Too much thinking!

We had some dessert and went to bed. I didn’t sleep well at all. I felt really sick to my stomach and so uneasy. I hate this part of triathlon. I get SO worked up. I hate it. That is my least favorite part of the sport and I don’t know how to train it out of me, but I need to figure it out.

Road to Ironman: Arrival

We left on Thursday morning for the long drive. It was kind of cool because we drove north thru Seattle, past many of the places we had done events leading to Ironman – the marathon in Olympia, the marathon in Whidbey and the half Ironman in Lake Stevens. We saw them all on this trip – literally on the road to Ironman!!

The drive wasn’t so bad, except for the wind. The second half of the trip was SUPER windy. I expected it to take about 10 hours, putting us at our destination around 8ish. Doug and his family had arrived the night before. We were following the directions and were getting worried that we had a made a wrong turn. I knew we were staying at a resort, a ski resort, but I didn’t realize how steep the road to get there would be.

We were staying about 30 minutes outside of Penticton. We went up the darkest, most winding
road ever. I couldn’t believe it. We finally got to where we were staying around 10:30. We got out of the car and I couldn’t believe how cold and windy it was. Ugh. We were so tired! Doug’s family helped us unpack, we settled in and went to bed. Lots of excitement in the days to come…

The Final Days…

The last few days before we headed to Canada were hectic…just like all the other days of our life recently! We had originally planned to leave on Wednesday morning, but decided to leave on Thursday instead. Few reasons for this…I wanted to give my arm as much time to heal and as many dr appts as I could. Also, I HATE being away from the pets. And knowing how stressed out I get before an event, I figured that extra days there would not be enjoyable for me (or anyone else!).

It’s a good thing we gave ourselves that extra day, we barely got things done in time to even get on the road Thursday! The amount of stuff needed for a triathlon is seriously unbelievable. It takes a lot of planning and packing to make sure you have all the things you need. We actually brought a full length folding table into the front room. Trevor laid out his things there and I used the pool table.

I had been doing some running and spin class, but hadn’t tested my arm on the swim. Tuesday night I did that. It didn’t feel great, but it felt good enough. I had a hell of a time getting my wetsuit on with one good arm (and that good arm has a thumb that doesn’t work!). While putting on my suit, I tore a hole in it, that needed to be patched. Ugh.

We were having our outfits for the day logo’d with Max Muscle and We live for Crazy. The printer was having some issues and finally got them delivered to us on Tuesday night. I saw them and just about started to cry. They looked like shit. The print was all gloppy, my shirt was all stretched out and couldn’t be worn, Trevor’s white top was all yellowed from going through their heater. I could not believe it.

I had gone through so much to get my shirt ready to go. I had been wearing the same purple shirt for every triathlon in the last two years. I decided I wanted a new one for Ironman. I searched high and low online and in stores to find the right one. I finally found one that I liked and ordered it online in a medium. I got it and realized I needed a small. I ordered that and got it just in time for one test bike ride. That was the day I crashed my shirt tore down the front. The printer was supposed to pick it up the next day. I called the place I ordered it from and they said they would overnight me a new one. Then they called back to say that they didn’t have it in stock so they would have the manufacturer send it to me. I gave the printer my torn shirt to do their measurements on. They did a test printing on that shirt and when they put it into the dryer, it “melted like plastic”. They tried a different print technique on the new shirt, but stretched the shirt.

I finally realized that the purple shirt was to blame….it was pissed that it wasn’t getting to do Ironman. It had done all the work, all the shorter races, training swims and rides and now it wasn’t going to get the glory. I decided to wear the purple shirt on race day. I pulled it out of the practice swim gear pile and put it in the race day pile. All was right with the world now.

We did our last spin class on Wednesday morning and when it was over Trevor said “that’s it. Ready?”. A tough question. How can that be it? How can it be time? The training seemed to go on forever, yet it was over in the blink of an eye. As tough as it has been, in so many ways, it has been one of the most fun times in my life. I have thoroughly enjoyed all this time on the swim, bike and run with Trevor and with Doug. And now it was coming to an end, that made me a little sad.

Thursday morning I had one last appt with Dr. Jake. He commented that arm looked even better than it had two days earlier. He worked on it and taped it up. I asked him for any last words of advice and he said “have fun”.

I headed home, where Trevor was finishing up the packing and the cleaning. I said good bye to the pets and hit the road….