This year as been full of a lot of unnecessary drama. Thats right, I said it. Too much hate. Too much back stabbing. Too much negative. Dealing with all that on top of training for my “A” race of the season AND turning 40 (and all the feelers that happen with that) and Im really surprised that I didnt end of in a looney bin somewhere. Truly.
The two weeks leading up to the race I was calm. Really calm. Dont get me wrong, I had my moments. Generally though, I had a peace in me that I havent felt in a really long time. I started letting things go. Things I had no control over. Things I did have control over but just didnt need to control anymore. I let it all go. I made mental lists. Lots of them. Things to pack. Things I could leave at home. Things to make sure Jeremy packed. Things to pack that might not be at the house. Things I needed to do for work before I left for two days. Things I needed to do at work the second I got back. Like any good Type A personality in a Type B body I packed on my birthday, July 7. The next morning we got out of bed, packed the car and spent the morning getting to Windsor.
I didnt know what to expect. I had enough to time get my race packet, do a little expo shopping and find my co-ambassador for Women for Tri, Nanette.
Can I just stop and say how much I love this woman? A veteran to this course, she answered all of my questions and took control of the booth set up quick. She is a gem. Thank you for all your support and for being so thoughtful! It was so much fun meeting everyone who stopped by the Women for Tri booth. It reminded me of why I love this sport.
After the expo on Friday I bounced back to the Airbnb I was sharing with my team from Fresno. I cant remember the last time our team meshed like it did that night. A full kitchen of people I love laughing, talking and planning. After dinner I remember hanging out in the back yard looking at everyone and thinking about how it should ALWAYS be like that. My heart was so incredibly full. They even surprised me with birthday cake! It was such a fantastic night.
The next day Jeremy and I set out to get my transitions handled as quickly as possible and avoid the rush. There was no rush at T2 but T1 was a different story. Wall to wall people in a town the size of Mariposa made it interesting. The area is GORGEOUS though. Part of me wanted to stay. Part of me felt sick with nerves for the first time and I couldnt wait to get out of there. That was the first time it got very real. We headed back into Santa Rosa and went to the Charles Shulz Museum. Such a fun look at a fun memory from my childhood. Who doesnt love the Peanuts gang? I highly encourage anyone to go visit once. We spent the rest of the day getting food and then getting ready for race day.
Race morning I got an early start with everyone else. It was probably totally unnecessary since I was in the LAST female wave of the race. It was great to get settled and hang out on Johnsons Beach watching the waves before me go off. Once I saw my wave marker things went quickly! Ironman does not mess around. It’s a well oiled machine. My wave started at 8:22am.
The swim was a swim in the Russian River. Ive never practiced river swimming but I treated it like an open water with the capability of putting my feet down and walking. yes, you can walk nearly all of that swim if you wanted to. My eyes played tricks on me most of the first half. I kept seeing the turnaround that wasnt there. In the process I got a bit banged up by the waves of a really competitive age group behind me. My goal for the swim was 1 hour.I managed a split of 53:07 and a T1 time of 4:41.
Off on the bike and I was immediately fighting traffic. Roads are not closed for this race. It was frustrating for racers AND locals apparently. It seemed like there was an encounter with a local every 10 miles or so even though I obeyed all the traffic laws. I also picked up a thumb tack in my rear wheel. I didnt notice it until Monday. Lots of racers did. I must have passed a dozen flats on the road. The course itself was BEAUTIFUL with rolling hills. I never really felt like I found a rythm but I didnt really care. I pushed when I could and pulled back when I needed to. When I hit Chalk Hill I just put my head down and kept moving. From there it was, literally, all down hill. I was pretty happy to see the school and get off the bike. Things I need to remember? Gatorade Endurance and my stomach are not on speaking terms. My goal for the bike spilt was 4 hours. Finished in 3:36:18 with a T2 time of 4:51.
On my way out on the run I stopped at the medic tent to apply sunscreen and missed my shoulder blades. Im still paying for that mistake. I learned at Mile 2 why people later called it a death march. It really was. Luckily I met a very nice woman named Shannon who managed to keep me motivated. We talked about our goals for the race and if they were doable. She was in my wave so I knew how much time she had. It was totally doable to finish in 8:30. It was her redemption from a DNF at her first race. I told her my goal was 7:30. At mile 1 it seemed very doable. At mile 7 I was questioning it and my other life choices. We ran most of the straight aways and walked the uphills. I grazed on preztels and ice at each of the aid stations and kept trying to do math in my head. “Its doable. Maybe. I could use a nice breeze right about now. Shade would even work.” There was very little of both. At the Mile 10 marker I said, out loud, “That’s a bitch of a warm up for this 5k” because I always say that when I run a half marathon. Its funnier at a half ironman apparently because people around me actually thanked me for the laugh. Fast forward to the Mile 12 marker. Just short of the first set of crowds near the high school I started to throw up. No notice. Nothing came out so it was just dry heaves but it HURT. A lot. I still dont know what caused it but I managed to get it under control long enough to finish. Waiting at the finish line was my husband, my best friend Courtney and her husband, several of my TC3 and Trimafia teammates and Nanette. It was amazing. Almost a week later Im still riding that high. My goal for the run was 2.5 hours. Did the run in 2:47:42. It was, officialy, my slowest half marathon ever. I didnt care. With a goal of 7 hours and 30 minutes I finished in 7:26:39.
So what did I learn from this experience?
- Silencing my critics is a strong motivator.
- Ill never truly silence my critics. They have big mouths.
- I have the BEST support system any girl could possibly ask for.
- Your team is the people around you that lift you higher and you, in turn, you try your hardest to do the same.
- You can tell me about a course until Im blue in the face and apparently I wont believe you until I actually race it.
- Being a gastric bypass patient presents very different challenges at this length of a race. I need to work on my own supplement blend so I dont attempt to cough up what is left of my stomach.
- My husband is a VERY patient man. It was amazing to see the pride on his face when I crossed the finish.
- I can do anything I really want to do if Im willing to work hard enough to do it.