The Days Before Ironman Florida. Race Report Part 1

I know I did not post a race report for Half Ironman August. Let me explain why before I move forward with Ironman Florida. As I sat down at my computer to type out the August 70.3 report my mind could not get over the fact that I was disappointed in myself and I felt that the negativity I was feeling would come across in the report so I decided to just let it be and move forward. I broke my big toe in two places coming into T1 during Augusta and while I pressed forward and finished the race my time was no where near what I was currently capable of doing and while I know I obviously could not help the fact that I got injured I had high expectations of myself and I did not meet them so there it is I was disappointed as silly and ridiculous as it may sound. We are our own worst critic, right? I still managed to set a higher PR in the half coming in at 6:04:01 so I should not be so hard on myself but it is what it is. Now on to the biggest race I have ever done, Ironman Florida 140.6.

November 3, 2012 had been a date I had been thinking, dreaming, some would say obsessing over for almost a year to the date it would be the day where I would push my body through the largest endurance challenge its ever faced. Something I had dreamed of doing for a long time. People kept asking me what my time expectations were leading up to the race and honestly all I wanted to do was finish. Some understood this others thought I was keeping my goals a secret which I wasn’t. I really had no real set in stone race time goal. This is somewhat out of character for me but I just wanted to be an active participant in all the activities and challenges of the day. When I am in “race mode” I miss things because I am so focused on the next person to get in front of or I am focused on the beeping of my Garmin warning me my pace is lacking so by “active participant” I mean I was not worried about being passed or passing another and as far as the Garmin the pace warning was set to silent.

Mathew and I left Valdosta on October 31, 2012 and headed to Panama City Beach. I had taken the entire week off work because a less stressed Summer is a more focused Summer and I really wanted to be focused on the task at hand. We got to PCB around 2pm and went straight to Publix and loaded up on food for the four days we would be there. After we got all our things unloaded and put away we walked to the athlete check in where I was able to go straight in, I love it when there are no lines. It took me less than 10 mins to get checked in which is a PR in and of itself! I got to say the IMFL swag bag was outstanding. Not one of those silly string bags you get for doing a 70.3 its an actual race gear back pack. We were only about a 1/2 mile from the race site, if that, so we walked back to the condo along the beach which allowed us to see the conditions of the water… Umm can I say hello waves.

Check – In complete

On November 1, 2012 I got up and decided I would try out my new wetsuit and see how bad swimming in such large swells was going to be. This particular day the ocean waves were insanely large. I literally swam out about 200 meters and turned around and came back. I told Matt that I had to stop because it was making me nervous and the last thing I wanted to do was go into the race with a larger fear than I already have with the swim.  I then went for a short four mile run along parts of the running course. That was nice and just what I needed to clear my head. My parents got to PCB later that evening and we sort of just hung out at the condo for the night chatting and watching tv.

See the dang waves blah

November 2, 2012 I stated the day out by doing a nice easy run with my buddy and mentor Kc. She showed me around the transition site and gave me a few final tips for the upcoming day. Bless her for putting up with my novice questions and fears. After I got back to the condo my mom and dad wanted me to take them down to the race site so they could look around and do so IMFL gear shopping. We were almost at the tent when my mom moved over to get out of the way from a group of runners and her foot slipped off the sidewalk causing her to fall and twist her ankle. It was swollen within seconds and we all knew she would not be able to do any walking or spectating for that matter. I felt so horrible for her as I know she had been looking forward to this day as much as I had. I have to say every person that walked past us on the street as we were waiting on Matt to get my truck was very kind and helpful. She was offered food, drinks, cell phones, Gu’s and the general “you alright, or can I help”. I have said it before and I will say it again I have met very few triathletes who are not all about helping another even to the point where it affects their race. The rest of day I sort of walked around trying to calm myself down. I listened to a lot of music and just found a quite place to sit down and get my mind ready. Matt made me dinner around 5pm which I was thankful for because I was not able to eat again when the rest of my family did which I had planned on due to my anticipation being in the red by then. My buddy Sam came by the condo to see me and wish me luck which was a nice break from my inner thoughts. I figured I would not sleep since I hardly ever sleep the night before a race but I still got in bed at 8pm and oddly enough I slept till my alarm clock went off at 3am. I got up and had some water and a bagel with peanut butter. I was able to eat the entire thing for once. I got back in bed and went back to sleep for 45 mins before alarm number two went off and I got up and got ready to eat again and head down to the race start. I had a cup, more like 1/2 cup of coffee, and a banana before Matt and I walked down to the transition area. I located Koa and fixed up my aero bottle, my bike bag containing my food, and checked the air pressure in the tires. I found Matt again and he said he needed to go back to the condo and get ready for the day. For the first time in my life before the start of a race I got choked up at the thought of him leaving. I don’t know what my issue was but the thought of him leaving caused me to panic. I did not allow him to know this at the time, although he probably could tell, because I knew if he reacted in the way I was feeling I would loose it. So I said okay, kissed him, and hurried off in the other direction to drop off my special needs bags. I found Sam again at the Special Needs area and he helped me locate where I needed to drop off my items. I had about 1.5 hours before the start of the race and I am not sure where all the time went but just as I was putting on my wetsuit Matt calls my cell phone and tells me he is back and is looking for me. I met him on the way out to the water. This was the first time I had seen the water today and the waves seemed to have grown. And that panic feeling of flight or fight  came over me. For the second time I said goodbye to Matt while holding in the tears that were threatening to come out. I got into position on the beach and was standing there trying to get a grip on my panic. Then it happened. The announcer said we had less than 60 seconds before the start of the race and my mind finally shut up. I was in my zone. No more worry, no more panic, no more feeling like I had not done enough. I was simply at peace and I knew I could take on anything the day brought my way. And just like that the gun went off and the race was underway.

Part two was almost done when I hit the wrong, no going back, button and deleted the rest of my race report. So I will post this and be back once I have re-written the second half. It was getting long anyway. Stay tuned.


Haines City, Florida Ironman 70.3 Race Report

It has taken me a week and one day to find the time to sit down and get my thoughts on paper concerning Ironman Florida 70.3. Without further hesitation here we go.

 The Swim

Word to describe the swim: bliss Struggle.

The swim, which was planned to be a normal out and back loop, was changed due to the low water levels and ended up looking like a giant “M” literally. There were a total of 4 turns during the swim. I knew this would affect my time but I did not think it would do more damage than maybe 1-2 minutes worth. I pushed it out of my mind because there was a slight fear there would be no swim and I would much rather do the swim – bike – run rather than a run – bike – run. Surprising, being that I am a runner not a swimmer but I worked my tail off in the pool for this dang race and I wanted, needed, to prove to myself it’s no longer a big deal. My swim group was off at 07:15 and just before the start we waddled out into the water which came up to about waist level and hung out till they set us off. I was surprisingly calm considering the other races in which I was super apprehensive. Good right? Yeah, great if I could have stayed that way. I don’t know what in the world was going on but I got hit more during this swim than any other swim. It was, for lack of a better word, stupid. I kept trying to find my own space but it was near impossible. About half way down the first straight part some of the men’s group, which had set out after my wave, had caught up with us. I was already fighting for my area when a guy got right up beside me. We were both going along about the same pace in a relatively straight line. Which is fine but then one of us moved closer (not sure if it was me or him) and our arms kept hitting. All of a sudden, as I was taking my breath on the left side, I felt a thumb on my back and four fingers around my rib cage on the right side of my body. The dude had grabbed a hold of my side and was pushing me away from him. Instant reaction was fear, split second later was anger. In my head I was screaming WTF are you doing donkey.  As I was bringing my right arm back to start my stroke I grabbed his forearm and proceeded to apply pressure and twist. I know I must have caused some pain due to the speed in which he released my side and jerked his arm away. I know it’s a race and all but seriously why would you do that – jack wagon.  I could not for the life of me calm myself down after that. I am not sure if it caused me to panic or if I was just that angry. I may or may not have space issues. I struggled to get my breathing right again and ended up swimming off course twice. The whole rest of the swim was just a struggle. People were getting bottle necked at the turns which meant more contact and I just did not care for it.  I was so HAPPY when it was over! I felt going into this race that my swim time should be around 38-40 minutes.

Swim Time: 45:54      

T1: 6:20

I feel like such a terrible time needs to be graced with a reason as to why it took me a day to get out of T1. When I got to my bike I looked down and the person who was beside me had taken my gear, which was not in her way, and basically tossed it. I don’t know if it was by mistake or not. I was so happy to be done with the swim I did not even care that much. I did find my running shoes and hat and put them back in a pile so I would not have to look for them on my return. We were not allowed to swim in compression sleeves thus if you wanted to wear any you had to put them on after the swim. If you have never tried to put compression sleeves on wet legs try it but I suggest you’re sitting down so you don’t bust your face. I felt like it took me forever to get them on. I would have gone without but I did not care to deal with my calf muscles cramping up on me during the run so I spent the extra time putting them on.  You live and learn.

The Bike

I got to say I am really starting to enjoy my time on the bike. The bike course at first was nice and flat then about half way it turned into hills. Florida has some strange hills. I swear it was like you would climb up and expect to go down the other side just to realize it would get flat for a moment and climb again. What happened to what goes up must come down Florida? Overall I felt comfortable on the bike and I worked for every hill being that I am a flat land rider. I was averaging 18-20mph during the first part but that went away as soon as I got into the hills. I was able to successfully implement a hydration/ nutrition plan suggested by my buddy Jason from Cook Train Eat Race . I set my Timex to go off ever 15mins and I would drink a few sips. I had 4 PowerBar Energy Blasts (80 calories) at the 30 min mark and have a Gu Gel at the hour mark (100 Calories). This seemed to give me enough calories to keep my body going. This worked out for me very well. I never really got tired. The last three miles were probably the worst for me. My thighs began to start cramping up and I had to stand up a few times on the peddles to stretch out. I know that I was properly hydrated so I guess it was just from my efforts on the hills. As I was turning to make my way down the last hill before the transition area I noticed a girl on the sidewalk running with her bike on her back. I asked if she was okay and she stated she was but her bike was broken and she had to make the last four miles on foot. I was in AWE. This girl when faced with the decision to call it a day due to a malfunction issue said, not no, but Hell no, slung her bike on her back and ran 4 miles to the transition area. If that is not inspiring then I don’t know what is.

Bike Time: 3:21:26

T2: 4:49

T2 was uneventful. I was happy to see my gear was still in place from where I picked it up during T1. I had spent the entire time on the bike having to pee but I refused to stop. I tried several times to go on the bike but my mind will just not let me so I did make a pee stop during T1, sorry Jason I promise I tired =)

The Run

The run was as expected hot hot hot. I knew it was going to be hot and I had made a mental note to make sure I was drinking something at each aid station. I have a bad habit of sometimes skipping aid stations because I don’t like to drink while running but not today. The run course was one hill after another and once again they only seem to go up and not come down. Florida has a twisted mentality. I checked my watch around mile 3 and I was averaging a 8:34 min mile which is right where I wanted to be. My quads and hamstrings began to cramp up again and I would stop and walk though the rough twitches but as soon as they went away I would go back to running. This went on for a while. My knee, on the other hand, only gave me minimal issues on the larger hills which made me extremely grateful. I don’t recall what mile I was on but sometime during the second lap I face planted into the invisible wall. My body was just done. I tired to walk it off, took a gel, drank some nasty hot coke, but nothing seemed to help. At this point I knew I was not going to make my goal run time. I was disappointed but once again you live and learn. This course proved to be tougher than I initially thought it to be but it was a fun course, other than the swim, I really did not like the swim at all.

Run: 2:21:46

Total Race Time: 6:40:15

I think I would do this race again next year as long as it not a M  swim course. I went into this race expecting to finish around 6 hours or better but it seems the day had other plans for me. A few people pointed out that I was just coming back from my knee surgery so I should not beat myself up about my overall time, and they are right, I guess I just did not want to think of anything in terms of holding me back.  After taking the time to get over my initial disappointment I realized that I had made progress despite my time difference. Augusta is the only other 70.3 race that I have done and there is no way to compare the two courses because Augusta is 100% flat and Haines City is not. However, taking that into consideration lets compare my times.

Augusta: Swim: 30:34 : Bike: 3:32:13 : Run: 2:18:41 Total 6:30:46 Down current swim, and a flat bike/run

Haines City: Swim 45:54 : Bike: 3:21:26: Run: 2:21:46 Total 6:40:15 No current swim, Hill bike/run

I definitely feel stronger on the bike which I think can be seen in my time. I went faster on a harder course and I am absolutely satisfied with that. The run time was slower in Haines City but not by much when you take into consideration the degree of difficulty. So I am happy with my results and will take what I learned form this race and walk away a better informed athlete! Forward Progress.

My favorite part of the weekend, other than an awesome race, was getting to meet and hang out with my friends Kc, Jc, and Jenny! All three are amazing peeps!

A special thanks to my husband for his constant support and willingness to allow the alarm clock to wake him up at 0430 most days! You know you love me =)

Up Next: 11 Global Oly Tri – June 23rd.

Till Next time – keep moving forward.

Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Recap.

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Let me apologize in advance if this is super long. I am trying to learn everything I can and the only way I know how is to write in as much detail as I can recall and beg that you will point out ways in which I can shave time off. Please pick it apart it will not hurt my feelings I really want to get better.
Sunday September 25, 2011
Two alarms went off at the same exact moment 4:15AM. I had been awake for a while going over my gear and execution plan in my head. I was abnormally calm and focused for a race morning. I got up took a shower and began stretching out to make sure nothing was hurting. I attempted to eat my pre-race meal, a bagel with peanut butter and a banana, but I was only able to take in half of it. I checked my gear bag once again before Matt and I headed out. We stopped at McDonalds so I could get some coffee and then made our way to the transition area. He made sure I got everything out of the truck I needed and told me good luck for I would not see him again till after the race. He went back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and get my parents and aunt and uncle.
I put my ear buds in and turned up my Ipod so I could not hear any conversations around me. I have found for me that listening to all the pre-race conversations on how tough/easy a course is causes me to start thinking I may need to change my plan and this is not the time to do that. I had looked, read, researched, the course and I knew what it was going to be like in my mind at least and I wanted to stick with that. I had to get my age and number placed on me again because the previous days markings had come off in the shower ( I think I called that one). I made my way to row 61 and was relieved to see Koa still chillin on the rack. It had rained during the night so I wiped him off. There was a bike missing to my left and the girl who was 2 spots down asked me if they did not show up. Since we figured they were a no show she stated we should both move our bikes over to give us more room. Fine by me. We shared the space and the extra room was rather nice. I put the desired air in my tires, filled up my aero water bottle with cold EFS and placed a water bottle in the lower cage then began placing all my gear out. Once I was satisfied with my layout I grabbed my morning clothing bag and took off to stand in line at the wonderful Port-O-John. Pee #1 was out of the way so I went back and rechecked my gear. I kept thinking I was missing something but I never could figure it out. I finally got over the “what am I missing” issue and took off to wait in line for the transport bus that would take us down to the swim start.
While standing in line I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around while taking my ear buds out and there was a guy standing there. He asked me if I had done the Oly Tri in Greensboro. I told him I had and he said he remembered me from the race (seriously it’s a small world with 3200 other racers around he picks me out…creepy). We talked a little a bit about that race and he told me he had done this race several times. We parted ways once the bus showed up. I made the short bus ride to the swim start and I checked my watch to see how long I had before the start of my wave (8:52) it was only 7:20 so I figured I would go stand in line again to pee since I am so use to having to pee a million times before a race. Pee #2 out of the way so I found a spot and began stretching out and watched the first few waves of men swimmers start their day. They made it look so easy. I knew I had not eaten enough so I started eating on a power bar. I headed down to drop off my morning clothing bag around 8:15ish and ran into Beth (she won this sneak approach). We chatted for a moment before I found another line to take care of pee #3 (seriously peeing this much is annoying – dang you pre race nerves). I found a spot to put on my wet suit and then handed my bag over to the crew. I was sort of sad I had to give up my Ipod it was keeping my mind occupied.
The Swim
Around 8:30 I stared to make my way up to the swim start since they told us in the pre race meeting we may end up going before our original time. They were running about a 1 min fast so I was able to watch more wave starts. Finally they called for my wave and we all made our way down to the water. It’s funny at this point during my first Tri I was a wreck. Not today.
It was an in water start so we all jumped in and “hung out” till the air horn sounded. Man once that thing went off the water went crazy. It was almost like a whirlpool effect. People were going everywhere. It sort of freaked me out at first but I moved farther over to the left to try and stay away from the crowd which worked out for a little bit. Before I knew it people who can’t swim in a straight line or sight right where swimming straight into me. I stopped a few times to keep from getting swam over, let them pass, and continued on my way.
The water was absolutely nasty. There was seaweed and miscellaneous debris everywhere. A few times when I would go to breath I would have seaweed on my face –that had to look funny. Your fingertips would almost touch the growth as you were swimming. I was feeling good, sighting well, swimming a rather straight line, and making forward progress at a comfortable pace. All of a sudden a foot came out of nowhere and connected with my nose. It caused me to take in a mouth full of water which in turn made me immediately nauseous. The water was nasty! I was not sure what to do at this point because I thought I was going to loose my stomach content so I flipped over on my back and took a few deep breaths. The nauseous feeling went away in seconds I said a few thank yous and flipped back over and started my groove again. I feel right back into my normal pace counting two left arm strokes before taking a breath. The counting helps me focus on something other than swimming. I did not know how long I had been swimming but it did not feel like it had been very long. I decided to look forward and see how close I was to the finish and much to my shock and surprise I was within 200 yards. I checked a couple more times because I just knew I was seeing things there was no way I was almost done. Nope I was almost done. I think I started grinning here while still swimming because I knew I had done much better than I ever thought I would have with this part. I had passed people from previous waves how that happened I have no clue but I will take it. I came out of the water and could hear my family calling my name so I looked to the right and there they were on the hill jumping and clapping. This pumped me up tremendously because they knew how much I was dreading the water. We had to run up the boat ramp which (as I had called before) sucked. The run to the bike transition was somewhat long it seemed to take forever seriously it had to take 1-2 mins just to get to the wet suit strippers.
I am the one in the middle with my hat already off and a goofy grin!
I found my suit stripper and she yanked off my suit and tossed it to me as I was taking off to see Koa. There were no more running mats at this point so you were running on grass which was littered with gravel and the rocks were cutting into your feet. I got stuck behind a group of girls who were also trying to dodge the gravel so I slowed down. I would not have felt right running them over just to gain a few seconds. I realized I really needed to pee (yes again) and I was debating what to do while I was getting my gear changed out. I decided I might as well take the time to go here at the port-o-john in hopes that I would not need to pee again while I was on the bike. Yes this cost me time but I am just not the pee on your bike kind of girl… yet.
Swim: 1.2 Miles
Pace: 1:36/100m
Time: 30:34
Rank at this point: 1671
T1 Time Swim-To-Bike: 5:15
The Bike
I grabbed Koa and took off running to the bike start line. This was a mess people were crossing the line and stopping right there trying to get on the bike which caused a massive clog. I found a spot I could squeeze through on the left side and moved out of the way before I got on Koa and took off. I had spoken with Jason from Cook Train Eat Race about my nutrition plan for the bike leg and he had told me what works best for him and I had played with the same liquid calories strategy he goes by. As soon as I made it through mile one and the line of riders were not so on top of each other I took out ½ of a honey stinger waffle and ate it. Everyone kept telling me how important it was to take in lots of fluid during the ride so that my body would still function on the run so I stated drinking from my aero bottle of EFS. I had cut up 3 honey stinger waffles into four pieces per waffle and placed them in a zip lock bag which was in my bike bag just in case I felt like I needed to eat something along with the liquid calories. The first 13 miles were really uneventful. I kept drinking the EFS and I had one small piece of waffle every 30/40 mins.
I thought the riders would be more spread out but we all were on top of each other seriously there was no way not to draft. The officials would just ride on by on their motorcycles not penalizing anyone because there was no where for us to go so that we were not in the draft zone. Passing was challenging because we all were so tight. Every once in a while a spot would open up and I took advantage and passed as many people as I could. I was holding a pace, per my bike PC, of 18-20 which made me extremely happy. Then I stated to get worried that if I tired to hold this pace my legs would be done by the time I got off the bike and I would kill my run. I was going over and over in my head what to do but ended up staying at that pace… I realized I also needed to pee again GREAT so much for spending more time in T1 so I would not have to go on the bike course. Anyway mile 15 I reached down to take another drink and my aero bottle was bone dry. I had already consumed my 32 oz of EFS. Okay not going to panic I still have another water bottle. I reached down to my lower cage to grab my bottle and got nothing but air. WTH where did my bottle go?  I came out of the aero position and looked down. Gone… empty… no bottle. Why is it when you’re not thirsty but then you realize you’re out of fluid you feel like you have not had anything to drink in day’s? I knew there were two hydration stations along the way so I tucked back in and lucky me I only had to go a couple miles before I saw the first stop.
I perfectly executed my first drive by water bottle grab without incident! I jumped off the bike at the end of the line and stood in line for a second so I could pee again. Got back on the bike and waited what seemed like forever to wait for a spot to enter back into the line of riders. There were so many riders but I could not believe we were not spread out more. I finally found a spot and took off again with my aero bottle and cage full of water again. 17 miles out of the way and I still felt great. I knew this was where the rolling hills would start and last a while before the course would flatten out again. I jockeyed for a better position for a while since I did not care to be passed by so many people due to my having to pee grrrrrr. The hills presented themselves.. yay.. I hate hills. Honestly, though they were not that bad even for a flat land rider such as me. Only a few of the hills where killer but I refused to come out of my saddle and just spun on up. I was actually passing tons of people on the hill climbs. This worried me once again. While my overall pace had slowed tremendously due to the hills I knew if I kept up my over aggressiveness I was going to kill my run. I talked myself down off my desire to pass everyone in front of me and settled in behind – not drafting close- a line of riders to finish up the hills.
The miles just kept on passing with only one interesting event. There was a man standing at the end of his driveway with a card board sign that read something along the lines of “Go Home, Your not Welcome Here”. He was yelling at everyone as they passed about how we were such and inconvenience to the community and not to come back next year. Come on man really ONE day out of the YEAR you may have to drive a different way to the store calls for that type of stupid behavior. I rode up beside a girl right after passing him and said he must think he can’t do this she started laughing and said we should go back and show him he too can do this.
I ran out of water again right before the second stop. I kept going back in forth in my mind if I should get a Ironman Preform or water at the next station since my EFS was long gone and I figured I would try a Ironman Preform to get some calories and hope and pray it did not mess with my stomach. I executed another good on the go 2 bottle grab without incident. I was worried I was not going to be able and do that. I put more water in my aero bottle and placed the Preform in my cage. I tried the Preform and I did not care for the taste at all! I only took a few sips of it along the way because I just knew I would not be able to stomach it. I was so happy I decided to bring as many honey stinger waffles as I had they saved me! I never imagined I would go through so much liquid in such a short time. I was mostly overcast but very humid and the later the day got the hotter it was getting. It started to lightly rain around mile 45ish. It did not last long but it felt good while it was raining! The hills finally died and the course was flat again which made me super happy but I could feel my “stupid” race up the hill efforts in my quads. CRAP I knew this was going to happen. I checked my watch and saw I had been on the bike around 2 hours and 40 mins (approximately). I knew I could easily cover 10 miles in 30mins if I pushed it so I had a decision to make go for it and get the bike done in just over 3 hours or slow down and save it for the run. This was hard for me because I am so freaking competitive and all I wanted to do was pass the next person. But running is my back ground so I felt like I ultimately could make up more time there than I could with an all out effort riding. I don’t know if this was the right thing to do or not to be honest. Looking back I sort of wish I had just gone all out for it but I made my decision and I stuck with it.
The last 15 miles were once again uneventful other than a new PR on bike distance for me. The longest I had ridden before this race was 50 miles so I was super excited once I saw the 50 mile marker. At this point the sun had come out in full force and it was really heating up quick. I kept drinking water and took a Gu gel when I was within 2 miles of the bike finish. I made the turn to go into transition and there was my Mattie James and my dad yelling at me to keep going and I was doing great. I am not sure if the spectators know how much simple words of motivation helps push you along. It does WONDERS!
I made it to the line jumped off the bike and guess who needed to pee – ME AGAIN. I ran to my bike spot and sort of tossed Koa onto the bar (sorry buddy). I pulled my helmet off, placed my running hat on, yanked off my bike shoes, tried to put my socks on but my legs and feet were so sweaty they did not want to go on so I had to sit down and force them before I could get me shoes on, flipped my race bib to the front grabbed 4 Gu gels and took off to the Port-O-John to pee again… As soon as I got into the POJ I realized I had forgotten to take my gloves off DANG IT MAN. I thought about just tossing them but then I was like that is silly I have already taken more time to stop to pee I have time to run them back to my bike since it was not that far from the run start anyway. I was coming out of the POJ and someone let out a loud scream that sounded like they were right on top of me. I stopped dead in my tracks ears perked up still holding the door open as I frantically searched the area for someone being stabbed, shot, having a medical issue whatever I don’t know all I know is my instinct kicked in full force and the world slowed down for a moment. A second later a girl came out from the POJ beside me in tears. I asked her if she was okay and she told me she had just dropped her glasses into the POJ. I laughed because it was nasty and ultimately funny but also I think in sheer relief no one was hurt or in danger. Seriously you CAN’T do that to me I go into Cop mode. Ugh.. I wasted time for glasses ok glove-toss time to run.
Bike: 56 Miles
Pace: 15.83
Time: 3:32:13
Rank:  2418
T2 Bike-To-Run : 4:03
The Run   
I don’t think I knew how hot I truly was till I was off the bike and the wind from the bike died down. It took me a mile before my legs felt somewhat normal off the bike. I was almost 3 miles in holding an 8:30 pace per my Garmin when all of a sudden I realized I was getting tunnel vision which was turning into blurred vision. The pressure in my eyes was so intense I thought they were going to come out of my head. I felt my head and I was sweating which was a good sign but I knew something was very off. I made it to the mile three and I took a one of the ice cold sponges and held it on top of my head. The water was so cold and my body was so hot it actually sent me into a mini shock that took me a moment to recover from but the pressure in my eyes went away. 3 miles in and I am overheated already how do you come back from that?
There was a water station at every mile so I kept pushing along taking water to sip from and one went over my head face and neck. I made it to mile 5 and my cheering squad was set up and this pumped me up again! My dad began running along beside me and gave me some water. He was telling me how strong I looked and I believed him at this point it’s the only thing I could hold onto I may not feel strong but he said I looked strong so I will take it. I was passing people right and left. Around mile 7 one of the pro men was walking along giving words of encouragement (I only knew he was a pro because of the chatter around me) anyway he started running beside me and said “I love to see someone who looks like they know how to run – looking good girl keep it up and you will be done before you know it) he patted my shoulder and took off the other way before I could utter much more than thanks.
My dad coming out to cheer me on.
Mile 8 is about the time I started to fall apart. My socks and shoes had gotten really wet at this point and I could feel 2 water blisters on my right foot forming with a vengeance. I contemplated taking them off and running barefoot but looking at the street I knew that would not be much of a user friendly option. I would stop and walk for a moment and try to wiggle my foot around in my shoe to find a better position but nothing was working and each step was becoming more and more painful. I checked my Garmin and I my pace was in the 10 min mile which just broke my heart. I knew I was not going to be able and finish the run in under 2 hours like I had originally planed. It only took me a second to get over this because I was still super happy about the whole experience and the overall journey that had brought me here. It started to rain which was a welcome because it was so hot. It did however finish soaking my shoes and began forming more blisters. Not much you can do about that. I saw an old high school friend who came out to cheer me on along with my buddy Kevin who I met in my first Tri. He was going to do this race but he got a stress fracture 2 weeks ago during a long run. He was only able to swim which he used as a practice.
I saw my dad again at mile 10. He came up beside me and I told him I was hurting he told me to keep going I only had 3 miles to go. So I did I kept going and I kept saying over and over 3 miles only 3 miles I can do 3 miles in my sleep. 3 miles is nothing. My normal stride was off because of the issues with my feet but I managed to pick up my pace a little. I saw my cheering squad again at mile 12. I was so HAPPY to see them words can’t even express the feeling knowing I only had a mile to go. I knew I had more in me so I took off. I picked off one person at a time. I forgot about the pain and I found my normal pace for the last mile. I rounded the last corner and I could here the crowed cheering the racers on as they entered the final stretch. Man what a feeling it’s hard to describe! I gave it all the energy I had left. Finish Strong. I was so elated with this accomplishment I am not really sure it has fully sunk in yet. I do know one thing as soon as I crossed that line I felt like I was more than a runner I was a triathlete.
Run: 13.1 Miles
Pace: 10:35
Time: 2:18:41
Final Rank: 1957
I still have some work to do but I learned so much from this race and I plan on taking it all in so I can come back stronger for the next because there will be a next there will… always be a next.
Overall time: 6:30:46