It is official. I did that 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride & 26.2 mile run in Tempe, Arizona!! This indeed makes me an Ironman. Well, that and the fact that I did it in under 17 hours - 15:07:38 to be exact.
At this point I am sort of dreading writing a race report. Mostly because I'm afraid that I will get off track with all my details. Oh, what the hell . . . here goes everything.
I had slept fairly well, which surprised me. I thought I would be a bit more nervous and not get much sleep. Set my alarm for & woke up @ 4 a.m. Vit & I had decided to get down to to the transition area a bit after 5 a.m. Even though it opened at 5 & we are totally neurotic & usually get there right when it opens . . . we decided to "loosen" up a bit. After all, our bike & run gear was already down there. I got myself dressed. Made my peanut butter & pumpkin butter sandwich. I had been concerned with having to eat - with other big races I have a tendency to be anxious, so choking down a sandwich was going to take a bit of time. As it turns out, I was very hungry & managed to chow that sucker down!! G-Money sent a text saying he was going to Starbucks & did I want anything? Want anything? From Starbucks? This is an Ironman!! Not a leisurely Saturday morning meeting with friends. Good God, man.
Actually, I was concerned with just how calm I was feeling. With a few more things to gather, I was ready to get down to transition.
Down at transition I had a few thing to put in my bike & run bags that I had forgotten. Went to the Porta-Potty for the 1st time. Put air in the bike tires. Found G-Money, who had managed to lose his timing chip - already?
Then it was time to get in line - again - for the Porta-Potty.
I am sure I've mentioned in past blogs the importance of #2 prior to a race? Well, let me say it again . . . way important!! One of the last things I want is to be in the water with my wetsuit on and have to take a . . . well, you know. It brings a whole new meaning to "dropping the kids off at the pool."
Thank goodness I was able to drop the children off at the pool several times!! I felt so much better.
Then it was time to get slathered up with the Body Glide & get the wetsuits on. I gave my kisses to my family & friends & headed for the starting line.
The jump in the lake was a really moving experience for me. It literally was "jumping in with both feet" - this was the culmination of all my hard work, anguish, time away from my family, healing of my injuries & my victories. I gave Vit a hug and wished him luck. I welled up & let the tears flow for a few seconds. I did not want to stand around too long thinking about how cold the water was or that it was 3 feet or so til I hit the water. And people seemed to be procrastinating. So off I went. Done. In I was. I started swimming toward the start line. I knew where I wanted to position myself. I also knew that I wanted to take in every moment. The way I was feeling & the way the clouds looked. It was kinda dark & overcast. People were everywhere - in the water, out of the water. I looked up at the bridge and out of the kajillions of people, I saw my daughters!!!! I was so filled up with joy - I spent the next 15 minutes blowing kisses, waving & saying "I love you" in sign language - that I forgot to be nervous. Basically, the cannon fired & I just swam.
The swim was uneventful, other than I swam a little to the right, then a little to the left, then back to the right again & so forth. Just trying to get away from some of the masses. Kinda worked. At any rate, when I got out of the water, I had a hard time running into transition because my feet were like blocks of ice. My T1 time was a bit long, but I was not concerned.
Onto the bike, feeling good. Saw the family & friends. I would like to say that the bike was as uneventful as the swim, but no such luck!! Major wind. Rain. And even some hail thrown in for good measure. But the WIND!!! WOW. It was strong.
Out on the Beeline Hwy., it was like being on another planet. Riding uphill at 18-20 MPH, turning around expecting to fly down fast & being hit hard with wind and rain and 10-13 MPH. Suffice it to say, it was windy. Really windy. Did I tell you how windy it was?
Sidebar: Friday the 19th, 2 days prior to Ironman, they held a Q & A with some of the pro triathletes who were participating at IMAZ, one of them being my role model, Chrissie Wellington. I was determined to get a picture with her. So, I made sure to ask a question . . . get noticed, ya know?
As the session came to an end, I positioned myself to get behind where the pros were sitting. I told Vit to have that camera ready! The time came, I was ready & sure enough I got to talk to Chrissie & I got my picture with her!! It was so amazing to talk to her. She put a fire in my belly & calmed me all at the same time. She is super cool.
And, because of my conversation with Chrissie, I was able to put the "wind" in perspective. It was windy & rainy & hailing on all of us. So I just had to keep reminding myself to enjoy everything about the day.
But still, it was windy.
After my 7 hours & 2 mins . . . I was off that bike. And, rather than racking my bike myself - some amazing volunteer just took it! Honestly, I just let that bike of mine go. Ran over, called out my race # to another amazing volunteer and ran into the changing tent.
There were so many people just changing outside the tent. The place was packed. I needed to get inside that tent.
Thanks to yet another amazing volunteer, I had a spot inside the tent. (She had asked me if I wanted to change outside, which I had to decline, as I needed to get naked from the waist down. Nudity is grounds for being DQ'ed in Ironman.)
I left T2 feeling pretty good. After all, I only had one more leg of my Ironman to complete - just a little 26.2-mile run.
The minute I came out of the transition, I was hit with a wave of good wishes. Everyone telling me, "Yeah, Tracy!" (my name was on my bib) and "Good job, Tracy!"
It felt so great. I was a rock star! Look at me - I am gonna run a marathon now! After the paparazzi left me alone and the autographs were signed - I was off. That probably set me back several precious minutes. But I knew I could make that up with my lightning fast run time . . . oh my god, I am getting tired of my own bullshit.
I did have fun. The run was not so bad for the 1st 10-11 miles, at which point my body just decided it was done running. So, we walked. And my body & I decided to keep at least a 4 MPH pace. I did what I could do. I counted my steps. I pumped my arms really hard. Talked to anyone who would listen to me. And, wondered how I was going to manage to run down the finishers' chute.
Somewhere around mile 25 - I figured it out - I was almost done. I could start running. And so I did. I managed to run the rest of the way . . . got near the finishers chute, made that left then another left & there I was - tears streaming down my face, the biggest smile, my arms thrown up in the air . . . I was high-fiving everyone.
I wanted to soak up every minute of this moment. The noise, the lights, Mike Riley announcing my name . . . I was an Ironman! I crossed the finish line & had someone reach out & pull me over to them. They said, "You did it! I knew you could do it!"
And, I got a big hug & kiss from this person. It was the cherry on my sundae - Sunday!!
That person was Chrissie Wellington. She had returned at the 14th hour to greet the folks who took twice as long as she did.
She remembered me . . . me - TracerX!! I was over the moon.
The following hugs & gallons of tears that were shed by myself, friends & family afterwards were the best ever.
For those of you who have done an Ironman, you know this feeling. Overwhelming emotions. It all culminates here - at the finish line. Months of training, knee surgery agony, time away from my family - it is so worth it, right NOW!!
So, after all that is said & done . . . there is no way I am doing another Ironman.
Until, Ironman Cananda in 2014.
I guess that will be a whole other blog!!
I'm also trying to concoct a way to get really fast so I can qualify for Kona.
So, that is it for now?? See ya soon.
Much Peace & Love,