I have written and re-written this post at least three times. I am unsure why I can’t get happy with my report since I am very happy with how my race progressed this year. So I think it is time to apply the KISS strategy and just write. Sorry for any rambling that may occur!
This year we took off a day earlier so we could have more time to enjoy the beautiful city of Tempe and the race venue. This really paid off as we never felt like we were in a rush this year and that relaxed feeling carried over into race day. Super Jen discovered her favorite tacos in the country on Mill Street at Loco Patron. She liked them so much that she had them every day while we were in Tempe. I must say they were good.
Race check-in and registration for 2015 were very smooth this year unlike last. The lines and process were much better organized and I truly appreciate the volunteers that gave their time. I can’t wait to race beside so many of you that were volunteering to get your 2015 race slot. We did the normal stuff of buying some T-shirts and perusing the Expo over and over for things we “needed”. 🙂
There were a few highlights of the race week this year I must mention. First and foremost, Tribe Multisport, for putting on the underwear run and the excellent shop party. Both events were very well run and we were very happy to participate. The Arizona Zoot team was also very welcoming and accommodating with us and I surely appreciate all of the kind words and getting to race next to teammates. Also, the BOA Closure System’s team was truly awesome! I wish I would have had more time to get more shoes fitted! Mostly I wish my dogs wouldn’t have eaten a set when we got home, guess they liked the new BOAs also.
This year race day did not sneak up on me like it did the previous year. I knew it was coming, I was quite relaxed and I knew what to expect throughout the day. That was my thoughts at least the night before, little did I know there were to be some surprises thrown my way to test my will. This year I was privileged to race along side Megan and we had our spouses and teammates to cheer us on the course. This was comforting knowing I knew people on the course this time around instead of last year when I was ready to burst into tears anytime I saw Super Jen. The power of seeing a familiar face on an Ironman course is amazing.
Transition setup was quick and quiet as planned. I only needed to drop bottles and nutrition since I was keeping it simple. The only problem I had was the valve core sticking on my rear wheel when I attempted to top off the tires. I went from 110psi to 0psi very quickly, that was a nerve racking couple of minutes trying to fix it on the rack. After some water and cleaning the valve though it was as good as new! After that I went back to meet up with our group for last minute words of encouragement and shaking off the nerves that had arisen. We suited up and hugged everyone good bye for the start of our long day!
Megan and I stayed together all the way to the stairs somehow. After we jumped we became separated, but I figured that would be the case. I had a major blunder jumping off the stairs trying to dodge a lady that jumped right in front of me as I was jumping. I ended up hitting my right foot on the wall and bottom. It cut it pretty deep and I was pretty sure I broke my pinky toe, the blood stopped flowing pretty quickly due to the cold water so I just went on. The most medical could do would be wrap it and put ice on it so I decided the cold Tempe water would do just about the same. I was a couple of minutes late getting to the line due to the mishap, but I am pretty sure that helped me in the swim. I received a lot less damage this year from the swim than last. Passing more than being passed works well for me I have found over the last couple of IM races. A few minutes before the turn I looked up while I took a breath and Megan was right beside me. We didn’t start together, but somehow we ended up no more than a few feet apart among 2999 other swimmers. Little things like that really push you during a long IM day, those things that just make you chuckle or smile go a long way when you are in 62 degree water.
I came out of the water not doing any extra distance this time and felt really well. The run to the change tent was a blur. We got ready at the table again this year and both went ewww at my torn up toes. As Megan said “you are going to feel that later”, all I could do is laugh it off and put socks on. She was VERY correct on feeling it, once the cold wore off I could really feel the cuts and the jammed up toes. At this point I was still pretty sure the little one was broken the way it felt.
On the bike we were treated to one of the windiest days on the IMAZ course in its history. Each lap progressively got windier and the 17 miles out to the turn around was either a head cross or full head wind. There were lots of accidents from people crossing lanes and just going to fast with the downhill tailwind so you had to be aware of your surroundings constantly. I just put my head down in aero and rode, it was all I could do honestly. I wanted off the bike with a decent time, but I also wanted to feel good for the marathon still to come. I had no issues on the bike other than just it being tiresome. Battling the wind actually took away the boredom you sometimes get on a ride like that so even though it hurt I appreciated that it kept my mind busy. By the time we were on the third lap we were riding in 25+ MPH winds and I could really see it taking toll on other riders. As I was finishing my third lap there were people just going out on laps and I truly felt for them as the wind was just getting stronger. Being able to make that late turn though is the essence of being an Ironman in my opinion. When your body and mind is screaming to quit but you keep going, that is awesome.
Going into T2 I was very fatigued. I got a big boost from Bryan Dunn, Team Zoot Arizona, and that was very appreciated. My toes were not getting better so I put on fresh socks, a fresh tri top and grabbed my other stuff for the run. I was both happy and sad to be on the run.
Heading out of T2 my legs were working a lot better than I thought they would. I grabbed nutrition on the first few stops and was holding a good pace. I hadn’t seen Megan since lap two of the bike so I was hoping she was doing well. I found out at mile four she was doing just fine as we passed by each other and she later passed me at mile nine. I was happy to see her go by because that meant she was having a very good race. I was above my projected pace at that point so that meant we were both doing well and all of those training days were paying off. I had also said I would finish about 30 minutes behind her and that looked to be true after a long hard day. I kept on pushing until mile 12.5, that is when my world came crashing down.
At mile 12.5 of the marathon I went from running strong and feeling great to almost falling over and not being able to stand up straight. I was confused and couldn’t really see straight. I started walking at that point in a semi-straight line just trying to stay up right. That is the first time I thought I may not finish the race. I had done everything right, I thought, and I had lots of energy and plenty in the legs. It took me about a mile to figure out that I had actually over-hydrated and that made me even more afraid I wasn’t going to finish. I stopped all fluids and just rinsed my mouth with water for a couple of miles to quench the thirst. I saw Jen and Grey at mile 13.5 and begged them to find Ben before I stumbled off to keep going. I was determined to keep going!!! At special needs I grabbed a packet of cookies I had stashed to see if I could soak up some of the excess fluids and put a little sugar back in the blood stream. This had almost an immediate positive effect and I was back to walking upright and power walking. By this time I couldn’t run any longer from wasting my legs by stopping like I did, but I could keep power walking so that is what I did. By mile 16 I was back up to speed and walking 15-17 minute miles just to keep going. I was so sad that I was going to be sub six hours on the marathon this year and I was then reduced to walking just to finish. I did the math and figured out the pace I needed to beat my 2013 pace and that is exactly what I did.
Jenny, Grey, Ben and Tim were all there after my debacle to cheer me on and give me the boost I needed to finish. The wind had never stopped blowing and now it was down in the low 60s so we were all very cold, but I was going to finish. Never in my life had I been that determined to do something. I can’t recall a time at least. I kept doing my power walk and taking in fluids when I could, but nutrition was still hard to get down. Those last few miles were a blur that seemed to go on forever, but at last I could see and hear the finish! I decided since I was forced to walk that far I would walk it in and give as many high fives as I could. I think I got at least 20 people going down the chute and I was smiling. I could hear my entire team cheering when I came in and I had nothing but happiness in my head. None of the days events mattered any longer as they placed my finishers medal around my neck. I stopped paying attention to my jacked up toes hours earlier and the hydration issue was nothing more than a distant memory. I was officially a 2 time Ironman!!! The conditions were much tougher, I had a very messed up foot and I had battled back from over hydration to the point I almost went to medical. This medal means much more than my 2013 just for what it took to obtain.
I cannot wait for Ironaman Arizona 2015!!!
First and foremost thank you Super Jen! You are the best specator, supporter, friend and wife an IM could have. You put up with the insane training and ridiculous race schedules. You even trade around days so we both can train and race, you are the best and I love you!!!
Ben, thank you for putting up my my whining and bitching all year long every year. You are a great coach and a great friend. I am honored to be racing with you in 2015!
Megan, thank you for being my training partner and comrade during the race. It made everything so much easier suffering alongside someone this time than the previous year when it was just me training for IMAZ.
My KMF teammates where would I be without you? Bored and training alone mostly! Thank you all and I can’t wait to race alongside so many of your in 2015.
Team Zoot!!!! I am so proud to be a part of ZootSports and to have such a good group of friends. I am honored to have been a part of 2014 and to be selected again for the 2015 team.
Onward to 2015!!!!!!