Came to this Ironman race to do the swim and the bike and learn about what it takes to become an Ironman. All of that accomplished. Had the crazy idea that if I got through the the 112 mile bike ride (furthest to date had been 56 miles) I would go ahead and try to finish it up, even though I had only been on a half IM training plan.
Just being in IM Village is exciting. The whole atmosphere is so energetic and positive. We checked in, bought too much IM merchandise and soaked it all in. Enjoyed a dinner with all the Texas Vantage Point and Finish Strong athletes that came here to do this race.
Discovered Friday night that my electronic shifting was not working. So we after a quick run Saturday morning, headed off to find the bike techs. They were amazing and thanks to my coach John Tortorici bringing over a laptop, we discovered it needed a firmware update. A little stressful but all was well within a few hours. Did the practice swim and was comfortable in the water. Jumped on the bike for a few laps and felt great.
Woke up at 3:30 am nervous. Ate breakfast and headed over to the race site. Everything went fast until I went over to stand in the swim start line. Seemed to be there forever and it was cold. The water was 68 degrees or something, so once we jumped in, it actually felt kind of warm compared to the air (in the 50s). I was surprised how much room I had right away. Got into a nice rhythm quickly and felt strong. Got hit in the head at the halfway turn, but got right back into my rhythm. Finished in 1:43 something – super happy with that.
Now to do my first century on the bike in a race – haha – what is wrong with me? So much traffic on the first loop. I felt bad for the pros having to deal with very rude people riding in the left lane when they clearly should not have been. I was tentative on lap one. The false flat on the way out was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be and there was a strong wind. Then the turnaround – it was downhill with the wind at my back. Going 25+ and loving life. Loop 2 = less traffic so tried to push a little harder. Just make it to the turnaround and then downhill I kept telling myself. Made it and my special needs bag was just a few miles ahead. Stopped and refilled all my nutrition and had half a peanut butter sandwich. (Took it on the bike). There was a cutoff time of 3 pm to start loop 3. Focused on that and made it by 10 minutes. Then for loop 3. Had to be at the turnaround by 4:15 – with the uphill. Pushed as hard as I could and it was 1 to 2 mph faster than my first two laps. I realized at some point that I was not going to make it. Put it in God’s hands at that point. Got there at 4:23. I was there with a few other people. The IM official told us to go go go but we had to be at the dismount line by 5:30 hard. So I booked it. Pushed with everything I had. I spent about 40% of the ride in aero, because you can’t sit up for 112 miles, but at this point I got into aero going 19 mph downhill. If you ride with me, you are saying you would like proof – haha. When I got to the flat, I had to keep it at 16 mph to make it in, and it was pure heart at that point. I made it to the dismount line at 5:29:59. No lie – 1 second to spare.
You had to be on the run course by 5:40. So the rush was on for me to get thru t2. Since I was pretty much the last one in, I had a huge group of volunteers helping me. Got me in and out pretty fast. Started the run at about 11 minute miles but pretty quickly slowed down. Ran and then walked thru aid stations. I made it to 13 and my special needs bag and stopped to put on compression socks. Just a half marathon and done. Started hearing about a 10:30 pm run cutoff at mile 20. I was running pretty slow, but thought I could make it. I did make it, crossed the 20 mile marker. Whew I thought. Went into the restroom. When I came out, an IM official told me he was sorry, but he had to take my chip and my day was over. The official “line” was 10 feet in front of the bathrooms. I’m not a quitter, but I had to stop. Heart-wrenching after 15 hours and 15 minutes of giving all of my heart to finishing, albeit without having done the proper training. I knew David was at the finish and that broke my heart too.
It would be easy for me to be upset that I missed becoming an Ironman here by one minute. But the truth is, I missed it because I’m still too slow on the bike and I made several poor choices along the way. And now I know what I need to do.
Good news – I completed my first century bike ride. I didn’t have any nutrition issues!!!! No cramps, no headache, no throwing up or stomach issues!!!! That is huge!!! I had an awesome swim and I have five months to get even stronger.
If I just go 1 mph faster on my bike at IMTX, I will have an additional 112 minutes – good grief!!!!!
What I know about becoming an IM is there are no shortcuts. Got to do the training and then you get to hear them say You Are An Ironman. Walking back to find David after getting a ride back in Sunday night felt really lonely and I felt diappointed in myself, but today I realized that over 1000 people who signed up for this race either didn’t start or finish. Becoming an IM is hard work. If it was easy, there would be no point.
Couldn’t have done any of this without David Perry – just love you to the moon and back David – thank you for helping me chase this dream.
So now David and I are in Sedona for a week to not swim, run or bike. I’m going to enjoy some good wine and downtime. And a couple of massages.
Then I am going to come home and not miss one single workout on the final leg of my IRONMAN journey. I am excited that I will become an IM in front of my family and with my friends at home. And there is just no question that I will be an IRONMAN.